Perception

Being a writer, it amused me when I got up early and walked into the living room to find our two big stuffed bears perched in the chair as if they had just returned from a nighttime frolic. It was easy to understand how authors had been inspired to write children’s stories about toys coming alive at night and frolicking. It’s all a matter of perception.

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Being a Christian, when I see a rainbow bending its bright colors across the sky, I think of God’s promises. Those who put rainbows on flags think of something else. It’s a matter of perception.

The gun issue raging in the U.S. is also a matter of perception. Some think outlawing guns will make it safe. They blame guns for violence. Others know that the problem is not in lifeless weapons that are powerless on their own, but rather in hearts full of hate. It takes a finger on a trigger to make a gun fire.

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Growing up in the country, it was essential to have a gun. My baby brother was saved by a gun when a copperhead snake, head raised in a striking position, locked its gaze on my youngest brother. We took guns to school for shooting classes. But there was never a school shooting, nor a single student injured. Learning to shoot a gun was considered as essential as driving lessons. Cars and guns are both tools, and both can be used beneficially or lethally.

Guns are essential in the Texas Hill Country where it’s not unusual to need a gun to stop the charge of a rabid animal, kill a rattlesnake, or protect livestock from predators.

My son was killed in a violent plane accident while on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps. I understand a parent’s grief. I mourn with parents who have lost their children from any horror—including illness.

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Some claim it’s a matter of perception, but I can’t understand how the same people who want to take away guns from non-violent people are okay with killing innocent, defenseless babies in the womb. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution promises life and liberty to all its citizens. I don’t understand the perception of denying the protection of the First Amendment to citizens who need the greatest measure of protection. That’s why I wrote “Love’s Beating Heart.”

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Some things are not perception. Some things are sin. Murder is a sin. Hiding hate in your heart that would lead to violence and murder is a sin. Killing babies and labeling it with socially acceptable labels like “choice” and “abortion” is a sin. Some values are not open to interpretation—they are set in stone by God.

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http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

I Think I shall Never See…

Scotland’s majestic scenery draws tourists from around the world. Some 40 million individuals will never get to either visit Scotland or view images. They were aborted.

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Not all aborted babies die. Gianna Jessen’s mother’s saline abortion failed and two-pound Ginanna was born with cerebral palsy.

A nurse heard Melissa Ohden crying in a trash can and rescued her. She now has a masters degree in social work and is a vibrant pro-life speaker.

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Just as Brandi Lozier’s body was being dumped after an abortion, the baby raised her arm. She was rescued.

A woman who was seven months pregnant went to Planned Parenthood in California for a saline abortion. Saline burns the baby inside and out and kills the baby within 24 hours. After 18 hours, this baby was delivered alive. Since the abortionist wasn’t on duty yet at the time, the baby was sent to the hospital and survived.

Gianna Jessen testified at a congressional hearing. “If abortion is about women’s rights,” she asked, “then where were mine?”

The U.S. has the highest rate of abortion in the world, more than 1 million a year. Most are girls, most are black. This is the real war on women. Abortion does not make a woman unpregnant. It makes her the mother of a dead child.

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“Loves Beating Heart” was written for young adult readers with the hopes that it will help change the statistics and protect unborn life. When teen Natasha discovers she is pregnant, she calls her best friend Dena to help her. Natasha’s stepfather has ordered her to get an abortion and threatened to cut the baby out himself with a steak knife if she does not comply. Instead, she and Dena run away and find themselves lost and alone on a raging, flooded Texas river. They face encounters with dangerous wildlife—and even more dangerous humans. Dena’s goal isn’t to “save Baby.” She just wants to help her vulnerable friend.

Meanwhile, Dena’s older sister Cat flees from an abusive boyfriend and is rescued by a Christian family. Nonbeliever Cat thinks the entire family is barmy. Hmmm…but she likes the look of Sky. Her goal is to separate him from his wife and children and keep him for herself.

Is there a possible happy ending in this combined dystopia?

LovesBeatingHeart_cover2-new

http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Beating-Stephanie-Parker-McKean-ebook/dp/B00CGNPG9O/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441309127&sr=8-1&keywords=love%27s+beating+heart+stephanie+parker+mckean

 

http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Outward Looking

No one has a perfect life. Everyone hits hard places. Outward looking is the key to joy even when you find yourself growing among the rocks.

During my lifetime I’ve faced: childhood sexual abuse and forced abortions to cover it up; living under a bridge; 150 rejection slips for books before getting published; divorce; raising a hyperactive son as a single parent; losing the job I loved after seven years; having my house and property stolen from me; bereavement after losing first a husband, then a son, relocating to another country. Then there were the minor rocky places; being kicked in the face by my horse; getting bitten by a cottonmouth; getting attacked by an African lion (they don’t make good pets); having my truck catch on fire in downtown San Antonio; living in an open-ended garden center with no indoor plumbing and wooden planks with a lawn chair mattress for a bed; working two and three jobs for survival. Through all of these things, I have never lost my joy. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

Recently, I’ve found myself counseling people who suffer from depression. I’ve never told them what I’ve been through. I’m no hero for having survived. My secret is Jesus and believing God’s Word: “In everything give thanks,” (I Thessalonians 5:18) and “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord.” (Romans 8:28) Just as important, my outward-looking verse, Philippians 4:8: “Finally…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

When we look inward on our lives and relive the past with all its pains, illnesses, disappointments, disillusionments and loss, we are bound to be depressed. It’s like punishing ourselves repeatedly for the times in life we’ve been forced to grow in rocks. Inward looking is living a defeated, powerless life – and it’s selfish. When we think, “me, me, me,” all the time, “look what happened to poor me,” we are being shallow and self-centered. Everyone hits rocky ground. No person holds a monopoly on tribulation.

When we look outward and forget about ourselves and what we’ve been through, we are infused with new purpose, power, and joy. Because of what we’ve been through, we can help others. Because we’ve survived, we are stronger. Because we develop grateful hearts, we are joyful.

So if you find yourself in rocky ground, forget where your feet are planted and look outward. Who can you help? Where can you volunteer? What new hobby can you find? What educational benefit can you add to your life? Visit folks at a nursing home. You don’t have to be an expert. Give them a smile and hold their hands. Make cards to send military who are fighting for your freedom – better yet – send them care packages. Adopt a dog or a cat. Adopt a child. Take an elderly neighbor out to lunch. Look outward – not inward. You will find your roots going deep into the secret well of joy…even if there are still rocks around your feet.

Of course…you might be a writer. Don’t talk about it – do it. Write that book that you’ve always wanted to write because you’re the one who can tell your story best.

Outward looking is the key to joy.

http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0hard places

Bye-Bye Baby

Spring is here! Folks are thinking about flowers and babies. Appeals arrive daily to save badger babies, elephant babies, endangered species, whales, dolphins…even trees.

The majority of people who rescue stray dogs and cats; scream for laws to free whales and circus animals; demand a stop to the slaughter of badgers and dolphins – are okay with killing unborn humans. Defenseless little boys and girls – especially girls and especially black. Abortion is murder. It stops a beating heart.

It is ironic that it is illegal to kill baby eagles, but it is legal to kill unborn children who are created in the image of God.

Some of the same people who run campaigns to save trees, go green to save the planet, and give personhood status to chimpanzees say that parents should get to decide whether their children live – right up to the time of birth.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution promises every person the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unborn children are defenseless victims of a political system that listens to the green color of money rather than the agonized shrieks of the country’s most defenseless citizens who are ripped apart inside the womb and flushed down the toilet.

Unborn children are not a part of their mother’s bodies. They have their own DNA from conception. Life begins at conception. Unborn children have beating hearts at 21 days; fingerprints at nine weeks; can feel pain at 10 weeks; smile at 12 weeks; and are fully male or female at 16 weeks.

To make the “choice” of abortion palatable (babies are given no choice), different labels are applied. A baby is a “fetus.” Murder is “abortion.” Pregnancy is “terminated.” The Bible says that God forms a child in the womb and calls him or her into His purpose. Abortion has murdered generations of unique God-created individuals. Some might have found a cure for cancer, invented safe traffic-hopping cars, found the key to ending world poverty, or built a system of lasting world peace. We will never know. We do know that a dearth of children living to become productive, working adults is undermining tax and retirement programs.

The real horror is that abortion is murder. God will not hold a country guiltless for slaying innocent children. Labels don’t change facts; they play to emotions. If it’s not a baby, the woman is not pregnant. A woman’s right to choice ends at her body; the baby is NOT her body.

Smell flowers, enjoy spring. Pretend babies are trees and save them.

Read “Love’s Beating Heart” and let it sing into your spring.

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http://goo.gl/wmLNDy

Where is “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men”?

With Christmas nearly here, some look at the evil pervading the world and ask, “If Jesus is real, where is peace? Where is goodwill to men?”

We’ve given it away. Oh, not just those of us alive today – it started a long time ago. But when we don’t hold our ground and stand up for Jesus, we let the peace and goodness that we should be guarding slip away.

The Bible says, “In the beginning God created…He made man in His own image…male and female created He them.” We’ve let “intellectuals” sell us the theory of evolution and the big bang. We’ve given away our unique human creation status and gone down to romp with the apes and frogs. If we’re animals – why behave at a higher level – like humans?

We’ve allowed “intellectuals” to make us doubt that God is real. If there is no God, there is no absolute right or wrong. Everyone is free to embrace what they consider to be in their own best interests regardless of whether it is “legal” or harmful to others.

We’ve allowed schools and nations to celebrate “Santa” on Jesus’ Birthday. We’ve allowed them to celebrate eggs and bunnies on Easter instead of the Son of God Who died for the sins of the world and rose again to prove that He holds the keys to life and death and can secure eternity for us.

We murder unborn children and make it legal by changing labels: the children God created in the womb who are gifts from Him are called “fetuses.” Murdering them is called “abortion” or “terminating the pregnancy.”

The Bible teaches that a man and woman marry and become one flesh for life. We’ve replaced that with – if you get tired of each other, get a divorce. The Bible warns against sex outside of marriage. We glory in it…and suffer the diseases and heartbreaks that come with it.

God told us to live the Bible and teach it to our children diligently so they will live it too. Instead, we’ve rolled it out on a cutting board like a paper dressmaking pattern and cut it into comfortable shapes and sizes to wear for our individual lifestyles.

God gave us the gift of freedom of choice. We’ve abused that gift by deliberately choosing wrong and by calling evil good and good evil.

Someday, Jesus will return. Every knee will bow. Every tongue will confess that He is Lord. Then there will be peace on earth. Lions will eat straw. Wolves and lambs will lay down together in peace. Children will play with venomous snakes and not be bitten. Peace and goodwill will reign and rule.

Until then, we need to put peace on earth and goodwill to men into practice in our daily lives and not blame Jesus if we don’t see it in the rest of the world. Someday, we will.

http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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I Didn’t Want to Run Today

I didn’t want to run today. I never do. It’s hard.

Weight control and general physical wellness benefit from running – so I run. Today was no exception; I didn’t want to run. Blessings followed obedience.

First, I met an 88-year-old neighbor who had suffered a stroke. Immediately following the stroke, he wobbled when he walked. Post-stroke challenges were hard. Determined to recover, he set up his own physical therapy regimen – golf. Now he strides along with confidence. Using partly speech and partly sign language, he informed me today that he and his 87-year-old friend play 18 holes four days a week. It was cold and blustery today – but he looked as brightly happy as a spring daffodil.

Then I met a stranger pushing her dad along in his wheelchair and taking their dog on a walk. We stopped and exchanged greetings. As I ran on down the road I reflected on how good and kind people can be. The news is full of bad-sad stories including the threat of war in the Ukraine, child and homeless abuse; alcohol and drug addiction; crooked politics, and violent crimes. Yet, because God’s Spirit is stronger on behalf of good than satan’s is on evil, people reflect God’s mercy and grace.

My most inspirational running discovery was The Trees. Surely had The Trees been given a choice of where they wanted to be planted, they would not have chosen the rocky soil on the side of Moray Firth that is buffeted nonstop by wind and gales. Because the wind has rocked them over the years, The Trees have sent their roots down into the soil so deeply that they can absorb water and nutrients. Needles on The Trees are glossy green with vibrant health. The trunks are solid, twisted into artistic compositions that shout victory over hardship. The Trees have endured hardships.

Hardships are often God’s blessings in disguise. Psalm 119:67 says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”

Some people think I’ve had a had a hard life: sexually abused as a child; nearly dying from two forced non-medically supervised abortions as a teen; running away from home and living under a bridge to escape abuse; being a single-parent and working two to three jobs at the same time; losing a husband to cancer; having my home and property stolen; and most heartbreaking – losing my awesome son, 37, in a plane crash. Yet God has used those trials to shake my roots – like The Trees – and grow me into His pattern, able to face the gales unafraid because I know God is in Control.

Childhood fears and memories inspired my newest Christian mystery-romance-suspense, Fear of Shadows. Sexual abuse and forced abortions inspired pro-life adventure-romance Love’s Beating Heart, which readers have called “inspirational” and “life-changing.”

Between now and March 8, Smashwords is offering both Fear of Shadows and Love’s Beating Heart – FREE.

No one owns a monopoly on hardship. Life is challenging. When hardship knocks, remember that trials are often God’s blessings in disguise – and open the door.

Love’s Beating Heart: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/307104

Fear of Shadows: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/387341

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Why I Chose Child Abuse over Abortion

I didn’t say to someone when I was in my mother’s womb, “I know if I’m born I’ll get abused – I choose abuse over abortion.” I didn’t say that because unborn children can’t speak for themselves.

Had I known every heartbreak in my life before I was born, I would still have chosen life over abortion.

Let’s pretend a moderator had interviewed me in the womb.

Moderator: “If you are born, you will face years of sexual abuse from your father. He will start raping you when you are eleven. He will get you pregnant twice, then heat up your mother’s knitting needles and perform two backwoods, medically unsupervised abortions to hide his crime. You will nearly die both times and it will take you weeks to recover. You will miss a lot of school and fail math. He will beat you up, stomp on you, throw things at you and threaten to kill you if you tell anyone. You can avoid all that by being aborted now.”

Me: “There will be some good days and good times. I want to live.”

Moderator: “It won’t be easy even when you escape abuse. You’ll be homeless with no money. You will live under a bridge in the back of a truck. Even on the coldest days of winter, you will wash yourself and your clothes in the river. You will be miserable.”

Me: “I will find ways to cope and become a stronger person because of hardship. I want to live.”

Moderator: “You will have a son. You will spend more than seven years as a single parent, working two and three jobs to make ends meet. One time you’ll be so tired after working all night, getting your son off to school, then going back to work at 11:30 a.m., that you drive your truck to a shopping center parking lot, let your son go visit the toy shop, lock the doors and sleep in the cab in freezing weather. You hate being cold.”

Me: “I want to live.”

Moderator: “You will be heartbroken because your son is chronically ill and doctors don’t know what’s wrong. Seeking medical help, you will drive over Donner Summit in the winter in a truck with no defroster. As you drive over the mountain, you will be constantly scraping ice off the outside, then the inside of the windshield so you can see. The truck will break down and you will be two years without your own transportation.”

Me: “I will love my son. I want to live.”

Moderator: “You will want to be a writer. You will spend 40 years sending out manuscripts and getting rejections back. Working two and three jobs at a time, you won’t have opportunity to research the market. Many times, you won’t have enough money for postage to send out your books. You will get so frustrated that you feel like slamming your head against a concrete wall.”

Me: “I want to live.”

Moderator: “More tragedies. All on the same day, your mother dies and you can’t plan to attend her funeral because your husband is sent home from the hospital to die; your sheepdog dies, and your truck catches on fire in downtown San Antonio.”

Me: “I want to live.”

Moderator: “You will get scammed out of your property by a drug-addicted con, and a pastor you trusted. You will live in an open-ended garden center with no indoor plumbing and no kitchen or bathroom facilities. You will take cold water showers with the garden hose. In the winter, you will put up hay bales and wrap up your little living area in plastic to keep out the cold – it’s all you can afford. Wildlife will share the garden center with you – even wasps and scorpions. You will eat one meal a day and survive on granola bars the rest of the time. The legal system will fail you, and you will be broke and homeless again.”

Me: “I want to live. I might be broke, I might be homeless – but I will never be poor.”

Because I lived, I taught in Christian schools in two different states and remain in contact with some of my former students who claim I had a positive influence in their lives.

Because I lived, I worked on newspapers in three different states, writing stories that uplifted and helped others.

Because I lived, I was honored by God with the most awesomely wonderful son any mother could ever have, the late Marine Corps Major Luke Gaines Parker. Even after his Nov. 17, 2013 plane crash, Luke continues to bless others with the writing, memories, and Christian example he left behind. Because Luke lived, he leaves behind daughter Dulcinea, who makes the world a better place. All that was possible because – first of all – I lived.

Because I lived, I am now married to a marvelous husband, Reverend Alan T McKean, the author of time travel-adventure books The Scent of Time, The Scent of Home and the soon-to-be-released The Scent of Eternity. Because I lived, we live in the lovely Black Isle of Scotland, working together in his ministry.

Because I was abused, not aborted, I have written six “inspirational,” “life-changing” books, which include the pro-life adventure-romance, Love’s Beating Heart – a book which readers say helped them choose life and adoption for their unborn instead of abortion.

Child abuse is unforgivable. It should never happen. Abortion is ultimate child abuse – it tortures the child, then murders him or her.

What about you? Life hasn’t been easy. Would you have chosen abortion over life?

http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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Most Costly Valentines’ Day Card Ever Printed

The most costly Valentines’ Day card ever printed was printed in blood from the nail wounds in Jesus’ hands and feet. Nails didn’t hold Jesus to the cross – love did.

In pro-life adventure-romance Love’s Beating Heart, Dena’s Hispanic step-grandparents have just learned that their granddaughter ran away from home to protect her pregnant best friend Natasha from her parents’ demands that she get an abortion:

Julia nodded her head wisely. “Yes, it is just, m’ija. Just that you loved this young

man. You both thought you were old enough for adult love. You did not understand. Real

love, it means the wait for marriage.” She shook her head. “Not to worry, m’ija, Jesus

forgives you. You must forgive yourself. The baby inside you is because you loved too

much and too young. Yet, you have been wise. You make the right choice for Baby. God

will bless you for that. The unborn have no voice. They have no choice over what

happens to them. But you, m’ija. You have become the voice of your child. Of this, God

is joyful.”

Tears bubbled up in Nathasha’s eyes and dripped heavy crystals down her

freckled cheeks. She whispered, “I don’t want anyone else to know! I’m too

ashamed. I just want to die!”

M’ija,” Julia said gently, “to die you cannot do. Baby would die. You have made

a mistake and you are sorry. Jesus forgives. Since He has forgiven you, why do you not

forgive yourself? You think perhaps that you are bigger and better than God and have

sinned such a great sin that Jesus is not big enough or good enough to forgive?”

Tasha hid her face on Dena’s shoulder while Julia explained the girl’s plight to

Eino. He nodded thoughtfully at Natasha, “Julia is right. Listen to her, m’ija. She is very

wise, my wife, my viejita. What she says is right. You gave the boy you loved the gift of

your love. You were too young to understand the cost.

“You say you are ashamed. But our Jesus is greater than our shame. He has

forgiven. But to forgive yourself, that must you decide. To wrap the guilt around you and

hang on to it is to tell Jesus He is not strong enough, or good enough to forgive you. It is

like to tell Jesus that it did no good to die on the cross for you. And, now, you do the right

thing. Protecting this little one. This I very much believe.

“You loved too young and too fully. Our Jesus, He did not die for the

right we do. He died for the wrong. Now, m’ija, “if you won’t forgive yourself, what

more can Jesus do? Already, He has died for you. He has nothing left to give. To die

again, He cannot do. You must decide to forgive yourself. Listen to Grandma, my vieja.”

Like Natasha, we must choose whether to accept the Valentines’ card Jesus wrote with His blood, or to reject it. Nothing in our past is too big for Jesus to forgive.

I wrote Love’s Beating Heart to keep other women from making an irreversible decision – to get an abortion – that has the power to torment them with guilt for the rest of their lives. I know. As a teen who was repeatedly raped, I was forced to have two non-medically supervised backwoods abortions that nearly killed me. Daily, I live with the knowledge that two children that would have been born to me were murdered.

If you know someone facing a pregnancy decision, gift them with a copy of Love’s Beating Heart. Next to the Valentines’ Day card that Jesus wrote with his blood, Love’s Beating Heart may be one of the best love gifts they ever receive.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/307104

http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Beating-Heart-ebook/dp/B00CGNPG9O/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378320298&sr=1-1&keywords=love%27s+beating+heart

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Hanger Sex

I credit the late American humorist Erma Bombeck, newspaper columnist and author of 15 books, for alerting me to the fact that hangers have sex.

 Actually, I didn’t believe Bombeck when I read it in one of her columns. She alluded to the well known fact that clothes dryers periodically get the munchies and eat socks, but only one of each pair of course – to heighten the entertainment value. Then she disclosed the secret that clothes hangers reproduce.

 At the time Bombeck revealed the truth about hangers and closet sex, I didn’t believe her because I could never find enough hangers. When I moved to Scotland two years ago, I still had my doubts. Shirts were hanging two and three on one hanger because of the shortage. Then we had an unusually warm summer here in Scotland, meaning it got about as warm as Texas stays in the winter. And it happened. Scads of empty hangers. Sex leading to procreation, it seems pretty clear about what happens when the closet doors shut and it’s warmer than usual.

 Hangers are not the only things that reproduce wildly and crowd space. Mean, cruel, wounding words and profanity steal and kill joy, feeding off the carcasses to multiply sorrows. This is why there are so many verses in the Bible warning us to guard our tongues and use them as trees of life instead of weapons.

 I love reading! My choice is mystery-romance-suspense. One reason I decided to write what I love reading is to provide Christians with exciting action-packed books – without the profanity, drinking, and risky lifestyle choices in a lot of other fiction.

 Bridge to Nowhere, published by Sunpenny, finds older protagonist Texan Miz Mike hunting down mysteries and romance. She can’t help it that she’s funny and gets herself into “pickles,” she just can’t let an adventure pass by unmolested.

 Love’s Beating Heart is a parallel adventure story. Pregnant teen Natasha and best friend Dena find themselves plunging down a flooded river on a quest to “save Baby” from the abortion her parents have demanded. Meanwhile, Dena’s older sister Cat escapes from an abusive boyfriend and is rescued by a Christian homeschooling family. Cat thinks they’re crazy – but she would like to claim dad Skylar for herself.

 My favorite of my Christian mystery-romance-suspense books is probably my first, Heart Shadows. Set in the Nevada desert and full of Native American history and desert scenery, Hear Shadows is a gripping story.

 Shadow Chase and Until the Shadows Flee are set in the Texas Hill Country, as is the soon-to-be published Fear of Shadows. So…my Amazon Author’s Page will soon have six mystery-romance-suspense books listed on it. It’s expanding – sort of like the hangers!

 http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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Believe in the Lighthouse even when you can’t see it

A foggy day along the beach toyed with my senses. I knew we were making progress walking, knew that we were going in the right direction – yet for long minutes – the lighthouse at the point was invisible. Our local landmark was whited out with dense fog, turning every direction into an amorphous wasteland of nearly tactile white.

While the lighthouse was invisible, it was hard to believe it was there. Yet even as we were surrounded in a surreal swirl of seawater-enhanced fog, the lighthouse had never moved. That reminds me of times in my life when painful, confusing circumstances drew blinders over my life making me doubt myself and the future. Why God? I would ask. Are You there? Do You see what’s happening to me? Do You care?

God was there every time. He did see. He did care. During days of dancing fog that confused and nights of oppressive fog that chilled the mind and stole sleep, God was working out His plan and purpose – and it was perfect for me. I needed to grow. I needed to move. I needed to change. I needed to increase in faith so that I would never doubt the existence of Jesus, the Light of the world, the Lighthouse for the lost and hurting – even during the times that I couldn’t see Him through the fog.

How can one appreciate the gift of the sun without the experience of stumbling around in the darkness? How can one appreciate joy without having shed tears of grief and misery? How can one trust God to catch them without ever jumping off the cliff?

No child should face the abuse and hardships that I did. My prayer is that no child ever will.

No adult should be subjected to the living conditions I have – living under a bridge and sleeping in the back of a pickup truck. Living in an open-ended garden center in the winter with no heat, no running water, no bathroom or kitchen facilities; sleeping on planks held up by concrete blocks and sharing “home” with scorpions, birds, toads, a wild cat and a curious skunk. Yet I wouldn’t exchange the life I’ve had for anyone else’s life, no matter how idyllic. Suffering childhood rape and forced into two abortions to hide it wrote pro-life adventure-romance Love’s Beating Heart. Living in the Texas Hill Country with all its marvelous mysteries and unique hardships penned mystery-romance-suspense Bridge to Nowhere. Had I not actually lived under a bridge to escape abuse, I probably wouldn’t be writing a series of six Bridge books at all, including the first Sunpenny publication, Bridge to Nowhere.

If I had never jumped off the cliff and been lovingly caught by Jesus, I might doubt that the Lighthouse is real, even in the fog of misery and trial. Each book I’ve written (Heart Shadows, Until the Shadows Flee, Shadow Chase, Bridge to Nowhere, Love’s Beating Heart) tells a compelling, exciting story through the eyes of faith. Faith grown in the rock of hardship and watered by the confusion of swirling fog.

The Lighthouse never moves, even in the fog.

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