Thursday, September 29, 2016

Unexpectedly Strange and Fantastic At The Same Time - New Amazon Review of Seventh Dimension - The Door, A Young Adult Fantasy

Book Review by Glenda with GABixler Reviews



In an author's note, the author shares the intended audience for this book... the Debut of the Seventh Dimension series... For every child who struggles with doubt, for every kid who has been bullied, for every teen who comes from a broken home, and for every young adult who longs to be understood— this book is for you.

Personally, I think that about covers all of us, don't you? At least at one time or another, especially as teens, we have been one of those children she wants to reach... For many, who will know who they are, I'll recommend this to you as a "must read!"

Shale Snyder was an unhappy girl--unhappy at home, at school, and now she'd had a curse placed on her after she had fallen, holding a friend's dog, and it had been killed. Two years later, Judd still hated her and was harassing her, the latest by sneaking up to her in the halls of school, touching her, and then moving away quickly so nobody noticed other than Shale who, at first, wasn't sure who was doing this--though she had a good guess...

Now she felt like her only friend was her Diary, always opening with Dear DOG... (And although she spelled His name backwards in case anybody ever read it, God listened to her thoughts as she wrote to Him...)

It was on the day that she'd found an old book she always loved, The Donkey and the King, that she found a straight pin that her mother must have lost, and started carrying it with her... that led to her becoming frustrated and angrily using that pin on the back of Judd, her enemy, who had once again been playing games!

As often happens, though, she was the one who got in trouble!

But it had started when one of her teachers had accused her in class of plagiarizing her paper on as you like it! By that time she was so upset that when Judd started again, she turned, followed him and stuck that pin deep into his back!

It got much worse, she had been suspended, her parents didn't support her, and her best friend's parents told her she couldn't be her friend anymore!

That was the day that Much Afraid came... She had barked outside her door long enough until Shale followed him, on and on, but then her foot caught in a hole and she fell. When she woke up, she heard a lady talking...

Shale had crossed a portal and wound up in a beautiful garden where she found animals--that could talk! She realized that they seemed to be the animals that were in her favorite book when she was a child, and wondered if she was dreaming.

But she was here now, so she started talking to the donkey and discovered that, indeed, his name was Baruch! They told her she was in the King's garden and they roamed around for awhile, talking more, until...The Crows Came!

And they were afraid and left the Garden...until they came to another garden that Baruch recognized when he had been led to meet the King...

They went on...always searching...meeting dangers...until they found themselves in Jerusalem...and discovered that Shale's father had his home there, although he was not there at the time...

But Shale longed to find the King and, one day, they saw him in the distance... And listened while Christ, after his time in the wilderness, was tempted...

Roberts has intertwined the events of Christ's life so skillfully that you find that you are walking in Shale's footsteps, seeing everything new as she was... It's magical, fantastical, and so very, very, memorable... and this is only the first book in the series! I'm excited about the book, a young adult story that is bound to attract young readers through the age of 99... We are all looking to find the King and in this journey into a fantasy set in Jerusalem, you may indeed find Him...




I must add this to my personal favorites for 2016...and it just might be at the top! Get this book as a gift for your teens...and read it also! It's beautifully written, and beautifully inspired. I think you'll agree with me if you decide to meet Baruch and have him help you through the journey. Highly, highly recommended. And see my blog for unexpected happenings while writing this review...


*~*~*~*

Friday, September 23, 2016

God's Love Revealed in a Worm



Recently some friends and I were discussing when we feel closest to God. I sheepishly responded I feel closest to God when I am writing or scuba diving. I feared that didn’t make me sound very spiritual— until someone remarked that’s probably when I feel most needy. 

I reminisced back to my diving days before kids. Away from the noise and distractions of a busy life, I would be overcome with the immense beauty and vastness of the world beneath the ocean.

On one night dive in the Florida Keys, my dive buddy and I were at seventy-five feet. We were diving off a shipwreck, and when I shone my underwater light on the rustic red side of a sunken boat, I discovered a brown caterpillar-like creature with tons of legs.

He was edging his way along at a rather slow pace. I probably stunned him by
the intrusion of my bright light in what was otherwise total blackness.
As I floated beside the ship and examined the peculiar worm,

I wondered why, in the middle of the vast Atlanta Ocean, I would discover this
rather ugly creature.
Asking questions of seeming insignificance can lead to discussions latent with deeper meaning. Why did God create me? Are the things we stumble upon in life purely by chance?


Twenty-five years later, I’ve not forgotten that worm in the bottom of the ocean’s depths. I am reminded that our words bear witness to God’s nature in all of nature. We feel God’s pleasure in the stories that we tell—the stories that touch us deeply.


One worm found his way into a Bible story. In the book of Jonah in the Old Testament, God sent Jonah to warn the people of the city of Nineveh to repent of their ways. After being eaten by the whale, Jonah traveled to the wicked city and did as God had asked him. But when God didn’t destroy the city and spared the inhabitants, Jonah brooded over God’s mercy to Israel’s enemies. Then God supplied a plant to give Jonah shade as he sat angry in the hot noonday sun. The next day, however, God provided a worm to eat the plant. Sometimes
my life seems like that. What is God is trying to teach me?




Diving into the depths of the ocean reminds me of diving into the depths of God’s love. I see His creativity in the world of worms, garden eels, and sea urchins; manta rays that glide over the sea wall, nurse sharks that hide under rocky ledges, and barracuda that amass in the hundreds.


God’s underwater paradise gives me hope that harmony with the world through Him is possible. I may not understand it all, but I don’t have to. Perhaps God just wants me to enjoy the journey and channel His creativity that I so much love
into my soul.



As my kids get older, I look forward to once again putting on the weight belt, BC, tank, and octopus. I always enjoyed spitting into my face mask to clean it (after all, how many times in life is that acceptable behavior); and, of course, getting that last strand of hair out of the mask so
as not to burn my eyes with seeping saltwater. I can’t wait to push in that regulator button and hear the compressed air spew out (pretty important down there to be able to breathe) and I will waddle like a duck in all my gear to the back of the boat and wait my turn (imagining I look better than I feel with  the cumbersome tank on my back).










I will make sure I remember all those hand signals (the out-of-air one might come in handy), and hopefully, heave off the back of the boat in a spectacular somersault.





The rising bubbles as I sink and the sound of the regulator imitating my breathing will bring me back to my favorite pastime. I will be wooed once more to enjoy God’s presence in a world of unparalleled beauty where even a worm bears witness to His unconditional love.


* * * * * * *

To enjoy more of Lorilyn Roberts' writings, check out her website at http://LorilynRoberts.com or visit her blog at http://LorilynRoberts.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Complete List of Awards the Seventh Dimension Series Has Won



Winning awards has been great validation for my passion, tenacity, and hard work writing books, but I don't take it for granted that every book will win anything. Like an athlete, I'm constantly striving to make each book better, spending months researching and thinking about the plot before I ever write the first word. 

The next book in the Seventh Dimension Series will be book five. In the meantime, as I research and read books dealing with Islam - yes, a hint about book five - I felt led to share all the awards the series has won so far. Many friends and readers are unaware of how many I've accumulated. 

Next month, I'm going to Las Vegas to receive an award for The City from Literary Classics. I've never been to any ceremonies for the awards I've won, so I'm looking forward to being a "celebrity" of sorts for an evening. Maybe I'll have a photo snapped that I will post on my blog. I guess that means I need to buy some new clothes and get my hair done so, as my kids say, I'll look presentable. Maybe that's just what I needed, a good excuse to indulge myself and pull myself away from the computer. 


*~*~*~*



Seventh Dimension - The Door, Book 1





  • 2013 International Book Awards Finalist
  • 2013 Grace Awards Finalist
  • 2013 Selah Awards Finalist
  • 2013 Readers' Favorite Finalist
  • 2014 Book Goodies Best CoverContest Winner, YA category













Seventh Dimension - the King, Book 2
  • Winner of the 2014 Literary Classics Book Awards for faith-based YA fiction 
  • Finalist in the 2014 USA Book Awards for religious fiction 
  • Winner in the 9th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards for spirituality 
  • Finalist in the visionary category for the 2015 International Book Awards. 
  • Silver winner in the 2015 Readers' Favorite Book Awards for YA 
  • Finalist (fifth) in the 2015 Best Indie Book Award for YA fiction 









Seventh Dimension - The Castle, Book 3

  • Foreword Reviews' 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards Finalist
  • 2015 Literary Classics Awards Winner for YA Faith-Based Fction. 
  • 2015 USA Best Book Awards Finalist: Religious Fiction Category 
  • 2015 Winner BooksAndAuthors.com - Young Adult Spirituality  
  • 2016 Great Southeast Book Festival Runner Up Winner for YA
  • 2016 New York Book Festival Honorable Mention.
  • 2016 Readers Favorite Award Winner, Historical Fiction  
  • 2016 Global eBook Awards Winner, Fantasy/Historical



Seventh Dimension - The City, Book 4

2016 Literary Classics Award Winner for Young Adult Faith-Based Fiction
(Since The City was just published, hopefully it will win more awards in the future).




I thank God for allowing me to pursue my passion for blogging and writing books, and I pray that everything I write glorifies my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To God be the Glory!






FINALIST 2014 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS FOR CHRISTIAN INSPIRATIONAL AND BOOK COVER DESIGN and 2015 READERS' FAVORITE FINALIST IN YA NONFICTION





Monday, September 12, 2016

Confessions of a Christian Homeschooling Mom


Reposted by Reader Request

Confessions of a Christian Homeschooling Mom



Leaves floating in the pool always signal the end of summer for me and the beginning of autumn. With fall comes my assignment of homeschooling Joy. 


While some days it’s a pleasure and other days a chore, I recently thought about curriculum in an unusual way. It reminded me of something funny years ago when I homeschooled Manisha.
In the fourth grade, she was given an assignment to set up a study schedule for the week—what subjects and how much time she should devote to each one. I chuckle as I remember her daily homeschooling curriculum:  Reading, five minutes; English, five minutes; science, five minutes; history, three minutes; math, thirty seconds; lunch, one hour; and recess, the rest of the day. While that may have seemed like a great curriculum to Manisha at ten, I would hate to imagine where she would be today in her second year of college if I had allowed her to “go her own way.”
homeschooling convention

Last spring over Memorial Day weekend, Joy and I went to the Florida Homeschooling Convention in Orlando. It was a time of refreshment as I reflected on what we had accomplished over the past year and what I hoped to do for this next year. Upon arriving Joy and I quickly ate and hurried down to the exhibit hall, where I spent hours pouring over the books, curriculum, games, and “ideas” on display. 


Most of the venders return every year and there are always new ones to check out. This annual tradition encourages me to keep on keeping on for another year until God shows me it’s time to enroll Joy in traditional school. We just take homeschooling one year at a time.

Each year I assess Joy’s strengths and weaknesses and which curriculum (or non-curriculum) would work best for the following year. I have not used with Joy the same materials that I used for Manisha. Each of my daughters is unique, and as a homeschooling mom, it’s been a joy to tailor the curriculum to meet each of their specific needs. I have to admit, I have made mistakes. A couple of times I tried math programs which caused far too many tears. It required the unexpected expense and time of switching to something else. But I have never doubted God’s calling to homeschool, even as a single parent. I have been brought to my knees at times by the sheer burden and feeling of inadequacy. I could not do it without the Lord’s help.

science experiment


But my heart’s desire to give my daughters the best that I can goes a long way in God’s provision. He makes up for what I lack. As I recall what Manisha wanted for a curriculum many years ago, in my finite wisdom, of course, I knew one minute of math a day would not prepare her for Algebra, and twenty-five minutes of English a week would not be sufficient to write a ten-page term paper on International Relations as a sophomore in college. We can chuckle at the absurdity, laughing because we know ourselves. Are we really any different?

art
In the broader context of life, reflecting on God’s great plan for each of us, do I know what His perfect curriculum is for me?  Do I know what I need in His economy to become the person He created me to be? If God way back at the beginning of time had asked me to design my own curriculum, what would I have asked for? The human side of me would have said, “God, how about a little place on the beach with a pool, lots of books, and a Starbucks latte twice a day. I don’t want to cook, wash clothes, worry about car repairs, computers that crash, or anyone I love getting sick. In fact, give me a life where I never have to worry about anything.”

I know it’s not very “spiritual,” but if the truth be told, I don’t think anyone would ask for heartache. After all, we don’t have the mind of God. Our little thoughts are not like His. We long selfishly for a fulfilling life, to have our needs met, and to be accepted by others. The Bible is full of all the perils that accompany that mindset, beginning with Adam and Eve.

Atlanta Aquarium, Field Trip


One of the courses in my life curriculum (which I never would have asked for) was working for twenty years as a court reporter. I never liked court reporting—the adversarial nature of it, the long, unpredictable hours, the fact that most of what I wrote was meaningless in God’s great scheme (who cares that someone found a cricket in a can of beans). Plus it was something I never wanted to do but circumstances willed it.

Sometimes life takes away our freedom to choose. Things happen. In those moments of doubting God’s best for us, we should cast our eyes on Jesus, who did the will of His Father and not His own. I “begrudged” those years until very recently, feeling like much of my working life was wasted. How many books could I have written during that time?  I can’t say I was filled with discontent, but certainly upon occasion I have questioned, why didn’t God allow me to pursue writing at a much younger age?  Why did “this” have to happen?  You can fill in the blank with your own “this” and ask your own “why.” I have said to myself more than once, things would have been so much better if I had chosen “this” but couldn’t.

Horse Show Field Trip


What better choices could there be than what my heavenly Father chose for me?  Do I not trust Him completely? Does He not know the best curriculum to mold me into His image?  Cannot my sorrows and loss be counted as gain for the kingdom of heaven? 

Jesus tells us in John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” Jesus gave this command to His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion. Little did His followers know what was about to happen. But Jesus knew if His words “abided” within their hearts, it would be sufficient to bring them through the dark days that lay ahead.

Kayaking Adventure with Homeschooling Friends at Cedar Key, Florida

God has given us everything we need to equip us for His heavenly kingdom. Our curriculum has been chosen by the King of the universe. He molded each one of us from clay. He breathed life into us. He gifts us with talents and blesses us with hope and so much more than we deserve. He loved us so much He sent His only Son to die for us. No doubt His curriculum is vastly different from and better for my soul than anything I could possibly envision.

When I took my novel course in my Masters studies, I learned that one of the greatest novelists of all time, Charles Dickens, began his career as a court reporter. So I am in great company. Who knows how God will use those years down the road. After all, He is the great designer, craftsman, artist, and author.

Missions Trip to Nepal.
Joy took picture of me reading to children

God knows exactly what curriculum we all need to complete a doctorate in life and graduate Summa Cum Laude. And for each one of us, God lovingly designs the classes. I think a doctorate would fittingly describe the many difficult courses we must take to become everything He longs for us to be. And it will probably require—at least for me—more than thirty seconds of suffering, two minutes of patience, five minutes of sacrifice, and five minutes of prayer.



If we can cease our striving, our complaining, and slow down, God might just exempt us from a life class we would rather not take. “Godliness with contentment is great gain,” according to I Timothy 6:6; and that Starbucks latte, well, I do enjoy one upon occasion. Now, by God’s grace, I just need a teaspoon of patience and a tablespoon of love to enjoy another successful year of homeschooling.  



As an addendum, I actually wrote this article a few years ago, but recently, someone asked me to repost it as it was no longer available on the web. Manisha, my oldest one (on the right in the picture) graduated with honors from St. Leo University with a bachelors in psychology. She now has a professional position with a local company and is on her own now (I miss her terribly), and Joy just started her first first year of college at Santa Fe College. She hopes to get into nursing school.

Looking back at those ten plus years homeschooling, I wish I had done one thing more: I wish I had smelled more flowers. Enjoy homeschooling; the days pass all too quickly. Take that trip to the ice cream store. Enjoy that movie. Cook more meals. Spill more coffee. And don't forget to laugh until you cry. Believe me, God is in the details, and He won't disappoint you. You will succeed if you give your best to Him!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Ben Carson Unhinged! Dismantles Obama! Amazing! I Love This Man!




I love Dr. Carson. I voted for him before switching to Trump when Carson bowed out. I'm glad to see Carson continuing to be involved in the political process.  The first time I knew who Carson was, was after his appearance at this dramatic event, and when he talked about the event on Fox News.  I knew right then he should run for President.  

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Thirty Years Ago Today, September 4, 1986, My Life Changed Forever



It was thirty years ago today, September 4, 1986, that my life changed forever. I thought I would never be happy again. I couldn't imagine I would find joy or be able to move beyond my pain. 

While I hoped God would be sufficient to help me thrive after my failed marriage, I wasn't sure He would. I wasn't even sure God could heal my broken heart. Yet, when we trust God, there is hope, and despite my devastation and loss, I clung to that hope, the kind of hope referred to in Hebrews 11:1: Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.


My life has been full of blessings since that dreadful day when I walked out of the courthouse with a big "D" on my forehead. I can't imagine the blessings I would have missed had I stayed married. Marriage to a godless man is no substitute for God. God is my husband, my provider, my sustainer, my healer, my everything. 

If only I had known thirty years ago all the wonderful things God had planned for me. But without the pain of a failed marriage, without surrender to The One Who loved me enough to die for me, I don't believe I would have appreciated the cost. 

If you are going through a tough time, don't lose heart. Nothing is impossible with God, and all things, if we let go, He will use in a way we can't even imagine. If not completely in this world, He will use in the world to come. God can mold you and me into the person He longs for us to become. And what greater opportunity to serve Him is there than being His child?  

All the fame we amass, all the riches we accumulate, all the knowledge we learn, all the experiences we rack up, and all the prestige we earn, none of it comes close to what it means to be a "child of God." 

The following is an excerpt from my memoir, Children of Dreams. Enjoy.





…the children of the promise
Romans 9:8

“I took away her dreams,” my husband told the judge on September 4, 1986. Humanly speaking, he might have thought so. In John 8:44, God describes Satan as the “Father of lies.” He desired to destroy me, to make me doubt God’s love and goodness. In my pain, I believed a lie, much like the children believed Aslan was dead in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

However, a higher law governs the universe, a law that supersedes every human sin and evil that attempts to corrupt God’s perfection. Our heavenly Father, who is full of grace and mercy, works out His purposes despite the evil that lurks in the shadows. No human being has the power to thwart God’s ultimate plan.

He works in spite of the prince of this world and uses everything for His glory. God wastes nothing, whether it is disease, affliction, corruption, greed, lies, or betrayal. Jesus is our ultimate example of being perfect and commanded us in Matthew 5:48: “Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father in heaven is perfect.”

God’s incredible love for us is even more astounding when one considers He was under no obligation to adopt us. He could have treated us as angels, making us spiritually alive through regeneration, and justifying us under the law through His death and resurrection (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1994, 738-739) To adopt us and call us His children, to call Himself our Father, displays an intimacy in our relationship that defies, in my limited understanding, all logic. Why would the Creator of the universe want to be our Father? Even Albert Einstein, for all his genius, could not understand God as a personal God (Hugh Ross, Ph.D., The Creator and the Cosmos, Colorado Springs, Col: Navpress, 2001, 75.)

Just as I signed a contract and made a down payment to adopt my children before I left for Nepal and Vietnam, God has given us “His Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:22).

On July 26, 2000, we made a memorable trip to the Alachua County Courthouse to finalize Joy’s adoption. A few years earlier, I had taken Manisha to the same place to finalize hers. Both of my children’s adoption decrees are now sealed and kept safe, just as God sealed my adoption and yours in heaven.

I renamed my children Hope and Joy, and God promises to give us a new name, “…known only to him who receives it.” (Rev 2:17). The adoption of my children represents a foreshadowing of what God has in store for all of us.

Much of the meaning of being a child of God has yet to be revealed. It is hard to comprehend the King giving me heavenly possessions that will never break, become outdated, cost too much, get lost, or that I don’t have to return because they are defective.

In my limited understanding, I have tried to imagine a world where there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” (Rev 21:4). Where the “dwelling of God will be among us, and He will wipe away every tear.” (Rev 21:4). Where every kind of “precious stone forms the foundation of the heavenly city that is paved in gold.”(Rev 21:19).



How can we envision perfection when all we have known is imperfection? God longs to be our Father, to share His inheritance with us, just as I longed to be an orphan’s mother. God planned us to be part of His family from the foundations of the world. He made us for His glory and “set eternity in the hearts of men.” (Ecc 3:11). He will give us new bodies that will never grow old or die, but will be raised imperishable (I Cor 15:42).

I am sure if I told my children, “You can go back to Vietnam or Nepal and live your former way of life before I adopted you,” they would turn it down. Why would they want to go back to depravity, worms and hunger? In our heavenly home, the old order of things will have passed away (Rev 21:4) and the former things will not be remembered (Isaiah 65:17).

Before I adopted my two beautiful daughters, it was hard to imagine what it would be like to be a mother. I dreamed about little girls and birthday parties, Christmas trees and toys, bear hugs and butterfly kisses, and my name transformed into the magical word “Mommy.” Through prayer and God’s faithfulness, what seemed impossible became real. So it will be someday with our heavenly Father and us.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” God knows how we are formed and remembers we are dust (Psalm 103:14). Jesus said when we pray, to call God “Our Father.” The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children (Romans 8:16). God compares Himself to a father having compassion on his children (Psalms 103:13). Our heavenly Father loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son (John 3:16), and He has made us heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

Even creation itself will be liberated when we are brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:21). Through adoption, God gave me my Children of Dreams and quenched the desires of my heart (Psalms 37:4). With God, our heavenly Father, before the foundations of the world, made us His Children of Promise (Romans 9:8 and Galatians 4:28).





Revelation 5: 9-10

“You are worthy to take the scroll and break open its seals.
You are worthy because you were put to death.
With your blood, you bought people for God.
They come from every tribe, language, people, and nation.
You have made them members of a royal family.
You have made them priests to serve our God.
They will rule on the earth.”




Children of Dreams was an award winner in the 2016 Readers Favorite Book Awards!