Light at the End of the Tunnel

Tunnel, where is the light

It is sometimes hard to see light at the end of the tunnel when you are stuck in a long dark tunnel.
Perhaps it wasn’t so dark when you went in, or maybe you didn’t realize it was so long. But now you are stuck.

You can see no light at either end.


Don’t turn around, or you will lose your sense of direction. If you sit down to try and work it out, you might end up going the wrong way.

Have you ever felt like that?

Most of us have.

What is your tunnel?

  • Toxic work situation?
  • Betrayed by a friend… your partner?
  • Lost your job?
  • Had bad news about your health?
  • Or did you go chasing after something you thought better than you have now, only to find is was an illusion.

Whatever the reason, you are stuck in a tunnel.

The reaction to any one of these, and myriads of other causes, is the key to your way out of the tunnel.

Do you feel disconnected?

disconnected in the tunnel of isolation

Sadly, we live in a world where everyone seems to be so busy, but is their busy-ness their way to escape their feelings of hurt, anger, or sadness?

It is a common way to cope… keep yourself so busy you don’t have time to think about your situation. However, at the end of the day, it is difficult to hide from your feelings.

What do you do?

  • Get drunk
  • Have an argument with someone
  • Feel worthless.

You might be surprised…

If you knew how many people are suffering the same feelings of disconnection, loneliness or despair.

Perhaps it is time to ‘own your feelings.’ Identify the main cause you are stuck in a tunnel with no idea which way is forward.

Constantly trying to run from your emotions is exhausting and counter-productive.

People (or a person) may have hurt you, but your reaction to that hurt is your feeling.
Identify that, allow yourself to feel the emotion.
Are you able to tell a person who hurt you what you experienced… without blaming him or her?
Are you able to tell an employer the effect the atmosphere at work is having on you?

Is there a pinprick of light in your tunnel?

If it you discovered your friend was feeling what you are feeling, how would you respond?

Compassionately?

If so, do you not deserve the same treatment?

Respond to your own feelings in the same way you would a loved one who was sad or struggling.

Reactions are our responsibility.

If we do not stop to ‘own’ that, we will continue to blame others for our reactions and run from one tunnel to another.

If a spouse or child has died – it is okay to feel the loss. Know that over time the loss will still be there, but it will change and become bearable.

If your work situation is having an effect on your health and you can do nothing to change it… look for another job. (But don’t complain in an interview for a new job about the one you are leaving.)

If you are diagnosed with a serious, or terminal illness, yes, grief what you are losing, then make the best of the time, or abilities you still have.

Why spoil the present by dwelling on things from the past or fears about the future?

smell the roses image

A long time ago someone said to me, “Stop and smell the roses.”

It can be a challenge to step back from your feelings but it is good for your health.

“Refrain from anger and abandon wrath; do not fret—it can only bring harm.”
Psalm 37: 8 Berean Study Bible

Susan

Fortunately there was a bench there

Bench

The bench was in the small local shopping centre and my breathing was ‘about to give out’. I used the oximeter and the saturation of oxygen in my blood was below 50. Impossible, some would say… but not if you work in the Respiratory field. Still not good.

A little indigenous Australian woman sat on the other end of the bench and, when I could I gasped out a greeting. She was sitting checking a ‘scratchie’ – I don’t know what other people call them, but to us here in Western Australia that’s what they are. Tickets that have areas to be scratched off with a coin in the hope of winning a sum of money.

The woman was pleased, and said to me a few minutes later, “You brought me luck, I’ve won $20.00,” and went off happily to claim her money.

I sat on the bench waiting for my oxygen level to come up enough for me to be able to walk.

No ambulance for me; the hospitals are full of ‘flu victims. I doubt if there would be an ambulance available.

https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/emergency-department-staff-concerns-not-my-responsibility-wa-health-minister-20190314-p5149z.html

No, I waited until I could walk again.

My little shopping centre has more than one bench

To be honest, most times I go there, I travel from bench to bench. I’ve met many interesting people as I recovered my breath on one of them. Some people had back pain, others were breathless, but I have never sat beside another oxygen user.

(As I explain in my soon-to-be-released eBook, Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube, not everyone who has COPD or Heart Failure is prescribed oxygen.)

Click (or tap) the image if you want to read the page about it.

Why so bad today?

I can only assume it was the ash from the bushfires. (Strange time of year for them here, but the freeway south had to be closed for a time.)
https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/bushfires

Yesterday (Thursday) was very windy and I kept the doors open so that my oxygen concentrator had some fresh air. (To extract the nitrogen from.)

But I was in my study working on putting ‘Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube into a print template’… and that’s time-consuming. When I took a break in the afternoon to watch a quiz show I like, I noticed there was a film of dust on the table as I walked past. I had only cleaned it the day before.

When the quiz was over, I turned off the TV and my Support Worker arrived, complaining of the ash in the air.

The suburb where the fire was burning is a long way from where I live but that wind must have been driving the ash. Maxine had to wash the ash from the surfaces it had gathered on. It was sticky and did not want to be dusted off. I tried.

The filter for the concentrator had to be washed, but for the time until it dried – the house has been quiet. Just the puffing as I take a breath from the Portable one.

Well, it is time to do my next task, and I am posting this early because I am busy this weekend.

God bless you all… and may you find a bench to sit on when you need one.

Susan

Giving up Is Taking Over and What to Do About It

lost and giving up

Giving up might be easy. Do you have the courage to keep going? It does take courage to keep walking through your trials, or turn back and seek help.

Clearly, many do give up, the suicide statistics in Australia alone are food for thought.

https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/clinical-resources/suicide-self-harm/facts-about-suicide-in-australia

Is giving up really taking over our world?

If so… how can we counter this negative trend?

Make your own trend, but look to the past as well as the future.

Some thought I should just give in gracefully and die rather than go on oxygen. Well, it might have saved a tiny bit of money for the government but I believe I still have something to give.

My book ‘Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube’ would never have been written, and even although not released yet, it has led to some interesting conversations. It is my hope that not only does it help people who are prescribed home oxygen, but also those who care for them. It might surprise you to discover the changes and challenges someone on oxygen has to make.  Although, I have to admit, it is quite amusing at times… especially when tangled in the oxygen tube.

Then the fourth novella in the companion series to the Apostle John Series books would not be published. (Getting close.)

So, what does looking back achieve?

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Romans 15:4 ESV

Giving up was not the way these people handled adversity

Joseph, favorite son of his father Jacob had many opportunities to give up. His half-brothers’ jealousy escalated to such a degree they put him in a pit and were going to kill him.

What was going through Joseph’s mind?

Instead, Joseph was sold to spice merchants on their way to Egypt. There the spice merchants sold him as a slave. (Read the story in Genesis 37:12-35)

Moses could have thrown up his hands in defeat many times, as he led the often-rebellious children of Israel through the wilderness.

I look at the lives of the prophets, and sigh at what they went through… without giving up.

Jumping forward in time…

Did the Apostles think of giving up?

History says all but one were martyred, and the Apostle Paul mentions his many trials.

For those of us who have Christian faith, where would our faith be without the record they left us.

When researching for the Apostle John Series I was awed at what the early Christians endured. Some went to the arena; others were tortured, enslaved, or burnt as torches for Nero’s parties.

In many cases Christians could have escaped persecution by the simple act of taking a pinch of incense, tossing it the fire at an statue of Caesar, and saying, ‘Caesar is Lord.’ That would have broken the first commandment, and most chose to suffer the penalty.

We have not been called to such challenges, but we have, and do, experience other overwhelming difficulties at times.

giving up, drowning in problems

Back to the suicide figures

More people than would like to admit have, at some point in their lives contemplated suicide. From the figures in Australia alone, many have attempted to kill themselves.

Do we shrug and sigh, then continue on, or do we wonder what we could have done if someone we know succeeds in killing themselves?

It is a two-way street. The person desperate enough to want to give up needs to find the courage to talk about it. Easier said than done.

No one to trust.

There are crisis lines where a stranger will listen. This might be a solution for those wanting to give up.

One such organization says on its webpage, “Professionally trained counsellors have specialist skills in working with suicide-related issues and they can help you to work through the pain and distress you may be feeling.”

What can we do?

If we see signs of someone withdrawing, instead of ignoring it, we can ask, “Would you like to talk about what you are feeling?”

If that seems too threatening, how about “You seem to be having a difficult time, is there anything I can do to help?”

We need to be prepared to listen. We need to be non-judgmental. A person on the point of giving up on life sees life differently to your viewpoint. Allow them their viewpoint before offering alternative views.

Sadly, the times we live in are not conducive to quietly walking beside someone in distress. Our lives are so busy, and self-concerned we might not notice. We might be struggling ourselves, but guess what, helping someone else can help you see your own problems in a different light.

Not giving up, giving

Here, some flowers for you… pass them on.

Susan

Susan Preston was a trained Mental Health Nursing sister and worked at an outpatient community clinic. She has a great deal of experience in counselling and caring for people with mental health issues. (Some of this knowledge made its way into the books she has written.)

Home Oxygen… the Beginning

Oxygen flow control

The technician who brought my home oxygen set it all up, set the flow rate on the machine and told me not to change it.

He handed me a cannula with nasal prongs on the end of a long green tube connected to the machine. The oxygen was flowing, but I really had no idea how to put the ‘headset’ on.

While I was working that out, he set up the ambulatory oxygen cylinder (for going out) and warned me not to touch the button to change the flow rate.

With what felt like an encyclopedia of information in a foreign language he had me sign a form, handed me a booklet and was gone.

My home oxygen therapy had begun

I had prongs in my nostrils, part of  a cannula attached to a long green tube that followed me wherever I went. That was only the beginning of the learning curve to living at the end of an oxygen tube.

It also had a habit of ‘catching’ itself on the strangest places and I would come to an abrupt halt when my nose jarred.

I felt like Manasseh in the Bible.

Manasseh with hook through his nose

So the LORD brought against them the military commanders of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles, and took him to Babylon.
2 Chronicles 33: 11 Berean Study Bible

(I was not bound by bronze shackles though.)

All the same I was ‘tethered’ – I could go no further than my tube allowed.

Yes, the oxygen was there to help me, and it did, and does… but I had no idea of the learning curve that would be required of me.

There is a trick to cooperating with an oxygen tube.

  • Have enough tube to reach all the places in your home you need to go normally, wind up the excess. The more that is out the more risk of tripping.
  • If you are not carrying something, wind up the tube as you go… and learn to be aware of where the tube is all the time.

When I wrote the earlier blog about living on oxygen, I didn’t know it, I was only at the start of the learning curve.

As well as things to frustrate a person with tubes up the nose 24/7 – especially when the tube catches and yanks my nose, there are things to laugh about too… and things to wonder about also.

(I wonder how long it took Manasseh to get used to the hook in his nose.) Just one of those funny wonderings a writer’s mind can wander along.

The learning curve

… Is both physical and psychological and your home will be invaded by equipment that will help you to breathe but can be difficult to get used to having around. Your days (and nights) of quiet are over. The oxygen concentrator is noisy – I read somewhere 40 to 50 decibels… and that is a constant background noise when using the oxygen.

oxygen concentrator and oxygen cyclinders

There is a great deal to adjust to, and to learn, but when you get used to trailing your tube around, you will start to notice the health benefits.

I would have liked to have talked to someone in the same position, but that is a little difficult unless you find out about a support group of people with similar conditions.  If you hear of such a group, go, even though it takes a lot of planning even for a short trip.

I mastered the steep part of the  learning curve, and am plodding through the smaller, daily, challenges.

Books on living with home oxygen

The only books I could find were written by doctors or other health professionals, but I did not want to know all the technical stuff, just what I could do and could not do. I wanted a book written by someone who had walked the journey before me.

Because I could find none, I wrote my own. I am publishing it for others like me, for the people who come to help, but have no training.

So many people have encouraged me to write this, and helped me with the project.

Connie, if you read this… thank you, it’s for you too. And thank you John and Mariela for a much better cover than the one I paid for,

Currently my website is ‘feeling fragile’ so I am unwilling to create another page as I might have to rebuild the website.

If you want to see what the cover looks like, as well as the blurb – you will find it on Amazon.

Living at the End of an Oxygen Tube

Some days at the start it felt as if I was being sucked into a vortex and that is what the cover is meant to represent.

So, for this week… 

God bless and be safe!

Susan

Your Life as a Movie

Your life as a movie

A movie that stands out to me is the Charlton Heston ‘Ten Commandments’ movie. I mention that because it covered Moses’ life from a baby until the end.

What would your life be like as a movie?

Is your movie joyful
Sad and alone
Are you old in your movie
Good live movie

What is the standout in your movie?

A childhood memory? Your wedding day? Birth of a child? Their graduation or wedding? A divorce? Death of a child or loved one?

When you look back, what do you see?

Is your movie a bumpy road?

Most of us have bumpy roads in our lives.

Sometimes unexpected twists and turns,

It’s how we handle them that counts.

And many of them are so devastating we think we will never survive, but we do.

Ten Commandments Movie

Although not entirely accurate to the Biblical account, the film is a reasonably good overview of Moses’ life leading a huge group of grumblers to their promised land.

I guess we have all had grumblers in our lives but hopefully not to the extent Moses did.

Then there was Jeremiah

Commonly called the ‘weeping prophet,’ his life was no picnic. He was warned though.

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Jeremiah 1: 1 – 10

By chapter 38 he was put in a pit/cistern… some say sewer… and left to starve.

Calling for Divine help

But there was a good ending… he was lifted out of the pit and lived.

Interesting story after that. (Too long for here and on a different subject.)

Another story of loss and triumph

A lovely hymn whose words were written by Horatio Spafford after his four daughter drowned. He lost his fortune in the Chicago fire… well, the video documents all his losses as well as his recovery.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX_50AERr8M

Our life movies

When I was a child in Scotland a small house spider terrified me.

What would I have thought then had I known about the huge insects I would meet in Brunei, then here in Australia?

Over the years various friends have said, “I am glad I didn’t know what this would turn out to be when I was younger.” I profoundly agree!

My husband and I said it when our son died at sixteen and a half.

I am sure my husband thought it when his lungs were smothering him when he was dying from Pulmonary Fibrosis.

Now, here am I, rather restricted and ‘tethered’ to an oxygen machine (or a portable one) twenty-four hours a day.

All the same, I can sit here in front of the computer, currently writing my soon to be released book on living with oxygen.

My life movie has had many bends in the road, some pits  of despair that I thought I would never get out of, and lots of tremendous bumps, but I can look back and say, “Thank you Father.”

Can you? I hope so.

Susan

Movie equipment

Mother Past and Present, What Faith

Mother standing alone

“Happy Mother’s Day” was the greeting from a special friend. Her next line was the one that inspired me… “If there were no mothers in the world, Christ would never have been born. “

So, this post is ‘a tale of two mothers’ – in vastly different circumstances and time settings, then us.

Christ’s mother did not have it easy.

Most mothers would say they do not have it ‘easy’ especially in this age where there are so many thing to worry a mother.

I remember when I used to be a leader in a girls’ club run by the church I attended, we discussed what it would have been like to be pregnant and unmarried in that time period.

pottery cup, betrothal cupMary and Joseph were betrothed. The word has lost much of its meaning over the centuries. At that time at the betrothal the woman was legally married even though she still remained in her father’s house. She could not have what we now call ‘a relationship’ with another man unless she was divorced from the man she was betrothed to. Yes, a betrothal was that binding. When Mary accepted what the angel told her, she would have known what her punishment could be… stoning. 

Joseph could have claimed she had been adulterous and she would have been stoned.

How much faith did she need to carry her child, knowing she was still a virgin, but would  her story of an angel visiting her be believed?

The Bible records how that turned out. God sent an angel to Joseph… he must have needed faith too.

  • How much faith did Christ’s mother need when He left the family business and started wandering the countryside preaching about the Kingdom of God?
  • What mother would not understand the agony she would have felt watching Him crucified?

It takes faith to be a mother, and as a common saying goes… it takes a community to raise a child.

It takes a community to raise a child

What if you were the first mother?

By the time Eve became a mother, she and Adam had been cast out of the garden. This is how I understand the scripture…

 

Eve, first mother, eden

"Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."

Genesis 3: 20 -24

Did Eve wonder what was happening to her body, or do we assume that because Adam knew she would become the mother of all the living that God had taught them previously?

Some things are instinctive to a mother; other things are learned. Who did Eve have to ask? Who was her role model?

Her firstborn, Cain, was the first murderer. But, he was her firstborn. Did she grieve over him? Did she feel a failure as a mother?

Perhaps you have never thought of any of these matters, but I do. A friend said it is because I have a writer’s mind. Perhaps this is true.

Everyone reading this had a mother.

She may be alive, she might not be, or she might be in that ‘twilight world’ of Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia, leaving you mourning the living.

Nevertheless, she carried you in her body for nine months, felt your first movements, laboured to deliver you into the world.

That was only the start. She fed you, changed your soiled nappies/diapers, and encouraged you to walk.

How many times did your mother listen to your stumbling attempts to remember words… or letters on a page as you learned to read?

If you are reading this, your mother was your first teacher… and she was proud of every challenge you overcame, and cried over your disappointments.

It is not easy being a mother nowadays

There are wars, kidnappings, murders, drugs, and so many other things to concern you. Will your child be safe at school must be one of the questions. Some research at the link below.

Dangers that teens and kids face.

I am grateful that I did not have to worry about any of those. Yes, there were things to worry about, to pray about, and sometimes to tear my hair out about, but they survived and so did I.

Yes, it takes faith to be a mother in today’s world although sometimes mothers worry unnecessarily.

All mothers can do is to give their sons and daughters the tools, and hope, pray and if appropriate… guide their children as they step into adulthood.

No, it is not easy… but whether, Eve, Mary or you… it is the most important role you will ever have in your life, whether appreciated or not.

Special thoughts and prayers for all the people whose mother has died.

This week’s musing.

Susan

“Bible BOMBSHELL” so says a newspaper

What a bombshell. No, truth

The full title of the article was …

Bible BOMBSHELL: Ancient stone tablet ‘PROVES’ Old Testament king WAS real.

It is not a bombshell to me, but this UK online newspaper thinks it is. The article goes on to say…

“NEW analysis of a mysterious stone slab proves a key Old Testament king really did exist, an eminent archeologist (sic) has announced.

The article goes on to say, “The historicity of the Bible, or the Christian book’s acceptability as a history, is a controversial and contested field study. Few archaeological discoveries have so far supported many of the Old Testament’s narratives as history. But a ground breaking study of an ancient stone tablet may have overturned a thousand years of Old Testament understanding.”
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1121956/bible-ancient-stone-tablet-mesha-stele-old-testament-king-balak-real

Other ‘proofs’ have turned up. 

One, a mosaic discovered at a fifth century synagogue depicts the two spies sent by Moses, carrying a pole with the cluster of grapes.
https://www.foxnews.com/science/stunning-biblical-spies-mosaic-discovered-in-israel

An article in the Jerusalem Post reports the discovering of a seal belonging to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King.
“Nathan-Melech appears once in the Hebrew Bible, in II Kings 23:11, where he is described as an official in the court of King Josiah.”
https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/2600-year-old-seal-discovered-in-City-of-David-585321

If you do an Internet search you will discover just how many ‘proofs’ have been found.

A Bombshell to me

Well, not really a bombshell, but it never ceases to amaze me that the ‘big bang theory’ is so widely accepted. I do not mean to be rude to anyone who believes it, although I am not sure those folks would return the favour, but for me, it takes more faith to believe in that theory than it does to believe the God of the Bible.

The Big Bang is the name that scientists use for the most common theory of the universe, from the very early stages to the present day. The Big Bang theory is that the universe has not always existed. It states that the early universe was hot and dense.
https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

I was when watching a tour of a magnificent 10-acre estate in Dorset, England. There are five gardens with different themes. I saw the plants – how could they, and we, evolve from a single cell.
https://www.comptonacres.co.uk/

If you decide to have a look at Compton Acres site, please note… it takes a long time to load, but the images are beautiful.

Before I was on full-time oxygen...

I loved wandering in the bush… West Australian wildflowers are spectacular! My all-time favourite remains the Fringe (or Fringed) Lily.
It has a Latin name too, but I like the term Fringe Lily.

Can you see why?

Australian Fringe Lily, no bombshell

When I first saw it I thought it was like satin with feathers. I still do, although now I only have memories and photos.
(The bush is one place my Portable Oxygen Concentrator would not be able to navigate.)

We have some very colourful birds here in Western Australia also. And, what about the animals, the reptiles, the insects and spiders.

All of them, and humankind came from a big bang, or evolved? That’s a WOW for me!

I prefer the Bible version.

Memories

I might be severely limited now, but I have so many ‘albums’ of photos in my memory.

I can pull up the image of fighting with a possum in Texas, seeing the magnificent City Hall in Chicago, visiting the Museum in Charlotte, finally achieving a bucket-list desire… going to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. 

I will never forget the beautiful hills and parks of my home town of Peebles in the Borders of Scotland.

(c) 2019 Janette Wilson Member of Auld Peebles - incorporating The Peebles Bletherers

I have about 70 years worth of memories (I cannot remember my babyhood ) So I can pull out images that – for me – give the lie to anything other than the events of the Bible being true.

As I said, it was no ‘bombshell’ to me to find out that another proof has been found of something written in the Bible..

Musing again

Susan

Awards, memories, and oxygen

Awards, memories and oxygen

When you live connected to an oxygen machine, little pleasures are great, big surprises are better.

There was a big surprise this year. Keep the Flame was Solo Medalist in the New Apple Book Awards, 2018. It is the fourth book in the Apostle John Series, and I looked back over the years to the writing of the first book.

My husband died when book three in the series was almost finished. When he was in the hospice he told me “hurry up and finish Light of Truth if you want me to read it.” He was as invested in the people in the series as I was.

Such a lot has happened since then. He would be surprised at my life now, having to live my life attached to oxygen machines. I also think he would be pleased at the success those books have achieved. His encouragement spurred me on, then the characters needed their stories finished.

Looking back at the series

It is 92 AD, and the Apostle John still lives! The Temple where he walked with Jesus and the other disciples no longer exists. It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD

John is proof that the sect the Jewish authorities had hoped would die following the crucifixion of their leader, did not happen.

The temple that was (dare I say it) almost like an idol to the Jews of the time.

Many of those early followers of the ‘Way’, later to be called ‘Christians’ in a derogatory term, had fled under the persecution from the Jews. With the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, came the Diaspora and many escaping Jews joined their fellow Jews in various cities around the Roman Empire.

The fiction calculations for the book that became a series

Using biblical principles I worked out that John, the apostle, could have been married. (Most people do not believe he was, but I found some interesting opinions on his wife from other websites when researching the book.) I ignored them, and decided on a fictional wife, who had died.

Working out his age in 92 AD was relatively simple, so calculating the age of any children, and their children was again worked out using the knowledge of the age when Jewish men married.

Daughters were married off far earlier, often soon after puberty, but men had to be mature, settled, and able to support a wife and family.

Thus, although the Apostle John is a key figure in the series of books, he is not the main character. Readers have identified Benjamin, the great-grandson I ‘gave’ John, as the ‘hero’ of the series.

The setting of the series

I chose Ephesus for the location as most of the evidence pointed that way.

Someone I knew declined to show any interest in the book because her pet theory (which I did consider) was that John had gone to England.

Historically, I could not find enough evidence to support that, so the setting was Ephesus.

As a child I loved history as a class subject, and as a young person, I devoured books on the Tudors, some of the French ancestry, Scottish history and a long series on the Popes. The Medici and Borgia families fascinated me.

My home town of Peebles, in the Scottish Borders is not only a beautiful town, but one steeped in history… and the birthplace of many famous people.

But that is another story.

The Apostle John Series

Never did it  occur to me that I would be writing Christian, historical fiction.

I wrote manuals to help my computer classes. But when listening to a detailed Bible study on the gospel of John, I wondered. “Could that be true?” and so started a long trail of research, which does become addictive.

What I found were the people and culture of the times in which these folks in the Bible lived! People who had been just stories until then. I found out what it was like living under Roman rule, being hated by Jews, Romans and pagans.

They were all people, and they all had trials and challenges.
(Which is why I chose to write from the omniscient view.)

It seems I succeeded in showing their humanity, because I have emails and reviews saying that.
(Although many reviews disappeared in the last Amazon algorithm review purge.)

There is a time to stop a series though, and that has come. A companion series, this time of novellas, completes the stories of the ‘other’ characters. The fourth and final one is ‘waiting in the wings.’

Researching the series

I consulted many versions of the Bible, Josephus (a former Pharisee, and prone to exaggeration according to many commentators). Lionel Casson’s ‘Travels in the Ancient World’ was amusing in parts.

I subscribe to Biblical Archaeological research newsletters and Biblical History newsletters.

Suetonius gives insights into the Roman emperors he writes about, as well as various Roman festivals and everything Roman. I have a shelf full of books and hard drives with gigabytes of research

The Awards my husband never knew about

 Hold the Faith – Finalist in Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.

Thanks to some special friends, I went to the Award ceremony in Miami, Florida.

Book 3 – The Light of Truth – Finalist in the IAN Awards.

(My husband died before I solved something that needed to happen was worked out so he never knew the end.)

Book 4 Keep the Flame – Readers’ Favorite Finalist for 2017 (Yes, I went back to Miami.)

Then this year I was told it was chosen as the Solo Medalist in the 2018 New Apple Literary Awards.

I look forward to telling him.

Susan

Honor – Who or What Do YOU honor?

Don't wait till they are dead to honor them

Who or what DO you honor? This is the Easter long weekend. I know some families will have ‘the knock.’
You open the door and there is a police officer (or two) standing there. ‘The knock’ for my husband and I came at four in the morning.  Our son was not an Easter fatality, but the knock is the same horrifying reality for all who have experienced it.

There will be more fatalities during this time than at most other times of the year. “Drivers are urged to take extra care over the next few days with the Easter long weekend historically proving a dangerous one for fatal accidents.” 
https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/motorists-urged-to-drive-safely-over-the-easter-long-weekend-ng-b881173204z

Do we honor the road rules?

It would seem not. Queensland had a horror start to the Easter long weekend.

  • Police are concerned at the number of people who continue to drink-drive with 44 people charged on day one
  • 275 roadside drug tests were carried out on Thursday with 44 drivers testing positive to illegal substances.
  • 2,858 drivers were clocked by speed cameras going over the limit, while another 390 speeding fines were handed out by Police.
  • 29 people were busted using their mobile phones behind the wheel while 31 fines were handed out for seat belt offences.
    http://www.mygc.com.au/horror-start-to-easter-period-on-queensland-roads/

Across Australia, road deaths were already being recorded on Friday morning.

Do we honor our families?

Going by the Queensland statistics it would seem not. Most other States will have similar statistics,

What do those statistics speak of?

  • Selfishness
  • Disregard for the law
  • Lack of love for their families
  • Thoughtlessness
  • ‘It will never happen to me’

Unless someone sets out to deliberately murder another person, the answer fits somewhere in one of those categories.

Nevertheless, the result is the same. Deep hurt, unbelievable sorrow, guilt, emotional pain.  There are only a few pathetically inadequate words to attempt to describe the reaction to ‘the knock.’

honor before, not after death

‘Honor your father and mother’ is one of the Ten Commandments. Well, not only younger people have parents, so do grown-up children. The command to honor parents applies as long as the parents are alive.

Also children who are parents should think of their children.

Do you want your child/children to grow up fatherless or motherless?

Most people do not want that, many never think of the consequences, or realize this is what they are risking.

All of us need to be more ‘thinking’ people.

Allow me to tell you about the last night with our son.

Before 'the knock.’

It was a warm summer evening, and our son who had been through a dreadful week, was in a happier mood. His friend, who had recently passed his driving test, was coming to pick him up and they were going out.

Jim, (not his real name) hugged his Dad and I, and went out to meet his friend who waited at the end of our driveway. His father followed him part way, delighted that Jim seemed to have survived the terrible week.

“Dad,” Jim called, and his father went closer. “Look, a bird has fallen out of this small tree.” He looked down at the bird, and said, “It looks as if it cannot fly. Will you take it and put it in one of the trees in the backyard where it will be safer?”

Carefully taking the bird, a dove,  my husband saw it was indeed injured, and smiled. Not many teenagers were so kind and tenderhearted. Most would have walked past the bird on the ground, some not even noticing.

That was the last time we saw him alive.

After 'the knock’

We went through the same horror many others have suffered and are suffering.

Shock, horror, disbelief, guilt, wishing it was a nightmare and we would wake up and Jim would be back home. In all honesty, I can think of no words to describe the feelings that threatened to overwhelm us, not only then… but for a long time after.

honor road rules

You might not like the police, your parents, the rules, but believe this…
The rules are there for protection, not to make your life difficult.

Please, honor those who love you.

Obey the rules – and THINK.

With love

Susan

With heartfelt empathy for all who are walking this path, wherever you are on your journey.

Posted early in the hope it will save someone answering ‘the knock.’

Invited into the family

Footballer invited into Touhy family

I saw most of an old movie the other night. I discovered the next day when I did an Internet search; it was called ‘Blind Side.’ I didn’t see the beginning, but the trailer I found matched the movie had been watching.

That night I woke up shortly after 1:00 am and could not  go back to sleep. My nose was blocked and consequently it was difficult to breathe the oxygen through the nasal prongs.

Well, I talked to God, reviewed what I had to do later in the day… in the daylight hours. Then my thoughts went back to the movie I had watched in the evening.

(I looked up the summary of The Blind Side and it explains why the movie was called The Blind Side. It explained what the blindside is in a football game.)

It was interesting, but not the theme I found myself thinking of in the early hours of the morning when I could not sleep.

Exciting is how I would describe my mental review of the movie and the connections I made during that sleepless night.

Although reviews of the film point out several inaccuracies between the movie and the reality, the bare bones are there.

  • The teenager was homeless.
  • He did spend some nights in the family home, although did not move in with them immediately, as portrayed in the movie.
  • The rich white family did offer Michael Oher a home.

They were kind to him, and accepting of this teenager whose life was the opposite of their lives.

I guess this is where I started making connections to my faith journey.

Do you want to join our family?

God does not force us; He gives as all free choice. Have you read the scripture…

For many are called, but few are chosen.
Matthew 22: 14 KJV

You can read an explanation of the parable and possible point of what Jesus meant at https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/christian-trends/what-does-many-are-called-but-few-are-chosen-actually-mean.html

Back to the movie…

The teenager could have refused the offer, but he chose to accept the invitation to be part of the family.

In agreeing to be part of the family, he also accepted the challenge to live as they did.

Physical Family

Spiritual Family

The teenager was educated

Educated in the family

The Holy Spirit is a bridge to God and Jesus Christ

Invitation to God’s family

When we accept an invitation to join God’s family, do we accept the challenge to live as Christ lived?

I have heard it taught that the word ‘Christian’ means ‘belonging to Christ.’ You can find a discussion on it here. https://www.allaboutgod.com/what-is-a-christian.htm

Back to the movie…

https://www.trend-chaser.com/entertainment/movies/the-true-story-behind-the-blind-side/?firefox=1

In a Today Show Interview, Michael’s adopted mother Leigh Anne Touhy said, “I love Michael Oher as much as I love my two biological children. There’s no difference in them.”

God loves His family

Since I spent so much time researching the Gospel of John for the books I wrote, I am familiar with the following scriptures

John 17:23 “I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved me.” (Bolding mine.)

And in one of John’s epistles…

1 John 3:1 “See how great a love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.

When we accept an invitation to join God’s family, we receive so much, just as Michael Oher received much.

Our future is spiritual though.

Sharing some thoughts from a sleepless night

Susan