DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR A SECOND CUP OF HOT APPLE CIDER

The Discussion Guide for A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider is available!

“A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider: Words to Stimulate the Mind and Delight the Spirit – Stories of Hope and
Encouragement” by Edited by N. J. Lindquist and Wendy E. Nelles. Foreword by
Ellen Vaughn.

A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

Shadow Stalker by Barbara Ann Derksen

Shadow Stalker

About the Book

An ominous shadow hangs over her, as Christine Finder,  alias Melissa Rompart, visits the brutal slaying of her parents most nights in a dream.  The threat of discovery propels her to search for the whereabouts of the killer to see the man brought to justice. In the meantime, the killer stalks her mind while she operates Finder’s Keepers, an agency that searches for the people her clients hire her to find. Nathan Brent is only four years old and missing. Will she find him in time or will the killer find her first?

Excerpt

Prologue

Her vision seeped through the louvers on the utility room door. The images seemed broken as in a jigsaw puzzle until she leaned forward and placed her forehead against the wood. Her insides tightened. Everyone was shouting. She willed her body to stop trembling but it seemed to have a will of its own. The gun that the stranger held, just like on TV but different, was pointed at her father. This was real. Daddy had hid her … told me to stay where I am until … She couldn’t remember.

Daddy’s voice sounded like it did when he talked on the phone sometimes. “What do you want with us? You have no business being here. We said no contact.”

She watched his face get redder than she’d ever seen it, even when he’d been out in the sun too long. Mommy was shaking her fist. She never did that. The stranger smiled, totally silent, not intimidated, it seemed to the five year old. A shiver walked its way up her spine. She’d seen guns like that in the cartoons she watched. This one was a little longer though. Only business, the man said. What business, she wondered.

The man straightened his arm, the one holding the gun. Her vision blurred for a second, horror filling the empty spaces in her brain. The explosion echoed in the foyer. The bullet seemed to travel in slow motion. Just like the cartoons, she thought. Her daddy’s body slammed into the banister of the staircase heading up to the bedroom area and the maid’s quarters. The railing shook. Her father’s body flopped forward. His head smacked the floor. He lay still then.

Blood covered the wall behind where her father had stood. Her mother screamed and then was silent. Before her father’s body hit the tiled foyer, she watched the side of her mother’s head explode. Specks of blood and other gooey stuff splattered all over the walls, mixing with the blood from her father. Her stomach lurched. She wrapped a hand tightly across her mouth. A silent scream rattled around in her head seeking an escape. Get up, it said. Daddy. Mommy. Get up. Please. The scream evaporated, as if it had never been. They weren’t moving. In the cartoons, they always got back up. Why don’t they get up?

Tears filled her eyes, blurring her vision again. Daddy just lay there. Mommy lay beside him, covered in the blood that flowed from her body. Her sightless eye stared toward the girl, hidden. The girl felt as if she was going to throw up but she swallowed instead. She swiped at the tears that silently trickled down her pudgy cheeks. Her mother told her she had cute dimples, whatever that was. Her mother liked to touch her cheeks. Now…

She watched as the man, the monster, moved toward the entrance. Then he stopped. He looked up the stairs, then down the hall. He looked toward her hiding place, his eyes cold, calculating, wondering. Her stomach lurched, the fright almost real enough to touch. Could he see her? Her daddy had told her to hide here. He knew they were in danger. Why? Who was this man? How did daddy know him? Maybe it was mommy the man hated. Why? Footsteps interrupted her questions. The man was moving down the hall straight toward her.

She crept backwards, crawling on all fours as if she were a spider. Her gymnastics teacher had taught her that. I need to get out of here. He will kill me, too. She remembered her discovery when she’d hidden in here last week. Her cousins had come for a visit. They loved to play hide and seek in the large, multistoried mansion that was her home. She’d found a door leading to the garage where her daddy’s cars were kept under the chauffeur’s apartment. She’d sneak out that way.

Several hanging tools brushed her shoulders as she crept under them toward safety. They swung to and fro. It was as if they whispered, “She’s in here.” She twisted her head behind. She couldn’t see through the slats in the door anymore but the heavy tread of footsteps grew louder, closer. She reached the hidden door. It creaked as she slipped through.

“Wait.” His voice echoed through the tiny room, resonating off the walls of the small space, the sound carried over the creak of the door as he pulled it open. The menace in his voice was gone, replaced by enticement.

She scurried into the large garage. Ignoring the man, she skirted the three cars stored there. Her heart pumped so loudly in her ears, the sound blocked out the rustle of the man’s clothes as he squeezed through the same opening. She turned slightly and saw his shadow. Her short legs pumped toward the door leading to the stone walled courtyard and the gated entrance to the back yard. The wrought iron gate was open. Good.

Her feet flew over the paved driveway toward the gate. She turned once to see if the chauffeur was nearby. Benson played with her sometimes. He was nowhere to be seen. Then she remembered. Benson had asked for the day off to take Maria, the maid, to the beach. There’s no one to help. She streaked through the wrought iron gate.

The yard was tree filled, almost like a park. She ran like the wind, as if the devil himself was after her. He is. She reached the second gate in the high wrought iron fence that surrounded her parent’s property. It was slightly ajar. Her parent’s always kept this one locked but now… She almost forgot to breathe as she raced through it and into the street. The sidewalk led to town. Her legs pounded the pavement hard. “Wait.” The shout came from behind her. The man was following.

The sound of his footsteps bounced off cement walls and rock enclosures, the attempt of homeowners to protect what was theirs. Trees, thick for privacy, lined the street, hiding nearby houses from view. Traffic was non-existent along this street at this time of day. She ran. Her instincts told her that life, her life, depended on it. She rounded a corner but then peeked back. He was still coming, walking briskly in her direction. I need to hide.

She crawled under a nearby bush, its dense foliage the perfect cover, she thought. The picture of her mother’s head scattering debris all over the walls played like a ticker tape through her brain. Her stomach roiled again and she gagged. Mommy. Daddy. Please help me. Footsteps rounded the corner. The sound grew louder. He’ll find me. I have to leave.

She stood. He reached for her with one hand while the other, the one that had held the gun, was in his pocket. She ducked just out of his reach. She raced like the wind, staying off the sidewalk this time. She flew through the trees as if someone carried her, her feet barely touching the ground long enough to make an indent in the leaves. Her body slammed into low branches that scratched and tore at her clothing. She was shorter than the man so movement for her was easier here, she reasoned. The heavier footsteps had slowed, proving her right. She heard a twig snap. He was still coming. Maybe a policeman…

The girl ran. Her legs hurt. Muscles contracted painfully. Trickles of blood from scratches marred her perfect skin, skin that her mother would caress from time to time. Mommy. The thought hurt so much. Her daddy liked to swing her over his head. She almost smiled at the thought but then tears flowed again when she remembered. He’s back there. Lying on the floor. Blood oozed from his forehead. He never got back up.

The race continued. She rounded another corner. Her body slammed into legs encased in dark blue pants. Strong hands steadied her but she wriggled to be free. She looked over her shoulder, twisting this way and that. “Hey there. What’s the hurry?” The voice sounded kind, different than the one she ran from. She looked up.

“Melissa?” The man’s smile turned quickly to a frown, concern written all over his face. “What’s wrong?”

She pointed in the direction she’d come from. Her breaths were mere gasps, words impossible. Tears fell unhindered. She slipped behind the legs. Would the man shoot this person too? She pointed again as the man rounded the corner. She saw him stop before the policeman could look in the direction she pointed. The man ducked his head as his foot stepped backward. She watched him, silently and as quickly as he’d come, step behind the nearest tree, out of sight. Her heart felt as if it would leap out of her chest. Then she was sick. All over the shiny black shoes of the policeman she’d collided into.

“I don’t see what you’re trying to tell me, Melissa. Calm down. Just take a deep breath.” He saw her looking at the mess at his feet. “Don’t worry about that. I can clean them. But what’s got you in such a tizzy”

She swallowed, tears streaked down her cheeks as if they’d never stop. “He-he,” She hiccoughed. She pointed in the direction she’d come from. “He shot mommy and daddy.” She gasped for another breath. Her finger shook as she continued to point toward the corner where the monster had disappeared. “He shot them.”

Chapter One

Christine sat up in bed, her back straight. She swiped at the streaks of perspiration on her face only to discover they were tears. Images of her parents disappeared like wisps of fog. She shuddered. The dream always felt so real, just like it happened yesterday. The face of that monster never fades. One day … She swung her legs to the floor and hung her head. The loneliness was always overpowering after the dream left. She rose from the bed and looked at the twisted sheets. She sighed. Nights like this are never restful.

She stepped into her tiny bathroom, turned on the pewter coated hot water tap, and splashed her face. Images swam before her eyes. She shuddered. I hate that dream. She grabbed the lace edged towel that hung near her right hand and covered her face, escaping into its folds. A cold nose brushed her bare leg. “Chief.” She looked down at her large German shepherd. The dog wagged his tail in response and then cocked his head as if to ask if she was okay.

She patted his head. “I’ll bet you wanna go for a run, don’t you?” She ran her fingers behind his ears. Then she looked at the clock on her night stand. “Man, its only 7 a.m.” Christine groaned and then slipped through the door on her way back to bed. Chief blocked her progress. “Aw, come on. It’s too early.” He whined and then wagged his tail harder.

“Oh, all right. I guess an early start will do us both good.” She stepped toward the hook behind her bedroom door where she kept her running clothes.

She tossed the shorts and t-shirt she wore at night on her bed. Chief barked. “Sh-h-h. You’ll wake the neighbors.” She grinned at her pet/partner of three years and then pulled the sweatshirt she used for her early morning excursions over her head. She stepped into the matching pants. The gray fabric warmed the cold spots on her leg. I like wearing shorts to bed but some nights they’re slightly inadequate, she decided. Maybe it’s time for flannels. She turned toward the door to the hallway. Oh, right. Running. She slipped her sweatshirt off again and retrieved her sports bra from the chair beside her closet. I hate these things.

Finally ready, if a little groggy still, she looked at her patient animal. “Okay Chief. Let’s go.” Christine walked briskly down the hall, past the other two rooms that would one day be an office and another bedroom, and through the living room of her modest home. She opened the drawer in the coffee table and located her taser. With one hand, she pocketed her weapon and with the other, turned off her home alarm system. The front door was double bolted so she turned the bolts and then took the industrial strength chain off before stepping into the early morning air. The sun isn’t even up yet. She groaned. Oh, well. “We won’t have any traffic to contend with at least.” She looked down at her companion and then locked the door behind her.

Christine had chosen this area to live in because dogs didn’t require leashes in the nearby park. She wanted Chief to be able to run free. She looked at her pet as he lifted his leg at the closest oak tree. Her heart filled with love. Even if he does push me out of the house before sunrise. Her stride increased as soon as Chief was able to keep up. They moved toward the walking path the city had devised for just this purpose through the park.

Christine made a point to never do things the same way or at the same time each day but she’d go for a run when she had the time. She felt it kept her agile. She chuckled. It also cut down on how stringent she needed to be with her diet. Can’t leave the junk food alone.

The morning air felt like an early fall was descending. She noticed the beginning of some red hues appearing within the green leafy trees that were in abundance along her street and into the park. She inhaled the crisp air, coughed as the cold air hit her lungs and then inhaled again enjoying the smell of smoke from nearby chimneys. I love that smell. But not the thought of winter coming. She smiled. The cobwebs of the dream were finally dissipating.

A bird, hidden among the leaves of a nearby tree, chirped it’s greeting at them, as they made their way along the path. Christine kept a steady pace, running defensively, looking for shadows that moved. She kept her pace slow enough that she could enjoy the beauty around her, what she could see of it at this early hour. If it weren’t for Chief … The dog had no trouble keeping up. His muscles rippled beneath his sleek fur and his breathe gave off wisps of cloudy emissions. His training kept him alert.

Christine turned her head toward the east. The yellow gold rays of the sun could be seen through the branches of the trees in the distant landscape. As the duo made their way down the path that wound around the circumference of the park, more birds could be heard as the sky lightened. Christine began to relax a little, her vigilance not as worrisome. Then the sun slipped up over the horizon illuminating everything in its path.

Christine led the way past the walking bridge that led to a favorite ice cream stop for area residents. I love living on the edge of the park. It gives me a place to get away from the search. She grinned as she picked up the pace a little. I won’t need to work out at the gym today, I think.

Large open areas of well-kept lawns filled the left side of the path, places where people often enjoyed picnics after a long day at the office. Now the area was empty. Christine enjoyed the serenity that surrounded her. Dew twinkled on the blades of grass as she sped quickly by. Instead of cavorting across the wet grass as dogs loved to do, Chief matched her pace right beside her.

Thirty minutes had passed, she guessed, when Chief whined and then stopped just off the path. She stopped as well but continued to pump her legs up and down to maintain her heart rate. She reached into her pocket, pulled an empty bag out of her pocket and turned it inside out. She slipped her hand inside and when Chief was finished, she bent forward to clean up after him. The nearest trash receptacle gained a deposit.

“Come on, Chief. Time to get home. I have a busy day today and so do you.” She reversed direction and began the trek home. Chief fell into step beside her and then stretched out when she expended an added burst of energy. The run cleared her mind as it always did, and gave Chief his early morning exercise as well.

By the time she reached the yard of her little bungalow, Christine was panting almost as much as Chief. She bent forward resting her hands on her knees and then stretched her legs, one at a time, to cool down. Chief rolled around on the grass giving his back an extra work out on the prickly twigs hidden in the thatch. Christine laughed. “I guess that’s your way to cool down, huh Chief?” She reached over to scratch him behind his ears when he walked beside her to their back door.

I feel so lucky to have this house, she thought, not for the first time. Once I get my agency up and running, I’ll be able to cover the costs from my salary but for now … Christine took long strides toward her back door, continuing to stretch her tired muscles. “Mr. Goodman did a good job finding this house for us, didn’t he Chief?” The dog panted in response. If I can’t have parents to advise me, then a lawyer is the next best thing, I guess. And it doesn’t hurt to have a trust fund.

Christine unlocked her door, stepped inside and allowed her vision to sweep the premises for anything that might be out of place. She relocked the door as soon as Chief slipped through behind her. Her habits had been ingrained in her since childhood. She’d been taught to always be aware of her surroundings and to make sure her house was secure … just in case.
Her thoughts heightened her insecurities, as always. She jumped when the phone rang as soon as she was inside the kitchen. She reached toward it. Wonder who could be calling so early. She popped it open. “Hello.”

The voice on the other end was from a new friend at the local police detachment. “Oh. Hi, Charlie. What’s up?” She listened as the man on the phone gave her some disappointing news. “But, can’t you tell me anything else? I mean … they’re my parents.” She listened as Charlie reiterated his reasons. “Yeah … well … I’m going to find him. I’ll just … Yeah, fine.” She slammed the phone closed.

Christine banged her fist on the counter. “Darn regulations. Just because I’m family. They say I’m too close to the situation. Phewy.” She scowled toward her dog whose ears were folded back on his head. Then she marched toward her bedroom. She punched the doorframe as an added inflection over her unsatisfactory phone call. “I’ll just have to find another way, won’t I boy?”

She straightened the crumpled sheets on her bed, threw the duvet over the cover and then straightened the pillows and the shams. I’ll never be free if I don’t get some answers. She grabbed a pair of jeans from the closet. Christine inspected the shirt she’d worn once before to make sure it was still suitable and deposited it on her bed post to keep it free of wrinkles. Now for a quick shower.

Before he finds me. The thought traveled across her brain as quickly as any she’d had that morning. She looked at her reflection in the mirror. The frown lines were back. She slipped out of her running clothes and tossed them in the hamper under the vanity. She reached past the shower curtain and twisted the knob in her shower stall. Hot water erupted from the rain shower head. She folded the plastic lined floral fabric back and then stepped inside.

That’s why I cultivated my friendship with an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They’re federal. I thought … but it seems not. She soaped her hair and massaged her scalp. Her hair was a lot shorter than when she’d grown up but it still got greasy if she didn’t wash it every day. As she ran fingers through her curls, she assessed her situation again. “I’ll just have to get a little friendlier with Charlie. Get him on my side.” She grinned.

The hot, gentle spray worked its magic on her senses, helping her relax for the first time all morning. She stood still, letting the overhead shower head pour water over her as if she were standing in a rain forest during the afternoon deluge. Her mind returned to the conversation with Charlie.

He said they never let family members know the details of an on-going investigation. They’ve had twenty years. She leaned her head back allowing the spray to rinse her hair really well. And they’re no closer to knowing the truth about my parents’ killer than they were the day it happened. Their regulations are ridiculous. Who else has a better right to know? I guess I’ll just have to find out what I need to know a different way. Maybe the lawyer …

Christine stepped out of the shower, grabbed a nearby towel, and began drying her slender body. Her muscles rippled. Maintaining a high degree of fitness was always of personal interest to her. She looked toward Chief. His body seemed relaxed as his head lay over his large paws but she knew he was watching her every move. “You ready for a busy day, boy?” The dog lifted his head and then opened his mouth, his tongue hanging out one side of his mouth, His intelligent eyes spoke volumes as if to say, “I’m ready. Let’s go.”

She chuckled. “You like the added training, don’t you? One day, you’ll be the one to solve one of those missing kid cases.” She hoped so. Then it would all be worth it … the six months spent training hard every day in order to open her agency for finding missing children.

She and Chief had been trained to work as a team. The training was for finding any missing person, but she hoped it would help them specialize in children. That’s where her heart was. Since her move to this location, she’d found a private instructor. They could hone their skills and keep sharp. It did keep her out of her office part of the time. “And that’s the problem, Chief. I can’t find out what I need in my parents’ case if I’m not there.”

Christine walked past her dog, dodging his sharp claws with her bare feet, and removed clean lingerie from her dresser drawer. While she dressed, she thought about her life until now. Born Melissa Ramport, she’d been raised by a distant cousin of her dad’s after her parents were murdered. They had changed her name to Christine Finder … to protect her, they said. I’m glad I kept my adopted name, though.

But the Finders had given her a good life. She thrived as a small town girl in Texas. She’d learned to shoot, ride a horse, and herd cattle right along with her guardian’s ranch hands. She’d become a legal permanent resident of the United States as soon as she was old enough to understand but she’d retained her Canadian citizenship. The nightmare had ended … almost … a long time ago but the details of that night were as clear as if it had happened yesterday. Now that she was living near the city where it all began, the dreams had surfaced again.

“Chief, after we’ve spent some time at the office, we need to go see Mr. Goodman.” She watched the dog’s ears perk up as if he understood all she was saying. She buttoned the top button on her shirt, and then reached with her right hand to scratch the dog between his ears. “Maybe he will answer some of my questions since he’s been looking after mom and dad’s estate all these years. Surely he wants to see their killer caught just like I do.” A tingle walked up her spine from her tailbone. She’d been warned, hadn’t she?

Christine pulled on her comfortable shoes, grabbed her handbag from the dresser, and then walked briskly through the door of her bedroom, with Chief right on her heels. She wobbled in her haste and struck one of the photographs she’d mounted on the wall with her shoulder. It was the one of her mother and father on their last anniversary. They seemed so happy. She straightened it and then shook her head. Can’t think about that now. Gotta get to work. “Come on, Chief. Let’s get some breakfast and then hit the road.”

Barbara Derksen

About the Author

Watching the expressions on the faces of her readers, as well as answering questions about her characters, is what drives author and speaker, Barbara Ann Derksen to write yet another book and another. Her favorite genre is murder mystery but each book brings forth characters who rely on God as they solve the puzzle in their life.

Barbara’s devotionals are sought after each year when she publishes a new one that reflects what God has placed on her heart. From Straight Pipes, her first, to More Than Bells, Preparation for Prayer, the latest, Barbara’s devotions take people to the place where God can touch their heart and leave a lasting impression. When people stop by her table for the latest, they talk to her about using the devotions in their chapter meetings, or their personal devotions. Some men return at their pastor’s request because the books are used as launch pads for men’s bible study. Many copies have been passed on to new believers as discipling tools.

Born in Canada, Barbara lived in the US for 12 years. There her writing surfaced as she worked under contract as a journalist for six years with over 2500 articles published in newspapers and magazines during that time. Meeting and interviewing people, digging for the hidden gems in their lives, made those years informative as well as instructive. She began attending Colorado Christian Writer’s Conferences and each year, under the tutelage of great Christian writer’s like James Scott Bell, Angela Hunt, and others, she honed her skills.

Barbara has developed a speaking platform and has spoken across the US and in Manitoba, Canada for women’s groups and in church services on topics such as The Writing Experience, working in the ministry of Christian Motorcyclists Association, Love, Parenting, Time Management, and a host of others.

With 17 books to her credit, one currently inactive and awaiting revision, each one surpasses the last, according to her readers. They look forward to discovering the new characters in a new series Finders Keepers. Book One – Shadow Stalker – will be released mid-May, 2013

Writing, however is simply a tool to be used in the ministry she shares with her husband. With his gift of music (he sings country gospel), Barbara and her husband operate CatchFire Ministries, a ministry to bikers through Christian Motorcyclists Association. They travel for four to five months every summer in the US and the rest of the time in Canada where they seek to inspire, encourage and invite people into a deeper ministry with Jesus Christ. They also minister at Veterans Homes and churches along the way and are about to begin a ministry to Juvenile offenders incarcerated at Manitoba Youth Center. The mysteries include a gospel message that opens her readers to the possibility of reading books written from a Christian World view and supply funds for CatchFire.

 Where to buy the book

Amazon

Website

A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider is now available as an e-book

The award-winning bestseller, A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, is now available as an e-book.

For a short time, you can get it on Amazon.ca or Amazon.com at the special introductory price of just $0.99 in Canada (or $1.00 in the US)! 

Please buy it through the Amazon store on The Word Guild’s website.

This special offer will only last until Christmas Day, December 25th, when it will then return to its regular low price of $6.59.

  • Short, self-contained chapters make it ideal for reading on mobile devices.
  • Lots of variety.
  • All of the pieces are filled with hope and encouragement.
  • Easy for busy people to read something satisfying and uplifting when taking a quick break.
  •  Book is easy for groups, leaders, pastors, etc. to use with the helps we’ve supplied through the free Reader’s Guide and Discussion Guide (which will soon also be available as an ebook).

Praise for A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

Winner, Gift Book of the Year

Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award, 2012

Winner of 13 awards, The Word Awards 2012*

“Gem of a collection.”

Faith Today

“Short stories, poetry, and works of memoir picked for their inspirational nature, dedicated to finding a shining light in our lives that so often turn dark… touching and poignant.”

MidWest Book Review

“I couldn’t put the book down.”

The Record

“From a host of talented writers who serve rich words, wrap your hands around a volume that will not only warm you right through, but strengthen you for the road ahead. A perfectly inspiring read.”

Ann Voskamp, author of New York Times bestselling book One Thousand Gifts

“Hope-filled nuggets of wisdom… deep and soulful and pleasing.”

Manitoba Christian Online

“What a great book! [It] will give you a refreshing lift and a change of perspective, perhaps when you need it most.”

Ellen Vaughn, New York Times bestselling author

“This collection of wonderful writing… is honest, personal, and compelling… Like me, you’ll be comforted, inspired, and encouraged. I felt as if God were reading over my shoulder.”

Michael Messenger, Executive VP, World Vision Canada

“This comforting and encouraging book should be in every home, library, church, and school.”

Pauline Christian, President, Black Business and Professional Association

*The book won 6 first-place awards and 7 awards of merit in The Word Awards 2012. In all, 16 articles and stories from the book were shortlisted a total of 27 times. See more awards details

Glynis Belec’s chapter in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

On Being Still and Knowing

 

page 92

 

On Being Still and Knowing speaks of some of the amazing ways God showed me how He is real and how He really does care about every detail of my life. God used quiet moments to encourage and teach me. He also used the crazy, confusing, scary moments to assure me that I could experience that special peace found only in Christ. There were some special people and some incredible events that happened that caused me to sit up and notice and in this story, I highlight some of these God moments.

 

An excerpt from the chapter

 

This is it. My final sleep before surgery. I am ready. I am Yours. I am prepared to be still and truly know that You are God! I am in awe at the confirmation that You have placed before me (and Gilles) this very night. What was the day’s scripture verse in the Our Daily Bread devotional for Tuesday, May 27? “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). God—You rock! You know this is my favourite scripture verse. I love the soft, subtle ways You find  to  communicate  with  me,  Lord—especially tonight. How blessed am I to know You in this heavenly way. How can anyone deny Your existence? You are real. You are living. You are in control…

That night I drifted into the land of slumber and found an amazing peace. The surgery went well, and before I knew it I was preparing myself for six months of intensive chemotherapy at the London Cancer Clinic.

I loved it when my oncologist asked me prior to a chemo- therapy session if I was a “religious person.” What an opportunity! He heard my heart that day as it lub-dubbed about how I was relying on the Lord for my daily strength and measure of trust. I prayed a seed was planted. Boldness in street corner preaching has never been my forte, but God was preparing me for some “Preach it, Sister!” kinds of opportunities throughout my journey. I decided to heed His nudges and tell my story to whoever was listening.

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Glynis Belec’s Bio

 

Glynis is an award winning writer and children’s author and cannot imagine a world without little people to inspire her. She collects fodder daily from her super students and their wonderfully inspiring antics. Glynis also regularly writes devotions, short stories for anthologies, articles for magazines and has recently had a story accepted for the latest Chicken Soup Series book, Angels Among Us. Glynis is also the market columnist for FellowScript –  a writer’s magazine. She usually has about five writing projects on the go at one time and she looks forward to the day when she can write full time (although  she will surely miss tutoring.)

 

Why did you write it?

 

On Being Still and Knowing started out as therapy. After I was diagnosed with cancer, and got over the fact that I wasn’t in control, I learned to be still and listen to God’s voice. I wrote this story because I wanted others to hear, be encouraged and assured that no matter what, God is always in control. I can’t say that I am glad I had cancer but going through that journey certainly forced me to be still and pay attention to how God works and made me realize that he cares about the details in every person’s life.

 

 

Links to author’s sites

 

Glynis Belec’s website 

Glynis Belec’s blog 

 

Links to where readers can buy the book

That’s Life Communications

Amazon

Chapters Indigo

 

 

Rosemary Flaaten’s chapter in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

True Thanksgiving

p.106

Life seldom goes the way we desire.  Instead, we find ourselves wallowing in disappointments and grief that threaten to rob us of  joy and fervour for life. “True Thanksgiving” gives the reader a glimpse into one of the saddest parts of my story – my mother’s drift into the abyss of Alzheimer’s Disease while I was only a teenage girl.  The sorrow wasn’t limited to that period of life. Rather there is an ongoing sadness that wells up at the most unexpected times, even as an adult woman. But, through this grief God has proven Himself to be faithful and the source of my joy and gratitude.

Excerpt

“At that tender age, I longed to have a mother who would give me advice when I needed to make decisions.  Instead, I was left to decipher this world alone, all the while pretending that my life was as normal as my friends’…As this array of memories swooped into my mind that Thanksgiving Sunday, self-pity consumed me, with anger crouched on the sidelines….He wanted me to get my eyes off the pain and to recognize the incredible ways He had helped me get through the quagmire of loss and hurt.  Even in the middle of my pain, He had been at work.  Now, He was tenderly calling me to trust Him to take care of me, no matter what.” (p.107-108)

Rosemary Flaaten

Rosemary Flaaten’s  Bio

Rosemary Flaaten, M.A., B.Ed., is an award-winning author, life and career coach, adjunct professor, internationally sought after speaker, and a Certified Personality Trainer. She coaches college aged young adults, professional women at various stages in their careers and individuals seeking relational and life skills improvements. Her published books include A Woman and Her Workplace: Building Healthy Relationships 9 to 5 (BHP, 2010) and A Woman and Her Relationships: Transforming the Way We Connect (BHP, 2007) both with accompanying DVD small group resource kits. Rosemary lives in Calgary with her husband and three teenage children.

Why did I write it?

I strongly believe that God uses the things we go through, both the good and the tough, to transform us and to bring us closer to Him. Our stories also have the potential to impact others, if we are willing to share them.  My prayer is that by sharing my pain and struggle around mom and Alzheimer’s Disease that somehow people will be drawn into a deeper faith in God and that ultimately He will be glorified.  This would become a beautiful example of God bringing good out of everything!

Links to Author’s site

Rosemary Flaaten’s website

Links to where readers can buy the book

That’s Life Communications

Amazon

Chapters Indigo

Kevin Dautremont’s chapter in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

Dazed

Page 11

Dazed is a short story about a young farmer struggling to be a better husband and be more understanding to his wife. He comes to see that the gifts and abilities God has given us are for His glory. Our hopes and dreams may change with time and we may not realize them all. But, as we yield to Christ, He will create new dreams in us and give us the desires of our heart.

Excerpt

The quiet enveloped him and pressed him down toward the snow. He felt so tired. Confused. Dull. Pointless. Like a man discarding a heavy cloak, he shook himself. He looked upward once more, and wisps of steam rose with words no louder than a sigh, “Help me.”
One more passage came to him, this one written thousands of years earlier by another bewildered man. “There are three things that are amazing to me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas and the way of a man with a maiden.”2
He spoke again, louder this time, “Not really helpful. I already know that I don’t understand. I’m asking for help. Didn’t You say if any man lacked wisdom he should ask? Well, hello?”
No hum from the stars and no answers from God.
Kevin Dautremont

Kevin Dautremont’s Bio

Kevin Dautremont is married with four children and is a family physician in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He is part of a group of doctors who all try to combine their faith with good medical care. Kevin is a full service family doctor, doing everything from delivering babies to caring for nursing home patients, and is active in his church and his community. In 2008, he was named the Best New Canadian Christian Author by The Word Guild and Castle Quay books for his as yet unpublished novel, The Golden Conquest.

Why did I write it?

As a married man, I realized a long time ago that I will never fully understand my wife or any woman. However, I have also realized that if I listen to the Lord and open myself to His leading, I will be able to get a bit closer. This story is about that.

Links to author’s sites

Kevin Dautremont’s website 

Links to where readers can buy the book

That’s Life Communications

Amazon

Chapters Indigo

Gloria V. Phillips chapter in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider

Seeing the Heart of God

Page 132

Seeing the Heart of God is a personal account of the way God worked in my life following the loss of our son. Though not taken from us by death, our son was absent from our lives for more than a decade. During that time we did not know where he was or even if he was alive.

Excerpt

I set the cardboard box on the table in front of me, then sit down and take a moment to compose myself before opening it. Inside are pictures of my son. I’m fortunate to have these. One day when Elliot was 22, he destroyed every picture he could find of himself. More than two decades of our family photos burned to ashes in only a few hours. I have these few photos of my son only because I had tucked some pictures of my family away in my bedroom a few weeks before, planning to get them made into a video. My hand trembles as I lift the lid.

Gloria V  Phillips photo

Gloria Phillips’s Bio

Gloria V. Phillips is an avid genealogist who wrote two nonfiction books before turning her hand to historical fiction. Her talents as a researcher are reflected in novels chronicling two generations, starting with the journey of a child immigrant to Canada in the early 1900s (part of the child migration scheme which brought more than 100,000 children to Canada to work). When not occupied with writing and speaking engagements, Gloria works as office manager in a church office.

Why did I write it?

I thought that my story could bring hope to others who were going through similar experiences. The world is full of hurting people – people who have stopped hoping. I wanted them to know that they are never alone and that no matter how deep their pain is, God’s love is deeper. He knows our pain because he hurts when his children go astray just like we do when our kids stray.

Links to Author’s Sites

Gloria Phillips’ website

Links to where readers can buy the book

That’s Life Communications

Amazon

Chapters Indigo