You can now preorder your copy of Pale Rider on Amazon! Click here to order! It’s been a long journey but we’re finally here. I’m so grateful for the outpouring of love that enabled me to finish strong. This is the book I would have written first, had I the courage. It’s my best foot forward and the reviews so far are encouraging. I just know you will love it, as well. Wanna see a preview to whet your appetite? You can read the first few chapters here! Thanks so much for your support!
For I, the LORD, love justice … Isaiah 61:8 (NKJV)
When I was a child, my sense of fairness was massive. I got my share of whuppings, as children of my generation often did. Now, such things are frowned upon but back then, it was just life. On one occasion, I cried and cried, not for the corporal punishment administered but because of something my Uncle Edmund had told me.
“You’re a big girl now,” he said. “You not s’pposed to get no whuppin’!”
I was too little to recall the infraction for which I was punished. But my mother often told the story of the outcome. I sobbed, broken-heartedly, saying over and over:
“Uncle Edmund said … I wasn’t s’posed to … GET NO WHUPPIN’!” My sense of outrage over the unfairness of an act that I was told could not happen was enormous. And that perception of fair play (or how I think things should go) continues to this day, though I’ve since learned not to cry so hard about it. C’est la vie, as the song goes. That’s life.
I’ve worked at many places. Done many things. My resume is longer than a page, just put it like that. When I began one job, the new hires consisted of a bunch of folks younger than I. Though my resume was more impressive, their education beat mine. I could have been discouraged but I put my head down and went to work, determined to distinguish myself. One of the new employees was full of herself, for more than just her education’s sake. She acted entitled and assumed she would go to the head of the pack. She didn’t. The class soon found that experience beats education many times.
I found out one day that she said some harsh things about me while I was out of the office. I tend to take younger folks under my wing. I treat them as I would sons and daughters. I had done so to her, despite her catty attitude. I was surprised to find that she’d disparaged me, behind my back. Her comments regarding me had to do with my standing with the company and an allusion to my salary. When I received some sort of recognition on the job (I don’t remember which), she remarked that I wasn’t like herself and the other hires. She saw me as less than them.
Still, I didn’t address it but continued to love her and treat her as a daughter. I excused her actions because of her youth. Meanwhile, I continued to work and impress my bosses. My reputation grew while her own waned. And then I was offered a promotion. Because I hadn’t let her actions phase me, it took me a while to make the connection.
With the promotion, I became more. While she had been relegated to the ranks of mundane employees, her efforts unnoticed by management, I continued to shine. Though I wouldn’t wish anything bad on her, I couldn’t help but see the justice in the situation. I had done nothing to defend myself, but God elevated me anyway. I didn’t need to seek her out to tell her off, nor hate her because of what she said about me. As far as I was concerned, there was no rivalry. There are lots of attributes which younger people have that I cannot compete with, so I don’t even try. Here’s where I can excel – in being me. I know I have that market cornered, always. But she didn’t have my revelation of security.
To this day, she and I remain friendly. She never knew that I knew what she said. I have been her friend even when she has not been mine. Not because I’m better but because I am me. To respond to such foolishness would diminish me. But God saw. He justified me, rewarded me, and avenged me without me having to lift a finger. We can trust God to do that. He loves justice. And He will get it for you.
My epiphany was sudden but at the same time, gradual. I cocked my head to the side at the revelation. Could it be that easy? I scratched my head in disbelief, but I had no choice but to believe. It had happened, again.
I’ve worked in some form of soft sales and customer service most of my life, dealing in numbers and productivity. At first, I was resentful of the reports they generated because I felt it wasn’t a true representation of myself as an employee. I was more than the numbers, especially if the numbers showed me lagging. I later found, I’m also competitive. These stats tell us where we are in comparison to our co-workers but also, in my mind, if we are worth our salary! I endeavor, always, to be that person worthy of my hire. I began to see the reports as a tool to be used to spur myself on to greatness. This day, as with many others, I looked at my numbers. I was several spots away from taking the lead. On a good day, I could do enough business to overtake the lead, but this day was slow. The last few days had been tankers as well and not my best sales days. How, then, could I hope to jump to the lead?
I looked at the report and calculated how much business I would need to get ahead. And I spoke to it and to myself, saying: I need to get so many by the end of the day to jump into the lead. Now, mind you, I had no control over how much business I could generate. That’s the problem with the numbers. Some days are just down days for sales. All I had was my spoken desire to overcome. As you might have guessed, I ended the day in the lead by one. I had met my spoken desire, exactly. And I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to attain it. With little effort expended (other than to be alert to opportunities, but that was normal), I’d realized my goal.
Just so you know, it wasn’t a fluke. This has happened many times over the years. As I looked back, I saw all the occasions where I simply said what I wanted to happen, and it did. I’ve even had some things happen that I didn’t want though I later realized I’d spoken it! Entirely my fault. True story. Agh. When I had to rebuild my life after divorce, I asked some specific things of God. One was to become “a mover and a shaker,” in the business world. After a few false starts, I found myself in a management position with a rapidly expanding company. My sister began to call me E. F. Hutton because when I spoke, people listened, LOL!
Time after time, God has shown me the power in my tongue to declare things and watch them come to pass. But somehow, I’d forgotten. The Bible is full of instances where the Israelites’ short memory failed them. God delivered them so many times, but they quickly forgot. Reading their stories, I always used to think, HOW COULD THEY FORGET HE PARTED THE RED SEA? But we do. Humans, that is. And then He will remind us of who He is, who WE are to Him, and just how far He will go to save us.
Thank you for the reminder, Lord. I hear you. In the past I’ve struggled because I see my limitations and my goals are daunting. But as the saying goes: If your goals don’t scare you, they’re not big enough! It’s not my job to worry about how it will get done or let the impossibility of my goal deter me. I see that now. I only need to speak what I want and watch you work.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV I’ve been really grooving to Marvin Gaye lately. He penned a song back in the day that I’ve recently grown to love, Get to this. The music has me mesmerized. It makes me want to do a little bopping (If you’re from Chicago, you’ll know what that means). I wish I could step, too, but as you might recall, I can’t. I wasn’t gifted with that gene, LOL! As an adult, I can now appreciate the lyrics that flew right over my head as a child. MG’s words are unabashedly sensual (as was his style) and spoke of a much longed for reunion with his lover. But I gleaned a deeper meaning from the words, drawing the sublime from the secular (as is my penchant): The anticipation of greater things to come.
Perhaps we are always on the cusp of … something. Hopefully, right at this moment, we stand on the precipice of a great adventure, just waiting to begin. I find myself looking forward to that next chapter with great expectation. Somehow, it makes me more appreciative of where I am now, instead of being frustrated because I’m not where I hoped to be. I can celebrate this moment as I bop to the music, knowing – anticipating – that this is not all there is. My future calls to me like a distant lover, bidding me to do all I can to get to this!
When a friend celebrated his 40th birthday, he immediately exclaimed: “I’m old!” But I quickly reminded him that Moses’ life didn’t really get started until after 40. According to the Bible, he returned to Egypt at 80 years old and led the Israelites into the desert. They wandered another 40 years which would place Moses at 120 years when his time on earth ended.
So, age has no bearing on what’s in store for us, as Sarah – wife of Abraham – could attest. She was elderly and far beyond childbearing years when she gave birth to Isaac. I imagine her as she must have been, holding her distended belly in expectation of the child she would bring forth. She, who had never been pregnant, now felt life stirring within her. She could relish the moment even as she looked forward to the climax and culmination of the deed.
I guess, that’s how I feel today. I know that God is stirring up something great within me. Mentally, I’m salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs at the prospect, even as I endeavor to wait patiently for my blessing. But the waiting is not as difficult as it once would have been. I know that my Father has something wonderful in store for me. And for you, too. It’s in our not too distant future, singing to us like MG: Come on, sugar, get to this!
P.S. I’ve partnered with Story Origin’s Key to Richly Fantastic New Worlds to get the word out about the Touched series. You can become a subscriber, receive updates and download the first book and that of many other great authors here!
I’m up. But I don’t want to be. Sigh. A former co-worker once dubbed these early morning hours, “the butt-crack of dawn.” I’m paraphrasing. He didn’t say it quite as nicely. Not that I blame him. 4:00 a.m. is not a good time to be up, especially when I don’t need to be. I have a friend who recently confessed that she always gets 8 hours of sleep. I envy her the accomplishment and told her whatever she’s doing needs to be bottled! Alas, that is not my lot on this here morning. So, what do I do with myself after rising at such an ungodly hour? I write.
Writing is cathartic for me. A form of meditation and therapy, I guess. I catalog my hopes, and dreams, my fears. In most cases, after dialoguing with myself, my fears seem to lessen. I can breathe again. But fear has been an unwelcome companion for a few months now, seemingly rising out of nowhere. I developed a phobia, most notably, about publishing my latest novel. Being a bit of a word smith, I decided to look up phobia just to ensure that word truly encapsulated what I was experiencing.
Phobia: an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
Yup, that was me. It was extreme in that sometimes I couldn’t breathe at the thought of taking the next step. Irrational, in that I’ve done this THREE TIMES already. I’ve published three books. I know the process. Fear is for the unknown. Fear is for the unfamiliar. And even then, I’d never let it hinder me before. I’m terrified of my dreams and ambitions most of the time, LOL! That couldn’t have been the reason. I read a quote once: If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. That has become somewhat of a mantra for me, my personal slogan. It took me four years of editing and waffling to get up the courage to publish my first book. The following novels, less so. Fear of publishing? That just didn’t make sense. Why now, after all this time?
“If you ask a question,” as my brother always says, “the answer can’t hide.”
Once I challenged that unreasonable trepidation, my mind readily supplied the answer. Because I let it take hold, not questioning its validity, the phobia grew unchecked. I never stopped to examine it. That was the day, I think, I got tired of being afraid. I reminded myself of all I had already accomplished. Of the bear and lion which I’d already slain. Surely, another giant would be a small thing. I asked myself, where is your faith? Fear cancels out faith, but the reverse is also true. Faith trumps fear, every time. Faith in myself, my abilities, my calling, my God. Nothing can stand against that. After that realization, fear and all the stuffing that supported it lay crumpled in a heap at my feet like a scarecrow without a pole. It was no longer sustainable. Or reasonable.
Fear is normal. It’s what we do with it that determines our outcome. My son, a successful entrepreneur, said to me: “I get negative thoughts all the time. I throw ’em against the wall! Get outta here with that!” He said it so convincingly that I laughed as I pictured that conversation with his fear coming out on the losing end. But that is what I needed to do. I followed his example and took captive the thoughts which were crippling my progress. My debilitating fear needed to be forcefully ejected from my thinking and my life. Get wit’ it or get gone. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
With that being resolved, I’m moving forward with publishing a book that I’ve held onto for too long. The promise I’ve made to myself and to you, my readers, is that it will be published fully by May 30th. Advanced reader copies are available for those who’d like to be part of my review building team. Without further ado, here’s the complete cover reveal and a preview of Pale Rider. Enjoy!
P.S. I’ve partnered with Story Origin to get the word out about my work and that of other authors. Get your free copy of Touched and check out Jennifer Kropf’s Christian fantasy, Harmonies: A Winter Novella.