Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Even the Darkness

“Even the darkness is not dark to Thee,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to Thee.”
Psalm 139:12

My eyes popped open to total darkness. I craned my neck toward the digital clock. Nothing. I tried to click on the nightstand lamp. Zip. 

My husband Chuck’s soft snore mingled with the sound of the peaceful river outside our bedroom door. One reason we’d chosen this B & B for a three-day, much-needed get-a-way. 

Bladder screaming, I inched from under the downy comforter and groped along the wall toward the bathroom. Or so I thought. When multiple tries produced no door opening, I started to panic. Just as I was ready to give up, I stumbled from carpet to tile and knew I’d reached my destination.

Back in bed, I sensed the oppressive darkness unsettle me. “Chuck . . . Chuck,” I whispered, hating to wake him while at the same time needing to. “Can you see the digital clock?”

He stirred, groaned. “No.”

I had no way of knowing if he’d really looked, but for sanity’s sake, I decided to believe him. “Good. I thought I was blind.” One of my deep-seated fears since childhood.

In all honesty, I’d never appreciated utter darkness while sleeping. Chuck, on the other hand, slept best that way. Not me. I like a glimmer of light.

In the stillness, I shook my head. The electric must be out. As I lay back, a suffocating panic seized my heart. Silly, really, I told myself, given I sleep with my eyes closed anyway. But simply knowing I couldn’t reach over and switch on a light created panic, similar to the feeling one might have in a stuck elevator or a MRI machine.

I knew I was in trouble, so I turned to prayer and scripture. “Help me, Lord. Calm my anxious thoughts.” It took sheer determination to redirect my focus to the Lord, rather than my inability to turn on a light, but God enabled me.

One scrap of scripture kept circulating through my mind. “Even the darkness is not dark to Thee . . .” Choosing to meditate on that thought, I realized that since God is light, wherever He is, there is light. I belong to Him; He lives in me, so light fills me. I closed my eyes and imagined a sunny beach and light filled my mind.

A couple years ago I read the autobiography of Jacque Lusseyran, blind leader of the French resistance during the Nazi occupation. He shared a similar phenomenon which I now better understood. He said when he succumbed to fear he was overwhelmed by the darkness, but when he set his mind on the Light as expressed in John, chapter one, he sensed he could “see” light and be filled with light. Such power of God’s Word working in conjunction with a disciplined mind.

Moments later, I opened my eyes once more. A small panel of light shone through the Venetian blind on the French door. Moonlight, perhaps? All else remained completely black. It was as if God was gifting me a slither of light to remind me that He was with me, and perhaps to reward my faithful focus on Him, even in the darkness.

Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, speaks to women’s groups, encouraging them to discover who they are in Christ and what part they play in His amazing story. www.eileenrife.com, www.amazon.com/author/EileenRife, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Peak At Heaven

Dara - in a happier moment :)
by Carole Towriss

   Dara was sitting at the island in the kitchen last week after dinner when she suddenly threw up her hands in frustration. “I hate America!”
   I was stunned, to say the least, to hear this from a child who might literally be dead were it not for America. (When I retold this to my 21-year-old later, she laughed and said, “Say it a little louder, Dara. I don’t think the NSA heard you.”)
   It soon became apparent that Dara was doing her history homework, and that the class was studying the Civil War. In one of her patented Dara-rants, she raged for a good five minutes. “I don’t understand how people could do this. How can people who say they are ‘men of God’ do this to other people? Make them slaves, and beat them and chase them? We are all the same! There is no difference! I just don’t understand!”
   Well, how could she understand? I don’t understand. How do you explain something that defies explanation?
   All I could do was shrug and say, “That’s because you grew up in Washington, DC, in the 21st century.”
   Which is, in large part, true. My kids go to school in a county system with kids from more than 150 countries. They’ve never known anything else.

   My husband took this photo of the worship team in our church last Sunday. It’s a terrible picture, quality-wise. But it’s a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. The pianist, whom you cannot see, is Haitian-American. The keyboardist just moved here from India with his wife. The drummer (in back) is from America. The singer is Vietnamese-American, and the guitarist was born in the Philippines. And the wonderful older gentleman, whom I dearly love, is Emmanuel, who was born in Nigeria.
   When the congregation sings it is such a beautiful mixture of accents you might think you are already in heaven.
   My kids didn’t have a second thought about the group. To them this is normal.

   Maybe someday, before we get to heaven, it will be that way for all of us.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


 What fun! As a grandmother rearing four grandsons—then ages twelve, ten, nine and six—I was always looking for something entertaining to do together that wouldn’t break the bank. Online, I discovered a great new family sport called geocaching. It sounded just perfect for my tribe. Hmmm, activity versus sitting in front of a video game; participants are required to go outdoors with sunshine and fresh air in abundance, and, cheap to free.
So, I looked a little deeper and investigated several websites. At one, I immediately signed up for a basic free account. Perusing their information, I learned more about how to get started in geocaching. Millions of caches are located all over the world! And I discovered many existed close to Clarksville, the rural seat of Red River County, Texas. We could get started right away searching for thirty-nine geocaches within a thirty mile radius from our rural zip code! Great news.
At the website, I clicked how to get started and followed the directions clicking here and there and reading up on the locations of the several caches nearest our home. They’re meant to be found with longitude and latitude coordinates – a great introduction for the children as to how men have marked out the world we live in, don’t you think? But, since we didn’t have a handheld GPS, we’d have to rely on the written clues and maps to get started.
I couldn’t wait for my boys to get home on the school bus so we could hit the road and find our first geocache! But wait, I needed the answer to an important question first. Tee hee hee. What is a geocache? I learned it’s a waterproof container hidden so that future seekers may find it. It may be any size, as small as a film canister or as large as one of those good size plastic storage tubs.
Inside, there will be a log or journal that the finders can sign saying, “Hey, we’ve been here and we found this geocache!” And, sometimes, small trinkets are also enclosed, souvenirs for the children in a geocaching troupe or hand warmer packets, but you are supposed to leave something for the next finders if you take anything out. I got sugars!
We spent a couple of hours that first day and had time to find four of the five geocaches I had mapped out, but there was dinner to cook and homework to get done. I just listened to all their happy tales on the way back home. It was a fun afternoon none of us would soon forget. Exactly what I had hoped! We’ll definitely go again, and soon!
Happy geocaching, everyone! Be blessed!

 Hey and if your young reader is needing a new book, my October release THE KING'S HIGHWAY, book one of the new Days of Dread Trilogy, may fit the bill perfectly. It’s received all five star reviews with two reviewers comparing it to C. S. Lewis and another who read it twice in two days because she loved it so much J

I wrote it to bolster young people’s faith in that no matter what happens, God will keep and care for them, providing needs and protecting them. There’s an kind old man who keeps showing up—an angel unaware.  

3 opportunities to enter to WIN A FREE COPY :  Leave a comment right here at Faith Friends... and...Chocolate! - one entry /  Follow My Amazon page  2nd entry  /  Like My FaceBook Page 3rd entry

BIO: Award winning author debuts her new Christian mid-grade, book one in the Days of Dread Trilogy THE KING’S HIGHWAY. The prolific, bestselling novelist loves singing new songs the Lord gives her and painting. In 2008, her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved her to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Praying her story gives God glory, she hopes each one ministers His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. She and Ron live in Clarksville, Texas with two grandsons, Christian and Benjamen.

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