Hell Shall Not Prevail – the end

Apostle John Series book covers with Hell Shall Not Prevail
Hell Shall Not Prevail cover option 1

As members of my VIP Readers group know… one evening last week I wrote, ‘THE END.’ Hell Shall Not Prevail, book 5 in the Apostle John Series is finished.  

Yes, there have been many hiccoughs and delays with this final book in the series. It was supposed to be released sooner than this. However, I needed to do the other books justice. It is a ‘capstone’ on the series.

Now, I have finished going through it, line by line, so that it is the least amount of work for an editor.

Typing ‘THE END’ was a strange, but satisfying feeling.
(I never did find the missing Epilogue, but I believe the one it has now is probably better.)

Each of the other books in the series has finished with… ‘To be continued in…” (Whatever the next book was called.)

This one finished the series!

Sometimes it was ‘odd’ living between two time periods – but it was incredible what I discovered as I researched all I could about their time and culture… so that I could walk in their shoes!

I would not be telling the truth if I said I LIKED every character, but I did come to know them. I had to in order to ‘live in their skins.’

It has hard to describe the feeling when I looked at those words ‘THE END’ on the page.  After five books!

There was a tinge of sadness that my late husband is not here to share the pleasure. I know he would have been delighted – he lived with the first few books.

Other feelings? Mainly there was excitement, joy, satisfaction, all competing for supremacy.… and I found myself wondering if God feels the same way when ‘one of His saints’ reaches the end of life.

Perhaps.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116: 15

It gave me an inkling of what He might feel.

But why?

Why is it ‘precious in His sight’ when his saints die?

And why does he take no pleasure in the death of the wicked?

“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
Ezek 33:11

Perhaps it is because the race is run, and for the ‘saints’ THE END can be ‘stamped’ on a life lived well.

The death of a sinner is a different story.

Just thinking, and delighted that the Apostle John Series has ‘lived well.’

Teddy bear and red roses image

Thank you to all who have supported me through this journey through the lives of the people of the late 1st century AD.

P.S. To those who have asked, yes, another series is coming… a different one. But first, a rest, friends, family – oh, and a book award for Keep the Flame.

Thank you, readers, for your support. Stay tuned.

Tread softly

Susan

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Beware of buying online clothing – my experience

Buyer beware

Buyer beware!
Over the course of my life I have heard that so many times, and rarely am I ‘burned’ but it did happen. I post this, somewhat embarrassed, but as a warning.
So this post is called, “Beware of buying online clothing – my experience .” Sadly, there is more… but to my experience.

If you have a Facebook page you most likely have seen the adverts for clothing… dresses, tops etc. Most webpages now have enticing adverts, and if you have looked at something – as in clicked on it, you will continue to be ‘served’ ads about it.

One advert for a particular dress fascinated me for a long time, but I was reluctant to buy online. However, with time running short for a special event coming up, I thought it would be great to have one new dress. (It is years since I bought one.)

It was not a sudden decision. I give a great deal of thought to spending money. As most of you know, it is hard to come by and seems to disappear so quickly.

A couple of times I clicked on the advert, checked out the women’s clothing. I still liked that dress! I checked the sizing chart (I am not as slender as I used to be.) LOL – far from it.)

Delaying spending money online for clothing, I checked out the shops here in Perth. Where that did not work was because summer dresses have been in the stores since mid-winter and I wanted a dress for a cool time in the US… autumn, or fall as they call it.

Surprisingly (not) the advert kept appearing. They followed me around to many sites.
Those ‘tracking cookies’ are a pain.

Cutting a long story short, after several looks at the dress, checking my measurements I decided to buy it, using Paypal, which advertises their ‘buyer protection.’

Buyer beware indeed!

You might have seen the adverts – this was the one I thought would be a great choice for me.

And so it might have been.

I was a little concerned about the sizing, in spite of measuring myself, checking Rotita’s chart, so I did what I normally do, went for a size larger.

Oh, excitement. It arrived sooner than I expected.
I brought the parcel home, opened it.
Checked the size label – it was the right size.

Reality of Rotita dress, buyer beware

It was very crushed from being rolled up in a small parcel, so I put it on a coat-hanger for the crinkles to drop out. Mmm.

I tried it on, or attempted to, and gave up. There was no way this garment would fit. So I fetched my tape measure… no wonder it didn’t fit. It was wrongly sized. From Rotita’s sizing chart, about a medium size – although the label said otherwise.

By the way – when my care assistant arrived and saw the garment hanging from the wardrobe she laughed. “It’s ten feet tall,” she said.

Well, I do not think the dress itself is 10 foot. That wardrobe is 8 foot – still, she has a point. What size would the wearer have to be?

 

I went online to the Rotita website.
30 days easy return.

Hah.

Sign in failure

What those red words say is ‘Sorry, login failure please check your username and password.’

I tried several times, all with the same result. I tried various ways to contact them, including their Facebook page – but all directed me back to the page where I was unable to log in.

In desperation, because I could not contact the company directly, I went to Paypal and contested the purchase.

Some progress…
The company offered it to me at half price.
Why?
What use is something to me that will NEVER fit? So, I refused it.

Paypal was a disappointment to me.
Eventually they said that I could return the garment for a full refund. To an address in China! And to send it with ‘tracking’ so Paypal could verify its arrival at the company.

I went to the Post Office with the garment. And brought it home. The cost of the package, postage and tracking was almost as much as the refund I was to receive.

As for Paypal – why am I disappointed with them?
Because I cannot contact them to tell them why I cannot send it back.

I have two options. Enter the tracking number or cancel the claim.

Buyer beware of refunds

Buyer beware indeed!

Learned my lesson!

Susan

P.S.
If any 10 foot tall, slender women out there want a dress, I have one!

Blame

pointing the finger of blame

So, who is to blame for the fact I have not had an Internet connection for days?

Does it really matter?

Perhaps.

There were many mistakes, as well as frustrations, but the start of it all was a choice I made.

Nearly every situation that goes wrong can trace itself back to a choice on our part or, in this instance, on my part. It should have moved smoothly but it did not.

Yet, pointing the finger and blaming someone else is not a ‘new’ phenomenon. The history of blaming someone else takes us back to the beginning of recorded human history.

 

Adam and Eve hiding, drawing

Most people know the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent… some blame the serpent, some blame Eve, some blame Adam.

Which of them was to blame?

My opinion?

We can rule out the serpent.

As it says in Genesis 3: 1 
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made…

The serpent did not force either of them to eat the fruit of the tree they were told not to eat. He distorted what God had said, but first the woman chose to disobey God’s instructions, then Adam also disobeyed.

They each made choices, and neither of them accepted the blame for the choice they had made.

When questioned by God later… Adam excused himself by saying
“the woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.”
Gen 3: 12

Interesting. Adam blamed the woman… and is there a hint of blame toward God? ‘The woman whom You gave me.’ Sounds a bit as if there is.
Adam also blamed Eve.

Yet Adam had been instructed by God before this incident.

Was Eve to blame?

She blamed the serpent. Her response to God’s question was ‘The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

Neither of them took responsibility for their own actions.

What about us?

Are we any different? Do we accept blame if we have made a wrong choice?

Each of us, individually, is the only one who can answer that. Can we do it honestly?

If asked, how would we respond if questioned about the actions we took, or chose not to take?

Food for thought

food for thought. Who would we blame

Me?
I am simply pleased to have the Internet back!

Blame? Yes, I complained and I ‘got over it.’ As I said at the start, the very beginning of the problem was a choice I made.

Mea culpa.

Susan

Choices have a far-reaching effect

Image of desert sands

We all make choices. Some we ponder over, weigh up the pros and cons, others require less time. Some choices are good, others – well, we wish we had made different ones.

There are many examples of people making good, and not so good choices in the Bible.

Remember, the people we read of in those Bible stories… and sometimes read over barely paying attention to, were people. We have the benefit of hindsight. We know what came as a result of their choices.

They did not. They had decisions to make. Unless the person was a king… or a queen, none of them would think their choices were recorded for the rest of us to learn from.

What a scary thought that is, that all are choices could be written in a book and read all over the world, all through the centuries.

In the Bible there are many examples – however,  because of a short message I listened to recently, I choose to focus on the choice of a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. (Genesis chapter twenty four.)

Abraham's choice of a wife for Isaac

Abraham wanted a wife for his son, Isaac – the ‘son of promise.’ For this son no Canaanite woman would pass Abraham’s standard. No, Abraham wanted a wife from his own kindred (family) for this God-given son.

Since Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born, he was not planning to go back himself to choose a wife for his son. Instead, he entrusted this task to the senior servant of his house. A man who had no doubt proved his loyalty over the years.

(Side note:  The servant was a man whom at one time Abram thought would be his heir since he had no sons ‘of my own body.’)

Gen 15: 3 and lo, one born in my house is mine heir; meaning either Eliezer or his son, whom he had made his heir, or intended to make him, since he had no child;
John Gill Commentary.

Cartoon of worried

Well, the servant did not refuse, but he did worry about the task.

How would he know the woman?

Abraham said God would send His angel before the servant.

The servant’s next concern… What if she refused?

Then he would be released from his vow.

Well, the servant made a choice to do what his master asked him and he took ten camels (and as we discover later in the chapter, some expensive gold jewelry.)

Did he worry about his task all the way? He might have done. When he arrived in Mesopotamia he made his ten camels kneel down – and he prayed.

 Part of his prayer, addressed to the God of his master, Abraham was…

“Now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also ‘– may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master.”
Gen 24: 14 NASB

Whether he knew it or not, the servant entrusted with this responsibility was asking for someone who was kind, and who willingly served. Not only was the woman to fill her own water jar… but this man, a stranger was going to ask for a drink from her jar. More, he had asked that the woman would offer to draw water for his camels also.

Observation. Ten thirsty camels would have needed a lot of water

(When researching for Hold the Faith there was a point when camels were the chosen method of transport. They traveled without drink from when they set out, until they arrived.) I therefore conclude the servant’s camels would have been thirsty.

Rebecca came to the well.
Did the servant wonder if she was the correct one, the one the angel had led him to?

Checking if she is the choice of a bride for his master's son

Abraham’s servant asked her who she was, then if he could lodge with her family. (This was not as ‘cheeky’ as it might sound, in those days people would give accommodation to a traveler.)

Since she had fulfilled all the requests the servant had made in his prayer, first – he remained silent. ‘so as to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.’ Gen 24: 21

Matters moved fairly quickly after this. She ran to those of her mother’s house. (Was her father dead? Probably, because the negotiations were done with her brother Laban.)

More choices - family discussion

Although it takes thirty more verses to reach the point, Rebecca had less than twenty-four hours to make up her mind. Abraham’s servant wanted to settle the matter and leave the next day.

She accepted. Good choice. She became the grandmother of the twelve tribes of Israel. From one of these, Judah, came Jesus Christ.

Interesting how choices have effects down through the years. Yes, choices have a far-reaching effect.

Perhaps we should be like the servant and stay silent after it seems something we have prayed for seems to have happened. Just to wait and know whether it is the Lord who has done this. Thus increasing our chances of making a successful choice.

Just thinking,

Susan

How often do our plans go wrong?

Plans – how often do our plans go wrong!

The poet, Robbie Burns expressed it in one of his verses. “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley…” ‘
(From: To A Mouse on turning her nest up with a plough.)

Translation: gang aft agley…  basically = go wrong.

Many times in the last few months I have muttered that sentence ‘the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…

So many of my carefully thought out plans either went wrong, or did not work out as planned.

Still, some of these plans that ‘gang aft agley’ work out for the best.

I had to make an appointment for a minor procedure and work out how long my doctor appointment, at another location would take. The person who would do the procedure was not working the day I rang to make the appointment, so the receptionist said the therapist would ring me the next day.

Well, the next day came and went – with no phone call. Yes, it was a bit of an annoyance, but my appointment was booked… and I received a confirmation of the appointment from someone else.

The day came… and off I went early in the morning – doctor appointment first, then fill in the time until driving to the appointment for the procedure.

By now you might be wondering what this has to do with mice and plans.

The plans were already made…

... here come the mice’s ‘gang aft agley’ – maybe.

My doctor was not running as late as he often is. So, I had allowed more time than needed.

There is only so much time can be spent in a small shopping centre, although I did have a cup of coffee and a birthday muffin from the franchise and accepted an invitation to sit with another lady on her own. We had a pleasant conversation.

Then, off I went driving into unknown territory. Anyone who knows me also knows that I am not ‘good’ at finding new places. Yes, I had looked it up on the map… but as with a trip earlier this year, found it did not give as much detail as I needed. Forget GPS! That is another story. Suffice it to say it took us to a sand patch – the freeway extension.

So, I was early for my appointment. The therapist came and apologized she had not rung me the previous day and she needed to go over some ‘things’ with me before proceeding.

Plans about to go ‘agley’?

Questions about medication. ..
Oops.

Then, “Are you on any blood-thinning medication?”

“Yes, two different ones.”

“Oh, that is a contra-indication for the treatment.”

I was there… so we had a ‘talk’ about my blood thinners and possible complications. She decided she would start and see if I bled excessively.

Off she went, and I said a prayer.

She started the procedure and  to her surprise, I did not bleed too much.

Plans going wrong that work out for the best...

If the therapist had been able to contact me the day before, I would have been told not to come because of the blood thinning medications.

As it was, it worked out well.

However, it was a long day, and I was exhausted by the time I came home. (It is hard work lying on a ‘treatment table’ for three hours!) LOL

At home, aching hips, aching feet, worn out from a 5 am start I discovered I had left the vegetables at the supermarket checkout.

I rang them, I was too tired to go back… then had a ‘reverse breakfast’ instead of dinner.

The next example is not exactly plans going wrong, but the benefits from them not working out as planned.

First, the memory trigger…

A news item...

It was either on the news, or the current affairs type programme. There was a segment about a man with silicosis.

(Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work.)

The man was on oxygen 24/7 and his life was confined to his small flat. He is not very old, and previously fit… he had been a bricklayer, he was ‘not happy’ about his current life, which he knew would never improve.

What my late husband had was pulmonary fibrosis, a different condition, but both terminal. The man’s life was confined to his lounge and his bedroom.

Memories of a change of plan...

hospital bed, at home
oxygen concentrators at home

Before my late husband’s discharge from hospital, a motorized hospital bed with a ripple mattress was delivered and set up; a pair of oxygen converters were delivered, set up and I was taught how to balance them.

One on its own would not provide enough oxygen for my husband.

A thirty metre oxygen tube was attached so he would be able to move around the unit while receiving oxygen from the linked pair of machines.

A huge oxygen cylinder and some smaller ones were provided as backup in the event of an emergency power outage. They would last him until an ambulance could come and take him to hospital.

I looked at that man on TV, and his surroundings. Yes, I cried for him; yes, I prayed for him. I know what he is facing. I also saw why it was good that my husband had only been at home 2 weeks before going back into hospital then to the hospice.

What I saw on TV could have been my husband’s fate had things gone as planned.

God’s plans are better plans

We might not see it at the time.

 

Just sharing some musings.

Now, excuse me. I have to go see if John is alright on Patmos, and check in and see what is happening with Esther.

(Hell Shall Not Prevail, book 5 in the Apostle John series, if you think I am babbling with that last comment LOL)

God bless, and tread softly,

Susan

P.S.
If you want to see the full poem by Robbie Burns – with links to the meaning of some of the words…

http://www.robertburns.org/works/75.shtml

Then come back, and wander around here. No cameras, no admission fee. Just come and enjoy exploring the site.

 

The Lord’s Prayer?

person sitting alone on a rock

Something that keeps coming to mind lately… the wording of what is generally considered the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ – the fact it is not, I will mention later. No, I will explain now.

What is generally considered as the Lord’s Prayer, and I grew up saying every day in school – (wow, that dates me doesn’t it ), is actually the ‘model prayer’. Jesus didn’t pray it. He responded to a request from one of His disciples…

One day in a place where Jesus had just finished praying, one of His disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11: 1

image of the 'Lord's' prayer in open BIble

Now, this scripture does not say what Jesus had been praying. It says when He finished praying… Nor does the scripture say that He had been praying near them. Most of the accounts say something along the lines of Jesus praying privately.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5: 16’

withdrew to a lonely place to pray

Having used almost two hundred words to say little – please forgive me. I will continue…

This prayer that most of us know as the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is actually a model prayer.

 

Why talk about this Lord’s model prayer?

Well, it has been occurring to me more and more that in this ‘self’ society. Self-actualizing, self-sufficient, self-esteem, self-help, self-discipline, self-improvement… self-centered.

This started off – this self-awareness, to help us improve, but from this old lady’s point of view it soon developed into the ‘me’ generation.

 

Contrast...

Selected lines… (not an instruction <smile>)

  • Our Father who art in Heaven. OUR Father – not my Father.
  • Give US this day OUR daily bread. – not give me this day my daily bread.
  • And forgive US our sins (trespasses, debts) as WE forgive OUR…
    (you see the point, I know.)
  • Lead US not into temptation… not me
  • Deliver US from evil (or the evil one)

As I am sure you noticed it is totally opposite to self-focus.

Just thinking…

And these thoughts lead me to looking at the life of Christ.
When did He ever say,
“I am not in the mood,” or “I am tired, leave me alone for a bit” – or “I need some ME time,” I could not find any such examples.
He did need time alone. He rose early and went off to pray…

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1: 35

When He rose from His prayers, He went back to teach, to heal, and to face the criticism He invariably attracted.

Sometimes I feel very lonely.
(I miss my best friend, my human best friend, my late husband.)

But when I think of how lonely Jesus must have been, well, I am glad I am never as lonely, misunderstood and rejected as He was.

In school I muttered those words of the prayer obediently, not understanding – now I can see they are a framework for bringing before God, in prayer, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I wonder if any of you remember the ‘thing’ that went around the Internet a few years back about the ‘special needs children’ who were in a race. One fell, the others came back and helped the one who had fallen… so they could all cross the finish line together.

This YouTube video is a modern version of it

 

Interesting?
Yes. I think so.
We are not in a competition against others.
It is not ‘me’ against everyone else.


We are family, we don’t always like what the other members of the family are doing… but that’s family life.

Remember – it is OUR Father in heaven!

Just thinking,

Susan

P.S. While you are here… I invite you to look around, read some of the other blogs… explore the other pages in the website.

Second Chance Love

LOL – No, I am not running a dating agency. ‘Second Chance Love’ is the title of the blog written by this week’s guest author, Sharilee Swaity. Her book is called Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love. 

Welcome Sharilee.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Susan! I am enjoying your first book, so far.

Thank you Sharilee, I hope you keep enjoying it. LOL

 

Susan Preston, image

Great to have you on my blog…
 Please introduce yourself to my readers.

Sure, first…

Sharilee Swaity, author
Sharilee Swaity

A Little About Me as a Writer and a Teacher

My name is Sharilee Swaity. My background is a certified teacher. I have a Bachelor of Education, with a major in Secondary English Education. My favourite part of teaching High School English was enjoying deep, philosophical discussions about novels with my students.
Although teaching high school was my favourite, I ended up teaching other levels through the years, all the way from Grade Two up to adult education. This last year, I was privileged to be able to take a full year off from and just write. During this year, I managed to finish my first book.

Considering that I was trained in literature, it may seem strange that I ended up writing Christian self-help books but there is a reason behind it. Before writing my book, I was involved in writing several online articles on a site called Hubpages. I found that the articles that seemed to resonate the most were very personal, about relationships and going through difficult times.

This was one of the reasons I chose this genre. This book is very personal but I guess I put my life out there in the interests of helping others. My main goal as a writer it help and encourage people through some of the difficult parts of life. I think it’s because I have been through some pretty tough time in my own life and I want to help others who are hurting, as I was. It is my way of giving back and feel that the LORD helps to give me encouraging words to help those who are hurting.

I also really enjoy researching a topic in-depth and doing interviews. So, my book involved a lot of research into the studies surrounding divorce, bereavement, marriage and stepfamilies. I also interviewed three couples who where in a second marriage and had done well. Their stories are intertwined throughout the book.

My First Book (And Only One So Far)

My book, Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love is for couples whose first marriage ended in either divorce or bereavement.

For most couples, after their marriage ends, they are very reluctant to do so again but in time, they gain the courage to walk down the aisle again.

After they are married, there are several issues that come up that are unique to second marriages. For example, they must be willing to leave the past behind in order to embrace their new life. This is not always an easy or automatic process. My book helps people work through this process.

 

As well, many in second marriages and stepfamilies feel marginalized, like they are the only ones that have gone through this experience. Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love is designed to help people realize that they are far from alone in this situation, and to encourage people to reach out and find support.

I am a Christian but I did not write this book just for Christians. It is meant to be an outreach for anyone in this situation. I endeavoured to show the Christian principles of love, forgiveness and grace that can help people heal in their marriages. I have references to the Bible in my book, including a chapter on how Jesus forgave those who had hurt him so badly.

Second Marriage and the Believer

As Christians, remarriage can be especially difficult because we appreciate the importance of marriage. We want to have the ideal of “happily ever after.” God uses second marriages, though, as an opportunity to minister. If we are a stepmom, we have an opportunity to minister to our stepchildren through caring for them and praying for them. We are often entering into a broken situation and God can use us to bring healing to those in our new family.

Future Works to Come

Right now, I am working on a workbook to go with the Second Marriage book, which should be out by the end of the month. There is also an audiobook scheduled for the end of September. As well, I am putting together an accompanying journal for those in second marriages. The journal will give readers more room to reflect on the issues talked about in the book. My goal is to have this journal out by the end of October.

About the Author

Sharilee Swaity, author


Sharilee Swaity lives with her husband, Vern, in the boreal forest of Manitoba, Canada, with two cats. Sharilee has a Bachelor of Education and worked as a teacher for ten years. She helps out her church with their social media presence and recently directed their Vacation Bible School program.

Sharilee, it has been a pleasure to host you and share your book. 

Because you have ‘been there- done that’ your book, and coming workbook will be very valuable to those who find themselves in a similar situation. While it is not an ideal situation by any means, because of the past  hurts,  to ‘blunder’ into another relationship without taking the time to evaluate sets us up for failure. We need to deal with the ‘baggage’ we carry with us. Your book will be an excellent step in doing that… dumping the baggage and moving forward.

Thank you for sharing your book, and your life with us.

You can connect with Sharilee…

On Facebook
Sharilee on Facebook

On Twitter
https://twitter.com/prairienomad

On Pinterest
https://au.pinterest.com/sharilees/

On Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/lifeinwoods/

And for her blog – Second Chance Love –
http://secondmarriage.xyz/

I trust that you have found this week’s blog encouraging and will join me in thanking Sharilee for her time,  and commitment to helping mend the ‘broken’ – God bless

Susan

Mourning the Living

dementia, missing memories

A dear friend once said that to me… she was ‘Mourning the living’ – and I understood what she was saying. She was referring to her husband’s deteriorating condition due to his memory loss.

I knew what it meant because of my beautiful grandmother. In those days it was called Senile Dementia, and my grandmother suffered from it, eventually being hospitalized.

Mourning the living

It sounds a contradiction but it is not. Rather, it is a heart-wrenching ordeal. It is so painful to see the person – usually looking the same… my beloved grandmother – but she wasn’t there. I was someone who visited her and talked with her. I wonder if she knew I had been.

mourning lost memories, like books in a librarry

Where had she gone?

Sometimes she was agitated… perhaps trying to find those missing memories.

Where had the memories gone?

A long lifetime of experiences.

She had children, her husband had died, she lost her home, she saw her children grow and marry… she helped raise her grandchildren.

And they grew up too.

In the various stages of memory loss – at first there is some insight. The person knows they are forgetting more and more… perhaps guessing what is happening. I do not presume to even hazard a guess at what the ‘sufferer’ is feeling.

And the person mourning with the sufferer?

He or she is suffering too.

 

If you are unable to help physically, send a card, remember them in your prayers.

Susan

Christian Regency romance fiction

Christian Regency romance fiction is the next stop on the journey through Christian Historical Fiction.

Please join me in welcoming the  talented author Carolyn Miller to this week’s blog.

Carolyn has agreed to give us an overview of this genre.

Christian Regency author, Carolyn Miller

The Classic Definition

The classic definition of ‘historical romance’ is not one about fiction set in the past that deals with love, but rather, in Walter Scott’s words, “a fictitious narrative in prose or verse; the interest of which turns upon marvellous and uncommon incidents.” Novels (or films) like Rob Roy, Ivanhoe, even Wolf Hall, may be considered historical romances, even though they may not have a strong emphasis on the romantic relationship between the characters.

Nowadays, most of us associate historical romance with a story set in the past (pre-WWII) that focuses on the developing attraction between two main characters, with an emotionally satisfying, optimistic ending. Historical romance genres span time periods from the Ancient World, Medieval and Elizabethan age, through to Colonial US and Western time periods.

Regency romance is a subgenre of historical romance, being defined as novels set between the years 1811-1820, when the Prince Regent, (later George IV) ruled England in place of his ill father. Although Jane Austen’s novels were published in this time period they were set a few years prior, so there are questions as to whether they truly can be considered Regency fiction.

'Vintage blank' image papyrus

Georgette Heyer, a prolific English writer of the 1920s-1960s, modelled her fiction on Jane Austen’s works, and used a great deal of period details to give a sense of authenticity to her works. This included basing plots around real events, such as the Napoleonic Wars, the precise descriptions of clothing and furniture, the use of Regency-era ‘cant’ (slang, such as “all the crack” to describe something very fashionable, or “bluestocking” to describe an academic female) all to aid her readers’ understanding an unfamiliar time period. Her commitment to research was such that she had whole rooms devoted to research materials – this was pre-internet days – and even saw her purchase a letter written by the Duke of Wellington, just so she could emulate his style of address. Not for nothing is she considered to have invented the Regency romance genre, and spawned so many imitators, Barbara Cartland being one.

Other elements often found in Regency fiction

In addition to period details and the romance genre’s expectations of a HEA (happily ever after), there are a number of other elements often found in Regency fiction:

  • References to the ton (British high society, consisting of the aristocracy and fashionably wealthy)  
  • Portrayals of social activities as carriage rides, morning visits (often paid in the afternoon), dinners, plays, operas, assemblies, balls, considered usual for the social season, which occurred between January and June, when Parliament was in session.
  • Mention of sporting activities engaged in by young gentlemen of the period, such as riding, driving, boxing, fencing, hunting, shooting, etc.
  • Social class differences
  • Marriages of convenience: marriage based on love was unlikely for most women, their main concern to acquire a steady and sufficient income for the woman and her family
  • False engagements, and mistaken identity, deliberate or otherwise
  • Mystery or farce elements in the storyline
Woman with magnifying glass

Traditional Regency romance, with an emphasis on the primary romance plot, usually have very detailed historical details and try to emulate the language of the period – for their notoriously picky readers. J  Regency historical romance is considered slightly different, and may have more modern characterisations, and a degree of sensuality (ie bodice rippers) not in keeping with Regency values.

Christian Regency Romance Fiction

This really took off in the early 2000s with Lori Wick’s ‘English Garden’ series. More contemporary Christian Regency authors (they’re mostly US) include Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, Kristi Ann Hunter – and yours truly, waving the flag for Australasia! J In addition to the usual Regency elements we also see the depiction of the hero and heroine’s faith, with common themes including forgiveness, commitment and social injustice, and the ‘heat’ of secular novels restricted to a chaste touch of the hand or (gasp!) a kiss.

Regency romance has many avid admirers – some of whom may have been persuaded to read by Jane Austen films and a certain Colin Firth. Reading such novels can be a great way to gain a little more understanding about a time in English history that witnessed such things as the Napoleonic Wars, the advent of industrialisation and subsequent social upheaval, adventure and exploration and excess. Couple that with observing the relationship trials – and the fantasy element of grand houses and handsome, titled heroes – and there can be a lot to enjoy and appreciate about Regency romances.

Carolyn’s books…

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has co-pastored a church for ten years, written songs and headed music ministry, and worked as a high school English and Learning and Support teacher.

A long-time lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives.

Carolyn is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Australasian Christian Writers and Omega Christian Writers and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. Her debut Regency novel ‘The Elusive Miss Ellison’ released in February 2017, and her second ‘The Captivating Lady Charlotte’ released in June from Kregel Publications.

Connect with her at www.carolynmillerauthor.com and subscribe to her newsletter.

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Christian Historical Fiction – Lonna Seibert

This week, we move out of the era of early Christianity and cover another time period identified as popular by readers of Christian Historical fiction. (I will include a link to the Readers’ Survey results at the end.)

In the meantime, please welcome Lonna Seibert.

Lonna is the author of the, as yet unpublished novel, ‘A Servant’s Heart’.

Over to you, Lonna, please tell us a little about yourself and your novel.

     Thank you, Susan.

Lonna Seibert, author

During the summer of 2015, I wrote my first book. I am a wife and the mother of two young children, and at that time, I was a stay at home mom. My educational and professional background is in history and archaeology.
One day, while visiting a local historic site near my home in northern Virginia, the idea for my story began to form. I was at a point in my life where I doubted my usefulness and questioned whether I had anything more to contribute to the world.

I know that God is the reason I was able to create something out of nothing. Writing this story increased my confidence and self-esteem and reminded me that I can do hard things at a time when I was full of doubts about my purpose.

Written from a Christian worldview...

          A Servant’s Heart is an inspirational romance.

 In writing this story I hoped to show the redeeming nature of love, despite the trials of life. By writing a love story, I have shown that God’s love for us determines everything else. My story proclaims the paramount importance of a place to call our own—home; and people to love—family. And it shows us that through God’s grace we can find these gifts anywhere if we only look with open minds and hearts.

A Servant's Heart

Christian story, A Servants Heart

Catherine Abbott, reeling and alone after her parents’ deaths and a betrayal by a manipulative suitor, leaves her past behind and sails from England to colonial Virginia. Full of hope and bolstered by her faith in God, she is determined to build a new life.
As an indentured servant for hire she attracts the attention of a man with a frightening reputation. But local physician James Craig notices her predicament and purchases her indenture, preventing the other man from hiring—and possibly hurting—her.

James takes Catherine to live and work at River Farm, his home on the Potomac. His initial intention as a Christian man is to protect her, but the two grow to care for each other. James’s past, like Catherine’s, is complicated and they both struggle to trust, acknowledge, and act on their feelings.

As the colonies teeter on the brink of war, the couple faces an uncertain future, as well as a more immediate danger. Catherine’s obsessive admirer returns, threatening her safety and James’s life.

When the American Revolution begins, James joins the Continental Army as a surgeon.

After the war, he is full of dark moods from the suffering and death he witnessed on the battlefield. He loses sight of the perfect promise of God’s love and becomes convinced that love leads only to pain. Instead of embracing the wonderful gift God has given to His people, James sees the emotion as a burden.

Christian story, A servants hear, American civil war

Catherine possesses a fierce and steadfast belief in God’s goodness. When the life she knew is suddenly gone, her fear of a future she cannot see, control, nor even imagine leads her to rely more completely on God. Catherine’s idealism and optimism propel her to begin the painful process of starting over, and her faith is rewarded when she finds the life God always intended for her. As Catherine draws closer to God, James experiences a crisis of faith and worries that Catherine won’t love him if he no longer shares her beliefs. Unless they can let go of the broken trust of past relationships, overcome his combat trauma, and trust in God, happiness and love will elude them.

Lonna says….

A Servant’s Heart affirms that God is present and working for our good even when we can’t understand the process or know the outcome. It is a story of woman searching for a home, a man standing in the way of his own happiness, love thwarted by the course of history, and a message of hope about the power of God.

I do not know exactly how or why these elements came together in my mind and resulted in characters I love and a story I am proud of. It is my dream to see this story in print and I am relying on God to guide me in my endeavors. I am hoping to find a literary agent who will champion my book but the road to publication is rocky and uncertain. I do not know what the future holds, but God knows, and He will reveal His plans to me, just as He does to those who live and love at River Farm.

Susan Preston, image

Thank you Lonna for sharing about yourself and your manuscript… hopefully to be published soon.

You are welcome, Susan, thank you for inviting me to be your guest.

Thank you, readers, for making Lonna welcome.

God-willing we will hear more of Lonna Seibert and A Servant’s Heart in the future.

Now… if you want to see the results of the Readers’ Survey which many of you completed, you will find them here…

https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/reader-survey-results/

With many thanks and good wishes to all who participated in the survey!

Susan