“Always the Moon” – even at Christmas

Usually I write at least one column every year bashing “Santa.” This because how can we trick our children into believing in the “jolly red elf,” then expect them to believe us about God after they find out we’ve lied to them about Santa?

However, this Christmas I want to write about my hero. Her dream since childhood was to become a writer. She survived a horrific childhood that included repeated, brutal rapes. One of them put her in intensive care for a week because she nearly bled to death. The only way to stop the bleeding was a transfusion and she was a rare blood type. Unforgivably, no one asked questions and the rapes continued. At one point, she was held captive on a boat with an armed felon who had drowned his own son so that she would not flee or tell anyone about the abuse. She escaped and married a Mexican National. They lived across the border in a one-room shack and shared a communal outhouse with ten other families. She worked on the U.S. side of the border and walked the four miles across the bridge to and from work every day.

They rented a house on the U.S. side of the border for themselves and their three children, a one-bedroom, three-room house with a bathroom and shower attached outside the house. Her husband was critically injured at his road job across the border. It took years for his head and leg injuries to heal enough that he could return to work. Meanwhile, she discovered questionable procedures at her job and was fired and blacklisted for vocalizing her concerns. By this time they had a fourth child. They were so broke that they sent their baby across the border to live with grandparents temporarily. She worked her way through university graduating with honors. Through all this…she never stopped writing. She never let go of her dream to be a successful author. Now, just in time for Christmas, she has released a poetry book of intense, moving brilliant poetry, “Always the Moon.”

Oh, and did I mention her other books, A Love Beyond, His Temporary Wife, Wildflower Redemption, Take Me Out, Unattainable http://www.crimsonromance.com/
La Llorona (The Wailing Woman), and inclusion in two internationally best selling cowboy anthologies?

My hero sister, Leslie P. Garcia.

http://www.amazon.com/Always-Moon-Leslie-P-Garcia-ebook/dp/B0196OK5AK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1450026769&sr=1-1&keywords=always+the+moon+leslie+garcia

AlwaysTheMoon_CVR2

CHRISTmas Light

Some associate Santa with Christmas. He rides into town on a fire truck and throws candy for children, or lands in a helicopter, or stations himself in malls and stores for photo opportunities.

The inspiration for these events came from a poem written in 1823, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” and a song written in 1933, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Both poem and song birthed the popular U.S. image of a red-clad, white-bearded present-bearing Santa.

However, far more populous, present, and visible than Santa – are lights. Atheists attempt to steal CHRISTmas by demonizing the friendly “Merry Christmas” greeting and insisting on “winter holidays” or “seasons greetings,” but the joke is on them. For as long as CHRISTmas lights dispel winter darkness with cheery spots of brave color, hearts will be reminded of Jesus, the Light of the world. “For the LORD will be your everlasting light.” Isaiah 60:20. And in Jesus’ own words, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46.

The conspiracy to take Christ out of CHRISTmas is not new. Public schools began fazing out nativity scenes for children to color and replacing them with Santa on a rooftop; Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, and Christmas trees nearly 50 years ago. Christmas carols like “Joy to the World” and “Away in a Manger” were replaced with “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The anti-God, anti-Christ movement picked up momentum over the years like a bulldozer headed down a ski slope. Today, the war on CHRISTmas and Christians is real and really vindictive.

Still there are lights. Colored lights and white lights at Christmas lifting hearts and drawing souls closer to worshiping God, in Whom is found no darkness. The atheists and “anti,” “politically correct” crowd may glom on to the fact that lights proclaim the Light of the World, Jesus and outlaw them too. For it is possible to dispel darkness by lighting even one light, but when one light is shining – nothing can bring back total darkness.

And when the atheists and their followers outlaw lights for celebrating CHIRSTmas, the moon and stars will still point to Jesus, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

The Lights have it.

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

IMG_0824

Thanksgiving

Scotland folks don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but we will be having a quiet one of our own. There is so much for which to be thankful!

Every breath we take, every step we take, everything we see, hear, touch, feel, or taste is reason enough for an attitude of gratitude. Add to this family, friends, pets, shelter, food and other provisions – and we are blessed beyond measure.

This Thanksgiving we will thank God for health and provision. We will pray for others less fortunate, and do what we can to help them. We will pray for the world’s return to the love, peace, and joy that comes as a gift through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “Reason for the Season,” and Christ is in CHRISTmas, but the gift of Jesus’ love, joy, power, and salvation is not reserved for one day a year. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life every day.

Another thing on my list of Thanksgiving praise is the publication of my fourth Texas Miz Mike mystery-romance-suspense, “Bridge to Brigadoon,” set in Scotland. I’m excited!

To thank readers, I am offering a choice of gifts to the first five folks who review “Bridge to Brigadoon” on Amazon: either signed copies of “Bridge to Nowhere” or “Bridge Beyond Betrayal,” or a Scottish mug. When the review is posted and the reader has sent me his or her physical address and indicated which gift he or she would like to receive – I will send it immediately…with a grateful and thankful heart!

 

In one of the wackiest Miz Mike adventures ever, successful writer Michal Allison Rice is packed off to Scotland by her son and daughter-in-law for a vacation. They believe the trip will heal her broken heart—and hope that it will teach her to mind her own business. Mike does not want to go to Scotland. It is COLD there. And once in Scotland, she doesn’t want to stay. Hotdogs come in cans, dill pickles are non-existent and driving on the wrong side of the road terrifies her. However, when elderly Ross Granger is killed, Mike feels responsible and sets out in search for the killer. Nearly killed herself, Mike is faced with a dilemma: no one believes her. She is viewed as “an American stushie-maker.” But the gravest danger of all proves to be Rev. Alan Evan Kirkland, a Scottish widower who befriends her, then demands the one thing in repayment that she is unwilling to give—her heart.

http://www.amazon.com/Bridge-Brigadoon-Stephanie-Parker-McKean-ebook/dp/B0186YKIGW/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447939591&sr=1-1&keywords=bridge+to+brigadoon+stephanie+parker+mckeanBridge_Brigadoon_Final_Kindle_downsized

Sailcats, Crucifix Fish & the New Year

Sailcats, Crucifix Fish & the New Year

Kindhearted volunteer Marshall Scott answered the U.S. Marine Corps call to rescue me at the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport on Thanksgiving Day after I attended my son Luke Parker’s memorial service. Marshall took time away from his family Thanksgiving to make sure I made my connecting flight. Additionally he shared the legend of the Crucifix Fish.

Jesus on the cross is outlined on the front of the sailcat’s skeleton, complete with the hilt of the sword that was plunged into Jesus’ side. The back of the skeleton displays the Roman shield. When you shake the cross, you can hear the dice being tossed for the Lord’s clothing.

When I got back to Scotland, my research disclosed that gaftopsail catfish witness God’s love in life, too. For example: Jesus died on the cross and went down for hell for three days to take the keys of death and hell away from satan and secure eternal life for us. The sailcat lives on the soft bottom of the ocean – but unlike other catfish – it doesn’t feed there. Just as Jesus loves and accepts everyone of every color, every country, every social status in life, the sailcat feeds up and down through the entire water column.

Male gaftopsail catfish brood their young in their mouths until they hatch. During this entire period of up to 65 days, males do not eat. What a great parallel of Jesus’ nature; His willingness to sacrifice even His life that we might be born again and grow into His image. Jesus never leaves us nor forsakes us when we are weak.

Sailcats are saltwater catfish. As Christians, we are instructed to be salt in the world. We should walk in love, but also in truth. Our truth – salt – has great healing power.

Crucifix Fish skeletons are popular for jewelry, but rare. Imagine my delight when I received a Christmas present from the Scott family, a box containing a Crucifix Fish! It will be freely shared here, going so much further than just our house.

What a great New Year it would be if we all took lessons from Crucifix Fish: witness Jesus openly both in this life and in the memories left behind when graduating to heaven. Love and accept others, no matter how different. Get out of the comfort zone and dare to be salty! Put others first. For 2014, I want to live like a Crucifix Fish.

Texas Eugenia Thornhill, in my new Christian mystery-romance-suspense “Fear of Shadows,” reminds me of the lessons of the Crucifix Fish. She is too self-reliant and self-sufficient to need God until she solves the mystery of her fear of shadows. The truth almost destroys her. There is power in the Cross of Jesus, but to tap into it – Texas would need to get out of her comfort zone and get salty. Can the proud, independent Texan who embraces one rebellion after another do that?

http://www.amazon.com/Fear-Shadows-Stephanie-Parker-McKean-ebook/dp/B00HGLRS7O/ref=la_B00BOX90OO_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387739222&sr=1-6

Image

Christmas shadows & Lights

For seven years of single parenthood, my son Luke (the late Major Luke Gaines Parker, Aug. 19, 1976-Nov. 17, 2013) and I lived in the Nevada desert. One of our favorite entertainments was holding sagebrush jumping contests – which I hasten to add, he invariably won!

Except the mountains changing colors as clouds pass over them, shadows in the desert are short. Rocks, sagebrush, Russian thistle (tumbleweed), rabbit brush – all cast short shadows and there are virtually no trees. When we moved to the Texas Hill Country, trees along the road threw shadows down and when those shadows hit the road in front of me when I was driving, I got dizzy. It was a silly thing and I couldn’t understand it until Mom’s Christmas present.

Because Mom never had much money to spend on us at Christmas, she came up with unique, affordable gifts like the scrapbook of childhood photos she compiled for each of us one Christmas. It must have taken her weeks of sorting through pictures to get all the photos in the right albums for the right children. Luke loved the pictures of his mom as a child. We were looking at the album one day when I focused in on a small wooden house splattered with shade from trees surrounding it. Suddenly, the picture reached out and grabbed me. I was pulled through the hall to the back door where – partly outside my range of vision – my father was beating something to death. I couldn’t see the victim clearly enough to identify it, and the unexpected image frightened me so badly that I snapped out of the trance. I tried to revisit that picture later when I was alone, but I never could get past the front door again. The image of him pounding something and blood everywhere had terrorized me.

So my newest book, “Fear of Shadows,” was born from that Christmas gift and from the horrendous memory that almost surfaced.

My father was an atheist. He was a cruel wicked man who obeyed no law – God or man-made – except his law: “What’s good for J.L. Potter is good.” As a result, he committed shockingly evil crimes during his lifetime and was one of the first 51 people in the U.S. to die from a newly discovered disease that hadn’t even been named yet. We know it now as AIDS.

“Fear of Shadows” is a Christian mystery-romance-suspense book written from my imagination, not a true story. They say that fact is stranger than fiction. It is a fact that when I was five, my father loaded me, his mother, a Great Dane dog, my grandmother’s dog, and two cats into a wood-paneled station wagon and drove away from California in the middle of the night. He left my sister, my brother, and my pregnant mother behind. We camped out in the then-untamed Florida Everglades swamp along a lagoon with venomous snakes and alligators. We ate bread and peanut butter, and pancakes that my grandmother cooked over an open fire, every day…day after day. All these years later, I still can’t eat pancakes. My father claimed he was looking for work. Perhaps he wanted to herd alligators.

So…who and what was his victim? I don’t know. But I think you’ll enjoy the story that this experience wrote for me. God Bless you and Merry Christmas.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/387341

Image