Perfect R Not Us

Some folks believe they are perfect. Perhaps they are, but probably not. Perfection is a stress-inducing condition from which I can cheerfully proclaim I do not suffer.

I can’t imagine the burden of needing to always be right—or to have other people think that you are—or of never making a mistake (or thinking you never do). Some of the most miserable folks I know are perfectionists. Stress is a killer. It starts on the face by killing the smile and turning it upside down.

Some of my mistakes have been notable: spending an extra $100 from my bank account because I read the teller’s receipt wrong and thought the money was there (so did the bank—so the Lord saved me on that one); turning our wedding cake into body shield armor by cooking an artificial sweetener for the frosting instead of powdered sugar; showing up at the wrong place at the wrong time because I always get lost—the list is long. Most recently, it was the first of the two books I wrote while I was stuck in the hospital with an infection in a hip replacement. I decided that the title “Utopia House Murder” had more punch than my first choice, “Murder at Utopia House.” I sent the change to the cover illustrator, but not to my editor. Oops! The book came out on Amazon as “Murder at Utopia House,” but the cover was “Utopia House Murder.” Fortunately, most mistakes can be rectified and the title now matches in both places. Whew!

Utopia House Murder is—like most of the other books I have written—a Christian cozy mystery-romance-suspense, but at the same time—it is unlike any of the other books I have written. Sadly, I can’t differentiate between the two here because that would be impossible without dropping a spoiler. And for a writer—spoilers are unforgiveable mistakes.

We, as humans, make mistakes. “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Psalm 18:30. Stephanie Parker McKean: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle


bannana in sun

For the past two years I’ve seen a lovely child in our neighborhood, and each time I’ve seen her I’ve thought that she would make a stunning character for a book with her striking cobalt blue eyes framed by a sleek curtain of dark smoke-brown hair. Except…her eyes are not blue.

Had I written her in a book, her eyes would have been blue. Had I described her to the police for some reason, her eyes would have been blue. Had I painted a portrait of her from memory, her eyes would have been blue. But they are not blue.

I was shocked recently when I met her and realized that her eyes are an astonishingly deep, dark brown that I’ve never seen in eye color before—almost like dark chocolate, except deep and shining. I actually asked her mother if her eyes had changed color. They hadn’t. It was me. I had been mistaken.

At one time, I did not believe in God. I was every bit as certain that God did not exist as I was that the little girl in our neighborhood had blue eyes. I was mistaken.

God’s name is shouted throughout creation from the seed that grows into a vibrant flower to the stars in the universe. We can plant flowers. We can study flowers. We can engineer new colors and graft fruit trees—but only God can make a seed.

We can build telescopes. We can study stars and planets and name them. But only God can create them.

We can train doctors, and nurses, and scientists, and treat patients for disease or injuries—but only God walking on earth ever defeated death by rising from the dead.

I used to not believe in God. I was mistaken.


birds on concrete at kirn

Many people believe it—but nowhere in the Bible does it say that Adam and Eve ate an apple. They ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Many people believe it—but nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. It says the Lord prepared a big fish to swallow him. Scientists out to shoot holes in the Bible have conducted studies to prove that a person could not be swallowed by a whale and survive. And yet—surely the Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth is well able to prepare “a big fish” to swallow Jonah.

Misconceptions. They are everywhere.

Christmas cards portray bright fields of snow and evergreen trees decked with white—yet in many parts of the world—it never snows.

I got a bad review on one of my books from a reviewer who said, “We don’t have street vendors in the UK.” I based the character on a street vendor in Inverness, Scotland. The reviewer lived in England.

I got a bad review on another book from a person who said if I wrote about Texas, I should learn about it first. I was born in Texas.

Misconceptions. They are everywhere.

We all look at the world through the eyes of our experiences. If one has never read the Bible and relies on things other people have said—fruit becomes an apple and prepared fish becomes a whale. If one lives in northern climates, one will expect the whole world to have snow on Christmas. If one lives in England instead of Scotland, one may believe the UK has no street vendors. If one lives in tornado alley in north Texas, that person would not know about the plethora of wildlife in the Texas Hill Country.

Misconceptions. They are everywhere. We can do our part by focusing on bigger issues than fruit, fish, or real or imagined mistakes in books.

Kindness is a good starting place. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Kindness is love in action and leaves no room for misconceptions.

bandera horse statue


Mistakes. We all make them. At least, I do.


Not all mistakes are bad. Naval engineer Richard Jones dropped a tension spring, watched it bounce – and invented the Slinky toy.

Sir Alexander Fleming was searching for a “wonder drug” when he found penicillin – by accident. He had discarded a contaminated Petri dish. He noticed the contamination was dissolving the bacteria around it.

One of my favorite mistakes was made by Ruth Wakefield, owner of Toll House Inn. She was attempting to make regular chocolate cookies – but had run out of baker’s chocolate. So she broke sweetened chocolate into the dough…and invented Toll House chocolate chip cookies.

George Crum lost his temper over a hard to please customer and invented potato chips from a plate of fried potatoes. Silly putty, the microwave oven, pace maker, and saccharin were all birthed by failure – mistakes.

I love the legend about a cook in China who was experimenting in the kitchen – and invented fireworks! It seems that charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter were common in kitchens 2,000 years ago. The cook accidentally mixed these substances together and compressed the mixture into a bamboo tube. BOOM! It exploded. I’m not sure what happened to the unnamed cook.

I recently read a book where a male calico cat is one of the heroes. Due to genetics, almost all calico cats are female. The book portrayed opossums as cat-eaters. Opossums are non-aggressive and will play dead rather than attack. Cats are far more likely to kills possums than possums are to kill cats. In the Texas Hill Country, possums came up regularly and shared the cat food with the cats. No one ever had a spat or got hurt. Sometimes books and authors get it wrong.


I love the Bible account about men bringing an adulterous woman to Jesus. “The law says she should be stoned. What do you say?” If Jesus said, “Let her go,” they would condemn Jesus for disregarding the law. If Jesus said, “Stone her,” His followers would leave Him because He preached mercy and grace. Jesus said, “Let the one without sin throw the first stone.” The accusers left. Jesus told the woman, “go and sin no more.”

It was easy for me to forgive the author’s mistakes about calico cats and opossums – especially after “Captive of Fear” was released and I read the kindle copy. BOOM! Desert instead of dessert – twice! (Now corrected.) This after professional editing & me reading the edited copy.

Authors should be forgiving and humble. You never know when a cat-eating possum might stumble into your book!