Thursday, August 28, 2014

Waiting for a New Beginning Isn’t Easy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by: File photos A new beginning — Days of emptiness gave way to days of purpose. Now a former inmate visits inmates himself and tells his story of teen-age rebellion and hopelessness.  

 

Below by guest columnist, Lucy N. Adams | Dec 27, 2013 (reprinted here with permission)


Waiting for a new beginning isn’t easy. The New Year is a fine time to have one, but if it doesn’t happen in January. It may come in the spring, summer or fall. I watched one happen in the life of a young man from a jail and it was heartwarming.  He is now a dear friend and brother in Christ. This is our story.


Mike's parents sadly watched as he made terrible choices in his young life.  They tried in vain to help guide him another way.  But he kept getting into trouble with the police. When he wrecked his motorcycle, he ended up in the hospital.  Since he was on drugs at the time, he also faced the worst consequence of his life — jail.


However, after several months of good behavior in jail, Mike was given the privilege of “work release” to return to his plumbing job.  Each morning he left to go to work and faithfully returned in the afternoon.  Just as I was leaving the jail one afternoon after visiting a young girl inmate, I saw a boy coming in the front door.  He looked like the boy named Mike from the picture his mother had shown me.


I got permission from the officer at the front desk to sit in the lobby and visit with Mike before he must return to his cell.  He welcomed me by saying, “I heard you were the new preacher’s wife at the church my family goes to.” His smile reached from one dimpled cheek to another.  It went straight to my heart.


“Yes, I know your family.  It will be great when you can come back too,” I said, hoping for a positive response.  I grinned as I said, “Maybe you can get ‘church-release’ the same as you do for your job.”


Mike’s eyes stared at the floor as he said he was embarrassed to face his old friends there.  He added, “Miss Lucy, they’re doing just fine without me down there.”


I continued to visit the jail and one day I discovered that Mike sang beautifully to the guitar music from  his cell mate. Again, I asked about his coming to church.  This time I mentioned the choir.

 
“We really need your strong voice, Mike,”  I said.


He liked the idea.


So the new rule was set for his “church-release” each Sunday morning.  The choir director happily received him into the tenor section.  The long white robe and gold stole around his neck set the scene perfectly for Mike — the handsome new choir member.  After church he always faithfully returned to jail, just as he had promised.


The first Sunday, as we took our seats in the choir loft, I glanced at the row behind me in order to smile at Mike with a whispered, “Great to have you here.”


I was astounded.  The man who sang tenor next to him was the stern judge who had sentenced him to jail several months ago.  Now they would be singing God’s praises in the same church choir.  It was almost too good to be true.


I never got up the courage to ask Judge Cole how he felt about this arrangement.  I had no idea how this old traditional, elite congregation would react to the choir participation of an inmate from the country. 


But I discovered their love for Mike was very sincere.  And there were many happy people the day his final release came. The jail sentence was over.  After months of leaving jail to come to church, the whole family could come together.


But the next Sunday Mike was not in the choir.  My heart was broken. I remembered sad experiences with other inmates who returned to their old habits.  I wondered what Mike would do with his new freedom.


I was relieved when I saw him sitting in the balcony with his parents.  He seemed to be attentive, but at the end of the service during the last hymn, he left.  His parents watched him go and it was a confusing scene.


In a moment I knew what was happening.  Mike had come down the stairs and was coming into the sanctuary to the altar rail.  My pastor husband greeted him warmly and Mike whispered something to him.  He wanted to re-commit his life to Christ.


In a few moments his parents joined him at the altar and the smiles and tears of joy were indicative of new beginnings in that dear family. 
Days of emptiness gave way to days of purpose.  Mike returned to school and trained for a vocation. He became a vital part of our youth group, hoping to guide them to profit from his mistakes.


An important dimension of his new life today is visiting inmates in prison. When he tells the story of his teen-age rebellion and hopelessness, it is wrapped in God’s mercy, love and forgiveness.


To this day, as I remember Mike in jail and Mike in church, I believe I know some of that new beginning. It was the first Sunday he was in that long white choir robe with the golden stole around his neck, singing with the judge.


Reach Lucy N. Adams  at Lucya424@aol.com or visit Visit www.52hymns.com.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Featuring Nike Chillemi, Crime Fictionista

Whispers in Purple is honored to have special guest author Nike Chillemi, the Crime Fictionista, here to share a bit about her new release, HARMFUL INTENT, and her upcoming sequel DEADLY DESIGNS. (I can’t wait for that one!)

Harmful Intent, Framed

Welcome, Nike. Your characters are always so colorful and interesting. Tell us what Ronnie and Dawson are up to now. 

HI, Peg,

I’d like to talk about Deadly Humor and Culinary Delights

Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels, female private investigator is usually armed to the teeth and is a crack shot. She also likes to eat. In this fast paced whodunit readers will chuckle when this athletic looking meat-and-potatoes gal finds herself in an organic cooking class.

If you want to "get" who Ronnie is…at one point as she's stuffing her face with guacamole and nacho chips…but them begins to muse about her new BFF and sidekick:

My husband had dumped me for a southern femme fatale and humiliated me in public. But Bertha appreciated me because I ate like Miss Piggy. I shrugged, and popped a nacho loaded with refried beans into my mouth. You've gotta take your good where you find it.

Ronnie hails from Brooklyn where she follows a bunch of unsavory characters and does a lot of taxing surveillance. Hence she has often grabbed a quick bite from a street vendor's food truck. She continues this practice while in Taylor County, Texas after she stumbles upon good eats at The Church of the Byways' Annual Bazar. As she's stuffing her mouth, she spots two individuals she considers to be persons of interest.

One of her fav expression is, "I could eat a bear." Readers don't get very far into HARMFUL INTENT, book one in the series, when they notice as soon as she says, "I could eat…" ~ The hero, Deputy Sheriff Dawson Hughes finishes her sentence for her with "…a bear."

So, what is a Brooklyn, gal PI doing in Texas? She's been framed for the murder of her cheating husband and she's trying to clear her name. Meanwhile she's eating her way through T-bone steaks with sides of skillet fried Mac 'n cheese, or a nacho platter followed by three beef soft tacos, or an oven-baked pancake the size of a Frisbee.

Then the unthinkable happens. She must take an organic cooking class in the course of the investigation in an attempt to wheedle some info out of the chef/instructor. She goes into the class with an overwhelming craving for a bacon and cheese Quarter Pounder with all the trimmings, super-sized French fries, a side of onion rings, and a McFlurry.

IMG_0217The instructor (who, BTW, also has information about a heinous killer) gives the ladies taking the class a hand-out with color photos of the dishes they will be preparing: tossed green salad with pale-striped cucumbers and cherry-tomatoes, pan seared chicken breasts with shallots, golden sparkling cider as the beverage, and grilled pineapple slices for dessert. Naturally, all ingredients are certified organic. At the end of the cooking, when the ladies sit down to eat, what surprises Ronnie is how tasty the meal is.

(NOTE: Nike tells me the picture is a tomato bruschetta open faced sandwich for an outdoor lunch. Looks yummy, doesn’t it?)

When we meet up with our hero and heroine again in DEADLY DESIGNS, book two in the series, we learn Ronnie took a few healthy-eating cooking classes when she got back home to Brooklyn. Now she and Dawson are teamed up in a desperate chase the find a missing child and terrorists might be involved. Still they have to stop and eat. He's more than surprised to see her ordering a salad for her appetizer and grilled fish for her entrée. Since his motel room includes a kitchenette, she promises to cook a healthy meal for him. You'll just have to read the book when it comes out to find out how that goes.

Purchase Link (it's only in ebook format on Amazon)

http://www.amazon.com/Harmful-Intent-Veronica-Ronnie-Ingels-ebook/dp/B00K3Y7X4Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407452795&sr=1-1&keywords=harmful+intent+chillemi

Author Bio:

NikePixLike so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category, a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories, and a judge in the Eric Hoffer Awards in 2012 and 2013.

Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released in the spring of 2014 under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN).

Nike loves animals, the ocean and is a healthy-eating foodie…these themes show op in her novels. While engaged in social networking, Nike is prone to post delish healthy fare she's cooked up in her kitchen. http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/

Friday, August 22, 2014

Interview

Hi, Whispers readers,

Just wanted to let you know that I have been interviewed by Anne Baxter Campbell on her Pew Perspective blog regarding my Sweetland stories this year.

I’d love for you to take a minute and check it out. The link is: http://nblo.gs/ZmG3L

I’m the second one down. I can’t believe this is happening to me at this late stage in my life. But it’s wonderful. And I thank my God for carrying me through some very rough years.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Devotion is Up!

I’ve just launched the new DEVOTIONS tab on the Whispers in Purple blog.

Look for it by clicking on that tab.

The first one is from one of my favorite people and a wonderful writer of meaningful prayers and devotions.

I’m still trying to figure out how to make the automatically come to you like the blog posts themselves come through.

Here is the link to that new page: http://www.whispersinpurple.com/p/devotions.html

Be blessed!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Nudge from God

Bible_prpl

 

As I’ve been reading my Bible and my daily devotions, I’ve felt a pull, (from God?) to write some devotionals myself. Right here on this blog.

I thought I could create a ‘tab’ across the top just for devotions and park them there. It wouldn’t be daily, maybe only once or twice a week, at least on my part. This would be separate from any regular blog posts and have a page of its own. It would also have the option to leave comments.

Then I thought, why not invite others who write devotions to share theirs here, too. No rules, just write from your heart as God leads. You would send your contribution to me via email, along with any images you’d like to include. If you become a regular contributor, I’ll create another tab which would include your picture and a bio.  If enough are interested we’ll work out some sort of schedule, although I really dislike schedules. I’d rather just have you send something and I’ll put them up as I receive them. I reserve the right to edit, although I doubt that would be necessary.

If this is something you’d be interested in doing, use the Contact tab an let me know. Not just for those of you who might want to contribute, but for all my blog readers.

Of course, feel free to leave a comment here, too. They are always welcome and appreciated.

One more thing: if you are one of those who have problems with leaving comments, just use the Contact tab. It sends an email directly to me.

So, what do you think?