Friday, December 23, 2011

My Greatest Gift

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Gifts of the Heart". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.

I never realized before how much of a performance based society we live in, where the opinions of others weigh so heavily on what we’ve done, versus who we are, until this past year. 
A string of deaths in my family knocked the wind out of my sails (cliché intended), and I found myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained.

As a result, I stopped performing.

The responses I received from others, though, shocked me.

“What about me?”
“You don’t want to get lazy.”
“You have to move on. It happens.”
“I need . . .”
“I want . . .”

To be honest, the way people reacted was my fault. I’ve always been the type of woman to jump in and get the job done, no matter what. The poor folks weren’t used to my peculiar behavior. I hadn’t given them anything but performance. Even though their reactions stung, they ended up enlightening me.
As I sat on my couch one morning, mulling over everything that had happened, my heart grew heavy. Has my viewpoint been skewed because I thought performance is what it takes to receive love? 

Tears filled my eyes. I feel so alone, God. I’m afraid. What do I do now? All I’ve ever known is to do, do, do.

Then my mother’s words, which she spoke the night before she died, came back to my mind. You need to slow down, honey. Take care of yourself.

On the heels of my mother's former admonishment, a Bible verse I’d heard at church a few weeks prior rang in my ears. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 KJV).

Moments later, the following thoughts overshadowed my heart. God accepts you for who you are. His love for you isn’t based on what you do. It’s about what Jesus did. God loves you unconditionally, no matter what. Rest.

Talk about a gift. 

I leaned my head against the couch, closed my eyes, and fell asleep. 

No, my worth isn't measured in how high I’ve jumped, how wonderful I’ve been, or how much I’ve done for others. It's not even based on where I’ve fallen short. God overcame all of these things with the greatest gift of all—Jesus. His unconditional love is all that really matters. Without Him, I’m nothing. None of us are.

May God bless each and every one of you this holiday season. I pray that you see your true worth, that your Christmas be filled with His love, and that you find rest in His arms.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Goodbye Noel

Goodbye Noel, written by Nike Chillemi, is an awesome read. The woman isn't labeled the Crime Fictionista for nothing.

Katrina Lenart, a maternity nurse from Long Island, New York, is enjoying a toboggan ride with her best friend’s brother, until they see something bloody on the snow-covered ground near a neighbor’s cottage.
Concerned, the two of them rush to check on the residence. They find the door ajar, enter the cottage, and stumble upon the lifeless body of Noel Bauer. A pool of blood is beneath her head.
Moments later, the cries of an infant echo down the hallway. Katrina makes a vow to the child. “You’re going to be fine. Somehow, I’ll make sure. I promise.” 
Detective Ian Daltry arrives. He and his rookie-officer search the premises. Ian grabs the family Bible, flips through the pages, and finds an empty envelope tucked inside. The return address is for the children’s home in Sayville. Did Noel Bauer go to the next county, adopt the baby, and hide it from everyone? Did her husband find out the child was adopted and wasn’t his? Did he become enraged and turn violent?
Speaking of which, where is Noel's husband?
As the investigation ensues, Katrina clashes with Ian Daltry. She finds the man disconcerting, not at all like the college-age fellows she’s use to. She wonders if the stern detective even possesses a light side. Perhaps he uses police manuals at night for nifty bedtime reading.
Ian, a widower with a young daughter, is just trying to do his job. Since his own wife was murdered, Ian's determined to find Noel’s killer, nothing more, but Katrina Lenart is making it hard for him to focus. Her startling green eyes, not to mention her swirling blonde hair keep distracting him. She must be at least ten years younger than he is, which would be a factor if he were even mildly interested in the insufferable woman, but he isn’t.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it?

Trust me, it is. I highly recommend this book.
You can purchase Goodbye Noel here: Amazon.  
Meet the author:

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. BURNING HEARTS is the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, published by Desert Breeze. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series will be released in December, 2011. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Elite of the Weak

I'd like to introduce you to the work of Precarious Yates. Her debut novel, The Elite of the Weak, is the first in a series for young adults. I've no doubt we'll be hearing more about this author's work in the future.

Sixteen-year-old Hadassah Michelman has one goal in mind, to sign up with Revelation Special Ops, an elite, Christian group (similar to the Marines or CIA), so she can join forces to fight against those who sell children as sex slaves. Nothing stirs Hadassah's emotions more than the abuse of these kids. In fact, it’s the only thing that makes her cry.
There’s just one problem. Since Hadassah’s underage, she needs the blessing of her parents to do so.
She speaks with her father, quoting what Special Ops considers one of its guiding principles regarding the elite group. “‘Weak because of a broken heart for the slaves and hostages around the world, and weak because the plight of one person is significant enough.’”
But her father won’t give his consent—yet.  
When Hadassah approaches her mother, who has served with the Mossad, the Israeli Foreign Intelligence, and who has trained Hadassah, her mother is skeptical. “Let’s see how things go in Liberia first. We’ll talk about sending off this application when you get back.”
While on her mission trip in Liberia, and on the dawn of her seventeenth birthday, Hadassah discovers her friends’ daughter is missing. Before the day is over, Hadassah dodges bullets, wild animals in the African jungle, including a black mamba, and helps to rescue her friends’ daughter—and fifty-nine other children—all with the assistance of a few bucks, some chewing gum, a mini transmitter, an iPod, a cell phone, and a hairpin camera.

She receives her parents’ permission to send in her application to Revelation Special Ops.
But the battle is only beginning.
After Hadassah arrives at Revelation Special Ops, she meets new friends, including an intriguing young man, endures rigorous training, and comes face-to-face with more opposition than she ever imagined.
Can Hadassah fulfill her goal of saving the children? Will she be able to get in and out of high security facilities? Can she keep the code?
With Yeshua’s help, Hadassah believes she can. She was born for such a time as this.
I applaud Ms. Yates for tackling these tough topics in her novel. She handles the subject matter with finesse and grace.
The Elite of the Weak shows how people can make a difference, no matter their age. Perhaps after reading this, others will stand up and do the same.

Available now in the following versions:




Meet the author: 

Precarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their mastiff. When she's not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

You can learn more about Ms. Yates and about the issues discussed in this novel by visiting

Book 2 of Revelation Special Ops, Pharmacia: Those Magic Arts, is due out in 2012.