Stephanie McCall

downloadToday we welcome Stephanie McCall, novelist and freelance writer, to 3 Questions Wednesday.

(1) What is your favorite book? [Bible excluded]

Stephanie: It’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite, but if I had to choose one, it would be Julie Lessman’s A Passion Most Pure. I identify strongly with main character Faith O’Connor. I love reading about her big Irish family. It’s also a pretty long book, so should I ever be stranded on a desert island with only one, it would definitely be in the top five.

(2) If you could walk into any book, what literary character would you want to be?

Stephanie: I would want to be Elinor Dashwood. She has an inner strength I try to emulate as best I can. In fact, sometimes, in addition to, what would Jesus do, I find myself asking, What would Elinor do?

(3) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Stephanie: I’d choose Ireland; my mother and I have both always wanted to go there.

Thank you, Stephanie, for joining us on 3 Questions Wednesday! Please leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Fiery Secrets.

Book Blurb: Down Candy Cane Lane
Emily Coleman longs for true love, like the kind she sees in the fairytales she adores. Yet, she’s also made some sinful choices, and so doubts any good man–for that matter, any decent person–could love her. Meeting Josh Anderson might change that. In fact, the more Emily is around Josh, the more she wants her perspective to change, but obstacles abound. For one thing, he is the embodiment of everything Emily fears, as well as the exact kind of man who would shun her for her past.
 
Josh Anderson swore off women after committing his life to Jesus and promising to be more careful with relationships. He certainly doesn’t need Emily Coleman in his life. She’s prissy, uptight, and hates dogs, whereas he owns a kennel full of canines he loves. Despite all that, his attraction to Emily only increases the more they’re together. When financial pitfalls and a shady veterinarian threaten to derail both their careers, Josh must decide how far he’ll go to prove his love for Emily. Emily, meanwhile, must find the warrior for Christ and love within herself. Can they trust God to set their lives on the right path, even if it isn’t Candy Cane Lane?

Stephanie McCall is a novelist and freelance writer. She lives in North Carolina with her family, where she enjoys reading, stationary biking, attending Bible studies, singing, and theater. She also loves languages and wants to master Spanish and French. Her most frequent writing companion is Clarice, a calico cat who adopted her family in 2013.

BIMONTHLY WINNER! (DEBRA MARVIN)

winner2DEBRA MARVIN has won our recent bimonthly drawing. Debra was among the many who left comments on our regular Monday and Friday posts during the last two months (March and April 2014), and her name was randomly drawn.

Congratulations, Debra and have fun spending your Amazon gift card!

Another gift card will be given away soon, so be sure to LEAVE COMMENTS on our posts these next two months! You can be a WINNER!

 

A Twister in Joplin: Both Loss and Love

 By Don White

161 people were killed and over 1000 were injured on May 22, 2011 in Joplin, Missouri. The twister, with winds over 200 mph, was the deadliest tornado in America since 1947, carving a scar on the earth one mile wide and seven miles long. When the winds died down, the College Heights Christian Church was the control center for recovery efforts. Their pastor, Randy Garish, spoke to church leaders in Oregon about the horrors, and heartbreak.

Original photo found in the Wikimedia Commons. The title of the conference was, “Being the Heart and Hands of Jesus in the Eye of the Storm.” Randy spoke of the role of the church in the midst of crisis, reminding us of what Jesus would do for those desperately hurting around us. He shared several touching and heart-wrenching human stories about those caught up in the storm.

A husband quickly covered his wife with his own body outside as winds whipped debris about them. As he covered her, he said he wasn’t sure if he’d make it, so over the roar of the winds he began speaking into her ear crucial messages of love. As soon as he was done speaking, his body was punctured by flying debris and he was killed, those loving messages still echoing in his wife’s heart, messages that will remain with her the rest of her life and will surely be passed down to children and grandchildren.

National Weather Service, Springfield, MO

Aftermath of tornado, May 22, 2011 at Joplin, MO

A grandmother in Joplin was reflecting on the beautiful day outside her window. Using her cell phone, she sent out text messages to her granddaughter about how beautiful heaven must be. Then she saw the coming storm; it was headed straight for her. She sent another text message to her granddaughter, saying, “I may get to see the face of Jesus today.” Moments later she was in heaven, seeing the very face she spoke of. That young woman will never forget her grandmother’s faith and spiritual longing.

A child was sucked from the very arms of his mother. He flew across the yard toward the tornado, but was caught by a swing set in their backyard. There he was, whipping about, wrapped in the chains of the swing. His mother struggled against the storm to reach her son, to pull him back into the house. Finally safe inside their home, he told his mom that if it wasn’t for the “man with the big butterfly wings” who caught him and put him in the swing, the tornado would have taken him away.

Gary gave us all a booklet from Ozark Christian College containing many other stories. The college stood on the very edge of the tornado’s path. Many people connected with the school died that day. People like Natalia, who just completed her freshman year.

She was an excellent student, and thoroughly in love with Jesus. Her last facebook post that day, before the winds came, was these lyrics to a song: “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song. This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.” When the storm hit, Natalia covered a seven-year-old child with her own body and began to pray out loud. Her pastor said he could hear Natalia praying, and then suddenly she was silent. She died speaking with the Lord she was preparing to meet.

After hearing of Natalia’s passing, a Bible professor returned to his home and glanced at a stack of papers waiting to be graded. Natalia’s paper was on the top, and her topic was the resurrection of Christ. “It’s a good paper, deserving of an A,” the professor said, “but she knows this truth far better now.”

When President Obama arrived, he was impressed with how the church sprang into action for the recovery effort. He told Randy that the government could send all kinds of food, supplies and medical assistance, but only the church could fix broken hearts. Randy told the president that they would do their best.

Shortly after the tornado, Christian baptisms began occurring all over the community in ditches of dirty water. Tragedy somehow opened the hearts of countless people, moving them to look for something more precious than material possessions and creature comforts. Countless church members took action to heal the hurting and comfort the frightened and grieving.

An official from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told Randy that, of all the disasters he has been involved in over the years, he had never seen a group of people as organized, or as tender and compassionate as those led by the College Heights Christian Church. May that be said about all of when the need arises.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…” (Gal 6:9-10).


Writing Prompts: When have you seen heartbreak or tragedy bring out the best in people? What is it about tragedy that draws people together in unity, even in a culture where we are often so isolated? What lessons have you learned from heartbreak?

Windswept Fire

Tammy

My mother has lived in New Mexico for over 20 years. Every summer I get an update on the drought conditions in her state. I know that may seem like a strange topic of conversation over the phone, but she worries about fires. Most of the fires that eat up the wilderness in New Mexico are caused by lightning. A cook fire not properly doused by a camper can also be blamed. I always worry about those folks that smoke throwing their lit cigarettes out of their windows near grassy areas. Then there is the culprit that no one quite understands; the arsonist.
While reading a bit about wildfires I came across a story I had never read before. Perhaps you have heard of the Peshtigo Fire. On the 8th of October, 1871 a forest fire broke out near Peshtigo, Wisconsin. Farmers clearing land to plant by burning the ground is one theory on how it started. On this particular day a cold front blew in from the west causing strong winds to fan the flames into a maelstrom of destruction. It created a firestorm, hotter than any crematorium. When it was over an estimated 1,875 square miles of forest has been consumed, roughly the size of Rhode Island. Twelve communities had been destroyed and an accurate death count could never be determined because the records were also lost. Submerging themselves under the Peshtigo River or in wells, survivors recounted that a tornado of fire threw rail cars and houses into the air. There were also fires in several other places as well that fateful day. You might recall that the “Great Chicago” fire happened on this date as well.

images
More recently, a devastating fire took place in August of 2011. It is believed that two cousins left a campfire unattended and burned 538,000 acres of national forest in Arizona and Western New Mexico. The Wallow fire cost over $79 million dollars to extinguish and the loss of forest will effect that area for generations. Thousands of crews were sent to battle the blaze. With winds gusting to 50 mph, embers sparked spot fires five to seven miles away from the main fire. Thousands of firefighting crews were dispatched, working in shifts to fight 24/7 until its containment.
In 2013 there were wildfires in Texas, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, and Washington. Yellowstone National Park suffered a quarter of million acres loss. That’s a lot of scorched earth destroyed by nature, carelessness, or a determined individual. Let’s not leave out the many hardworking people who fight to save our land either on the ground digging fire breaks, or in the air retrieving water to douse the flames and spreading fire retardant chemicals using planes and helicopters.

Wallow Fire
Here in my own state of Kansas, we have suffered drought conditions for many years. Every spring farmers will burn off old growth from their fields to make it ready for the year’s new planting. Driving through the Flint Hills at night can be an amazing sight as a controlled line of fire slowly makes its way across empty acres of farmland. It can also be just as dangerous as any forest fire when the wind blows just enough to cause concern. We should all pray for gentle life giving rain to help these drought stricken areas, and remind people to be aware of simple fire safely while enjoying the great out of doors.

605960E14F4A5338215C4B5F41F447B0