Seeing is Not Always Guaranteed

Out across houses and trees, a lovely green pasture shelters a herd of sheep. The sheep calmly wander through the grass and into the trees exhibiting no fear, anxiety, or worry – totally unaware that they are being watched.

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We may not realize it, but from near or close – people watch us. They note the words we use, the facial expressions we wear, how we handle stress, tragedy, and even success. We are walking books that other people read. We should make ourselves a good read.

Christians need to realize that our words and walk are the only Bibles that some people will ever read, but Christian or not – we are all being read wherever we go.

I Just released a novella, “Growing Your Monster.” I wrote it a few years ago for the Three Day Novel Writing Contest over Labor Day Weekend. It didn’t win, but I like it enough to unpin its wings, set it free from my desktop, and see if it can fly. Many thanks to my sister and editor Vicky Potter for pulling the pins out of the wings and tossing it into the air along with the outstanding cover she designed.

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Growing Your Monster is unashamedly Christian and NON-politically correct. Kevin, 7, sees and recognizes sin. The rest of his family remain blind to the concept of right and wrong.

Shape-shifting Sinny, a monster, or an ALT (Alternative Life) lives in the new house Kevin’s parents purchase. Sinny grows, entertaining everyone except Kevin, who understands why the monster is growing. But the child is invisible. Will anyone in his family ever notice him long enough to listen or believe him? And while Kevin struggles with what he believes is his invisibility, his family falls apart.

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“Growing Your Monster” is set in the Nevada Desert, an extraordinary scenic and surprising land that few are fortunate enough to experience. I love my memories of the unique landscape, and so did my son, USMC Marine Corps Major Luke Parker. I never think of the desert without thinking about him, another reason I love “Growing Your Monster.”

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075QPPDQY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1505800331&sr=1-1&keywords=growing+your+monster+stephanie+parker+mckean

The Biggest Losers

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Look up loser or biggest loser on the internet and you will find folks who have lost huge amounts of weight—or huge amounts of money. These are not the biggest losers.

The biggest losers are those—no matter how successful, professional, or well known—who find no joy in a child’s smile, a kitten’s soft fur, or the unconditional love looking back at them from the eyes of a dog. The biggest losers are those who have never stopped in awe to enjoy the riotous glory of spring wildflowers, a flaming sunrise, or a full moon playing tag with night-touched clouds.

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The biggest losers are those so seeped in their own self-importance that they have no time to notice the tears on a lonely face, the meager clothing and frail frame of the homeless, the expectant face of an elderly person hoping for a greeting.

The biggest losers are those who have no time to contemplate God and the perfection of creation, no time to sit in church and feed their souls, no time to give any of their time to help another person, a homeless animal, or a needy charitable organization.

Biggest losers of weight are applauded. Biggest losers of money are scorned. God is only interested in one kind of loss—sin.

“Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13, 14.

Biggest losers, biggest winners.

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

Not Offended

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Still find it hard to believe that the British Medical Association told its staff not to use the term ‘expectant mother’ as it could offend transgender people.

We are heading toward a future population who will find cause to be offended at myriad incidents instead of using the opportunity of opposition to grow in strength and character.

Like any other “handicapped” child, Aimee Mullins was mocked. She was born without calf bones and both her legs were amputated when she was a year old. Instead of hiding away “offended” by cruel remarks – she learned to fly. She is a world class runner who broke world records in 100 meters, 200 meters and the long jump – while competing against “able-bodied” athletes.

Shakespeare’s poems and plays are still popular around the world some 400 years after his death. He used more words from the English language than any other writer ever has – and was taunted by some of his contemporaries, including Robert Greene who called him among other things an “upstart crow.”

Vincent Van Gogh painted his inner feelings of depression and was labeled a failure and “mentally ill.” He rose from poverty and mocking to praise and riches. His “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” was one of the world’s most expensive paintings and is now valued at $155 million.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, couldn’t get into law school, borrowed money for a business and went bankrupt, and lost five elections before he became President. Personal tragedies included losing his mother when he was nine; the deaths of a sister, a sweetheart, and three of four sons. He also suffered a broken engagement and was diagnosed with clinical depression, spending six months in bed after a nervous breakdown.

The world was perfect when God created it. But when sin came into the world, that perfection was marred. We now live in a world of “hard knocks.” Being given permission to be offended at every real and imagined slight will never build us into individuals who can grow in grace, character, and strength.

I am so thankful that I never “fit in” as a child. Because I learned at an early age not to seek peer approval, I escaped the rampant drug culture when I went to college. Because I care more what God thinks about me than what other people do, I can write hard books that get flak: pro-life “Heart Shadows;” abused child turned serial killer “Killer Conversations,” and soon-to-be-released Texas Miz Mike mystery-romance-suspense #7, “Bridge Home.” The easy to love, bonkers Miz Mike is the same in “Bridge Home,” but there is an added dimension. Should Christians be in favor of, or opposed to same sex marriage? Miz Mike faces that dilemma when her fiancé is falsely arrested for killing one of two women who requested a same-sex marriage ceremony in his church.

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The release of “Bridge Home” should prove interesting. My hope and prayer is that readers will love it and welcome it as another of Miz Mike’s “pickle-making” mysteries. But I’m prepared for flak and one-star reviews because, thankfully, when I was growing up I didn’t have the British Medical Association looking out for me.

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

The Cure

The Bible tells us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…and God looked at his creation and saw that “it was good.”

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Then Adam and Eve sinned and sin entered the world, bringing death and destruction with it. God told Adam, “Cursed is the ground for your sake…both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth.” To me…that explains nettles, fire ants, scorpions—and all the other uglies and nasties. They came into the perfect world God created when sin ruined the perfection.

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My first exposure to Scottish nettles was…rather embarrassing. That expression, “When you gotta go, you gotta go.” The gotta hit me during a long woodland hike soon after I arrived in Scotland from Texas. So I waded into high weeds away from the path to do the necessary. Let me just say…you don’t ever want to expose bare skin on any part of your body to nettles—especially not that part!

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But where sin brought a curse, God placed a cure. Broad-leafed plants called dockens will stop the pain and burning when applied to the affected area.

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Most recently, I accidentally ran the back of my hand across nettles when I was walking the dog. I couldn’t find a docken. We were eating dinner when I mentioned the pain to my husband. Alan looked at the redness and swelling…then…just like Brigadoon, he vanished. He was gone so long that I thought about going to look for him. He returned with docken leaves and they stopped the burning and pain almost immediately.

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Because we are living in a sin-infested, imperfect world—there will always be nettles, either physical or spiritual. But where there is a curse, there is a cure. Jesus died to set the captives free from sin, pain, sorrow, illness, and the finality of death. He is the ultimate cure.

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

Taking the Cure

Some of my friends are so allergic to bee stings that they carry an epinephrine autoinjector, more commonly known as an EpiPen, with them at all times. Injections of epinephrine – adrenaline – combat allergic reactions caused by everything from insect bites to food.

When I made the mistake of catching a snake at the pond to see whether it was poisonous or non-poisonous, I wound up at the hospital with my hand frozen in a tub of ice until anti-venom could be shipped in. The snake had been poisonous – a water moccasin.

Each day, people from all around the world flock to physicians, health clinics and hospitals to obtain cures for physical ailments. Searching for cures is nothing new. Mummified human remains prove that thousands of years before Christ came, physicians of their time performed operations on patients – even brain surgery. Prior to floods of settlers pushing Native Americans off their land in the U.S., Indian doctors discovered aspirin, medicinal herbs, and how to set broken bones.

When we are sick, we want to be healed.

Easter, or Resurrection Sunday is about illness and the cure. There are four major religions in the world, each revering their founders. All four founders died. Three of them stayed dead. Jesus arose from the grave victorious. Jesus is alive! He lives and moves and has His life in us, if we seek the cure – because we are all sick.

I can run up to four miles a day, take garlic and cayenne pepper capsules and never go to the doctor, but I am sick. My heart is diseased. It’s sick from sin.

Symptoms of heart sickness include anger, bitterness, hate, selfishness – rotten fruit that molds inside the hidden chambers of the body, making us physically ill as well as building unpleasant, hard to tolerate personalities.

When we invite Jesus into our hearts and let His Holy Spirit live inside us, we produce good fruit from the inside out, fruit that blesses us and others: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

The choice to take the cure or leave it is ours. Easter is a good time to make it.

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

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Feather in the Wind

The old cliché birds of a feather flock together proves itself daily here in Fortrose, Scotland. Crows congregate in the stand of evergreen trees along Rosemarkie Beach and seagulls monopolize the rock-strewn mouth of the stream that gladdens the glen. Being sociable critters, they do mix and mingle – but at the end of the day – they are totally segregated.

Jesus named God’s greatest commandments as loving Him first, then loving other people as much as we love ourselves. First John explains: “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and truth…let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God…God is love.”

Jesus’ Holy Spirit draws Christians together. Like birds, we gravitate toward other Christians in joyous fellowship. Unlike birds, however, we should never segregate ourselves from non-Christians. The way we conduct our lives may be the only Bible that some people ever read. We need to be close enough they can see the print!

The famous passage in Ecclesiastes states, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” There is a time and a reason for segregation. It’s called sin. Christians are commanded by the Bible to come away from sin and be separate.

Just as the ground at the cross is level and everyone born into this world has an equal opportunity to reach out to Jesus for salvation and forgiveness, so too are sins level. Viewing actions from our human perspective we condemn murder as the ultimate crime. Yet God hates all sin. The same God who said, “Thou shalt not murder,” also called profanity, gossip, evil speaking, pride, and anger sins and forbid them. Under God’s law, the penalty for sin is death. Any sin. Anger as well as murder.

Thankfully, Jesus died for us so that we can be forgiven and have eternal life. We don’t have to die for our sins. Jesus already did that. Even so, to know something is wrong and do it anyway is rather like nailing Jesus to the cross again. That’s why things like clean conversation and lifestyle, both in my life and in my books, is important to me.

Want to live a victorious life with such deep peace and joy that no circumstance can uproot it? Release sin, cling fast to God. Dare to be a feather in the wind, dependent on God for the journey.

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

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