Thursday, December 30, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Angels, Roaches, TV’s and Christmas



I never thought roach droppings would become part of one of my favorite Christmas stories. But stories have a way of writing themselves on our hearts. Each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my sister Paige invites my brother's family and my family to her house. The kids join us at the dining room table where lots of interesting knickknacks are transformed into Christmas decorations. Paige is an artist and enjoys sharing her talent with the children. It is a good thing for my daughters. Most of my art projects as a child didn’t go as planned. I always missed an important step along the way and my results were, should I say, memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. So I watch as the others dive in and create beauty.



Last year all the cousins created angels to hang on the Christmas trees. The little angels were dressed in white lace, had feathery wings, and a red rose dotted the front collar. Instead of halos, the kids crowned the angels with macaroni noodles. The golden hair created the same effect. Joy was proud of her angel and when we returned home from the long trip, she hung it on our Christmas tree. Christmas came and went. January rolled around; I reluctantly took everything down and packed the ornaments away in our attic for another year.


Last week I climbed up into the dark, dusty attic once again to pull out the Christmas tree and ornaments. Joy set up the tree and I opened up the first container. When I unlatched it and looked inside, dozens of roach droppings littered the bottom of the box. A few tumbled out onto the living room floor. Several of the ornaments had brown pellets clinging to them. I was quite repulsed, only slightly less than I would have been if live ones had scampered out or dead body parts had been left behind. I wondered why one suitcase had so many, though I found a couple in the other suitcase also. In years past there had never been any.


I fetched the vacuum cleaner and vacuumed up all the droppings. Visions popped in my head of hundreds of roaches crawling over my beautiful ornaments that I had accumulated through many Christmases. I grabbed some paper towers and wiped down the inside. How many roaches would it take to make that much crap? I cringed. Living in Florida has its dark side. I always hated climbing up into the attic. Now I hate it even more.

Then Joy cried out, “Mommy, my angel has no hair.”


“What happen to her hair?”


“I think the roaches ate it.”

We broke out laughing. The roaches had spent the whole summer feasting on my daughter’s angel’s macaroni hair! I am sure Joy will always remember this Christmas, but probably not because of any presents she received.



As I think back to my fondest Christmas memories, many of them are also quite eclectic. There was the Christmas in downtown New York when we got trapped inside a car on fire. The electric windows were stuck and my grandfather smashed the driver’s side window with a suitcase. I remember the screams. Mother pulled me out through shards of broken glass. Sirens blared and emergency lights flickered in the cold night air. We never did get to see the lighting of the tree. We spent the evening in a fancy hotel. Later Mother told me a Hollywood director was there for a children’s beauty pageant and had pleaded with her to let him take me to Hollywood. He wanted to make me a star. It sounds crazy but it’s true.


That was when I lived with my grandparents. My mother had just divorced and sent me to live with them until she found a job and place to live. I chose my mother’s pink bedroom to be my bedroom that winter, pretending I was her when she was little.


My most vivid memory from that cold, snowy winter was Christmas Eve when I heard Santa’s reindeer pounding on the roof of the tall apartment building. It was a loud swishing sound followed by gallops that woke me up. I didn’t believe in Santa Claus until that night. I lay in my warm bed imagining what Santa and his reindeer looked like. I wanted to jump up and peek out the window, but I was afraid if I saw them, he wouldn’t leave me anything. The next morning I ran to the window and looked below from thirteen stories up. To my surprise, there were large sleigh marks in the snow. Larger than any sleigh I had ever seen. I stared out the window for a long time.


I’ve thought about that more this Christmas than any other in recent memory because of a strange conversation over Thanksgiving dinner. I asked my brother’s wife if all their kids, who are younger than the rest of the Roberts’ children, knew there wasn’t a Santa Claus. As we talked, I shared my experience about Santa Claus at my grandparents’ apartments when I was little, but I mentioned only the part about the sleigh tracks in the snow.


Mother responded immediately, “I saw them, too, and heard Santa land on the roof!”


“You did?” I asked surprised. “I also heard the reindeer hoofs pounding on the roof. The swishing sound woke me up.”


There was a silence as we all thought about the strange coincidence. Mother had shared about the rooftop noise before I brought it up. Everyone looked at Mother and me like we were demented. To this day, I have no explanation. Sometimes I wonder if God allows fanciful moments to bring comfort to children. Maybe that’s what I needed at that time—to have something to believe in. Maybe that’s what my mother needed, too.


One Christmas my parents thought they were rich. They bought me a very special present. I was eleven, and the gift still sits in the top of a closet. On Christmas morning, I tore into the Christmas wrap and discovered a brand-new television set. I watched many episodes of my favorite show, Star Trek, on that TV. I took the television away to college. When I was older, I lugged it into the office and watched all the Apollo launches. I never missed one—except the Challenger that blew up on the launch pad.



Today the TV is a dinosaur in this age of color, digital-only cable/satellite/internet connections. But I still won’t part with it. When I see it in the closet, I am reminded of a pastime I can never have back. My father and grandparents are gone, my mother has remarried and doesn’t even live in the same house as we did back in those days. My brother and sister have families of their own. I am old (though not gray) and live in a different state. We have lots of TV’s that are far superior to that one. In fact, the TV takes up valuable real estate that could be devoted to something else more useful.


When I was in Vietnam on Christmas Eve to adopt Joy, who is now twelve, beautiful Christmas music wafted through the streets of Hanoi. It was here that unfathomable suffering occurred during the Vietnam War. Today many believers in Vietnam are locked behind dark walls for believing in Christ. But God’s words filled the nighttime air. I rejoiced, so far from home, realizing nothing can silence what God proclaims from the mountaintops—or loud speakers hoisted on poles in a godless nation.


God’s love reaches to the ends of the earth—in Nepal, where children love Jesus despite the Marxist Moasts who have killed many Christians; in Israel, where shepherds tend their flocks on the same hill where angels proclaimed glory to the newborn king. If we did not speak of the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes at Christmas, the rocks would cry out. The mountains and hills would burst into song. Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Everlasting Father; the greatest gift of all came through the birth of one small child on a Christmas morning two thousand years ago.


Joy’s hairless angel hangs proudly on our tree this Christmas (though I wish I could de-sanitize it some). All the gifts will be opened Christmas morning. I will eat far too much chocolate candy and then bemoan the five pounds I gain. I will make my usual promise to start exercising on January 1, which I will probably break by the middle of the month. We will enjoy all the traditions that this wonderful season brings, full of joy, giving, and love. Then the ornaments will be taken down and packed away until next year. Hopefully, the roaches will find something else to eat besides an ornament’s angel’s hair. My black and white TV will remain in the closet because I can’t bear to part with it. Life will resume its regular course, and I will be glad for the start of a new year.


But for now, during this joyous Christmas season, I will pause to reflect on the gift of the baby Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, knowing someday, too, I will bow before the new-born King. And, just maybe, there won’t be any roach droppings there!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

April Gardner discusses Wounded Spirits, an Amazon Best-Seller, the John 3:16 Marketing Network, and More

I would like to introduce April Gardner. April is a gifted writer with a wonderful personality that shines through in her writing. I met April on Facebook and approached her shortly after starting the John 3:16 Marketing Network. It was with much fear and trepidation that I initially asked people to join. Luckily for me, April took me up on my offer; and for that I am grateful. She has been a tremendous asset to the John 3:16 Marketing Network, paving the way for others to follow in her footsteps. I share this short interview with April, which speaks to our hearts as each of us longs to write a best-seller on Amazon.


What motivated you to become a writer?


There was a story that needed to be told. I came across the lives of the Creek Indians and the McGirths on the pages of history books and felt a burning need to know these people better, to understand how they might have reacted and dealt with the circumstances thrust upon them. There’s a certain mysterious and regal quality to our country’s Natives that lures me in. They had nearly perfected the true sense of community, selflessness, and passion. I just needed to live in their moccasins for a while.


How do you write fiction -- do you outline or fly by the spirit? Do you pick your characters out of thin air, or base them on people you know? And how did you create the historical setting of Wounded Spirits? Did you have to do lots of research or are you a history buff?


I tried writing “by the seat of my pants.” Once. Nope, it’s not for me. I’m a detailed plotter. I build my characters based on what I need them to accomplish in the plot. Adela, for instance, needed to find it relatively easy to forgive some pretty unforgiveable deeds. So I made her a people-pleaser. When a wrong was done against her, she automatically found a way it might have been her own fault.

The historical setting for Wounded Sprits was practically created for me. Pickett’s History of Alabama is one of the most interesting history books you’ll ever read. It’s almost written in story-form. Since Pickett interviewed many survivors of the Creek War, he was able to color the pages with amazing descriptions of the people and places found in Wounded Spirits. He made my research rather easy. Thank you Mr. Pickett!



You reached number one status in Christian fiction as a brand-new author on the day of your public launch. Please share with others how you accomplished such an incredible feat!


All the glory goes to God. He worked out the details and brought everything together at the last minute. Until a month ago I really didn’t understand the premise behind the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Looking back, it’s simple. Get everyone you can to buy the book on one certain day and the book’s Amazon ranking will rise—to #1, Lord willing. Offering e-gifts to everyone buying the book was key, which is why gathering supporters willing to donate a gift is so vital. At the John 3:16 Marketing Network, the support system is already in place. All an author has to do is ask for help and it’s there.


To make it seem less overwhelming, consider this. It doesn’t take much to start rising in rank. Four (known) sales the evening before the launch took Wounded Spirits from #800,000 (in Amazon Books) to #62,000. Creating specific subcategories for a book is essential. (“Historical” under “Christian fiction” under “fiction,” for example.) In the historical fiction category, Wounded Spirits competed against a much smaller number than under “fiction” which is what my book was originally categorized under. By 10am, Wounded Spirits had reached #1 in that sub-subcategory. A few hours later, the book reached #1 in Christian fiction which is a larger subcategory but not as large as “fiction.” It reached #2096 in books, which is excellent. One thousand more would have been even better, but I’m not complaining.


I have no idea how many books actually sold, but does it matter? Not really, because the goal was “best seller status” not “X number of copies sold.”


Two days later I’m still rather numb. It was certainly the highlight of my career so far. Yes, I now possess the title Best-Selling Author, but it was the incredible show of support from people who loved me and were rooting for me that brings tears to my eyes, even now. Acquaintances old and new turned out in droves to buy the book and cheer me on. It’s THEM I have to thank for my new title; and the Lord who somehow, amazingly, found me worthy of it.


I cannot say enough for the John 3:16 Marketing Network. It was a concept I struggled with for a good while, but once it clicked, I knew it would work. Its founder, Lorilyn Roberts, is amazing. She was there for me every step of the way, guiding me and cheering me on. Joining is free, so I encourage any author wanting to see their book sales go further to hop on board and see if this might not be the place for them. I’m betting it is!


Can you give us just a tiny peek into your upcoming next book?


The next book, Warring Spirits, picks up four years after the war. The Creek are struggling to get back on their feet after being nearly decimated, and Lillian McGirth finds herself confronted with her own horrible life choices. To quote my editor “it’s a love pentagon” you won’t want to miss. The war for land might be over, but the war in their spirits has just begun!


Anyone wishing to learn more about or join the John 3:16 Marketing Network should visit http://john316mn.blogspot.com/2010/11/become-best-selling-author.html

You need to hurry, though. New memberships will close on December 12 and won’t reopen again until the spring.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

BECOME A BEST-SELLING AUTHOR!




BECOME A BEST-SELLING AUTHOR!
JOIN THE JOHN 3:16 MARKETING NETWORK TODAY!

Holiday Membership Drive
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If you are only following us and not joining us, please email me your name after following us at llwroberts@cox.net. I want to make sure I receive your name to enter you into the drawing. If you JOIN, please also follow us so you can be entered twice.


“What do I have to do to become a member?”

The Only Requirements Are:

You believe in John 3:16
You have a blog or website
You read the John 3:16 Marketing Network information at http://www.lorilynroberts.com/john_3_16_marketing_network.html

AFTER CLICKING ON LINK, FILL OUT THE FORM WITH YOUR NAME AND EMAIL AT TOP OF PAGE TO JOIN!

The John 3:16 Marketing Network currently has fifty members and we expect to hit two hundred when word gets out about our success. We have revolutionized an old marketing strategy and given it a Christian spin.

WHAT DOES THE JOHN 3:16 MARKETING NETWORK DO?


Don’t have an author platform? We can help. Want to be called a best-selling author on Amazon? No problem. Prefer Barnes & Noble. We’ve got you covered. Want your book blasted on dozens of social networking sites? We do that. Want your book advertised on Twitter and Facebook dozens of times? That’s easy. Want an interview of yourself discussing your book—featured on multiple guest blogs? Just let us know. Want your book quickly reviewed and reviews posted on Amazon and other websites? We love doing that. Want your book announced via email to hundreds? Want to see your rankings soar? Want your book exposed to thousands of potential buyers? Want to give your potential buyer a reason to buy your book TODAY and not tomorrow or never? Want to be able to give free e-gifts with your book for added value? Want to share your excitement with other authors? You have come to the right place. The secret to launching best-selling books—we know how to make it happen!


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How much do you think you would pay to get all of this exposure on your own? THOUSANDS! How much does it cost if you are a member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network? Absolutely nothing! What does it cost to join? Zilch!

Have questions? Don’t believe me?

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But Wait! There is More! And It’s FREE!

IF YOU FOLLOW OUR BLOG OR JOIN OUR NETWORK TODAY!
CHRISTMAS GIFT BASKET OF BOOKS

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Select Books For Our First Free Gift Basket


Paradise Grows, by Dr. Robert E. McGinnis



Enjoy Your Money, by J. Steve Miller




Children of Dreams, by Lorilyn Roberts



MEET THREE OF THE JOHN 3:16 NETWORK AUTHORS
AND READ THEIR BOOKS!

Dr. Robert E. McGinnis
Paradise Grows

Kids read so much garbage these days, how about a YA book with clean language, no sex, or extreme violence. This book has adventures galore, and teaches values for life. The newest series that both parents and kids will love! Joy Roberts calls Dr. McGinnis’ Books “Fun and Thrilling to Read!”

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J. Steve Miller
Enjoy Your Money!

Learn about famous people and how they succeeded or failed with their careers and money, such as the manager for LED ZEPPELIN, MARK TWAIN, THOMAS JEFFERSON, SAM WALTON, and football coach JOE GIBBS!

Don't miss this chance to get your free copy in our
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Lorilyn Roberts
Children of Dreams


Part confession, part adventure, and part memoir, Lorilyn weaves a masterful story of love and forgiveness. If you want inspiration, Children of Dreams will not disappoint.

Don't miss this chance to get your free copy in our
Christmas Gift Basket Drawing!

JOIN THE JOHN 3:16 MARKETING NETWORK TODAY AND ENTER YOUR NAME IN THE DRAWING FOR A FREE BASKET OF BOOKS


CLICK ON LINK, FILL OUT THE FORM WITH YOUR NAME AND EMAIL TO JOIN!

Last chance to join until next membership drive in April of next year!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Single Parenting When God Speaks, Sixteen Nuggets of Inspiration





Recently a friend shared with me her daughter was in the processing of adopting two children. The little girls had been abused in their family of origin and the legal case was slowly making its way through the court system. As I reread her email, I prayed that God would answer every prayer my friend’s daughter sent up, just as He had answered mine.



Then the thought occurred to me: What would I say to a young mother-to-be whom God has called to “walk in my shoes”? I know each person’s situation is a little different, but similar in that a woman feels God is leading her to single parent an orphan, an abused child, or a child who might never feel loved. What wisdom would I impart after having been at this noble but difficult task for sixteen years?


I pulled out my keyboard and a plethora of thoughts gushed forth. May my words encourage you if you are chosen by God to save an orphan—whether you are married or unmarried, but particularly if you are single. With God, all impossible things are possible. Without Him, we walk alone.


1. Single parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do, but the most wonderful thing you will ever do.


2. I would never recommend a single woman adopt. It's too hard. I would never recommend a single woman not adopt. The blessings are too great. I would let God tell you what He wants you to do. If God calls you to adopt, never back down, give up, despair, or listen to those who tell you differently. If God is in it, there is nothing that will prevent you from being a mother to a child. God has a plan and a purpose. He does things His way, not ours. Trust in God. He will direct you.


3. You will never know what tired is until you have single-parented two kids on your own (or even one).


4. God is your husband, and the perfect husband.


5. You will come to understand how much God loves you by adopting a child who has no future and no hope, for that is how we are without Jesus.


6. You will share the heart of God; His hands, His hope, and His "all" with your children. They will know God through your sacrificial love.


7. You will love more than you ever thought you could; and you will fail miserably. But your children won't mind. In fact, they will love you anyway. Acknowledge your mistakes and move on. God can be glorified in your shortcomings. He loves your children more than you do.


8. God will not abandon you. He will meet every need you have more abundantly than you could ever imagine.


9. The day you sign the adoption papers will be the best day of your life. God has given you a great gift—a chance to share His love with an orphan. That is the essence of our faith.


10. “Mommy” is the most beautiful word in the English language.


11. Enjoy every moment of the journey. Your children will grow up too fast—in the blink of an eye. The years will wiz by, and you will wonder, where did the time go?


12. Make the most of every opportunity to love, teach, laugh, cry, and even be silly. Be a mother to the fullest. Give it your all. Go to bed exhausted. It's the best kind of tiredness you will ever feel.


13. Have a latte every once and a while, and read your Bible whenever you can.


14. Pray hard. God is always with you. Know this is your calling and your life's work. Your children are precious gifts from the Hands of the Creator. They are beautifully designed in His image with a future and a hope because of your love freely given in His name.


15. Love your children unconditionally. Be flexible. Learn to say "I'm sorry." It does wonders to restore the hurting soul.


16. Enjoy the journey and have a blast. There is nothing else like it short of heaven!










Friday, November 12, 2010

TV Appearance on Atlanta's 57 WATC, Friends and Neighbors



I am so excited to share with you that next Tuesday, November 16, at 12:00 noon, I will be appearing on Atlanta's 57 WATC Friends and Neighbors . The episode will re-air on Saturday, November 20, at 8:30A.M.

If you are not in the Atlanta area, the show will be streamed live on their website at to be given as soon as I have it.

Here is a description of Friends and Neighbors from the WATC TV website:

"Meet Sherry Tatum, Donna Ritchie and Kim Gravel and feel the warmth and love of friends coming together. Viewers will be educated and encouraged every week on Friends & Neighbors."

I had a delightful time taping the show and could not believe how quickly the minutes flew by. They asked me what I wanted to talk about two minutes before Friends and Neighbors started, and I said, "I think I want to share my testimony." It was the first time I shared my testimony in a public setting. Totally unrehearsed, God filled me with His spirit; and Joy made an appearance at the end of the show.

I actually went out and bought a new dress and shoes with high heels. I won't admit how long it had been since I covered my legs in those expensive things that run. What do they call them? Oh, yeah. stockings! Just kidding, but it had been a LONG time since I bought a pair.


I hope you will tune in. I was much more relaxed taping this than I was the Animal Planet's Monsters Inside Me "Shape Shifters" episode.

The producer Gregory West was wonderful and the hosts were spirit-filled, women of God. My book Children of Dreams has given me a welcomed opportunity to share my faith about God's love.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Will the Real Lorilyn Roberts Please Stand Up to Facebook Security Issues

Will the real Lorilyn Roberts please stand up. I hope that's me. My Facebook page was copied by an impostor who wanted to be me. It's rather strange to see your picture and personal information being attributed to another person. Do I have a twin I don't know about? Am I still alive? Or am I losing my mind?


I admit, I have a wee bit of curiosity as to who this other Lorilyn Roberts is. I wonder if she wants to pay my bills. Maybe she could solve all of my problems. I have enough issues to keep her so busy she won't have time to copy anybody else's Facebook site. She can also feed my dogs and pamper my cats. Miss Impostor, if I weren't a Christian, I would call you some other vile name that probably wouldn't be found in a G-rated dictionary.


Facebook earns an "F" for their inability to deal with security issues. I wonder if they made any money off that recent movie. Maybe they could use the profits to invest in a phone line so victims like me can have a number to call and speak to a real person (not a fake). How about an email address? After all, it's been five days since I filled out one of those help forms. In fact, I filled out multiple help forms.


Reminds me too much of the Washington bureaucrats' healthcare plan. Did anybody ever read that thing? They probably took as little time to read that monstrosity as Facebook has to read my messages. Nilch!  Shoot, you give me access to that delete button and I will make that fake profile of Lorilyn Roberts disappear so fast, you will think I am an alien with super powers.


However, I do have the power of the written word at my disposal and I plan to use it to show the world how easy it is to be impersonated on Facebook; and did I use the word "inept" to describe Facebook's quick response? Or how about lack of response? Good thing it's just my reputation. Otherwise, I might hire a lawyer.


As a former court reporter, I have typed enough depositions that they fill my entire attic. Maybe I should dust off those old stenograph notes and find me a good expensive attorney who will take Facebook to the cleaners and the fake Lorilyn Roberts to the brig. Maybe a few cents out of Facebook’s pocket might cause them to care about my time, my reputation, and my friends who have been harassed by this impostor.


And for those who happen upon my blog, don’t think you are immune. I am just an ordinary person living an ordinary life with an ordinary home doing an ordinary job. However, I do have extraordinary kids. But if someone would choose me to pick on, they could pick on you, too.


This scam artist used my picture, copied my profile, and contacted my friends representing herself (or him) to be me. This imposture duped eighty of my friends into becoming her friend. She sent messages to them on Facebook attempting to entice them to do something that nobody could figure out. Need a sampling? Here you go.


"Agent Jean help deaf and hard of hearing in the state and I have get my money from them $50,000 real cash. They brought it down to my door step am really happy. wow!! thanks to Agent Jean deaf help, makes my life better. I saw your name on list of people getting money too, i saw it and i wonder if you get your money yet? 25 people get it here and i also see in deaf news paper too about your name. If you haven't get your money better contact,Agentjeanhelp@yahoo.com."


I actually did contact her on a specially-created Yahoo account for this devilish purpose. I would like to know who this other Lorilyn Roberts is who claims to be me, and this was her response:


"Hello Lorilyn,
My name is Agent Jean Jose We have been waiting here online to talk to you I work for Federal Agency,We remember your Screen name on our list here and your money is available for you to claim, Let us know if you ready to claim the money and we Explain to you how we got your Screen name, You listen and read carefully.Am a Special Agent From the Obama help Organization.We recover the sum of $200,000,000(Two Hundred Million Dollars) from online scammers in the last 12 months.The Federal Government under the leadership of president Obama and the Nigerian government is giving out $50,000.00( fifty Thousand Dollars)To all Yahoo and AIM Sn was found on the scammers computer.And its apart of measure to stop scamming and to compensate those that their screen name was found on the scammers computer. We want to be sure we are giving the money to the right person. we want you to be honest with us in giving us the right information.When you done reading let me know.Congratulations,When you are done reading let us know so that you can claim your money.Thanks


While bringing the money to you at your home and i will like to know if you want a check or a cash money ... which one is preferable to you


Alright,you will need to fill a form for security reason and where we will keep your info so we not going to send the money to Wrong person,are you ready to fill out the form now?


Postal or Home Address For Delivery *
Deaf or Hearing? *
Email
Text Phone *
Occupation *
Gender *
Age *
Do you want cash package or check(Cheque)?
Mobile phone # "


Sorry, you ain't getting one bit of personal information from me, you fool! May God have mercy on you. You will need it.


Sarcasm aside, I want the public to be made aware of this issue. Maybe I should contact the FBI, except they don't have an email address or phone number to call for complaints either. Does anybody care? I contacted two governmental watchdog groups for scams. I wonder if I will hear from them? Something tells me not to be optimistic.


In the meantime, I wage my public war with the pen. Perhaps the pen is mightier anyway. Who wants bad publicity, and if enough people complain somebody somewhere will do something. Justice usually prevails in the end. I am just impatient. I want it now; and I want this impostor caught and punished so she (or he) doesn't do this to anyone else.


I believe Facebook owes it to those who use their network and services to protect people's privacy and to respond in a prompt manner when security violations are reported.




Here is a screen shot of my impostor's Facebook page.






It looks like my page, doesn't it? Maybe she just liked my picture. Sorry, God made only one Lorilyn Roberts and that person happens to be me.


It's been five days and Facebook has done nothing to remove this fake profile from their website, even after repeated notifications by myself and several of my friends.


If you want to help in a small way, leave a comment on my blog. Your comments will boost my placement on Google. Higher placement will increase the likelihood that someone who cares about these kinds of issues will see my blog. Hopefully a Good Samaritan will help me to find justice in this preposterous situation.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bill Graham, a Late-Deafened Adult, Shares His Story


What is it like not to hear and live in a world of absolute silence? While I have spent the last twelve years providing closed-captioning for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, on a personal level, I had no idea what it meant to be deaf. As I see the degradation in caption quality due to pressures within the industry, I decided to do a little research. I wondered how poor captions would affect someone who relies on them to communicate, have access to information, and live a normal life. In the process, I met Bill Graham, a late-deafened adult. I asked him if he would be willing to share his personal story and his experience with closed-captioning. It was an eye-opener for me to get a “snapshot” into the life of Bill as someone who depends on television captioning every day.






LORILYN: Bill, thank you for taking a few minutes to talk with us. Were you born deaf?




BILL: No, I wasn't born deaf. I gradually lost my hearing, and by the time I was 25, I couldn't use the phone anymore. I consider that as the age I became deaf. I didn't know anyone who was deaf and I wouldn't admit to people, even friends, that I couldn't hear. I bluffed my way through life for years, lip-reading as well as I could and translating body language. Not surprisingly, this was very stressful. I began to learn sign language in my late 20's and tried to get involved with the Deaf community. I liked Deaf people a lot, except I couldn't understand their ASL. And I didn't fit in all that well with hard-of-hearing people either as assistive devices were useless for me. When I was 35, I co-founded the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA). People in ALDA share my experience of growing up hearing and becoming deaf as an adult. It can be a powerful bond.




LORILYN: Tell us about your family.




BILL: My wife Karen is CEO of SignOn, a sign language interpreting agency. She was a social worker when we met at a bowling benefit. I bowled over 200 so that qualified me for a date. Later Karen worked as a psychotherapist before co-founding SignOn. We adopted two children from the former Soviet Union: Eva, from the Republic of Georgia, now 14; and Tony, from Northwestern Russia, now 12. They're our darlings—the best reason we have for working and staying out of trouble. Everyone in my family is hearing except me—even the cat and two dogs.




LORILYN: Share with us a little about your life, your occupation, hobbies, or anything else that would be interesting.




BILL: I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. Like all my friends I did sports: baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, whatever. I played semi-pro baseball and was most valuable player on my college team. Go, Bill! As I became deaf, I also became something of a loner. I threw parties and arranged happy hours, but I was always on the periphery, a personable mascot. After I learned sign language, I got involved with deaf activities. One of my favorites was Chicagoland Advocates for Signed Theater (CAST). A friend and I did a triathlon to raise money for CAST; the four-day Border-to-Border Triathlon from the southwestern corner of Minnesota to the Boundary Waters at the northern border, consisting of 435 miles of biking, 50 miles of running, and 50 miles of canoeing. I was in shape back then.




As a single guy I took most of my vacations by bike. Once I took a train to Kansas City and biked back to Chicago; every day was in the 90's with high humidity. I don't recommend it. I did ten or 11 marathons and many regular triathlons.




ALDA didn't just come into my life. it dominated it for years. But I was a lucky duck; the organization identified a new segment of the deaf/hoh world—late deafened adults; and I got a lot more attention than I deserved along the way. I was named to numerous disability-related national boards: VITAC's Captioned Viewer Advisory Panel, Lighthouse International, the National Court Reporters Foundation, the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees, and others. I was profiled in the book Great Deaf Americans...It was quite a ride.




My entire professional career has been in publishing. I was an editor at The World Book Encyclopedia for 18 years and served as Managing Editor of Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia for 12 years. I got laid off last year and after a year of scrambling as an editorial consultant, I decided to get back into the disability world on a professional basis. My first gig is a part-time position as Director of Advocacy and Education with Alternative Communication Services (ACS), a CART/captioning company. I'm having a great time, and there's so much to do: educating organizations about the need for realtime captioning is an endless and formidable job....hopefully, soon it won't be!




LORILYN: Do you use captions?




BILL: I’m not sure I would have been successful without captioning. I know for sure ALDA never would have thrived without CART—for deafened adults, communication is a special challenge; some of us lip-read, some of us sign, some of us hear with cochlear implants, and some of us do none of the above. The only way for us all to communicate together is through realtime captioning. CART is the cornerstone of ALDA. At work I’ve used remote CART a heckuva lot of times. Once when I had a meeting in Dublin, Denise Phipps realtimed the meeting from Nevada; she worked from 2 a.m. well through the morning. Pretty cool (for me). At Microsoft I helped drive the inclusion of closed captions in Encarta, the first multimedia reference product to have captioning. What would I have done without captioning? Oh, I dunno, but surely something else.




LORILYN: If you had a chance to tell the FCC what captions mean to you, what would you tell them?




BILL: I would tell them what I’ve told you here: Captioning has been an essential, critical, and irreplaceable tool in my success on the job and in my family life. Without captioning, I probably wouldn’t watch television with my wife and kids. That would make our family room a family room minus one. I don’t want to be left out. I was a mascot long enough.


- - -


SCAG (Standards Captioning Action Group) hopes to reach 20,000 signatures on the “Petition to the FCC to Mandate a Standard for Television Captioning.” Your signature will encourage the FCC to institute a minimum standard to ensure quality captioning into the future. Thank you for making a difference. To sign (it only takes seconds), go to http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/so-that-the-deaf-may-hear-it-is-written/




Lorilyn Roberts
http://lorilynroberts.com/
http://lorilynroberts.blogpot.com/









Thursday, November 4, 2010

New book, Knowing God, by Sana Edoja

I want to introduce a member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Sana has a heart for God and shares her new book with us, Knowing God. This book would be a blessing to a new Christian or a young Christian. What a great Christmas present it would make for someone who is searching for answers!

Sana writes with a simple style that speaks powerfully to a person's heart. If you buy on Thursday from Amazon.com, you will also be able to receive free e-gifts from other authors!  Please keep reading for more details.




Don’t forget, Friday, November 5, is the big day to order Knowing God and receive lots of free e-gifts. To purchase your copy on Friday, click or paste this link on your browser:

http://www.amazon.com/Knowing-God-0-Sana-Edoja/dp/1419650629/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288187675&sr=8-1

To receive you free e-gifts after you have purchased your book, please email your order number from amazon to the following email address:

Email: sana.edoja@yahoo.fr

Biography of Sana Edoja:

Born in the south of France, the eldest of a family of five children, my origins are French and Moroccan. From the age of thirteen, my favourite hobby was writing French poems and songs.

I initially pursued a degree in business administration, but a few years later developed a strong desire to sing. Unfortunately, circumstances didn’t allow me to pursue this promising career.

In 1995, I came to the United Kingdom to improve my English. Struggling to make a living while in the UK, my life turned around when I believed and was baptized into Christ Jesus, confessing Him as my Lord and Saviour. I saw the power of God at work in my life.

It was this experience that motivated me to write my first book “Knowing God”, which I believe will help those who are seeking God to get a better understanding of the riches of the Kingdom of God.

To see all the free e-gifts you will receive click on the link below:
 http://bookedoja.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/knowing-god-by-sana-edoja/

Knowing God can be very challenging in the world we are living in today, especially with the circumstances of life shown to us by the media.

I have written this book with the clear intention and determination to help those who are looking for the truth to have a better understanding of God as the Bible intends.

There is nothing more beautiful and exciting than having a wonderful relationship with our loving God. His powerful Word promises us that if we seek Him, we will find Him.

“You will seek Me and find Me; when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

My personal experience with God motivated me to share with you what God has revealed to me about His character.

I will also share with you how you can develop a personal relationship with a wonderful Saviour; how your needs can be met and how you can live in righteousness through the power of the Word of God in a practical and conventional way.

I pray that this book will be a source of encouragement and enlightenment to those who are seeking God and want to know Him in a much deeper way.

Reviewed By: Janice S Ramkissoon from Write2Shine:

“Knowing God” is a collection of articles, forming an introductory-style, Bible study guide. The author’s aim is to help others understand that “There is nothing more beautiful and exciting than having a wonderful relationship with a loving God.” And in order to bring this point across, Sana Edoja has chosen topics that are likely to affect individuals who haven’t yet come into a relationship with Christ.

The book is broken down into different headings, based on the title of the articles. The reader can, therefore, choose topics of interest and be able to have easy access to Bible references dealing with that particular aspect of his life. Sana also urges readers to heed Paul’s advice according to Acts 17:11 as they study this book: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures everyday to see if what Paul said was true.”

I believe the message that the author would most like to drive home is found in article 17, in its title: “We have authority and victory over the enemy through Christ.” In this article, Sana reminds us to focus on Christ. Using the scene of Matthew 4:6, she reminds her readers that the devil also knows Scriptures and that “there is no greater lie than one that’s mixed with truth.” For this reason she urges readers to Focus on God, for “when we know the word of God like Jesus did (2000 years ago) and confess the Scriptures throughout our life, using them to combat the lies of Satan…” We will win the battle.

The author shares her experience in little bite sizes particularly, in article 33: “God has given us free will,” and others such as “Overcoming Temptation” and “Sexual Immorality” relating the practical side of what takes place when one does not focus on Christ. Having found Christ we are now responsible; so article 40 is fitting towards the end of the book as she asks the question: “Are you fit to be God’s disciple?”

Sana once enjoyed “clubbing on weekends”. Having found Christ, she lost interest both in that hobby as well as in the music. “I found that clubbing and worldly music were doorways for sin…” listing a few of these sins as “lust, violence, drugs, sex and alcohol” and points out that “they don’t satisfy the craving needs of our souls for love.” And so it is important to not conform to the ways of this world as article 41 highlights.

My recommendations, in order to get the best out of this book, would be to treat it as a reference guide rather than a book you sit down and read from cover to cover. It would be a great gift for a new-born believer, to help towards spiritual growth."

Don’t forget, Friday, November 5, is the big day to order and receive lots of free e-gifts. To purchase your copy on Friday, click or paste this link on your browser:

http://www.amazon.com/Knowing-God-0-Sana-Edoja/dp/1419650629/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288187675&sr=8-1

To receive you free e-gifts after you have purchased your book, please email your order number from amazon to the following email address:


Email: sana.edoja@yahoo.fr

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

AARP, The Captioning Question

Letter to AARP
Will They Encourage Members to Sign the Petition to

“Mandate a Caption Standard for Television Programming?”

Dear Sir,

How many AARP members are hard of hearing? According to the website http://ihcrp.georgetown.edu/agingsociety/pdfs/hearing.pdf, up to 43 percent of the population over 65 suffer from hearing loss. Twelve percent of the population is over 65 and that translates into four million Americans. And because AARP considers anyone over 50 to be "old," adjusted conservatively down to 55 years, these figures would probably double to eight million Americans who have hearing impairments.

Today I received this email from a friend a mine:

"I signed the petition. Alvin and I watch TV with captioning all the time. Even with the volume turned up, sometimes it is difficult to understand the dialog. And some captioning is awful! Thanks, Carol."

I have been a closed captioner for television for twelve years and I want you to know that the state of television captioning today is frightening -- both for me personally as a professional and for the future of those who rely on them for a healthy lifestyle. What few people realize is that newer but inferior technology is on the verge of replacing steno captioners.

Most reputable companies are being forced to bid below the current quality of service which they have been providing for years. They are losing contracts to companies promising the same level of service, but the truth is, they can't duplicate what a trained captioner can do. By the time television stations realize they made a mistake, those steno captioners will be gone -- to CART, court reporting, and other business endeavors where there is job security and they aren't forced to accept the steep pay cuts.

Most captioners provide captioning because they love what they do and want to help the hearing-impaired, but I can't and others can't continue to take the pay cuts to compete with an inferior product. As the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for."

The result: A disaster is on the horizon for the aging population. If you think you see poor captions now, you haven' seen anything yet.

Because I am captioner, I know what is happening. To do something about this, I have started a petition to the FCC to mandate minimum captioning standards. By establishing a standard, it will halt the downward spiral and protect millions of senior citizens.

AARP is the most prestigious organization representing the elderly population. As a result, I hope AARP will help play a vital role in protecting the rights of seniors to quality captioning. The American with Disabilities Act without the minimum standard is no longer sufficient. We live in a very different economic climate today. Unless a minimum captioning standard is added, captioning companies will continue to pursue the inferior technologies -- why should they opt for quality when it's not mandated in the Act? Because of the tough economic climate, television stations unfortunately are believing the lies that these new technologies are as good. They aren't!

Please go to this link and read the petition that will be delivered to the FCC. Urge your readership and members to sign it. We need 20,000 signatures to make our voice heard . The petition to "Mandate a Caption Standard for Television Programming" will expire in six months. We must do it today before it's too late.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/so-that-the-deaf-may-hear-it-is-written.

Again, let's ensure that the elderly population and hearing-challenged will have quality captions into the future. Older citizens who have given so much to our country deserve access to the same information as the rest of us. I hope AARP will help them now before it's too late.

Sincerely,
Lorilyn Roberts
Standards Captioning Action Group, also known as SCAG

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mandate a Caption Standard for Television Programming


Recently I have seen degradation in caption quality as many providers have sought ways to cut costs, oftentimes through the use of unqualified captioners and inferior technologies.

The only way to reverse this trend and ensure quality captioning into the future is to establish a minimum captioning standard.

As the population in our country ages, the need for captions will become increasingly important for those over 65 who may develop hearing loss.

We are a nation of immigrants, foreigners, and naturalized citizens who rely on captions to communicate and receive vital information.

A significant portion of the population, perhaps as high as eight percent, is hard-of-hearing or functionally deaf.

Captions are used by school-age children to help bolster reading skills.

Many restaurants, motels, and public places display captions as part of the ambience of the establishment.

As a result, captions play an important role in the lives of many. They are vital for disseminating information related to news, weather, sports, entertainment, and national security. Captions enable hearing-challenged individuals to live a healthy lifestyle.

We need a minimum standard to ensure that quality captions are not compromised by inferior methods, technical issues, or incompetent providers that undermine the integrity of the American with Disabilities Act.

I ask that you seriously consider signing this petition which I started to ask the Federal Communications Commission to establish a minimum captioning standard. The petition requests the FCC require all live local programming to meet a standard of 97.5 percent and 99 percent accuracy for national and international programming. Please click on the link and it will take you to the site where you can add your name to the petition. It only takes seconds. Promote Caption Standard for Television Programming:

You can view and sign this petition at:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/so-that-the-deaf-may-hear-it-is-written/.

In addition to preserving caption quality, you will also save the jobs of highly-skilled captioners (like myself) who are at risk of being replaced by voice-recognition computers that deliver an inferior product to the end user; and who knows, but that end user someday may be you or someone you love.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mother Time

Mother Time


Someone once said
Old is
When you can’t find your glasses
When you receive your invitation to join AARP
When you cash your first Social Security check
When you kiss your first grandchild
When you apply for Medicare
When you need a knee replacement
When you forget how old you are
When your family won’t let you renew your driver’s license
When you’ve had more colonoscopies than you can count
When your teeth fall out

But
I say
Old is
When I no longer find beauty in God’s creation
I forget to say thank you
Bitterness consumes me
Children bother me
People annoy me
Animals shun me
Morning, noon, and night I complain
I think I am always right
I no longer pray
read my Bible
or care
about
You

Dear Lord
Before I am old
Spare my friends
My family
My children
Call me home
So I may
Not
Shame
You
Help me
To stay young
With
Bonds that never break
Belly ache laughter
Compassion like Jesus
Creativity
Hope that endures
Charity
Forgiveness times seventy
Sacrifice beyond measure
Love for You
As ageless as
Mother Time

Monday, October 4, 2010

Guest Post for Ray Lincoln, One of the John 3:16 Marketing Network Authors

I would like to do introduce you to Ray W. Lincoln.



Ray Lincoln is founder of Ray W. Lincoln & Associates and Ray Lincoln Ministries. His services include Christian life coaching; professional coaching; seminars on parenting, marriage, personal development, and more.


He is the author of I’M A KEEPER, a book that is being used in seven countries and is receiving rave reviews from parents, teachers and psychologists. It teaches parents the most important skill they must have for successful parenting: how to understand your child.


Ray is originally from New Zealand. He has worked professionally in New Zealand and Australia, and he has been in the USA since 1971 because he met Mary Jo in Texas and decided to stay.


He has over 40 years of experience in coaching and counseling as a pastor. His earned degrees include a PhD in the Philosophy of Religion, a Master of Divinity, and more. He has a master’s level of training in Psychology, which has been a passion of his for many years, as he applied a biblical interpretation (rather than a secular one) to Temperament Psychology and found that this approach is, as expected, much more effective.


He lives in Littleton, Colorado with Mary Jo, where they enjoy hiking, fly fishing, snowshoeing, and all the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Ray also enjoys oil painting and photography as hobbies in his “less active” moments.


Ray will be launching his newest book, I’M A KEEPER, on October 5. He is one of the authors in the John 3:16 Marketing Network. I hope you enjoy his interview,


What motivated you, Mr Lincoln, to write I’M A KEEPER?


First, thank you for your invitation. The motivation to understand how we are made first came from an intense desire to understand myself. Then one day a client who was a parent asked, “Would this be of benefit to me in understanding my child?” Her relationship with her child had developed into a losing battle of wills for both. A flashback of my own childhood feelings created an instant empathy in me, and before I knew it I said, “Yes. I’ll be holding a workshop on that soon, and I’ll let you know.” It was the first time I’d thought of a seminar/workshop for parents in understanding their children! So that’s how I got motivated to apply how we are made on the inside to parent-child relationships. From there the overwhelming interest of parents led to the book becoming a necessity.


I might add, writing the book was nothing but a pleasurable task.


How can parents benefit from I’M A KEEPER?


They can reduce the tension and stress of their parenting by understanding what urges and strengths drive the preferences and passions of their child. Knowledge of why their child behaves the way they do gives the parent a comfortable feeling and confidence that they will be successful in guiding their child, even in moments of heated meltdowns.


Parents benefit when the child benefits, and if the child feels understood by the parents a new relationship instantly begins. Bonding takes place and both the parent and the child feel like the stork dropped them in the right home, so to speak.


We all get lost when we don’t understand. It’s this understanding of who our child is and who we are that makes the relationship, together with the tasks of motivating, training, and teaching another human being, a manageable and pleasant process.


Parents will benefit from seeing almost instant changes in their children and the atmosphere of their home.


How does knowing more about temperaments help one to be a better parent?


A child is in the process of learning about their world and themselves. They need and usually accept all the help they can get. A parent who can help their child develop the strengths and drives that make them who they are will be, in the eyes of the child and in their own sense of satisfaction, a much better parent.


The four temperaments that have been with us for about 2,500 years have only stuck around because they are useful and accurate. They help a parent know the urges and motivations of everyone in their child’s world. It will give the parent accurate insights into all their children’s relationships.


Can I’M A KEEPER, help all parents regardless of their child’s age?


Amazingly, yes! An infant is often seen by nurses in a maternity ward as being an either very active child, a fretful child, a calm child or an alert child, each corresponding to an early glimpse of one of the four temperaments. Around age two most of the temperament’s characteristics can easily be observed. So from the earliest years parenting the child with an understanding of what the unseen urges of temperament are benefits both child and parent greatly. In teenagers it is a must, or the child will drift to those who do understand them and to where they do feel comfortable. Bonding is essential for effective guidance in the teenage years.


Does I’M A KEEPER address more challenging issues such as autism, physical or emotional disabilities, and attachment disorders in adopted children?


Let me make it clear that I’M A KEEPER is not a medical or specialist book on issues like autism. We need the specialized knowledge of these fields for sure. But that does not discount its applicability, since all children in all of these conditions have temperaments and need to be understood. Handling a child according to their temperament can provide some unexpected solutions and help for these conditions. It can ease much distress and pain for both child and parent.


It certainly smoothes the path for attachment disorders in adopted children, as you might well imagine, and can do the same in cases of physical and emotional disabilities. I would feel that understanding your child on the deep level of their preferences and drives is nothing but essential for these issues. At least I have found it an important help alongside specialized treatments.


In emotional disorders it is paramount, because a lot of emotional conditions involve relationships and even center around our relationships with ourselves and others. Understanding what drives us and how we handle and develop those drives cannot be anything but relative.


I wondered if your book would help single parents like me; and how about caregivers in general, such as grandparents, teachers, and other family members?


Single parents tell me it’s a God-send. Anything that reduces stress and creates a meaningful bond between parent and child is helpful at the foundational level, especially where the child is different from the parent.


Understanding our grandchildren, or the children of our family and friends, impacts the success of all these relationships. A grandparent said to me a few days ago after I gave a talk to young mothers on temperament (she happened to attend), “I need that book! I need it for me to understand my children, let alone my grandchildren, and after listening to you I feel I understand my brother better, too.” Understanding how we are made on the inside builds a respect and empathy for all relationships.


Thank you, Mr. Lincoln, for sharing your book, I’M A KEEPER, with us today. Don’t forget, Tuesday, October 5, is the big day to order and receive lots of free e-gifts. To purchase your copy on Tuesday, click on this link:

http://web.me.com/raynmaryjolincoln/RayWLincoln/Imakeeperbook.html

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bible Passages to Encourage You Today

J



Job 12:7 But ask the animals and they will teach you,
Or the birds of the air, and they will tell you
Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
Or let the fish of the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
That the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
And the breath of all mankind.

Psalm 103:4-5 Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 40:2-3 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Romans 8:22-24 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Genesis 2:7 the Lord formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of live, and the man became a living being.

Isaiah 11:6-9 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead tem. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hold of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s next. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Excuse Me, But What Planet Is This?


Sometimes I wonder if I live on Mars and not Earth. When I look at the stock market that is up several hundred points today, knowing there is nothing to sustain it or a valid reason for its rise, I wonder who is buying. Is it the government? With businesses closing everywhere, deflation in personal income hitting almost everyone (call furloughs and forced days off from work what you want, but it’s lost income), people losing their jobs, and home foreclosure rates at an all-time high, it doesn’t make sense. And the government telling me that the recession is over makes me even more edgy. Is this the new norm? Is this what the future holds for my children and me?


I no longer believe the statistics put out by the government. In fact, I am not even sure there is anybody I really trust in Washington. I feel violated, angry, and helpless to do anything that will make a difference.


And then there is always that one person who thinks everything is wonderful and President Obama is the best thing that happened to America. I suppose if I was receiving those government handouts I might agree. Sometimes when I am captioning, I think, if you mention one more “free” program I might quality for, I will scream. Why do people feel like they need something or deserve something “free” from the government? What happened to hard work and sacrifice?


All those “free” programs are not free. They have cost somebody something. And I can tell you this; they didn’t come out of President Obama’s stock portfolio or the Washington bureaucrats’ retirement. They came out of hard-working people’s pockets like you and me that get up in the morning and go to work and earn a paycheck by sweat, blood, and sacrifice. And charity—I am all for charity and giving. But the government’s giving of my money is not charity. It’s theft.


I guess I have ranted on long enough. When I get depressed over the news that I caption every day, I remind myself that I have much to be thankful for. I need to put my hope in the only one that deserves my adoration and commitment—my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is for such a time as this that we are here, to be a witness to the world. To put our faith and trust in man is futile.

My heavenly Father also gently reminds me that those who are in power He put there. None of this craziness in Washington has caught Him by surprise, and His purposes, thoughts, and plans are higher than mine. “Be still and know that I am God,” is what He commands us to do.


As a young wife abandoned by her husband, who gladly took on the task of raising two orphans from Asia as a single mom, I take comfort that God will not leave me or forsake me. I can turn to Him to be my provider and my comforter no matter the tribulations that may beset our country; and I do believe dark days are ahead, maybe even a depression.


Our Christian testimony may be all some will ever see. We can be a light in the darkness, a beacon on a hill. We can speak a word of encouragement to those who are broken and pray for the lost. We can get up in the morning and thank God that He is unchanging. The sun still rises, our cats still purr when we scratch their ear, and the dogs still wag their tale when we give them an occasional bone. And today, at least, the sky wasn’t green. If I was a betting woman, I am sure it won’t be tomorrow either. God keeps order among His world. Some things don’t change.


I urge you to pray for our country, to pray for those in leadership, and to pray for God’s wisdom in the voting booth in the upcoming elections. God pours out His love for us with good things when we ask, and we need great discernment for the days ahead. Dangerous times abound and the enemy is working overtime. Our future as a nation may be in peril but the one who holds our future is sure and trustworthy. And for that, I am thankful.


HostGator reviews

Friday, September 17, 2010

Evolution versus Creation, Is It Really that Complicated?

Can we trust Jesus as our Savior and accept the evolutionist’s view that from a primordial mix of gases evolved the first living cell?

If we believe God gives us life after death, why is it a stretch to think God breathed life into us in the beginning? It seems illogical to me to imagine a concoction of gases spontaneously combusting into something called life. It seems even more incredulous to imagine molecules with enough intelligence to evolve into a higher form. If that were true, why don’t the “building blocks” continue to evolve into a super-human race?

Is not our belief that God “created man” in Genesis 1:27 as compelling as Romans 8:11: “And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”

And Job 38:2 states: "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” As lofty as the evolutionist’s ideas, his words are without knowledge. Even with all the great discoveries since Aristotle and the advancements in genetics, scientists do not have the ability to create DNA. John 1:1 adds, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Not only is matter and energy needed to create life, but knowledge is essential.

Within every living creature, even in a tiny one-celled organism, the code of life is hidden. It is so intricately complicated that we cannot replicate it. Nature possesses the mystery of life, but it was given to it by the Creator.

Just as God will bless us (or damn us) with eternal life after we die, God gives us life here. Can a person accept Christ as his personal Savior and believe he is evolved from a lower life form? The concept seems contradictory and would ridicule God’s creation story in Genesis.

I envision the theory of evolution going the way of the dinosaurs. Science evolves and knowledge increases, but the Bible is unchanging. God’s Word is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And I take comfort in the fact that some things don’t change. My beliefs are embedded in the cornerstone of salvation and not in the whims of science. Science doesn’t have the answers to creation and is unable to prove anything—except to disprove its own inconsistencies.

Friday, September 10, 2010

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.”

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.