Archive for January, 2013

The universe wept

Years ago I read an account of a young man, an ace fighter pilot in the early years of Second World War.  He loved his family and friends.  He loved life, and he loved to fly.  He loved his country, and even though he was trained as a airport-07iw_small fighter pilot and had flown several successful missions, he hated war and felt deep grief for each enemy pilot he shot down thinking of them as someone’s son or someone’s husband.  I don’t recall many of the details of the article, not even the pilots name.  So let me call him David.  I remember the account reported that his plane was shot down in 1941, I believe it was, and he lost his life.  What I will always recall precisely are the words with which the author closed the article.  He said, “While his family, friends and comrades grieved for him, the universe wept for David .”  To me his words were a profound statement of the worth of each individual.

In keeping with this brief account let me encourage you with the less than ten words spoken by Jeremiah, the prophet, bringing a message from God to the people – and remember you count.

 “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)  

And here is the promised brain teaser to keep Mr Alzheimer away.

What is the 6th number in this series?   10 – 14 -19 – 26 – 37 – _____

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I have to admit it.  I’ve been amiss in the last week or two writing a post at the beginning of the weekend that gives encouragement.  I’ve posted no “thoughts to consider” in ten words or less for a week or two.  Sometimes my plans don’t work out, and sometimes I’m just not inspired enough.  That’s a less brutal way of saying I didn’t take the time to do it.  But honestly, I do enjoy writing this weekend post most of the time.

It’s the last weekend of January 2013, and like many days this time of year what the world looks  like to us can drum up a depressing mood. Could the reason for this be that we too often look without truly seeing?   Here in ten words or less is this weekend’s thought to consider:

Only when it rains can you see the rainbow.

So I encourage you all in the drab days of January to see things that are amazing and beautiful?


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In Joy and in Sorrow

I published this novel last summer.  I began to write the story in 2007.  It is a work of fiction and not based on any individual’s plight.  I had learned at that time of community members and neighbors who struggled with cancer.  It led me to wonder in general how individuals and the families could cope with the helplessness this terrible and dreaded disease brings with it.  For my main characters I chose a church minister and his family thinking that of all people such a family might cope best.  In the early months of 2011 I proofread the novel for the third time in preparation of trying to publish it.  It was during this time that I learned that my oldest daughter had been diagnosed with an incurable cancer.  My first reaction was to delete the manuscript in its entirety.  However, my daughter asked me not to do so but try to publish it.  In Joy C During the next few weeks I plan to post excerpts from the novel that hopefully, will give readers a glimpse into the story.  The first excerpt involves several of the characters who have a prominent part in the story.  I chose this segment to introduce the reader to as many of the book’s characters in one excerpt as possible.  Please enjoy this first excerpt.

Danielle slowed down her breathing before she picked up the telephone and said, “Hello, this is Danielle.”

“Did I catch you at a bad time?” Lois laughed.  “I didn’t wake you up, did I?  You used to be a night hawk before you got married.”

“Lois, where are you!”  We didn’t expect you until Saturday evening.”  Danielle sat down knowing that speaking to Lois would not be quick.

“I’m in London.  Got in last night, and was about to go for an early breakfast, but then thought I better call you first before it gets too late there.  I’m in this strange, big city and I just wanted to hear a friendly voice.  I was sure Mom and Dad would be sleeping already, but like I said you used to be a night hawk.  It’s early Thursday morning here, but you will still have Wednesday night there.”  She giggled and teased, “But then you always were slower than I was.”

“Not to speak of being able to talk a mile a minute.  Your friends called you Lois the lip, didn’t they?”

“I’ve changed.  But how are you?  And how is that handsome husband of yours and sweet baby Deborah?”

Danielle beamed when she spoke of Douglas and Deborah.  “That sweet baby will have her fourth birthday soon, but sometimes she thinks she’s thirteen.  If you weren’t gallivanting around on the far side of the world, you would know that.”  Danielle then told Lois of Douglas’ call from Midland.

At the mention of his name, Lois pictured him the way she had seen him the first time she had met him at her parents’ place where she had still lived at that time.  Her heart had suddenly done somersaults when he had shaken her hand and had smiled at her.  He had often been in her thoughts after that until Danielle’s wedding day.  She had been one of Danielle’s bridesmaids, put on a happy face, smiled and called him brother and had determined to banish him from her thoughts, but it had been an almost impossible thing to do.  He had remained in her thoughts since that day.  Now she wondered what her reaction will be when she saw him again.  She shook her head to get his image from her thoughts and said, “By the way, I also wanted to tell you the airlines made a mistake with my connecting flight.  I’ll be arriving Sunday afternoon instead of Saturday night.”  They exchanged information for another thirty minutes, laughed and joked, before they finally said goodbye.

Raindrops ran down the living room window.  Danielle looked out into the grey sky.  We picked a good day to sleep in, she thought.  For her it was the first day of the summer break.  Douglas had no obligations at the church for once and had decided to stay home since he could prepare at home for Sunday night’s special number in song that he would bring with Danielle accompanying him on the piano.  She heard him in the kitchen mixing pancake batter and humming a hymn.  He was making breakfast. Deborah was still asleep and Joshua was playing a game on the computer.  The grandfather clock striking nine made her turn from the living room window.  “I’ll go and see if our baby is awake,” she called softly to Douglas.

An hour later they had enjoyed the pancakes Douglas had made, and the canned peaches he had opened.  Throughout breakfast the four had teased each other and laughed a good deal.  They had made plans to go to the swimming pool in the afternoon, and they were in no hurry to clear the table and get at the waiting tasks of the morning.  The chime of the front door bell silenced them for a moment.

“You three have more peaches, and I’ll go and see who it is, and tell them there’s nobody home,” Douglas said getting up slowly.  When he opened the door a woman he had never seen stood before him.  He guessed her to be in her mid thirties.  Her blonde hair was tied into a ponytail.  She was a pretty woman of average height and sad, blue eyes that looked nervously at him.  Worry marks were etched in her face.  He smiled at her.  “Please come in out of the rain.  Then you can tell me what I can do for you.”

She hesitated, but then slowly entered.  Danielle had come from the kitchen.  Her heart stopped for a moment when she saw the woman.  “You’re Lynn Banbridge, Joshua’s mother, aren’t you?” she said.

Lynn nodded.  “Is Josh here?”

Douglas introduced Danielle and himself.  “We were just eating breakfast.  There are pancakes and peaches left.  Come and join us.  Joshua will be thrilled to see you.”

“I don’t know.  I don’t want to be a bother.”  She looked from Douglas to Danielle who had recovered from the shock of realizing who the woman was.

Danielle took her by the hand and led her into the entryway.  “Let me take your coat.  Then we’ll go see Joshua.”  Danielle suddenly felt much compassion for the woman who seemed to struggle to keep her composure.

Joshua seated next to Deborah in the kitchen nook stopped in mid sentence from teasing Deborah.  He stared at his mother who was hanging on to Danielle’s hand.  “Mom!” he finally called out in a tone that conveyed surprise and joy.  He quickly climbed out of the nook, and in the next moment wrapped his arms around her.

His mother hugged him.  “I’m sorry I’ve been so long,” she whispered.  “I would have come last night, but it was late, too late to come and get you.  I wanted to clean the house up too before I got you.”  Tears trickled down her cheeks.

“You can’t have him!” Deborah suddenly blurted out staring at Joshua’s mother.

Danielle and Douglas chuckled.  “I’m afraid our daughter’s going to need some convincing that Joshua belongs to you.” Douglas smiled.

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Coming soon!

The second book I published, “In Joy and in Sorrow”, is special to me.  I quickly learned to connect with the characters.  So creating certain  conditions that some characters would experience became more difficult for me to contemplate and write than the characters experienced in “Secrets of Hawking Manor”.  In the coming week I plan to post a series of excerpts for readers’ enjoyment.

“In Joy and in Sorrow” by Werner Manke maybe ordered from Chapters, Barnes and Nobel and Amazon.  Below is the brief summary found on the back cover of the novel.

“IN JOY AND IN SORROW”,  a summary

Life is good for the Claremontes.  Danielle is a talented teacher, Douglas an outstanding young pastor.  Their future appears bright when they’re called on to go through the fire of suffering.  Danielle is diagnosed with cancer.  Douglas is unjustly accused of enticing another man’s wife, and an old enemy secretly resurfaces planning revenge.

In her suffering Danielle remains strong.  The bereavements Douglas experienced in his childhood and youth leave him with scars.  The present test of faith wounds his soul.

Half a world away Lois dedicates herself to serve needy people in a mission hospital in outback Zambia.  That great distance away from home is also to help her to deal with a secret she must never reveal.  She is talented and beautiful.  An acquaintance in Zambia is secretly infatuated with her and sends her anonymous, suggestive notes.  Feeling threatened she tries to uncover her tormentor.  Before her final term at the hospital ends he pretends to assist her but lures her to an isolated cabin attempting to seduce her.

Danielle’s condition, Jack’s revenge, the accusations leveled against him and Lois’ return from Zambia unite in a maelström threatening to shipwreck even those strong of heart.

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It’s a new week.  It’s still painful to sit at the computer, but here is the encouragement in ten words or less:

                                                    Believe in miracles. A family is one of them.       

Waiting for the parade

Waiting for the parade

And here is this week’s brain teaser: A grocery ad advertises plum for 19 cents a pound, pear for 18 cents a pound and pineapple for 41 cents a pound.  There is a pattern in these by which you can calculate the cost of a pound of peas.  What is that cost?

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I’ve always enjoyed being physically mobile, and I looked forward to a few hours of friendly hockey over the holidays.   For that reason I rented the ice for January 2nd for 90 minutes.  In our town businesses and individuals rent the ice for hours every day during the Christmas Break for those who like to skate.  One of those times on December 29 led to  forced confinement for me.  Sliding in for a stop during a game that day I hit a rut and landed hard on my left hip.  In the days that followed I learned the literal meaning of “a pain in the butt”.  What most of the time in my experience has always only been a bit of soreness this time turned out prolonged difficulties sitting down and doing things we usually do automatically and without any thought like putting on socks.  Sitting at my computer was almost impossible for more than a few minutes. Needless to say I watched from the stands as family and friends  enjoyed the ice I had rented on for January 2nd.

So what could I do?  My wife had given me a Kobo Arc for Christmas and I made extended use of it.  One of the books I read was “The Lost Souls of Angelkov” by Linda Holeman.  It’s an interesting story.  It takes place in mid 1800 Russia.  The kidnapping of the son of an aristocratic family creates plenty suspense.  Most interesting to me was the life described by the author of that time period in Russia.  She remembered stories her grandmother told that shaped that part of the story.

Those of you who enjoy historical fiction and suspense will like this read.

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