Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Archive for the ‘Till death do we part’ Category

Losing the fairy tale ideals of what marriage should be so that we can create our own story-book marriages.

Tuesday Promotion in Motion: Because You Care

Posted by Lisa Lickel on October 2, 2012

About the Book:

Because You Care: Spiritual Encouragement for Caregivers

Harvest House Publishers
Gift Book
ISBN 978-0-7369-4328-4
Retail Price: $12.99
Release Date: February 2012
Authors: Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk
Grand Prize Giveaway Description
  • Book—Because You Care: Spiritual Encouragement for Caregivers
  • Book—Hope and Comfort for Every Season
  • Hallmark journal, list pad, and memo  pad stack
  • Glade “Angel Whispers” candle
  • Hershey’s Bliss dark chocolate

Instructions to Enter the Grandprize Drawing:

  1. Leave a comment about the book or author on the blog post during the blog tour.
  2. Each blog tour host will draw one name from those comments to send to the tour coordinator by October 12.
  3. The coordinator will put all the names into a drawing, and select a winner, using an online randomizer.
  4. The coordinator will notify the blog tour host who submitted the winning name.
  5. The blog tour host will notify the winner and collect the mailing info so the author can send out the prize.

From the Back of the Book:

As someone caring for an ill or elderly loved one, you understand that your role can push you to the limit, press on every nerve—and yet fill you with a deep sense of love and peace of mind.

Beloved authors Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk know this too. Beautifully written and full of gentle wisdom, their personal stories of caregiving will help you face some of the ups and downs of your journey.

  • Feeling guilty for doing too much, too little, or nothing at all
  • Answering other’s well-meaning but insensitive questions
  • Watching someone you dearly love suffer or die

Here are the stories from those living the life. Let their encouraging words lift your heart.


Book Excerpt:

(from the beginning)

This Is Who You Are

From Cec and Twila

Others may call you brave. They’ll use words like noble or sacrificial. They’ll admire and applaud you because you’ve offered your life to make yourself available to someone who needs a long-term caregiver.

“I couldn’t do what you’re doing for him,” a friend says.

You listen to the words your friend speaks, and you like hearing the compliments. Yet as you listen and smile, you don’t see yourself as exceptional. You’re doing the right thing for someone you love, and that gives you peace. You also know the reason you’ve devoted your energies to another person.

You can express that reason in a single sentence: “I do it because I care.” You might say it’s because you love the person, or you may do it because of a strong sense of commitment to God and to your loved one. Regardless of how you express yourself, you’re determined to give yourself as fully as you can.

Some days you may not feel like loving anyone. You get tired, lose your temper, or think of the things you didn’t accomplish. During the worst times, you wish the situation would change. And in those dark moments, you’ve probably prayed, Dear Lord, please take this burden from me.

The situation probably won’t change for a long time—perhaps years. It’s not the kind of life you would have imagined. You probably envisioned living out your years in blissful peace. Caring for your loved one wasn’t part of your dream, but this is the life you have. Despite the moments of sadness, perhaps even regret, your answer remains the same: “I care.”

Taken from: Because You Care. Text Copyright © 2012 by Cecil Murphey, Twila Belk. Artwork Copyright © 2012 by Betty Fletcher. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. Used by permission.

About the authors:

For more info about Twila, visit: www.gottatellsomebody.com.

For more info about Cec, visit: www.cecilmurphey.com.

Twila Belk and Cecil (Cec) Murphey are both long-term caregivers for their spouses. Twila, aka the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, is a writer and speaker who loves to brag on God. She works fulltime with Cec as his manager, personal assistant, and biggest fan. Cec is a veteran author who has written or co-written more than 125 published books, including the bestsellers 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless readers around the world. Cec and Twilas’ second co-authored book, Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware (Guideposts Books), released in August 2012.

Posted in Anxiety, Author Spotlight, Book Giveaway, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Till death do we part | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

End of the Line

Posted by Ben Erlichman on March 1, 2012

As I sit here in the hallway just outside my condo (I locked myself out—my house and car keys are inside so I’m stranded), I can’t help but reflect on how far I’ve come since I first started blogging for Reflections in Hindsight. I began awhile ago upon seeing an admonition from our very own Lisa Lickel via the ACFW Midwest loop for anyone interested in contributing to this blog. I answered her call and offered to contribute, and soon I was posting once every other week.

Not long after that, I began posting every week when the gentleman I was co-posting with had to step back from the blog, so Thursdays became “my day” at Reflections. It worked well for a long time. I could probably go back and tell you exactly how long it’s been, but I haven’t any desire to try to figure out how to do that on my iPad via the WordPress App and risk losing an entire post (it’s happened before) in the process.

I’ve shared on a great many subjects during my time here, some of which still attract readers even though the posts have been live for months. Some of my top posts include my thoughts on witchcraft in YA books (above and beyond the level of Harry Potter, which I think is mostly harmless), a fun post entitled “WWJBD? What Would James Bond Do?“, and my personal favorite, An Obituary for Harold, a squirrel to whom I paid tribute a few days after I ran him over with my car.

All in all, it’s been a great run, but as I said in a previous post about how much I hate blogging, I just don’t have the time, energy, or the drive to continue to write anymore. Part of it stems from the fact that I don’t enjoy reading blogs very much, and I hate the idea that I have to blog in order to be a “successful” author as far as my books go. If I hate blogging, why am I doing it?

I apologize for my negative outlook on this subject. As this is my last post at Reflections, I want to leave on a positive note, something I have done for basically everything I’ve posted. I’m that type of person: the optimist who sees the glass as half full—usually.

So here’s my positive spin on all of this: in not blogging at Reflections, I will have more time to write books, work on Splickety Magazine (which you can buy here), and be a good father to my son (or possibly daughter), who we’re expecting to be born within the next few weeks. Posting at Reflections has been an obligation that I worried about fulfilling every week, and now I won’t have to worry anymore.

Thank you all for reading my posts throughout the last year or so. You’ve walked along with me on this journey, through the good times and the bad, through the well-planned posts and the not so well-planned posts. I am forever indebted to you for your support.

As I sign off for the last time as a regular contributor (that’s right, you may see me again at some point, it’s just that I won’t be the one driving the carriage) I have to make three final requests of you.

1. Please continue to read Reflections authors’ posts. As you well know, I’m not the only one here at this site. Never was. Please continue to support this site, and tell your friends about it. I owe so much to Lisa and the other contributors for what they’ve taught me, so please check them out often, if not every day.

2. Keep reading on Thursdays. My replacement is the very able, intelligent, creative Luther D. Powell, a young man with a bright future ahead of him. You can check him out on our author page soon. He will continue to bring the heat through his posts, a heat that has cooled in my recent posts. Give him more than a fair shot—I think you’ll be impressed.

3. Finally, keep your eyes open. I’ll be around. I’m at conferences, I’m not leaving Splickety Magazine any time soon (just started it—duh), and I’ll eventually have a book or 19 published that you all can and should read, and then buy more copies for your friends and family. When that day comes, I’ll appear on Reflections again, probably for an interview. Until then, support Splickety, and if you see me wandering the halls at some conference you happen to be attending, come up and say hello. I’m okay with faces but horrible with names, so please pardon me if you have to remind me who you are.

With that, thank-you again, and God bless you all.

-Ben

This is me preparing for my undoubtedly bright future.

Posted in Anxiety, Author Marketing, Author Spotlight, Authors, Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Heart and Home, Homemaking, Hospitality, Inspiration, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Parenting, Publishing, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

My NaNoWriteMare

Posted by Ben Erlichman on December 1, 2011

Clever title, isn’t it? That’s about the only thing I accomplished this November as far as writing is concerned. Alright, I’m being too hard on myself–it’s not quite as bad as the title suggests. I actually logged 22,200 words on the nose in november, but that’s 28k shorter than the standard NaNo goal of 50k, and about 40-50k shorter than my personal goal of 60-75k. Ah well, life goes on, right?

The best thing I can do is try to figure out where I “went wrong” in my endeavor. If you caught my last post two weeks ago (sorry about the blank Liam Neeson post that showed up Thanksgiving Day–that’s courtesy of WordPress being devilish and deleting all of my content) where I sort of did a mid-course analysis and tried to make corrections, then you know some of my flaws already. I played too many video games, I focused more at work at my day job (that’s a good thing, though) and I didn’t do enough pre-research on my initial NaNo project, which I eventually abandoned in favor of returning to my previous work-in-progress (WIP) which is about a chapter away from hitting the book’s final act.

Yeah, I thought I’d be able to amp up my writing by switching to my old project, but my word counts actually didn’t improve–they decreased, then began to increase in the past few days. I wrote like a tyrant my first week, which was actually only five days, and in that time I put out 9,050 words. The next week (a full seven days) I put out 6,433, then a miserable 1,998 the week of that blog post. That was my rock bottom. I climbed up to 2,270, then reached 2,453 during the last four days of November. In short, I’m on an upswing, and that’s going to have to be good enough for now since I failed to complete NaNo.

In other words, my word count from October through November very closely resembles the stock market crash in 2008.

Here’s my new goal, and I think it’s manageable: finish my current WIP by the end of December. By my count I should have about 20-25k left to write. I have done over 50k words in a month before, so cranking out the end of the story (with the momentum of the entire cast of characters and the plot fueling my writing) should be a fun challenge. I’d like to have it done by mid-December so I can have an edited draft ready for my wife to read by January 1st, as I promised a few months ago.

Here are the things that will probably distract me: writing/preaching a sermon in mid-December for the main service in my church; running my church’s youth group; trying to acquire the biggest client for my dad’s company in its history (sooooo awesome, by the way); trying to acquire other clients at work; an old friend visiting my wife and me for a month or two; video games; getting the first issue of Splickety out and selling it to local stores; marketing Splickety nationwide; making time to spend with my pregnant wife; chaplain site visits to our client location three times a month; critique group stuff; potentially attending two funerals; meeting with a young couple about officiating their wedding; volleyball on Monday nights; workouts on Tuesday nights; Mayhem on Friday nights; and probably a bunch of other things I can’t remember right now.

In other words, it’s exactly how I like it: stressful, packed, and short on time.

I guess we’ll see how it turns out.

-Ben

Posted in Anxiety, Author Marketing, Authors, Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Hospitality, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Parenting, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

NaNoWriMo Sound Off

Posted by Ben Erlichman on November 3, 2011

It’s that glorious time of year again for those of us who write novels: NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who don’t know. You know what that means for me as an author? Isolation, a third of my regular social life, long nights awake at the keyboard tapping away to reach that ever-elusive word count goal of 50,000 words in one month (I’m actually shooting for 60-65k this year because 50k isn’t actually a full novel…).

In other words: I’m really looking forward to it.

We writers often like isolation, we don’t mind sacrificing our social lives for our work (to an extent), and chasing that challenge is a thrill enhanced even beyond what we usually get from writing our books. We’re weird like that, so just accept it and love us anyway, or you run the risk of becoming a character in one of our books. And then we may kill that character. Bwahahaha!

All kidding aside, I’m off to a different start and I have a different approach to NaNo this year than I did last year, where I had computer problems and struggled with a lack of focus, yet still somehow managed to get my 50k written in that time. The primary differences this year are that I know what to expect this time through, and I have a detailed outline from which I can work. Last year I had neither of those things, and the result was a 54k book (novella?) jam-packed with action but not long enough to sell to any publishers. (Don’t worry–I can always use it as a free giveaway as an e-book as a marketing/promotional perk for my readers to build a platform.)

This year I’m writing the first book in a dystopian YA series of three books. I have outlined the entire book, almost all of it in scene-by-scene detail except for one section where I totally just wrote a paragraph that’s supposed to sum up three entire chapters (give or take) of writing. The rest is pretty clear-cut, though. In my experience, outlining has proven to be 100 times (that’s an estimate) more useful to me than writing by the seat of my pants. I did that with my NaNo project last year and, well, you know how that turned out. I also did that with my first novel, and it’s taken me about 8-9 years to get it to where it’s actually ready for a publisher to consider. Never again, my friends. I am an outliner all the way, every day.

I’m off to a decent start. I wrote 3,000 words the first day and 1,100 words the second day, which, when you average it out, I’m sill a bit ahead of where I should have been by now anyway, even though I dropped the ball yesterday by about 500 words. Today/tonight will be different. I fully expect another 2,000 words, possibly 3,000, and I plan to be up late writing into the night with some AC/DC playing in the background.

Another key difference is that I’m waaaay busier this year than I was last year. Tell me if this sounds like a lot to handle: a full-time job, a marriage, a very part time job (5 hours a month) as a chaplain, co-leading my church’s youth group, editing and putting out the first issue of a new flash fiction magazine, taking a refresher course on hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation) for a preaching mentoring class at my church, my wife is pregnant, running events for the youth group including a fundraiser coming up soon…

There’s more too, but I can’t remember it right now. Add NaNo on top of all of that and I have no life in November. But it’s all good. I usually don’t thrive unless I have a lot of things going on.

What about you? Are you doing NaNo this year? Do you know someone who is? Share with us in our comments section.

Also, give three cheers to Written World Communications, one of NaNoWriMo’s sponsors this year. :)

Posted in Anxiety, Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Distraction in Action

Posted by Ben Erlichman on October 27, 2011

You’re sitting in that ideal setting that we mentioned last week. You’ve got your elixir, your nepenthe, your ambrosia in a steaming mug next to you (or in a chilled glass). The sounds of nature, or silence, or rock and roll surround you as your fingers tap the keyboard or write longhand. The computer screen is alive with color, but mostly just white and black text. You type word after glorious word, and the story unfolds before your very eyes like a flower blossoming in the springtime (or, if you write action/adventure, like a swelling explosion from a rocket-propelled grenade).

Everything is perfect, just the way you like it.

Then the phone rings. The dog next door starts barking. Your kids charge into the room and shout at the top of their lungs. The over beeps because your frozen pizza is cooked. Your next-door neighbor shoots his dog because it was barking too much. A meteor strikes the Earth in Africa and knocks your juice/coffee/soda/water all over your keyboard.

All is lost.

What happened? You got distracted.

“But–that’s not what happened! It wasn’t my fault!” you cry, furious that I would hazard to suggest that the African meteor was somehow your fault. “I couldn’t help being distracted.”

Sometimes, that’s exactly how it is. You don’t really have much of a choice–stuff will happen and it will distract you.

Sorry for the pause. I had to go get a frozen pizza out of the oven. Seriously, I actually got up and did that while I was typing this post. But it’s 11:47 at night and I’ve only eaten once today, so I have to take care of that. For me, that was an example of a necessary distraction.

As I was saying, there are some things you just can’t help. The neighbor’s dog barking, for example. Unless that neighbor really does find some way to shut Fido up (or if you’re cavalier enough to do it for him), you’re stuck with it. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you have to let it distract you. Put on some headphones, or put in some earplugs, or both, and get back to writing.

It’s not always so simple. You have kids. They neeeeeeed you every second of every day. Can’t get rid of them, can you? Sure, if they’re older, you can ship them off to school for eight hours, but if they’re babies (like the one I’m expecting in March), what do you do then? Since I don’t have kids that age (yet), I really don’t have a good answer except to say what I would TRY to do.

James Scott Bell has a dandy book called The Art of War for Writers (which I highly recommend). In it, he explains that he often “snatches time” when he writes. He explains that he makes sure he is still productive in spite of distractions by snatching time to write whenever he can. He mentions that he writes in some weird places at some weird times, primarily on a portable typing thingy–not hi-tech like an iPad, but something simpler called an AlphaSmart Neo, which he says runs on two AA batteries. He stresses that no matter how you do it, make sure that you ARE doing it.

So, when the kids are screaming, attend to them, and then sneak back to snatch a few words here and there until you find time to dedicate to writing. That’s my theory, anyway.

It will also help if you rid yourself of the distractions you can control. How much time, would you say, you spend online? On Facebook? Checking emails? Playing games? Playing video games? Watching TV? The list could go on forever, I’m sure, but my point is simple: make writing a priority, and you’ll find that many of those other things won’t matter quite as much in relation to your writing. Find a way to box them out, to isolate your writing time as your writing time.

This is all easier said than done, but you can do it. It takes time, practice, and discipline, all dirty words in our modern age of instantaneous gratification.

I’m going to leave you with a few different action steps today. Use the ones you can, ignore the others.

1. Identify things that distract you on a regular basis. This could be anything from jumping on Facebook every seven seconds, reading articles online, that incessant beeping from your cell phone because you haven’t opened your last text message yet–anything that you know will distract you.

2. Rid yourself of these things if you can. Turn off/unplug your internet connection, and switch off your cell phone’s sound. Put those earplugs in and block out Fido’s incessant barking, etc.

3. Create a plan of action for dealing with unforeseen distraction (like public rhyming). This should include dealing with said distraction, but more importantly carving a path to getting back into your writing groove.

4. Snatch that time. Get an AlphaSmart Neo, or a notebook and paper, and write. Or, get an iPad, and write on that thing. How you do it isn’t so important–actually doing it is what’s important.

5. Celebrate your victories. Before you know it, you’ll have a thousand more words on the page than you had ever dared hope for. That calls for a bit of celebration, right? Treat yourself to a movie, a TV show, or a snack/beverage that you wouldn’t normally enjoy, and enjoy a period of rest.

I hope this helps.

-Ben

Posted in Anxiety, Authors, Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Homemaking, Hospitality, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Parenting, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

An Obituary for Harold

Posted by Ben Erlichman on October 13, 2011

Harold Poofenstein

Harold Poofenstein, a gray squirrel, lived his life perpetually scampering just out of risk’s grasp.

When Poofenstein leaped from one branch to another in the tall tree he called his home, risk chased his poofy gray tail, ever anxious to see him slip and fall to his doom. Risk found Poofenstein in an open field when he dodged the talons of a hungry hawk while gathering food. Risk even failed to do Poofenstein in while he barreled through the back yard of an NRA family, whose children almost never ceased firing their BB guns at anything that moved.

But on Tuesday the 4th of October, risk finally caught up with Poofenstein, this time in the form of a bright red 2002 Ford Escape.

Fresh off his lunch break, Poofenstein approached the street from the west side with confidence and abandon, just as he approached life itself, friends say.

“Harold was a maniac sometimes,” said Mitch Featherby, a black crow and one of Harold’s closest friends. “I mean, we used to party behind grocery stores and restaurants, looking through their dumpsters for tantalizing morsels late at night, but that was nothing compared to Harold’s antics in busy city streets.”

A red Ford Escape, like this one, struck and killed Poofenstein near the intersection of Green Bay and Mill Road in Glendale, Wisconsin on October 4th.

Witnesses say that near the intersection of Mill Road and Green Bay Road in the city of Glendale, Wisconsin, Poofenstein sprinted into the street as the Ford Escape approached.

“He did that sort of thing all the time,” Featherby said. “I’m pretty crazy myself sometimes, but hey, I’ve got wings. Harold just didn’t know his limits. That’s what I admired about him the most.”

“He just ran out there. Didn’t stop to look both ways. Didn’t listen for cars,” said witness Donovan McFluffy, a cottontail rabbit. “The sound of the impact was one of the most sickening things I’ve ever heard. And that’s saying something, because I’ve got forty-seven kids back at home with Mrs. McFluffy.”

At approximately 11:55am, the southbound Ford Escape struck Poofenstein while traveling at approximately 40-45 miles per hour, somewhere between five and ten miles over the speed limit.

“He almost made it across,” said McFluffy. “I thought he had it there for a moment, but he never cleared the driver’s side tire.”

“Sure, the driver was probably speeding,” said Grip Serpentino, a garter snake who also witnessed the accident. “But that squirrel was pretty dumb for just running out there. I’m not saying he deserved what he got, but consequences have actions, you know?”

Poofenstein’s family wants answers.

“How is it that my son can get hit by a truck that size and no one in Glendale so much as lifts a paw to see that justice is served?” said Joyce Poofenstein, Harold’s mother. “I know it was a human driving, but still. It was a hit and run. Period.”

“Someone should do something about these drivers,” said Dirk Poofenstein, Harold’s father. “The city of Glendale ought to lower speed limits, or put more police out to enforce them, or something. How many more squirrels have to die before someone takes action?”

Reflections in Hindsight attempted to contact Glendale’s Department of Human/Animal Relations, but never received a call back. We later learned that Glendale does not have a Department of Human/Animal Affairs.

“Well, they should have one,” said Mrs. Poofenstein. “These kinds of tragedies can’t keep happening to the animal community with no recognition from the human race.”

Poofenstein was almost two years old when he died, a mature age for any squirrel.

“So what if he still lived at home with his parents, never really did well with the lady squirrels, and routinely raided public restroom trashcans for discarded food?” said Featherby. “Harold was an inspiration to all who knew him. He flirted with danger every waking moment of his existence. He went out there, grabbed the world by its nuts, and took no prisoners. He died as he lived: a leader, a hero, and now a legend. He was my friend.”

The World's Nuts

Poofenstein is survived by his parents, Joyce, 3, and Dirk, 4, several cousins and extended family, and a host of friends who will always remember him for his daring escapades.

Public memorial services will be held by the bubblers in the southeast corner of Kletsch Park in Glendale on Friday, October 14th, 2011. The family asks that all donations in Poofenstein’s name be given to the Wisconsin Humane Society or to the City of Glendale Glendale Parks and Recreation Department.

Posted in Anxiety, Authors, Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Heart and Home, Hospitality, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Parenting, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Big News in My Life

Posted by Ben Erlichman on October 6, 2011

Well, everything about my life as I know it is about to change. I will soon have less freedom, less time, less money. I’ll get less sleep, have less energy, and I will have to scale back to fewer projects.

Why?

My wife is pregnant with our first child.

We found out a couple of months ago and recently heard our baby’s heartbeat. We’ll be heading to our next doctor’s appointment soon, and my understanding is that shortly after we will get to see our baby on an ultrasound.

Yes, we want to determine the baby’s gender in advance. That way we can tell our family and friends how to shop. We have a few names selected for both genders, but I’m not going to tell them to you because I don’t want you to steal them. ;)

Our plan is (as of now) that my wife Ashley will take her maternity leave from her teaching job at the end of the school year (she’s due March 22nd, and we’re hoping the baby will be fashionably late), and I’ll take some time off from my ogre slavedriver of a boss (my dad) as well. Then, once we’re a bit more settled in, I’ll get back to work while Ashley stays home with the kid.

We also are blessed to have my parents living in close proximity, which will help to enable us to go back to work after next summer. My mom has already said she’d take care of our baby every Wednesday. That’s awesome. My dad, who runs his own business, said he would take one day (Friday or Monday) with the kid, and I’m planning to take at least one day as well. That leaves only two days we have to account for each week, and truthfully, I could probably work at home for some of that time while the baby sleeps–IF the baby sleeps.

Hopefully that way Ashley can go back to work next fall so we have a steady income. Or, even better, hopefully I sell a book or seven and make tons of money off the royalties from their sales. This is all hypothetical, of course, but my point is that I’m trying to think about this ahead of time.

So, all you seasoned, professional parents out there, here’s your chance. In the comments section, tell me one or two things (as concisely as possible) that you wish you would have known about parenting, or raising a baby, or anything related to that.

I’m looking forward to what you have to say.

-Ben

Posted in Anxiety, Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Heart and Home, Homemaking, Hospitality, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Parenting, Till death do we part, Working from home | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Lynn Rush is Back with Big News

Posted by Ben Erlichman on September 22, 2011

Ben Erlichman (BE): Our very special guest today is a good friend of mine, writer/author Lynn Rush. In case you missed our last interview with Lynn, you can find it here. Since October, Lynn has made some significant progress in her career as an author. Lynn, would you tell us what’s going on?

Lynn Rush (LR): Wasteland officially released September 6th, so I’ve been on a whirlwind blog tour ever since. It’s great fun, though.

BE: So when you got the email from the publisher about Wasteland being published, how did you react?

LR: I read the email—three times—then ran to my sweet hubby and showed him. Later that night we went out and celebrated at our favorite restaurant! The toughest part was waiting until everything was signed so we could announce it!

BE: What is Wasteland about?

LR: A tormented four-hundred year-old half-demon J. The official blurb is:

Bound by the blood contract his human mother signed four centuries ago, half-demon, David Sadler, must obey his demonic Master’s order to capture fifteen-year-old Jessica Hanks. But as he learns more about her, he realizes she may be the key to freedom from his demonic enslavement.

The only obstacle—Jessica’s distractingly beautiful Guardian, Rebeka Abbott. He must not give in to their steamy chemistry, or he will lose his humanity. But fresh off a quarter millennia of sensory deprivation as punishment for not retrieving his last target, he may not be able to resist temptation long enough to save what’s left of his human soul.

I have a little YouTube trailer made, too, if you want to see that: http://youtu.be/k-KRE1yMiNk
And an excerpt on my publisher’s site: http://www.crescentmoonpress.com/books/Wasteland.html

BE: What kind of initial response have you had regarding Wasteland?

LR: So far so good. The reviews up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads have been relatively positive.

BE: Have you had any bad reviews? How do you react to those as an author?

LR: Not yet, but I’m sure they’re coming! Can’t please everyone’s tastes, and it’s okay. I haven’t liked every book I’ve picked up, either, but doesn’t mean it was terrible or the author didn’t write well, just wasn’t my cup of tea.

BE: Who is the target audience for Wasteland?

LR: It’s technically called a New Adult novel. That’s mostly for those out of high school yet not quite ready for the steamy adult romance novels out there. I’ve loosely called it a twenty-something novel. But really, I’ve had teenagers all the way up to sixty-year olds read it and tell me they enjoyed it. So, I’m learning it has a fairly wide audience.

BE: What are you doing to market Wasteland to those readers?

LR: I’m having my book signing at a coffee shop near a Harkins Movie Theatre. That fits the target audience pretty well in my opinion. I’ve had some younger people read and review the book on their websites, too. We’re also having contests that include giving away a Kindle, having fun photo contests, things like that.

BE: Where can we get a copy?

LR: Barnes and Noble—online mostly, but you can go into your Barnes and Noble store and have them bring it into the store for you as well. The Nook version should be out shortly. Amazon.com has both the kindle and paperback versions. All Romance Ebook (ARe) has just the electronic version of the book. It’s a neat community where you can earn points for each book you buy and apply them toward future books. Really neat concept over at ARe.

BE: What can we expect from you next?

LR: Well, I have a few things in the works. Crescent Moon Press has purchased my Violet Night Trilogy, and my first round edits on book one have been turned in, so I hope to get an estimated release date soon. Wasteland II (I’m calling it Awaited) is done and in the critique process. Once that’s cleaned up I’ll present it to Crescent Moon Press to see if they’re interested. So, at a minimum, I have three more books coming out in 2012. Lots to keep me busy, huh? LOL

BE: Thanks so much for stopping by, Lynn. I’m so happy for you and I have nothing but the highest hopes for Wasteland and the rest of your writing career.

LR: Thanks, Ben. I’m glad to be here. I love talking writing, and I’m having a blast on this journey. Thanks for walking along side me!

BE: Lynn has graciously agreed to give away a free e-copy of Wasteland to one of our readers, but in order to win, you have to comment on this post. Comments will be accepted throughout the following week so lots of people have time to comment. The deadline for comments is 11:59pm on Wednesday September 28th, 2011.

***YOU MUST provide us with an email address or some other way to contact you in order to be eligible to win–in other words, anonymous posts aren’t eligible to win unless you identify yourself.***

We will announce the winner on Thursday the 29th in my next post, where I will reveal the new name and submission details for my short fiction magazine through Written World Communications, formerly known as Quicktales Quarterly. Tune in then to see if you won!

————————————————————————

Here’s a bit more about Lynn:

Short Bio:

Lynn Rush began her writing career in 2008. She has both an undergraduate and graduate degree in the mental health field and has enjoyed applying that unique knowledge to developing unique characters.

A former inline speed skater and mountain biker, Lynn has been known to test the limits of her athletic endurance. So, when she’s not writing, she spends time enjoying the Arizona sunshine by road biking nearly 100 miles per week with her husband of fifteen years and going on jogs with her loveable Shetland Sheep dogs.

Catch the Rush: www.lynnrush.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynnRushWrites

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LynnRush

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/k6NAZa

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/pavzwE

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/pbigOg

All Romance Ebooks: http://bit.ly/nujjjp

YouTube Trailer:  http://youtu.be/k-KRE1yMiNk

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Book Giveaway, Encouragment, Happiness, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Riding a Vampire’s Coat Tails to Success

Posted by Ben Erlichman on September 1, 2011

Something sneaks up behind you in the darkness. When you turn around, you see a pale, yet youthfully handsome face with vacant eyes that enrapture you. The next thing you know, this freak is literally nibbling on your neck, but somehow, you don’t seem to mind.

Congratulations! You’ve just fallen prey to a vampire. You must be a helpless damsel in need of saving from the wiles of the devil’s favorite undead villain. Or switch POVs and you’re the vampire, who did the sneaking around and the biting–personally that one sounds more fun to me.

Vampires are a subject I’ve always enjoyed. They’re one of those things in life that is a guilty pleasure for Christians because of who they are and what they actually represent. I’ve seen my fair share of vampire movies, but to my knowledge I’ve only read one vampire book–John B. Olson’s Shade–but that barely counts (although I did play Dracula in my school play once–and I read that script all the way through). That said, I still have a pretty diverse, thorough understanding of mainstream vampirism ranging from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Wesley Snipes’s “Blade” to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series (though I’m not a fan of sparkly vampires).

Sure, these stories sometimes focus too much on the violence or the sexual nature of vampires (like True Blood, which I’ve never seen but still know enough about to be dangerous), but the real problem many Christians wrestle with in regard to the majority of vampire stories (if not all of them) is that vampires don’t have souls.

What’s a Christian to do about that conundrum? If they’re already damned to Hell, can they do anything good at all? Can they somehow be redeemed, or have their soul set free from eternal damnation?

At the Ragged Edge Conference, Ted Dekker said that the way he writes books is that he finds a question he needs to answer, and then he writes a book exploring the question. When the book concludes, he usually has an answer.

I have taken it upon myself to explore these questions about vampires in a new book that I’m writing: can Jesus save a vampire? Can God restore a vampire’s soul? What would the process of sanctification look like for a vampire?

I have a detailed outline and I’m writing the book now. My hope is that I’ll be able to surf the last of the waves of vampire stories into the mainstream Christian fiction realm before the vampire craze finally fades away. I’m using classic vampire lore in the story (no sparkling vampires … sorry, ladies) which means I’ll be base vampire’s strengths and weaknesses off of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In essence, I’ll be riding Dracula’s coat tails to success, I hope, as thousands of other authors, movie-makers, and other artists have for more than 100 years.

We’ll see how it turns out, eh?

-Ben

P.S. One last freebie: check out Arpit Mehta’s book of poetry here for a FREE DOWNLOAD. Arpit was a guest a few weeks back, and if you’d like to know more about him you can either read the post or visit his website, or his other website.

(Disclaimer: Reflections in Hindsight is in no way responsible for the content of the books we recommend to our readers.)

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Till death do we part, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Unspoken Language (Guest Blogger, Kristy Wedge Cambron)

Posted by JoAnn Durgin on August 3, 2011

Please join me in welcoming guest blogger Kristy Wedge Cambron. Believer in Christ, wife, mother of two small sons, and aspiring Christian romance novelist. She’s the embodiment of a Godly woman in spirit and she also happens to be tall, blonde and gorgeous. And is a whiz in her fabulous corporate job. Oh well, you can’t have everything. But don’t you love how the Master Maestro orchestrates our lives to bring those people to surround us and give us the encouragement and support we need? Kristy is one of those persons in my life.  And as always, His timing is always impeccable and perfect. It was one of those “God” things how I met Kristy, and we immediately clicked, recognizing a kindred spirit in our mutual desire to share about the Lord and His love through our writing. I introduced her to the American Christian Fiction Writers, and she’ll be one of my roommates at the upcoming annual conference. Read her honest, beautiful and thought-provoking words below, and you’ll be struck by wisdom far beyond her years and the pure loveliness of her writing, as she writes about my favorite topic…love. It’s my great privilege to call her my friend, my blessing and honor to call her my sister in Christ. Introducing Kristy… Blessings my friends. JoAnn Durgin (Matthew 5:16)

The Unspoken Language of Love (originally posted on 5/17/2011 – blog link below)

We attended a wedding this week.

As you can imagine, the day was indeed full of laughter and hugs. There was a proud groom, a beaming princess of a bride, and a host of supportive friends and family to fill the chapel. The scene was awash in the usual flash of many cameras. Everywhere you looked and walked and smiled, a happy energy seemed to follow; for something amazing was about to happen. A couple is embarking on the journey of a lifetime, and they’re pledging to do it together.

Weddings are a powerful reminder of the beauty that love, friendship, and the promise of a hopeful future bring to a young, wide-eyed couple. I adore the showering down of promise that a wedding brings …

It was at this wedding that I was reminded of the concept of an unspoken language.

Since we began dating, my husband and I have had our own language. This language doesn’t pop-up all the time. It’s the unspoken words that we choose to say when words are just not enough; I am always and will forever be moved by it. In some of the most meaningful moments of my life, my husband has reached for my hand and in complete quiet, gently tapped my palm three times. This has always meant and will always mean, “I. Love. You.”

The bride and groom didn’t ask us for marriage advice before they said “I do”. I’m grateful for us and for them that they didn’t. I might have said that your wedding day should be one of the ultimate highs in life, but watch out – it’s not always going to be that way. Marriage isn’t easy on the faint of heart or those that get weak in the knees. Marriage takes work. Often, it’s a slug-fest. It’s a one-way ticket to an ongoing lesson in grace and humility. It’s something that you can’t ignore, you’re required to wholly invest in, and you have to take seriously if you’re going to buy the dress and exchange the vows. Sure there’s plenty of love and if you chose right, a friendship that can be compared to no other. But it’s going to test you both.

(How would those words have been received, do you think?)

Ten years out from my own wedding day, I can honestly say that the old comment about hindsight is true; I’ve learned a lot as I look back now. That’s what’s so special about the three taps that brushed my palm on the reception dancefloor this weekend. The “I. Love. You.” meant more than what the three words say.

The taps literally meant:

I love you when everything is perfect, but I love you even more when it’s not.
I love you when you’re smiling, but I love you even more when you cry.
I love you when I ask forgiveness, but I love you more when it’s given and not deserved.
I love you as we walk through joy, but I love you even more when tragedy and loss mark our path.
I love you in each step we’ve taken together, whether right or wrong, hurtful or not.
I love you in this moment because of all the moments we’ve shared, and all those yet to come.
I. Love. You.

My hand felt those taps on our wedding day as we exchanged rings. I will never forget that moment. It reminded me that though the day was perfect, there would be some days ahead that would test us, and that the love we felt then would have to be enough to see it through. Our hands have exchanged those taps at a funeral or two, and I was reminded each time that neither he nor I were standing alone. I remember several times of quiet when my hand reached out for his, to tap the three words when nothing in particular was going on.

Three taps were exchanged at the birth of our boys, as I walked to join a line of my fellow college graduates, as I left the house one morning to start a new job, as I cried at the loss of a loved one, as we each said “I’m sorry”, as we sat by the hospital bed of our young son … I.Love.You.

I started thinking this weekend about the words we speak each day of this life we are given. Often, we speak words of kindness, encouragement, and sympathy. While these are all good, they don’t go nearly far enough. The simple yet unmistakably powerful three words, I love you, say so much more.

Love one another as I have loved you. – John 13:34-35

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. – Deuteronomy 7:9

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. – Proverbs 8:17

I am moved by the small gestures of life; the ones that carry weight, the ones that hold a depth of meaning beyond the obvious. It is the words of a unspoken language that carry the most weight. I am moved in viewing my own imperfection, sin, failure and an eventual restoration through Him, that Jesus Christ lived this unspoken language of love nothing less than perfectly – and his gesture of love was the greatest that anyone has ever given you and I.

Now read these words again, but as if Jesus has spoken them only to you:

I love you when everything is perfect, but I love you even more when it’s not and you follow me.
I love you when you’re smiling, but I love you even more when you cry to me.
I love you when you ask forgiveness, but I love you more when I can give it and you know it’s not deserved.
I love you as we walk through joy, but I love you even more when tragedy and loss mark our path.
I love you in each step you’ve taken together with me, whether your right or wrong, your hurt or not.
I love you in this moment because of all the moments we’ve shared, and all those yet to come.
I. Love. You.

I can almost hear His whisper in those same life-moments that my husband and I walk – I.Love.You.

Our relationship with Christ is a two-way street; just like marriage and just like any relationship that has merit, it takes the giving and receiving of a willing heart to say and really mean those three little words. Jesus has already done the difficult task for us – he willingly gave. He gave more than you and I will ever know on this side of eternity.

We have the easy part. There’s no risk; all we have to do is receive.

Did I mention that the three taps of I.Love.You. between my husband and I are always followed by four taps from the other person?

I think the love that Jesus gave is just waiting for those four taps back from us -
I. Love. You. Too.

K - 

http://2sonsandparismom.blogspot.com/
______________________________________________________________________

About the Author:

My life as a writer has been a Christ-inspired journey. I long to bring others to the same heart’s fulfillment and lasting hope that I’ve found in Jesus Christ, through the written word. If God places an idea on my heart, then my hands will pen it to paper. If an experience marks my path and truly stirs something in my soul, then I write it out, asking my Savior that the words He gives me will bring our readers to know Him.

In my other life (the day-by-day one that doesn’t have me awake at 4am writing Christian novels), I am a National Education Consultant for a Fortune 100 Company, with 12+years industry experience. I graduated from the Disney Leadership Institute leadership program as a Perfect Service Program Guide. With a smile, I graduated with my BA from IU in 2010 and was awarded the Outstanding Student Award (Art History) for my graduating class.

Personally, I hang out with my best friends – my husband Jeremy and our little guys, Brady and Carson Dallas. We love sports and go to Indianapolis Colts football games as often as we can. The last and most important thought? Jesus Christ is awesome. There is nothing like Him in all of eternity. Let me tell you about him sometime.

Jeremiah 29:11 <

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Heart and Home, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Till death do we part, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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