Happy 2019

Slipping in here a few days late to wish everyone a Happy, Joyful, God-Blessed New Year.

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So many people make New Year’s Resolutions, and that’s a good thing. Keeping them is especially good. Yes, I would like to exercise more this year and lose more weight, but that’s always my goal. Now that it’s been a year since my back surgery, I’m cleared to start running again.

As a writer, I can’t ignore that part of my life when planning for a new year. I wrote six books last year and I honestly don’t intend to write that many this year. The new series takes a lot of research which translates into a lot of time. I’m hoping to have the third “Fog Busters, Old Bones Detectives” out sometime in January.

Collage 2018 books 

As a writer and as a person, the most important goals I can set for 2019, or any year, are found in the Bible, specifically in Philippians, Chapter 3: That I may know God and His power; That I may press on; That I may forget those things which are behind and reach forward to those things which are ahead, that I may press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

forget behind reach ahead 

That about sums up my 2019 goals. As an author, my inspiration comes from God.

God better for writing

Whoever you are and wherever you are reading this, may God light your new year with beauty, bounty, and joy. Happy New Year!

sunflowers and butterfly laredo december 

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

Celebrate torn, worn pages!

May God bless y’all with joy, peace, love, success, and prosperity in 2015 and beyond.

It’s already nearly a week into the New Year. How did that happen so quickly? It reminds me of a book I started writing when I was fourteen. I can’t remember the plot, only that it involved a young woman falling off a horse, being knocked unconscious (which I undoubtedly spelled wrong) and falling in love with her rescuer, “Father Time.”

One thing I do remember about the book is that I knew absolutely nothing about writing a book! My idea was to make every sentence in the book as beautiful as I could. Even though I was born in Texas, I mainly grew up in Georgia in an area of red clay, rolling grassy green hills, and pine trees. I must have used every adjective in the Thesaurus in an attempt to make red clay, rolling grassy green hills, and pine trees sound lovely enough to catch and hold my readers’ attention. I still have that worn Thesaurus sitting on my desk. The cover is gone; it’s now in three parts and a few spare pages. All the pages are yellow-brown with ragged-looking, torn edges. I must have been born to be a writer because that Thesaurus is the only surviving relic I have of my childhood.

Life has moved on from Georgia and from sheltering places green and growing. Some of my life has been spent in barren deserts. Some has been spent in hardship, heartache, sorrow, and unbearable pain. I sometimes feel as torn and worn as my Thesaurus friend, but I’ve learned to wear the broken with pride. God has used brokenness to change me.

Very few sentences of my life have glowed with the resplendent magnificence of the sentences I so laboriously penned for the unfinished book. Paragraphs and entire pages have been ripped out and soiled. Some pages suffered loss as they tumbled down the corridor of time. Others were hastily gathered and clumsily glued back together. Of this I am confident; God kept intact all the sentences He needed to write my life into one that reflects His glory.

My writing has also progressed. Verbs and action replace strings of adverbs and adjectives. Christian mystery-romance-suspense has proven my niche and zany Texan Miz Mike, in Bridge to Nowhere and Bridge Beyond Betrayal, is fun to work with – because she hijacks the stories and transforms them into what she wants!

If you look at your life in 2015 – and it looks like my Thesaurus – rejoice! God is in control and He will glue your life back together in a way that gives you the most joy and Him the most glory.

Celebrate worn, torn pages!

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

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Welcome Storms in 2014

When tornado-strength thunderstorm winds batter the Texas Hill Country, massive live oak trees that have stood for hundreds of years uproot and topple. Here in the Black Isle of Scotland, gale force winds sweep from coast to coast constantly – seldom uprooting or toppling trees.

Duress has provided the impetus compelling Scottish trees to grow into defiant survivors impervious to life’s storms. Scottish trees stand intransigent and victorious, feeding on the fury of the wind to send roots deeper into the soil.

That’s a good illustration for the New Year. Welcome life’s storms as challenges forcing growth and change. Storms may seem like furious, unrelenting events over which we have no power, and which will rob us of victory or success, but the power of life’s storms and our resulting defeat are both illusions.

The Bible promises that our weakness is an opportunity for God to present Himself strong and victorious in our lives. God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you: My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

The world has coined two clichés: what doesn’t make you bitter makes you better and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Storms have peppered my life over the years. As a child, I lived in a cowshed with no indoor plumbing facilities. After escaping childhood sexual abuse and two forced non-medically supervised abortions that nearly killed me, I lived under a bridge. As a single parent, I worked two and three jobs to make ends meet and slept in the back of a pickup truck on top of our belongings when moving from job to job. I spent over a year in an open-ended garden center with no indoor plumbing, bathroom or kitchen facilities, and wildlife coming in and out freely. I had my property stolen by underhanded legal proceedings. All on the same day; our sheepdog died, my mother died and I couldn’t attend her funeral because my husband was sent home in an ambulance to die, and my truck caught on fire in downtown San Antonio. Just over a month ago, I lost my only son in a plane crash. No one is immune to storms. We have two choices when storms hit us; suffer and grow bitter, or grow and become stronger.

Storms have strengthened my writing, too. From the time I was eleven, all I’ve wanted to do is write. Fifty years of rejection slips, disappointments and closed doors have strengthened my resolve into a wall that simply can’t be battered down. I’m thankful to have six published mystery-romance-suspense books, but even if I had never had one book published or one copy sold – I would keep writing. Storms have driven my writing roots so deep that they can’t be uprooted.

May your 2014 be full of calm, peace, love and joy and as few storms as possible. Should a storm find you in 2014, embrace it as an opportunity to grow stronger roots. My prayer for you: “That God would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in your inner parts.” Ephesians 3:16.

When I feel faint, I look again at this picture of a little tree determinedly growing out of the top of a fence post. If it can bloom where God has planted it, so can I!

Link to all six of Stephanie Parker McKean’s Christian mystery-romance-suspense books: http://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Parker-McKean/e/B00BOX90OO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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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

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