Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"I've just seen..." Jonah?!

I've just seen Jesus, I tell you, He's alive!
I've just seen Jesus, our precious Lord alive!

So goes the wonderful Easter song.

Just before Easter, I told friends, "I took a break and ran from writing like Jonah from Ninevah."
That was when I got into the play I've described several articles below. It was so much fun and got me out with wonderful people. A real blessing.
The play ended the week before Easter.
And Easter week, I visited a nearby church I've passed a thousand times. My friend had mentioned their Maundy Thursday service and I decided to go.

Two tall wood carvings stand in the lobby, very stylistic and modern.

One is Moses, representing the Law. The Old Testament.

I looked at the other figure, expecting to see Jesus. The New Testament.

Then I noticed a vine.

And a large gourd.

And I saw Jonah!

I stood there amazed. I'm not sure why they have Jonah instead of Jesus.
But there he was.
God had led me there, where I'd never been before.
He reminded me of my comparison.

And told me it was time to get back to my writing!

As I had also told my friends, I see His hand so much, encouraging my writing. He is so faithful.

So, I'm writing, I'm writing! And lookin' out for a big fish....

Friday, April 06, 2007

An Easter visit from author Tricia Goyer

Before we hear about Tricia Goyer's latest book,
here's a clever thought from her about Easter.

Every year I help my husband put on an Easter
program for our children's church. And no matter
what part of the Easter story we share, we always
use the same slogan:
No Bunny Loves Me Like Jesus.

This year as you awaken with joy over the resurrection remember:
No Bunny Loves Me Like Jesus.

As you dress in your Easter finest remember:
No Bunny Loves Me Like Jesus.

As you see the delight in your children's eyes as they open their Easter treasures, tell them:
No Bunny Loves You Like Jesus.

And as we consider Christ's death in order that we might have life, let's celebrate:
No Bunny Loves Us Like Jesus!

Love it!

Now, Tricia tells us about the stories behind A Valley of Betrayal.

A few years ago when I was researching for my fourth World War II novel, Arms of Deliverance, I came across a unique autobiography. One B-17 crewmember I read about claimed to make it out of German-occupied Belgium after a plane crash due, in part, to his skills he picked up as a veteran of The Spanish Civil War. Reading that bit of information, I had to scratch my head. First of all, I had never heard of the war. And second, what was an American doing fighting in Spain in the late 1930s? Before I knew it, I uncovered a fascinating time in history—one that I soon discovered many people know little about. This is what I learned:

Nazi tanks rolled across the hillsides and German bombers roared overhead, dropping bombs on helpless citizens. Italian troops fought alongside the Germans, and their opponents attempted to stand strong—Americans, British, Irishmen, and others—in unison with other volunteers from many countries. And their battleground? The beautiful Spanish countryside.

From July 17, 1936-April 1, 1939, well before America was involved in World War II, another battle was fought on the hillsides of Spain. On one side were the Spanish Republicans, joined by the Soviet Union and The International Brigade—men and women from all over the world who have volunteered to fight Fascism. Opposing them, Franco and his Fascist military leaders, supported with troops, machinery, and weapons from Hitler and Mussolini. The Spanish Civil War, considered the “training ground” for the war to come, boasted of thousands of American volunteers who joined to fight on the Republican side, half of which never returned home.

Unlike World War II, there is no clear line between white and black, good and evil. Both sides committed atrocities. Both sides had deep convictions they felt worth fighting and dying for.

Loyalists—also know as the Republicans were aided by the Soviet Union, the Communist movement, and the International Brigades. If not for the weapons and volunteers from these sources their fight would have ended in weeks rather than years. While many men fought side by side, their political views included that of liberal democracy, communism and socialism. The Catholic Basque Country also sided with the Republic, mainly because it sought independence from the central government and was promised this by Republican leaders in Madrid.

Nationalists—or Francoists were aided mainly by Germany and Italy. The Nationalist opposed an independent Basque state. Their main supporters were those who believed in a monarchist state and fascist interests. The Nationalist wished for Spain to continue on as it had for years, with rich landowners, the military, and the church running the country. Most of the Roman Catholic clergy supported the Nationalists, except those in the Basque region.

During the Spanish Civil war, terror tactics against civilians were common. And while history books discuss the estimated one million people who lost their lives during the conflict, we must not forget that each of those who fought, who died, had their own tales. From visitors to Spain who found themselves caught in the conflict, to the communist supporters, Basque priests, and Nazi airmen . . . each saw this war in a different light.

These are the stories behind A Valley of Betrayal.
Tricia Goyer, October 2006

If you like, you can read the first chapter here.

And remember, No bunny loves you like Jesus!

Titus 3:4-8 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement....

Monday, April 02, 2007

Enchanted April: To those who appreciate wisteria and sonshine

To Those who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine.
Small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores
of the Mediterranean to be Let Furnished for
the month of April. Necessary servants remain.
Z, Box 1000, The Times.

I am happily exhausted.

"Enchanted April" is over, my "play" mates scattered.


But, like the characters who bonded in the lovely ambience at San Salvatore, we're already planning to get together, to see the play when another group performs it in another venue, and one member has invited us all to her lake house later this spring.

This was all an amazing blessing to me:

One of my favorite stories comes along and I get a part just the right size for me at my level of experience, plus, speaking a language I've always loved,and just having fun when I needed a break from nursemaiding dh after his foot surgery.

I see the Lord having made sure I read an article a few years ago about this ten-year-old movie I had missed, "Enchanted April." It sounded delightful.

Some weeks later, Blockbuster had a huge sale of old movies and there it was. I bought it and loved it.

Recently, although I usually read the news online, I picked up a local paper and saw the ad for the audition, and amazingly, got a part. In Italian.

Then, sweet, funny, talented people were chosen to be at San Salvatore with me in cast and crew.

All this falling into place just as when the main character, Lotty, went to London on a different day than usual, and read the ad in the paper at her woman's club--when
Rose, who Lotty wanted as her future traveling companion, happened to be there as well....

In the last scene, the cast crossed the stage slowly in couples or alone as they looked at San Salvatore one last time. I (Costanza, a "necessary servant") stood to the side waving good-bye, and the last time, my tears were real. :' ) I would miss these characters and the awesome people who played them in this imaginary place. And the awesome crew that kept things moving along.

After the closing matinee, we stayed behind to take down the set and clean up the Green Room. Then I went home to meet a daughter and her husband and child, who took us out to dinner.

I also found a surprise from them, a pot with a tall budding wisteria standing in the afternoon sunshine.

My husband planted it for me today.

This was a wonderful experience beyond my comfort zone, but with much more fun than fear. God is so awesome and so good and I look forward to throwing my arms around His neck one day!

If you like, read the online book.