Pinnacles

mountain w snow best

The sad bad thing about reaching a pinnacle is that once you reach the apex, the rest of the trip is down. Another word for down is…depressed.

Not to worry; thanks to the joy of the Lord, I find it impossible to be depressed. But at the moment, I am sad to have the second in the Fog Busters Mystery series—young at heart detectives who are a bit older in body—finished and released because it means reining in my writing until after the first of the year. Writing is exhilarating. I only feel totally alive when I’m writing.

 DSCF6124

To continue with research for the next Fog Busters, I climbed a mountain. A small mountain. Not all the way to the top. But it gave me the experience I needed of fighting through Scottish heather, bog, and tangled undergrowth including shoulder-high bracken, and falling into unseen holes in the ground. It also gave me a feel for what the older detectives would be experiencing since I’m nearly 67.

 horse-silou-and-hill

The good thing about waiting to finish the third book of the series is the reason behind the wait. I’m visiting family members for Christmas. Spending time with family members trumps even writing. It will be a joy to see them again. And what a beautiful time of the year to visit—Christmas. The joy of the Lord is our strength and Christmas is the time we celebrate the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

 Alan w everyone

Writing can wait. Joy is immediate.

 MushroomMurders_CVR_XSML

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

It Won’t Happen to Me

alan mum 102

Positive, optimistic thoughts are fantastic. Except the, “it won’t happen to me,” syndrome that causes risky behavior to flourish.

Alan’s mom reached birthday number 102 in the hospital battling pneumonia. Others in her ward are battling smoking-caused illnesses. Those tempted to smoke should visit a similar hospital ward and hear the choking coughs and gurgling breaths. They should watch smokers throwing up food, coughing up brown yucky stuff, and struggling to stand and walk. They should note the pale complexions, hooded eyes, and collapsed veins that have been used for life saving measures. They should attempt to fathom the confused conversations of smokers whose brains are not receiving enough oxygen to function properly.

Reckless driving, drinking alcohol, consuming unhealthy diets are all avoidable and all powerful enough to kill, or to ruin a life. If the “it can’t happen to me” syndrome held true—tragedy would be eliminated.

God created a perfect world and never intended illness, death, sorrow, and tragedy to be a part of it. Sadly, when sin entered—it brought all its relatives. Folks do grow old, they do become ill. But let’s not make it our fault that our bodies are compromised.

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16&17

 DSCN0164

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Rainbows and Tears

IMG_4119

Most people love God’s colorful writing in the sky when rainbows stretch across the horizon touching the earth with ribbons of pigment. But most people sigh, grumble, and fume over clouds and rain—predecessors to vividly tinted sky.

IMG_4120 

Just as one really can’t make lemonade without lemons—so, too, one can’t have rainbows without rain.

 IMG_4121

Life is like that. Poverty, illness, injury, sorrow, death—life is filled with lemons and storms. No one likes hardship and pain. Yet, hardship and pain grow, strengthen, and develop us for success.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:3&4

IMG_4122 

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

By Example

https://www.facebook.com/JungleVT/videos/1956051571203342/

Husband and fellow author Alan McKean and I strolled around the neighborhood. A neighborhood child ran up and asked, “What’s wrong with him?”

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

She pointed at Alan. “What’s wrong with him?” she asked again. “You’re holding his hand.”

How utterly sad that this child has apparently never seen a demonstration of love and thinks people only hold hands when they need help.

Alan & me

Recently, I laughed at a video of a kitten watching its mother wash herself and attempting to imitate her actions. Even animals learn by example.

Children learn more from example than words. Research for my next Christian Cozy Mystery with the Fog Busters—amateur detectives young at heart and a bit older in body—took me to Peter Macnab’s “Tall Tales From an Island,” Mull in Scotland. It introduced me to pirate Alan na Sop who was viciously abused by his stepfather. He ran away from home, turned to piracy, and eventually returned home to be welcomed by his stepfather. When Alan realized his stepfather’s belated expression of affection was deceitful—aimed at cajoling him into killing a childhood friend so the stepfather could take over his friend’s property—Alan killed his stepfather and took over his family’s land. How much of the violence and robbery he committed after leaving home was a direct result of the example his stepfather had set for him?

Jesus said in John 13:15, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” What did Jesus do? He loved us so completely and unconditionally that He died for our sins so we could follow Him to heaven. He told us that we were to love others as He loves us.

Love is always the right example.

Ange Joy looking up

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Joy, Real Joy

 

Dunoon, Scotland sponsored a great event this past weekend, the Cowal Highland Gathering. Tens of thousands attended to watch and participate in the dancing and pipe and drum band competitions. The event wrapped up with a parade down the main street in Dunoon and fireworks at Argyll Ferries.

 P horses

The event is so popular that Western Ferries operated a four-boat service with around 550 sailings over a five-day period, and Argyll Ferries operated a three-vessel service during the games on Saturday. It was fun. It was wonderful to see families celebrating together and neighbors greeting one another. I loved watching the dogs that attended the event, so proud to be there with their families.

 P mik 3

It was great fun—but not all of it was joy. Sadly, we watched a teen stumble up the steps to the main street, marijuana joint in hand, pausing to pass it around to his buddies. The kid was so wiped out that he couldn’t walk—he could barely stand. That is not joy.

 P 2

Psalm 16:11 says that the fullness of joy is found in the presence of the Lord. Jesus said that the secret of full joy is found in living for Him. The games were fun and entertaining, but those of us who met at New Life Christian Fellowship on Sunday after the games experienced real, lasting joy; joy so full and overflowing that we took it home with us.

P 1 

https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

The Change Rose

IMG_3948

Another name for hydrangeas is “change roses.” Hydrangeas are small bushes in the southern U.S. where I grew up. In Scotland with all the rain, they can grow into small trees.

Size is not what earned hydrangeas they nickname “change roses.” They range in color from white, to blue, to light purple, to dark purple, to pink, to red. White hydrangeas lack color pigment and can’t be manipulated to change their colors. The color of other hydrangeas depends on the presence of aluminum ions in the soil and how the plant absorbs them according to the acidity of the soil.

IMG_3946.JPG

We are like hydrangeas. What surrounds us that we see, hear, and read changes the focus of our hearts and the direction of our thoughts. Immerse ourselves in negativity, profanity, and impure thoughts and we become soiled like a white garment before flood waters. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

 

IMG_3886The good news about being change roses is that we control the change. We have freedom to decide what we allow to enter through our ears and eyes and what we allow to come out of our mouths. Hydrangeas are static and have no choice but to absorb the soil around their roots and bloom accordingly. We can change our soil by moving: getting up to turn off the TV; refusing to allow negative or toxic people to rent space in our minds; turning a polluted conversation into a clean conversation, going for a walk to remove ourselves from human contamination.

My goal as an author and as a Christian is to keep the soil around my roots pure and bloom for the Lord.

IMG_3934

https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

Ask for prayer? Go to jail. New wackiness for the U.S. Air Force

From Mustard Seed…as much as I miss my son, the late Major Luke Gaines Parker, I am thankful he’s home with the Lord and out of this insanity.

Mustard Seed Budget

Teichert attacked for Christian faith John Teichert

Attorney Michael Weinstein, who “trolls” open Christians on military bases, is now attacking Brigadier General John Teichert, newly installed wing commander at Edwards Air Force Base, because his personal website calls for Christians to pray at lunchtime for the United States.

Weinstein called for a military investigation of the “disgraceful, illegal and brazen promotion of (Treichert’s) personal flavor of his weaponized version of Christianity.”

Weinstein is the leader of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which contrary to what the name suggests suppresses — not defends — religious freedom. Weinstein’s complaint to Defense Secretary James Mattis supposedly represents 41 airmen from Edward’s Air Force Base in California.

michael weinstein military religious freedom foundation Michael Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation

“General Teichert should be doing time behind prison bars, not commanding a Wing wearing a general’s stars,” Weinstein said, as reported on Fox News. Treichert is a “fundamentalist Christian tyrant and religious extremist predator,”…

View original post 272 more words

Mysteries

fog from ferry

I love mysteries. When I was a child, I read every Erle Stanley Gardner “Perry Mason,” and “Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine” I could find.

Recently I purchased a kindle book with an intriguing title, only to be disappointed that it wasn’t a mystery. I finished reading it and left a review for the author, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoy mysteries.

So much of life is mysterious, especially in our human relationship with God. I’ve often asked God, “How do you do it? How do you give me ideas for books and help me write them?” Some might mistakenly claim that I labor under false humility. I don’t. God writes; I type. I have 19 published books.

My hope is that readers will enjoy “The Fog Busters—Old Bones Detectives.” Alec is nearly blind, John and Peg are nearly deaf, Morag is on a crutch, and the two youngest members of the amateur detective agency—Rory and Susan—are 60. The clean-reading, Christian cozy mystery is intended to entertain older readers, but the gentle humor should entertain readers of any age.

fog from ferry 2

When the Lord gave me the idea for the new mystery series two years ago, I made excuses for not writing them. I told God that I couldn’t write older Scottish characters because, having grown up in Texas, I wouldn’t understand Scottish-born people well enough to write convincingly. When I quit making excuses and started writing, the Lord took over.

“Black Pudding Murder” will be released soon. It’s been fun to write, but the real mystery isn’t in the book…it’s in how the Lord got involved to make it happen.

Jesus told His disciples, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.”  I guess even God is into mysteries.

BlackPuddingMurder_CVR_XSML

https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

God Fixes Everything…

This is a great blog. On the strength of her other common-sense, God-dependent blogs…I’ve told her she should run for President.

See, there's this thing called biology...

“God fixes everything” is kind of a child-like phrase, but there is truth there. I think I become about six years old in faith sometimes, which is fine, which is a vast improvement over being a two year old. Two yr olds tend to just throw themselves on the floor kicking and screaming when their world falls apart.

Several years back I was working in healthcare and just became completely overwhelmed by this kind of unholy confluence between Obamacare, opioids, and addiction. I was watching us make people sicker. Kill them, even. People needed the Lord, they needed soul care, they needed love, and they were turning to Western medicine instead. So if your life has become unmanageable, we got a pill for that.

Opioids are kind of interesting, some people do quite well with them, they manage pain, they work as they are intended, but others become addicted quite…

View original post 668 more words

Hero Plant

After I took a photo of bright, cheerfully beautiful flowers—I met my hero plant. Here in the UK, rosebay willowherb gained the nickname of “bombweed” following World War II because it sent drifts of bright blooms and foliage over the scarred earth of bombed sites.

blog monday 1

Rosebay willowherb is a pioneer plant. It colonizes disturbed ground and even grows over oil spills. Besides establishing new vegetation in deprived, underprivileged ground, rosebay willowherb is utilized to make natural cordage and clothing. Its roots, shoots, leaves, and flowers are edible, used in candies, jellies, and even ice cream. The stems are applied to heal cuts and pull pus out of boils. It also provides nectar and pollen for bees and other insects.

This hero plant has another beneficial use; it spreads scenic beauty across the land. Its generous, flowing waves of bright color brighten the landscape.

Christians need to embrace the characteristics of rosebay willowherb. We need to colonize disturbed spiritual and physical ground and cover ugliness with Christ’s beauty. We need to exude loveliness like our Creator. We need to be a useful part of God’s kingdom. And we need to give freely, just as these beautiful flowers spread their joy generously.

“You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men.” 2 Corinthians 3:2. We need to become Bibles with feet.

God gave us a written example in His Word, and a physical example in a hero plant known as fireweed, bombweed, rosebay willowherb, or to me—hero plant.

blog monday 2

https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true