All My Tears by Kathy McKinsey ~ an author interview

 

Five women search for God’s hope through sorrow and deep troubles.

All My Tears

Meet five women who struggle with life’s deep sorrows. Beth fights to recover from alcoholism and to mend her relationships with her family. Ann doesn’t believe God will forgive her. Kathleen wrestles with a years-old fear and with saving her marriage. Cassie needs to learn to deal with chronic depression. Martie finds herself the single parent of the eight-year-old niece she barely knows when the child’s parents die in a car wreck.

See how god gives them the gifts of hope, healing, and love.

Flower, rose bud

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

Nike:  What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

Kathy:  God is our loving Father, and when we stumble and walk away, he waits and watches for us, so that he can see us as soon as we start to return and run to greet us and take us back.

Nike:  Why this genre is important to you, personally?

Kathy:  I write what I enjoy reading. I like books about women, reading how they deal with family and marriage issues; jobs, their work and job setting; and different kinds of relationships—dating, parents, siblings, neighbors, best friends.

Nike:  Does writing energize or exhaust you?

KathyMaking myself start to write exhausts me. When I finally settle into working on a story, I become excited, even after a long session of writing.

THREE FUN BULLET QUESTIONS:

What is your fav vacay spot?  Visiting my mother and daughters in Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?  A writer

Describe yourself in three words.  Goofy home body

BIOGRAPHY:Kathy McKinsey 2

Kathy McKinsey grew up on a pig farm in Missouri, and although she’s lived in cities for nearly 40 years, she still considers herself a farm girl. She’s been married to Murray for 31 years, and they have five adult children. She’s had two careers before writing—being a stay-at-home-Mom and working as a rehabilitation teacher of the blind.

Now she lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband and two of her children. Besides writing, she enjoys activities with her church, editing for other writers, braille transcribing, crocheting, knitting, and playing with the cat and dogs.

Contact Kathy at:  Kathy.mckinsey@gmail.com

Visit her at:  http://kathymckinseyauthor.blogspot.com/

 

He Chose His Mother ~ over his wife

50 Something Woman

I’m no expert on marriage, but I’ve been on this planet several decades and have observed a few things. So, Let’s talk about three couples (nice people) where the husband chose his mother over his wife. Minor details will be slightly changed to protect the innocent…there’s really nobody guilty here. They are couples who went into marriage seeing hearts and roses and made terrible mistakes.

Couple number one: He was raised by his mother in a rural American community after his abusive father abandoned the family. His mother sacrificed and insisted that he go to college, which he did, majoring in business. In his senior year he met and fell in love with a young nursing student who grew up in a middle class suburb of a medium-sized city. They were both ambitious and wanted success in their respective careers, they wanted children in a few years (and had one), they read the same novels and liked the same movies,  went crazy for the same types of food. What could go wrong? Those are similarities in life-style and that’s important, very important. But are these things core values? She was startled and dismayed when he insisted on using money she thought they were saving to go on a luxury cruise to move his less-than-affluent mother to an apartment in their town. He also wanted his mother to babysit their child. She thinks his mother has too much say in their immediate family’s life. The marriage now has serious cracks.

Couple number two: He was born in India and came to America as a teen and grew up seemingly very American. Now he’s a manager in a fast food chain. His parents and cousins live in a close-by neighboring city. He calls them and sees them fairly often. She’s working in the Big Apple and is an energized, happy-go-lucky New Yo’Rican. She’s born and bread in New York City with a family heritage from Puerto Rico. She has some serious family baggage (don’t we all). When they met, she frequently said of him, “He’s amazing.” He commented that she knew how to do so many things. What they shared in common was a burning desire to make some money and build a successful life in New York City. She had no idea that when push came to shove, he’d revert to culturally eastern core values. He’s very close to his mother, and now that his parents are struggling financially, he’s been helping them out in a significant way. His wife is not pleased with the money leaking out of their bank account.

Couple number three: He’s a bit of a buttoned-down middle-management guy who came from a working class Puerto Rican family. His father died young and his mother worked hard to make sure the family of two stayed secure. His wife is a millennial with pink tipped hair and a certified professional in her field. Her family background is more middle-class. They share similar professional goals, want to own a house and be seen as successful. She was shocked when he insisted his mother move from another city (where she had no family) and come live with them. Although his mother is quiet and tries not to interfere, shortly after she moved in, the marriage began a downward spiral.

What I see here is making the mistake of thinking lifestyle choices (what TV shows they’re both fans of, what foods they like, if they’re both athletic) are core values. And yes, these are very important. But they might not be bedrock values. Core values are things that will take precedence. They will rise up and over-rule other likes and lifestyle choices.  Core values might be deeply held religious values. When it comes to raising children, this core value will be very important and could become a source of huge conflict. Core values rise and move to a prominent place when trouble comes. Is it a core value to care for an ailing parent? Then again, what do you want for your children? Is it really totally okay to place small children in daycare while both parents pursue careers? Or is resentment brewing over this choice? What about when he has a picture in his mind of a successful professional couple, then she announces she wants to be a stay-at-home-mom because she’s found profound value in motherhood? Then again, it could be that one partner in the marriage has a firm concept of family legacy and what their children can and will become, while the other partner has a much more lais·sez-faire attitude toward parenting?

Today we lose sight of the fact that marriage is a contract. That’s why they had a longish period of “courtship” in days gone by. It’s important to take the time to intentionally find out if this other person is really suitable to be your life-partner and the parent of your children. It’s important to discover who your in-laws are and how they live…and if you can live with that. Because that is what you are doing. You are entering into a life and living contract with another human being. That’s marriage.

 

The Benefit of Marriage ~ sustainable prosperity

wedding ringsStatistics tell us divorce is financial devastating for the wife and children. So, the solution must be: let’s just live together. Just live together. Just. Doesn’t that imply something lesser?

Well, just living together , most times, is even worse for the woman and the children when there’s a permanent breakup. So, many single mothers, without benefit of marriage, are on public assistance and food stamps.

Without benefit of marriage. That’s an old sentiment. We don’t think of marriage that way any more. Maybe we should. The benefits of marriage. How about looking at marriage as the beginning of a family legacy, the beginning of joy and lasting prosperity (something two people intentionally build together). It’s not robbing or cheating your spouse of your time, your energy, but most importantly not reneging on your shared dream(s).

Intentional, sustainable prosperity in marriage is so much more than money in a bank account or a portfolio of stocks and bonds. It’s building a dream together. It’s financial security, emotionally healthy relationships within the family, the family home as a safe place to be…all this over a lifetime. It’s getting to the end and looking back with satisfaction, with happiness, with wonderful memories.

That would be a whole knew way of visualizing marriage for so many today. If couples went into marriage that way, that would be revolutionary in a very good way. It would also mean picking your spouse wisely. The wrong somebody is not a good choice.

13-15 And here’s a second offense: You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you’ve broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don’t cheat on your spouse. ~ Malachi 2:13-15 The Message Bible (MSG)

Hosea’s Heart by Linda Wood Rondeau ~ a spotlight

Hosea's HeartContemporary Women’s Fiction

 

Linda Wood Rondeau is a skilled Christian writer and I’m proud to have her novel, HOSEA’S HEART, featured on this blog.

*****

 

How much should a wronged husband forgive?

Isn’t fifteen years long enough to search for a drug-addicted, runaway wife? His best friend, a private detective, tells him Joanna doesn’t want to be found. Since meeting the alluring Cynthia Prescott, he considers Gregg’s advice—get a divorce and move on.

A respectable minister of a Silver Spring church, Aubrey’s conundrum intensifies with Joanna’s reappearance. Claiming to be a new Christian, she confesses her life as a Madam for Washington’s rich and powerful and her plans to accept a plea bargain in exchange for testimony against Drug Czar, Joey Juarez, her former lover. She seeks Aubrey’s forgiveness.

How can he believe her sincerity? Is all this brought about because of her terminal illness? What does God require? He could possibly forgive Joanna’s drug addiction. How can he overlook her prostitution and liaison with a murderous cartel? Should he love her like Hosea of Old who rescued his unfaithful wife from the bowels of degradation? And why would God bring her back to him now, only to watch her die?

Joanna accepts her probable end—her salvation and reunion with Aubrey is Grace enough. Yet, she prays for purpose in these final days. Is complete reconciliation with her family even possible? Or does God intend for her to help put a Washington menace behind bars?

Joanna and Aubrey’s paths will lead them into unimagined territory as they crisscross through Washington’s underworld, testing faith and friendships. Only in retrospect will they realize God weaves threads of failure into tapestries of hope.

*****

 

Nike:  Do you have a trailer for this book?How did this trailer come about? Give a link.

Linda:  This trailer was my own effort.

Here is the link: https://lindarondeau.com/

Nike:  Is this novel unique/uncommon in some way?

Linda:  What would a modern-day Hosea look like? Inspired by the biblical Hosea, the novel explores a drug-addict’s life and search for purpose when coming to Christ during a terminal illness. Joanna fears her life has been wasted, yet trusts God to make sense of her existence even if she does not live long enough to see her prayer answered this side of heaven. Aubrey must struggle, not only with his wife’s addiction, but her unfaithfulness as well. How much does God require him to forgive?

Nike:  Can you give us a sneak peek or preview into the next work in progress (WIP) you’re working on? When do you expect to release it?

Linda:  I will be releasing I PRAYED FOR PATIENCE GOD GAVE ME CHILDREN … a non-fiction book that explores what it means to be God’s child. I am also working on the companion novel with the same title. In this work of fiction, a radio journalist postpones a planned tryst as she becomes enmeshed in her children’s problems, finding salvation through the testimony of a Christian author who has written a book, I Prayed for Patience, God Gave Me Children.

Linda Wood Rondeau

BIO:

God is able to turn our worst past into our best future. This is the theme of every Rondeau book. A veteran social worker, Rondeau delves into the intricacies of human relationships, earning her critical acclaim for her heart-warming stories of deliverance and forgiveness. The author now resides in Hagerstown, MD with her best friend in life, her husband of forty years. Active in her local church, she enjoys playing the occasional round of golf, a common feature in many of her books. Readers may contact the author through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Instagram or visit her website: www.lindarondeau.com.

Purchase on Amazon: HOSEA’S HEART

Find Linda Wood Rondeau:

Linda’s Amazon Author Page

Linda’s Blog 

 

 

 

 

 

Singleness ~ a most valuable season

woman dancing

In American culture we’ve treated the state of singleness as a state of me-ism, freedom from other’s needs and desires, carefree liberation, interspersed with times of mutual body disrobing. One nonfic writer admits, fueled by several glasses of wine, she started her list of things to do for her-single-self in prep for this body disrobing with another adult. The list included exercise class, clean apartment, spiff up her appearance and style, etc.. Doesn’t sound that liberating to me.

woman with violyn

As Christians, God should always be Number-One in our lives. We should seek God’s will for this single life-season. Actually, singlehood is one of the most valuable seasons. It’s a time to develop into whole, fully functioning human beings. A shalom time. In Hebrew, shalom means nothing lost, nothing broken. Whether we will marry, or stay single, singleness is a time for personal growth, healing, and developing of God given talents.

man and woman 1

I’m now single, again…a widow. However, when I was single the first time, it was commonly said, “two will make a whole.” That’s not true. Two half-people do not make one wonderful whole. Two half-people are two broken people floundering in a marriage. Many of us went into marriage that way. With God’s help, fifty percent of the marriages survived. Can I suggest, that mate-seeking model is flawed. It’s also a horrible model for eventual parenting. Jesus gave the best advise for relationships.

29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12: 29-31

In my belief system, Jesus is telling me at the bottom of this, I should have appropriate self-love, but certainly not the puffed up kind. As a Christian, I believe all life on the planet, as created by God, is amazing, and all human life is sacred. That includes my life. As a born again believer, I realize the Spirit of God dwells within me. That’s something incredibly awesome and valuable.

I was born into singlehood. Although I didn’t always recognizance this, from day one until the day I married, was a time of preparation. Ideally, it was a time to get to know God intimately, and a time to know myself. It was a time of intense personal growth…a time to discover my talents and my purpose on the earth.

Forgiveness

In order to live intimately with another human being of the opposite sex, from a different cultural background, heritage, and ancestry…these years of singleness were a time to learn about forgiveness. In marriage you will have to forgive. You will have to forgive yourself perhaps even more than you forgive your mate.

These are things in our culture we don’t talk about much. We make game shows and reality TV out of marriage. We talk about buying the perfect wedding gown, taking an amazing honeymoon that will be the envy of our friends and coworkers. The wedding gown gets packed away and eventually might be given to the Salvation Army Store. We come back from the honeymoon and have to live together…actually communicate and relate to a human being totally different from ourselves.

Why not take this time of singleness as a time to know that God loves us. We can then love Him, appropriately love ourselves, and more deeply love others. Not just love a marriage partner, but our families (even if they’re flawed and they’re all flawed), and our friends. We can learn how to love the unlovable — in Christ, and not get stepped on, manipulated, and used because we know we have worth and purpose. Yes, singlehood is a very important and wonderful season of life.

WAR ROOM, the movie – a review ~ What is a prayer warrior anyway?

War Room

 

First, I need to say the movie is an accurate portrayal of committed, sold out evangelical Christian life. So, for believers who have simply been waiting for that, go see the movie. For nonbelievers who don’t have a clue and would like to know what that is, go see the movie.

I’ve read and/or skimmed some of the professional reviews, the respectful ones and the snide, and I’m thrilled this wonderful, powerful, and joyous movie is now number one in the box office. Many of these reviewers must now be scratching their heads. As to a rating, this movie is for every audience, ages 13 1/2 to 113 1/2. I give it Five Stars.

The movie opens with Miss Clara narrating. She is the age old believing matriarch and she’s counseling, “We fight for power. We fight for riches. We fight for rights. We fight for freedom. There always seems to be something to fight about. Very few of us know how to fight the right way.” She’s talking about fighting the real enemy, the spiritual  enemy, the one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy…Satan. Karen Abercrombie, who by-the-way is at least two decades younger than the Miss Clara character she plays, is marvelous.

Elizabeth Jordan, played by African American author and speaker Priscilla Shirer, is an attractive  upper-middle class wife, mom, real estate agent married to a power-house, often cold traveling pharmaceutical sales rep. She’s exasperated and exhausted by constantly quarreling with her husband Tony, played with a vengeance by T. C. Stallings. Elizabeth is upset overhearing her pre-teen  daughter (Alena Pitts) tell her DoubleDutch girlfriend she wished she lived at her house. So, Elizabeth’s not quite, but almost ripe for the pickin’ when she arrives at Miss Clara’s door to help the older woman sell her home.  You see, prayer warrior Miss Clara had been praying for someone she could share with what she’s learned about the strategy of prayer. And the way Miss Clara does it, it is indeed strategy. It’s war. Hence the movie’s title, WAR ROOM.

One of the professional reviewers called Elizabeth practically falling into Miss Clara’s lap contrivance, or the miraculous. The second of those is closer to the truth. Actually, believers know it’s quite normal and usual for this type of prayer to be answered in just this way.This reviewer also wrote, “All the major characters in “War Room” are black, which may be another reason why some underestimated the movie’s ability to draw flocks to megaplexes.” I had to laugh at that one. The true Christian church is much more color blind than they know. Another reviewer wrote, “The movie equivalent of repeatedly being punched by a Bible, War Room is so brazen with its Evangelical agenda and curbed by its lackluster cinematic approach that nonbelievers will find it laughable.” It’s a given, both of these men have never been to a senior citizen church lady’s home for coffee.

This movie doesn’t utilize contrivance as a vehicle. Those who think that misunderstand the power of prayer. The movie tells a compelling story, but it’s also a study in how to pray…or one method of prayer. What director Alex and producer Stephen Kendricks have given us is an authentic portrayal of the impact a prayer warrior can have on another individual in desperate need. Do prayer warriors always have this type of success? No. Is it atypical? Also, no. It’s not unusual for this type of blessing to emanate from sold-out prayer.

The “war room” is an actual place in Miss Clara’s house. It’s her favorite room…well, actually a large closet with a chair, a Bible, and sheets of paper with prayers written on them tacked to the walls. Miss Clara waits until just the right time to show Elizabeth her war room. Eventually, Elizabeth clears out her closet and adopts this method of prayer for herself. It’s a viable method of prayer, and certainly not one created by this movie making brother team. This method of strategic prayer is used by many real life prayer warriors. Do all Christians spend an hour or more praying? No, but prayer warriors do, and most churches have a few of those. This is a movie about a prayer warrior mentoring another fledgling prayer warrior.

I went to see the movie with Christian writer Jenna Victoria who had already seen it once, wanted to go again, and contacted me. About halfway through, she pulled out a package of tissues took one for herself and passed me one. I had been wiping tears from the corners of my eyes, and so had she.