My Book Is LIVE! | And Story of the Axe

It’s here, it’s here, it’s HEEEEEEEERE!!!!!! *confetti shower*

Okay, usually I try to behave with decorum, especially on the blog, but today is not the time for it.

The Crown and the Axe is live! And I just realized I’ve never shared the blurb with you here, so….

TCATA Cover Final 2 Web

A careless mistake. A tale from the past. A journey he’ll never forget.

Seventeen-year-old Dierk Lichtensitz, Crown Prince of Sunland, excels in both his physical and educational training. Not that his father is impressed, but Dierk quit trying to please him years ago.

King Phillip Lichtensitz holds high standards for his children—with good reason. So when selfish neglect on Dierk’s part leaves another squire injured, Phillip delivers strict punishment. Dierk must travel the country as a woodcutter’s son.

Resentful of his father’s decision, Dierk resolves to endure his punishment unmoved—until the tales of a long-dead witch’s power force him to reckon with himself and his God.

As the journey leads him into more danger than his father could have ever foreseen, how much will Dierk have to surrender to become the man he needs—and desperately wants—to be?

For Kindle and paperback, hop over to Amazon. For other eBook retailers, try this Universal Book Link. 🙂

Do you mind if I gush about the cover a little more? See, as soon as I started seriously considering doing my own photoshoot, I knew I’d need an ax for a prop. The ax is such a big part of the story, plus it’s part of the title, but clearly it couldn’t be some fiberglass-handled deal that’s common these days.

I did look at the hardware store to see what modern wooden-handled axes looked like, and the blades are rather pretty, but the handles have brand names and fancy grips etched into them. I tried Craigslist and eBay for older ones, but no luck.

So I prayed. I asked the Lord to provide a suitable ax if He willed me to stage my own cover shoot.

And He provided. See, I had volunteered to help at an Outdoor Symposium, a community event designed to help people reconnect with the outdoors. My sisters and I were supposed to lead nature walks for children. There were lots of cool exhibits: the Boy Scouts brought tents, an expert demonstrated firebuilding, a young man showed how to tie different knots, one lady displayed the ten items you need for survival if a hike turns into an emergency. All super-cool.

But the exhibit that attracted my history-loving heart was a table showing vintage camping. The kind of recreational camping popular with Theodore Roosevelt and others. Mark Lewis, of Mark and Debbie Lewis Historical Music, had a wealth of information about camping and surviving in the woods. I could listen to him talk all day. He had old-fashioned gear, an old rifle, and, among other things… an ax. A small one, but a beauty.

So I plucked up my courage and mentioned I was looking for a vintage ax to use in a cover photo for my book. And he offered to let me use his. Said he even had a bigger one at home that he’d be happy to lend me when the time came.

The bigger one was perfect. A lovely old Collins with a label on one side of the handle, so we photographed the other side. 🙂

AXE-1

God is so wonderful, y’all.

And to further demonstrate that, my friend Greg the Hiking Guy (who organized the Outdoor Symposium and is a wealth of knowledge on outdoor survival) had a beautiful piece of property which he let me use for the setting of my photoshoot.

I’m so thankful for people who let God use them to bless others! I could never have published this book without the help of so many friends.

-Miss Darcy

The Crown and the Axe Cover Reveal | Interview with Cover Model

Can you believe it? I’m finally unveiling the cover of my OWN novel! My family can attest to my excitement, but it’s hard to convey through writing. If you picture me alternately wanting to cry and skipping around the house, that should give you an idea.

Are you ready? *cue squeals*

TCATA Cover Final 2 Web

Isn’t it beautiful?!? (Okay, pardon me. I’m like a parent bragging about her baby. OF COURSE I think it’s beautiful.) 🙂

And I’m doubly excited because the picture is no stock photo. I actually got to hire a model, make a costume, and get exactly the picture I wanted for the cover! It’s funny because I had a couple different poses in mind, but once we got out there, my photographer tried this one, and, wow, did it turn out well!

A young man from my church, Tyler Adams, agreed to model for me, and he totally got into the spirit of things and made it so much fun. Tyler is a professional videographer with his own company, Sora Entertainment. He’s also the director and co-producer of the award-winning documentary, Reap What You Sew.

So please welcome Tyler Adams to the blog!


What are your hobbies?

Tyler: I absolutely love watching movies and TV shows. After all, it’s the industry I decided to pursue as a career, but I also enjoy reading books of all genres, as well as playing video games. If you couldn’t tell, I enjoy all forms of entertainment media. I suppose it’s due to my appreciation of human creativity and artistic expression. I love experiencing stories and exploring the imaginative worlds people come up with, and because of that, fantasy and science-fiction are my favorite genres. When I was offered the opportunity to model the leading character of a fantasy novel, I was thrilled!  Additionally, my other hobbies include working out at the gym, writing fictional stories of my own, and occasionally drawing.

(The gym hobby definitely helped him get the job because with a character who wields a sword or an axe all day, he must have decent muscles.)

When you think back to the day of the cover shoot, what memories stick out to you? Did anything particularly funny or uncomfortable happen?

Tyler: I remember it took a long time to get the make-up on my arms. I don’t even know what all was put on me, except for one thing which was dirt. I also remember trying to look as cool as I possibly could. You can’t see it on the cover, but I had an intense look on my face. I tried to embody the character as best as I could as I posed. One thing that kind of bugged me was the dagger on my hip. It kept wanting to move around in different positions, almost as if it had a mind of its own. There I was, trying to look cool for the pictures, but then I would be talking to the dagger, telling it to stay as if it was an obedient dog as I adjusted it between shots.

(Interrupting to say that, yes, his face was very intense. I had told him his face probably wouldn’t end up on the cover, but he didn’t let that stop him from getting fully into character. Sometimes he barely lightened up between shots. It paid off in the final pictures. And that dagger! It was a last minute addition to the costume, and I loved it, but I think it was upside down almost half the time. LOL Anyway…)

How did it feel to spend an afternoon as a model?

Tyler: It felt fantastic to be a model. I loved the costume, and holding the axe made me feel powerful. I didn’t mind the heat of the day nor the numerous poses I had to do. I thought it was such a unique opportunity, and the crew was a lot of fun to be around. I just remember the group constantly having smiles on their faces and talking excitedly. That positive atmosphere really made the whole experience all the more fun.

And, just for fun, let’s see how much you have in common with Dierk, the character you modeled for…

Dierk is the oldest child in his family. How about you?

Tyler: I am an only child. In a way, I suppose I am the oldest and the youngest child in the family.

Dierk takes a journey around his country. Have you traveled much around the U.S.?

Tyler: Traveling is extremely enjoyable for me. Whenever I get the chance to go somewhere new, I take it. I’ve traveled to so many places between the west and east coasts. I’ve toured movie studios in Los Angeles, filmed in the mountains of Colorado and on a beautiful farm in Texas, rode roller coasters down in Orlando and up in Ohio, visited a World War II museum in New Orleans, climbed up the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, and stood atop the Empire State Building, overlooking the city that never sleeps.

Have your friends ever accused you of being stuck-up?

Tyler: Thankfully, no. I try to be as friendly as I can with everyone. I suppose since no one has told me I’m stuck-up it’s a good sign I’m doing something right.

Do you have a lot of self-confidence?

Tyler: I do, and I think taking karate lessons and acting in school plays really helped me build my confidence. Both have definitely helped me gain the confidence to model for a book cover.

How are you at swinging an axe?

Tyler: I’ve only swung an axe once in my life, and I didn’t chop off any of my limbs. So I’d say I’m fairly good at it.

Dierk grinned when I showed him this answer and said he’ll teach you to chop wood if you ever come to Sunland during his days.

Dierk’s favorite method of self-defense is swordplay. What’s yours?

Tyler: Funnily enough, I trained in Iai-do and Japanese swordsmanship for a brief time. I loved it, and I trained myself for a while after that, even competing in open martial arts tournaments and performing in shows for a few years. I’ve even collected a few swords to hang up in my room. I would definitely say that Dierk and I would get along very well over our love of swordplay.

I agree. Dierk might even invite you to test his skill just for fun. I, for one, would love to watch.

Tyler, thank you so much for bringing Dierk to life on the book cover! I’m so thrilled to have a completely unique cover!


Be sure to check out the Reap What You Sew documentary on YouTube. (And if anyone reading this happens to be an author looking for someone to do a book trailer, take a peek at Sora Entertainment’s work.)

Thank you all so much for rejoicing with me! Lord willing, The Crown and the Axe will be published this week. I’ll be sure to let you know the minute it’s properly “live.” (Or you might hear me squealing all the way in Nashville, Tennessee.)

Making this book has been such a long, wonderful, and sometimes frustrating journey. This moment is so big for me. The Lord is so good. I keep playing this song over and over in my head.

Hope you all have a great Monday!

-Miss Darcy

Edited to add purchase links, now that the book’s out: Amazon and other digital platforms. 🙂

Protecting the Poor | Character Interview

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Today I am delighted to present the final book in the Tales of Faith series by Amanda Tero! (Remember when I featured The Secret Slipper?)

Three retellings

Don’t the covers look nice all together? (Okay, maybe everyone doesn’t admire book covers for their own sake like I do.)

PP Blurb

ABOUT THE BOOK
Sheriff Feroci is now lord over the province, and Abtshire has become a pit of injustice. Being forced into the lord’s service does not give Dumphey as many opportunities to help the poor as he desires. When attempts on his life drive him into the forest, this freedom opens a world of possibilities for helping others. But how can he do so when he is running for his life? And does God want him to do more than simply feed the poor?

Noel has always hidden behind the shadow of his older brother, Dumphey. When life forces him to stand on his own, will he still follow God in the corrupt world in which he lives? Would God really call him to do something that is beyond his power to do?

As Lord Feroci’s sinister plot comes to light, each lad has a choice to make. A choice that could cost them their lives.

Find on Amazon. Add to Goodreads.

Or, better yet, you can order a signed paperback copy of Protecting the Poor here!

If you’ve read the first two, then you’ll love seeing old friends in Protecting the Poor, but you don’t have to read them in order. You can dive right into the last book. It’s an excellent story for young readers (ten and up, I’d say), but as with all Amanda’s historical books, I wouldn’t classify it as strictly a “children’s book.”

Now, the things I loved about this story… The medieval setting: it’s a fictional country, but the well-researched details ground you beautifully in the time period (and okay, I’m a little stuck on the Middle Ages). The cool details about archery (I mean, what’s not to love about an old-fashioned longbow?). The characters: as mentioned, it was fun to see characters from the previous books, but the new ones were great too, all with their own personalities. The deep themes: forgiveness, vengeance, active obedience to God, and the excellent, oft-asked question, “Do the ends ever justify the means?”

In short, this book made me think, and that’s one of the highest compliments I can give a story.

And now, one of Dumphey’s friends has agreed to join us on the blog today!


Betin, thank you so much for visiting with us. You earned my respect as I read Protecting the Poor, and I’m delighted you’ve agreed to answer a few questions about the story.

1) When Dumphey first meets you, you have been living in the forest for some time. What caused you to take refuge there?

I used to help at the candlemaker’s shop with my sister, Lydda. After our father passed on (Mother passed when we were babes), Sheriff Feroci was holding me to unjust taxes higher than I could afford. He threatened to drive me to the barracks to make me pay, but I couldn’t do that to Lydda. Being hidden away in the forest was safer than the threats of a soldier’s life.

2) In your estimation, what is Dumphey’s greatest weakness? What is his greatest strength?

Dumphey is a great friend. To some, the way he naturally assumes leadership or voices his opinion could be seen as a weakness. To me, it was a great blessing. His strength is definitely in being bold to do what he believes he ought to.

3) Why did you think Dumphey would make a good leader for your band?

Dumphey made me realize how inactive I had truly been. We were hiding from Lord Feroci, yes, but he made me yearn to push forward and actually do more than just hide and prepare. He knew what steps to take next and was also bold enough to stand up for what was right even when very few of the group agreed. He was a natural choice for the leader of our band.

4) If you could have one wish come true, anything, what would you choose?

My greatest wish is peace on earth. That there would be no Feroci’s to fight against. No Abtshire to flee from. No tyranny.

5) Is there anything else you would like to share with readers of this story?

Glean from the lesson of hope and courage in “Protecting the Poor” and apply it to your own lives. I think, in some small way, everyone has an Abtshire situation they face in their lives.


About the Author
Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continues to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

You can connect with Amanda through her website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, her blog, Goodreads, and Amazon.

GIVEAWAY
It wouldn’t be a release party without a giveaway! One U.S. Winner will receive the complete paperback Tales of Faith series, and one International Winner will receive the complete eBook series.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you haven’t checked out the first two books in the series, you really should.

 

Befriending the Beast Blurb.jpg

Find on Amazon.

Secret Slipper Blurb

Find on Amazon.

Hope you enjoyed this peek at Amanda’s newest book!

-Miss Darcy

Shout-out to all the wonderful bloggers who are participating in the release of Protecting the Poor!

Monday – August 26, 2019

With a Joyful Noise – Protecting the Poor Release Post

Life of Heritage Corner – Interview, Review, Giveaway

Great Books for God’s Girls – Interview, Review

Peculiar Miss Darcy – Character Interview

Honey Rock Hills – Review

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations – Spotlight, Review, Guest Post

Tuesday – August 27, 2019

We’ve Got Pockets – Review

Maidens for Modesty – Giveaway, Guest Post

A Brighter Destiny – Spotlight

Wednesday – August 28, 2019

Soldier Girl Stories – Interview

Purposeful Learning – Spotlight, Guest Post

Thursday – August 29, 2019

Rachel Rossano’s Words – Spotlight, Guest Post

In the Bookcase – Review, Giveaway

Friday – August 30, 2019

Losing the Busyness – Spotlight, Review, Giveaway

Resting Life – Guest Post

Saturday – August 31, 2019

Blossoms and Blessings – Spotlight, Review, Guest Post

God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae – Review

Reading on the Edge – Spotlight

Verbosity Reviews – Spotlight, Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

Monday – September 2, 2019

With a Joyful Noise – Giveaway Winner Announced

A sneak peek at Amanda’s new release…

Cover Reveal

Redeeming Joseph’s Brothers

The New Testament has many glorious verses about how the grace of God through Jesus Christ can redeem anyone, no matter how far they’ve fallen. Verses like,

Therefore He [Jesus] is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

-Hebrews 7:25 NKJV (emphasis mine)

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

-Colossians 2:13-14 NKJV (emphasis mine)

Truly, the power of Christ to redeem a soul is wondrous.

No matter what sin we’ve fallen into, God can pull us out. He can change our innermost souls from utterly selfish beings to what humans were designed to be. He can give us new hearts that actually desire goodness more than self-gratification.

But His redemptive power does not only extend to our souls. It also extends to our past actions.

This is where He blows me away.

To explain what I mean, let’s look at the story of Joseph in Genesis. Or, more accurately, let’s look at the story of Joseph’s brothers.

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, and Zebulun were ten brothers of a father who showed favoritism to their know-it-all little brother Joseph. That got old really fast. One day when the ten were out leading their father’s flocks to good pasture, the father sent Joseph to see how they were doing.

And the ten older brothers decided to get even. They captured Joseph, and several of them advocated killing him outright. (You wanna talk about dysfunctional…) But the oldest brother Reuben said that was a bad idea, and he convinced them to toss Joseph into a pit, planning to secretly rescue his younger brother and send him home to their father. (I still wonder whether Reuben was motivated by compassion, or whether he was trying to gain his father’s favor since he was seriously out of favor for an earlier sin he committed. Anyway…)

So they gathered near the pit to eat lunch, but someone had to go check on the flocks, and apparently the oldest got elected. While Reuben was gone, along came a band of Ishmaelite traders. And Judah said, “Wait a minute. There’s no profit in killing this kid. Let’s sell him.” So they sold their brother as a slave for twenty silver shekels. Divvies up nicely between ten brothers.

Reuben was horrified when he found out, but there was no going back. So the ten brothers tore Joseph’s beautiful, colorful coat and dipped it in goat’s blood. This evidence they gave to their father as proof that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast.

For the sake of time, I can’t get into all Joseph’s adventures and misadventures in Egypt. (Genesis 39-41) Suffice it to say that God was with Joseph. At the end of it all, Joseph became second-highest ruler in the land, in charge of collecting grain to store up for a coming famine, of which God had warned Pharaoh in two dreams.

When the famine came, it didn’t only strike Egypt. Hunger raged through all the surrounding lands — including Joseph’s homeland. Joseph’s father heard how Egypt had somehow managed to store up tons of extra grain, so he sent his sons to buy them food.

In Egypt, Joseph recognized his brothers. But it had been at least twelve years, quite possibly more, and the ten brothers didn’t recognize their brother in this grand Egyptian lord who had the right to grant or deny them food.

Joseph now had the power to punish his brothers, kill them if he liked. Instead, he put them through an elaborate scheme of pretty rough tests, to see if they had repented of the way they treated him. (Genesis 42-44)

Turns out they had. All those years of watching their father’s grief had finally softened their hearts.

So Joseph revealed his identity and brought his whole family to Egypt, where he settled them in good land and provided for them during the rest of the famine.

Now you probably know that story forward and backward if you were raised in church.

There is so much depth and symbolism and instruction in Joseph’s life, not to mention it’s just plain a good story.

But here’s one thing I didn’t notice until I was a lot older:

  • Joseph was able to help his brothers because he ruled Egypt
  • Joseph was able to become ruler because he was in Egypt when Pharaoh needed him
  • Joseph was in Egypt because he had come as a slave
  • Joseph was a slave because his brothers had sold him

So Joseph was able to help his brothers because his brothers had sold him as a slave.

Think about that. Was it good that Judah and the others sold their seventeen-year-old brother? No, of course not. It was a horrible thing to do. They sinned.

But God was involved. He had a plan for Joseph’s life, and He worked so that even the degrading status of “slave” led to being second-highest ruler in Egypt.

Could God have gotten Joseph to Egypt by another, better way? Of course. Was He pleased with Joseph’s brothers’ sin? Certainly not.

But get this: God is so big that even our sinful actions themselves can be redeemed for good.

Joseph himself put it this way to his brothers:

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

-Genesis 50:20 NKJV

To save many people. Including the ones that sold their savior.

Just because He’s God and He can, the Lord used the brothers’ sin as one step in the journey to their own salvation.

That blows my mind, friends. Truly, nothing is beyond redemption for our God.

No matter what we’ve done, we can repent and God can use us. He might even take our sin and somehow make something good out of it. He doesn’t always. But sometimes, in His mercy, He does.

I can hardly believe that. But Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, and Zebulun testify that it is so.

-Miss Darcy

The Jesus Car | Character Interview

Y’all, I’ve been looking forward to featuring this book on my blog for a very long time. I read some of the early drafts because the author, Pam Green, is my critique partner. But honestly, it was hard to “critique” because the story itself was so inspiring to me.

Curious what it might look like to live sold-out to Jesus in the twenty-first century? Well, The Jesus Car offers some pretty cool possibilities.

So, please let me present:

Jesus-Car-front-cover

Holly Bush, a young P. E. teacher most at home on the volleyball court, lets friends rope her into participating in her church’s Adopt-a-Grandparent program. She wants to grow in her relationship with God. True, but does that mean facing her fear of infirmity, too?

By the time she’s finished the rigorous training, she’s too invested to quit.

Her grandparent match is a feisty gentleman who claims he left a career in real estate to live life on faith and a shoestring. The “Old Fool” of The Fisherman’s Place has an unsettling knack for working Jesus into every conversation.

When Holly’s eccentric new grandfather gives her an unusual gift with strings attached, it will likely change her life and the lives of her friends, colleagues, and students.

But is she up to the challenge?

Pam-Green-PhotoPam Green made her writing début in fifth grade when drafted to write the class play, Ghosts! Ghosts! Ghosts! At twelve, she fell in love with the French language. After a satisfying teaching career, she still peeks in the windows of empty schools while traveling and lingers in school supply aisles in August. Her stories show that God is always working in the lives of His children and seeking new members of His family.

Not everyone is going to be called to drive a Jesus car. Every Christian’s witnessing style will be different because the Holy Spirit guides us into different methods based on the abilities God created in us.

But every Christian is called to be a walking Gospel, a light shining in a dark place, an unashamed witness for the Truth.

I’m still figuring out how that’s supposed to look in my life. The Jesus Car encouraged me.

So, yes, I recommend you pick up a copy of this book and enjoy the ride with Holly and a wonderful cast of true-to-life characters!

And speaking of characters, let me introduce you to Jeff, one of Holly’s friends from The Jesus Car.


Jeff, thank you so much for visiting with us! I enjoyed meeting you in The Jesus Car, and I’m delighted you’ve agreed to answer a few questions about the story.

Jeff: It’s nice to meet you, Darcy. Holly follows your blog, and she’s looking forward to reading your next book.

What, she reads the blog? I’m waving to you Holly!

1) You and Holly seem to be a couple when the story begins. How long have you known her and how did you meet?

Jeff: Let’s see. I met her in the singles group at COP– Church on the Parkway. It was shortly after she moved into the area to take a job at Sully High School. Our mutual friend Faith took Holly under her wing, so to speak, and introduced her around. Holly started going out to lunch with the lunch bunch after church on Sunday. We discussed the day’s sermon—and other things, of course. We were both tired of the dating scene, we just hung out in the group and got to know each other as we got to know the Lord.

I guess our first “date” was when I took her to Luigi’s. Love that place. Even then I didn’t dare call it a date because I didn’t want to scare her off. Actually, we knew each other pretty well by then, so maybe she wanted to be an official couple as much as I did. I should ask her one of these days.

I haven’t answered your question, have I? Let’s just say I feel like I’ve known her forever. She’s like a sister—she is a sister—as much as a girlfriend.

2) In your estimation, what is Holly’s greatest weakness? What is her greatest strength?

Jeff: Huh? You really want me to talk about her greatest weakness? Remember, she reads your blog!

I guess it’s safe to share what she mentions all the time to her friends. She tends to forget how strong she is in Christ—that what she thinks is a weakness, like being shy and insecure outside the athletic arena, is where he is going to make her strong. She’s way more aware of that now than BC. That’s Before the Car.

Strengths? She’s got so many. She’s very loyal and committed. She may have been nervous about the Adopt-a-Grandparent program, but once she made up her mind to do it, she was all in. I think the Holy Spirit cued her granddad into that, and that’s why he did what he did.

Before the Car. Love that!

3) When you first heard that Holly had inherited a Jesus Car, what was your initial reaction? Did you think it’s an out-dated way to evangelize?

Jeff: I knew her granddad, so the Jesus Car didn’t surprise me. Just like the other experiences she’d had with him, I knew driving it would stretch her, so I was all for it. An outdated way to evangelize? Funny. Never really thought about it. I know Holly felt she should just go about her business and listen to the Holy Spirit—follow His prompts—and that’d be enough. I don’t think she ever felt any pressure to evangelize. Know what I mean?

I think I do. 🙂

4) How did you feel when you finally drove the Jesus Car yourself?

Jeff: I was beginning to be seriously in awe of Holly at that point. Sometimes it was hard to stay focused on the Lord when I was with her. Between awe and love, you know? I knew that if I drove the car, I’d have to get back to basics and depend on Him myself. With His help, I did it. And I got my head screwed on a little tighter.

5) If you could have one thing in the world, anything, what would you choose?

Jeff: A thing? Like a possession? Give me a break. I can’t win with that question. Seriously, though, I care more about people than things. Kind of a misfit in our generation, maybe.

Maybe so. But I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing.

6) Is there anything else you would like to share with readers of this story?

Jeff: Hmm. I don’t have a scoop, if that’s what you mean. Holly and I are trying to follow the Lord’s leading day by day. He’s the one who knows what the future holds for both of us.

Thanks once again for joining us, Jeff, and for answering all my nosy questions!


I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I do. Go check it out on Amazon!

And if you visit Pam’s website, you can subscribe to her mailing list and keep up with her latest book news, or subscribe to her blog for some real-life encouragement in walking with Jesus.

-Miss Darcy

Proud Waves

I had the privilege of spending a week in St. Augustine, Florida, this month. We went to visit friends for the daughter’s high school graduation, and naturally we spent some hours on the beach.

This is the first time I’ve been to a beach in warm weather (well, since I was four years old, and I barely remember that). I loved waking early to watch the sun rise like a ball of glowing lava over the quiet ocean. Walking the shore at night with the water pulling the sand from beneath my feet and the stars pin-pricking the sky. Mixing water with dry sand to reach the perfect consistency for castle-building. Meandering up and down the beach to find shells for my sister to turn into jewelry.

But for me, the seaside, be it sandy or rocky, is really about the ocean.

The waves relentlessly rushing, curling, crashing, retreating.

The sight of endless water, here to the horizon.

The feel of cool water washing over my skin, tugging at my feet.

The constant movement, as if the ocean is alive.

The taste of salt when the water splashes my lips.

The sounds. The scents.

It’s so big. So powerful.

The ocean has majesty. It’s a force to be reckoned with.

Dad told me of a line he remembered from a book he read years ago, Endurance.

You can never win against the ocean. The best you can hope for is a draw.

The waves and water are relentless, untamable. Beautiful, yet a little frightening.

All week, I kept thinking of where the LORD points to the ocean He created as evidence of His power. God asks Job,

“Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb; …

When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;

When I said,
‘This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!’

-Job 38: 8, 10-11 NKJV

Truly, with all our dikes and jetties and super-sophisticated technology, the best we can do is sort of hold our own against an undaunted foe that fights effortlessly.

We can never control the ocean.

But God can.

He set the limits. He said, “Your waves may come up to here, and not a step farther without My permission.”

Indeed, the ocean’s waves are proud. And not without reason.

It is good to remember that I serve the God who can bid the proud waves to halt. And even walk upon them if He pleases.

-Miss Darcy

The Moabite Curse

It’s funny that as many times as I’ve read the book of Ruth over the years, it was only recently that I realized it held the answer to another question I had about the Scripture.

An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever,

because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.

You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

-Deuteronomy 23:3-6 NKJV (emphasis mine)

So, at first glance, that seems pretty harsh. Just because the Moabites at one time opposed the people of the Lord, now none of their descendants can come to God?

But then you have the exception of Ruth. She was a Moabitess who married an Israelite refugee named Mahlon. But Mahlon died, and Ruth chose to return with her mother-in-law to Israel. There she met and married an Israelite named Boaz, and became the great-grandmother of King David.

That makes David one-eighth a son of Moab, and David went into the assembly of the Lord (along with his father and grandfather, I daresay). We have an exception to that no-Moabites-allowed rule.

But God doesn’t just make random exceptions, does He? I mean, what made Ruth such a good person that God could overlook the lineage she passed on to her sons?

(I suppose some could say that the curse couldn’t pass through a Moabite woman, only through a man. But, taking the whole Old Testament into consideration, that reasoning didn’t hold up well enough to satisfy me.) 🙂

So I kept pondering over it, trying to reconcile it in my mind. Until the answer hit me between the eyes, as is often the case.

Ruth rejected her lineage.

When her Israelite mother-in-law tried to convince her to stay in Moab, Ruth would have none of it.

But Ruth said:

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.

-Ruth 1:16 NKJV

Ruth rejected the gods of her homeland and chose to follow the Hebrews’ God. She refused to identify with the people she’d been born to and instead chose to identify with the people who worshiped God.

Ruth never lost her Moabite DNA. But she chose in her heart to follow God, she gave voice to that resolution, and she changed her life to live as a Hebrew.

Her choice gave her a whole new heritage.

Doesn’t this sound exactly like Jesus’ offer in the New Testament?

We humans are born into Adam’s sin, bent toward corruption from the moment we have the mental power to choose.

Jesus offers us life free from sin and its wages. All we have to do is reject the world and choose Him, with our hearts, with our words, and with our lifestyles.

Ultimately, God is not concerned with what we call bloodlines. He’s concerned with our hearts. Anyone from any heritage on this planet can accept Jesus’ gift and join the family He calls the Church—a vast family that stretches around the globe and across the ages.

It starts with a simple choice.

The more I look, the more I am persuaded that the God of the Old Testament is no different from the God of New Testament. The interface may look different, but His operating system has always been the same.

-Miss Darcy

P.S. In Jeremiah, God spends all of Chapter 48 describing how He will judge and destroy Moab because of their idolatry. But in the final verse, He says, “Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab in the latter days.” Something He also promises to Elam and Ammon. Interesting, is it not?

The Father’s Older Son

I’ve always identified more with the Older Brother than with the Prodigal Son.

Don’t stone me yet. I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’ve never thought the Older Brother perfect. I know he said he’d done everything the Father ever asked, but I’ve never quite believed that. He had to slip up sometimes. Besides, he clearly had some severe “heart issues.”

I know theologians say the Older Brother represents the Pharisees, and heaven knows I don’t want to be a Pharisee.

And I have one decided difference from the Older Brother: I have always been glad whenever anyone comes to the Father.

But I used to wonder if it were wrong for me to relate more to the Older Brother, and then I heard an elderly lady teach Sunday School. She said, “I believe we can all find ourselves somewhere in this story.” And she made an interesting point. The Bible never specifies whether the Older Brother came to his senses. Because the story may have a different ending for every “older brother.”

(For anyone who might have stumbled across this post and wonders who on earth I’m talking about, see Luke 15:11-32.)

I think both brothers had the same problem.

Neither of them really knew their father.

I mean, they sort of knew he was kind and gentle. After all, it shows a lot of nerve for the Younger Son to go to his father and say, “Give me my portion of the inheritance.” In effect saying, “I’d just as soon you were dead because the only thing I care about is your money, not you.”

And the Father didn’t rebuke him! He just counted up his assets, gave the Younger Son his portion in cash, and let the young man pack up and take off.

Huh? What kind of father does that?

The Younger Son didn’t realize what kind of father he had until he’d spent all his money and found himself wishing he could eat pigs’ food because he was so hungry.

Then it occurred to him that he would do better to go back and ask his father to take him as a hired servant.

Now you might expect the Younger Son to give up the idea at once because wouldn’t his father be more likely to spit in his face than even take him as a servant? But apparently the Younger Son knew his father enough to decide the venture was worthwhile.

And we all know how it ends. With the most beautiful picture of love you could ask for. The Father sees his wayward son in the distance and runs to meet him. In a culture where respect for parents was paramount, this Father disregards what others would call dignity and runs to welcome the insolent brat who left home years ago.

Doesn’t everyone want that kind of love?

See, I was raised on the Bible by good, loving parents. And I’m not ashamed or unhappy about that. I’m thankful that I decided to follow Jesus at an early age. It’s saved me a lot of scars that I know I’d have otherwise.

I’ve never done the things associated with “Prodigal Son” behavior.

And I know sin is sin. It’s like leprosy. Doesn’t matter if you have one open sore or twenty. The disease is gonna kill you sooner or later if you don’t get treatment.

I got my “treatment” early, before the disease of sin had left visible scars. I came to the Father’s house, and it’s a good place to call home. The Father is kind and gentle, and I love Him. I’m well provided for, and I have worthwhile work to do.

But Jesus said, “To whom much is given, from him much will be required.” (Luke 12:48) Surely I have been given much. Surely it is my duty to work hard for the Father’s kingdom.

And when the “prodigals” come home, I rejoice and am glad with them because the Father’s love and mercy are so wondrous. How can I not delight in seeing it on display?

Yet deep inside me, a tiny little part of me wonders if that kind of love is for me too. I mean, I know my Father loves me, but my conversion wasn’t like that. My past isn’t like that. Grace hauled me out of a miry pit of a child’s pride and selfishness, not a pit of drugs and fornication. (Granted, we know the former is really one with the latter, but still.)

So I try to be a good “older brother,” but sometimes I still feel like I’m on the outskirts, not the center of the Father’s love.

But the Father loved the Older Brother too.

When the Older Brother was being pig-headed, standing outside the house and refusing to join the celebration for his younger brother’s homecoming, the Father didn’t leave him standing there alone. He didn’t even send a servant to say, “Get in here and act like a son of mine should.”

No, he went out to his oldest son.

Just as he ran to his foolish younger son, he stepped away from his place as host of the celebration and went to talk to his foolish older son.

And in the midst of the older son’s complaints about how good he’s been and how the wicked younger son doesn’t deserve to have the fatted calf killed for him, I have always been fascinated by one line. The Older Son complains, “You never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.” (Luke 15:29)

I always think, “Did you ever ask?”

This is the Father who gave the Younger Son his inheritance prematurely. Did the Older Brother really think the Father would say no if he asked for a young goat?

Looks like the Older Brother was just as big a fool as the Younger.

But what did the Father say in return to his oldest son’s objections?

“Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” (Luke 15:31)

All that he has. The Father didn’t say, “It will be yours.” He said, “It is yours.”

The Father’s estate belonged to the Older Brother. But instead of taking on the quiet, glad confidence of a good landowner, it seems like he’d been working with a sullen attitude all these years. When all the Father had was his.

So that means all my Father has is mine too.

All the riches of His love and grace and peace, courage and hope and strength, all of His blessings; they are mine. If I’ll just accept them and use them. If I’ll just go to the Father and say, “May I have some?” Do I really think He’s gonna refuse me?

Look at what else the Father said: “Son, you are always with me.”

Day in and day out. The Older Brother could have had the most special relationship that a son ever had with a father. Yet he didn’t because he didn’t appreciate his father. Oh, he was a dutiful son, always trying to obey, whether for the right reasons or not.

Yet he didn’t truly know his father, didn’t have the loving relationship that was his for the asking.

That loving relationship with my Father that I crave, it’s mine for the asking.

Sure, it’s good that I complete my work in His kingdom. It’s good that I obey His commandments. But I’m also invited to “come away by myself” with Him. To truly know Him and love Him, and receive the love He so richly lavishes on His children. Because I’m His child too, just like the “prodigals.” He loves each of us.

And, just for the record, the Older Brother was probably a lot closer to perfect than I am. One thing about coming to Christ so young is that I’ve discovered new temptations after my conversion. I’ve struggled with the fact that I’ve succumbed to my “worst” sins after I chose to follow Jesus.

But the Father still loves me.

That isn’t going to change.

So, for all the “good Christian church kids” who might somehow feel that our testimonies aren’t as good, or even that God loves His other children more than us, that’s nonsense. It really is. Our Father has everlasting lovingkindness to lavish on us. And He invites us to experience it.

Brothers and sisters, it doesn’t matter when or how we came to follow Christ. We make distinctions between ourselves that God never does. All that matters to Him is that we come. He really loves us. The Father loves all His children.

Even you.

Even me.

-Miss Darcy

There Remains Much Land

Sometimes I crave a really good story, but I can’t find a book I want to settle down with. It’s dreadfully provoking.

When that happened a few weeks ago, I picked up the Bible and started reading Joshua, just for the story. I wanted adventure. Spies, battles, miracles, noble hero—adventure doesn’t get much better than that, yes?

And I ran across a verse I’m sure you’ve heard preached on or written about sometime or other:

Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the LORD said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.

-Joshua 13:1 NKJV

The Lord goes on to name the places the children of Israel still need to take possession of. Having just read about all the cities and kings Joshua had conquered, I thought, “Wow. So much done. Yet so much left to do.”

If you go on to read Judges, you discover just how much land Israel left unconquered after Joshua died—and all the trouble that caused them.

I think we still do that kind of thing.

Joshua gave the Israelites a great start during his lifetime. He hit the big cities, the important fortresses. He took out the most powerful kings. But still much land remained.

When we give our lives to Jesus (“get saved” in Christianese), we almost instantly surrender the important fortresses. We depart from some of our most glaring sins. We attend church faithfully. We pause to pray three times a day. We get a Bible, start reading it, learn the order of the books. We wear Christian T-shirts, listen to Christian music.

You know. We hit the highlights. Big things change, little things change. And that’s wonderful! That’s the power of God to transform a person immediately.

But then it’s easy to stagnate.

I mean, we’re saved. We’re different. We’re getting on top of this livin’-for-Jesus thing.

Yet there remains much land yet to be possessed.

Does Jesus have all our love? Is there nothing competing with Him for our affections and energy?

Do we yet comprehend the width and length and depth and height—do we know the love of Christ?

Do we walk in step with God’s Spirit every day?

Does God’s peace rule in our hearts?

Has Jesus so thoroughly overtaken us that He is not merely our faith of choice, but also our source of identity?

Do we rely on the Lord instead of on ourselves during tribulation?

Do we gladly obey God’s commandments because we know only our Creator and Redeemer has the wisdom and the right to control us?

Does thankfulness to God permeate our lives?

Do we love others like He loves them?

Does His Word shape everything about the way we view life?

Is He really, truly, wholly the One we worship?

That’s what I want. But I am so far from being there yet. I know there remains very much land in my heart to be fully surrendered to Christ. To be fully possessed by Him.

The war to win full surrender of our hearts is the fight of a lifetime. I don’t want to be satisfied with being a good Christian. I want Jesus to truly be my everything.

So let us fight on, warriors. Let us set ourselves against the Lord’s enemy and our own selfish desires. Let us be faithful.

Not that our own strength is sufficient. But God’s grace will make good what we lack.

-Miss Darcy

Christmas Peace

In my church’s Christmas concert this year, we sang, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

‘Tis a common theme of songs and stories and Scripture quotations at Christmas. After all, the angels sang to the shepherds: “…on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (see Luke 2:14)

Yet Jesus said something very interesting, almost startling, to His disciples.

“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.

“For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two and two against three.

-Luke 12:51-52 NKJV (emphasis mine)

Matthew 10:34 says, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”

At first glance, it doesn’t seem to fit with the Jesus who died to save lives and is not willing that any should perish. But seem is the operative word here.

Jesus didn’t come to set the world at war. Division is an unavoidable side effect of His mission.

He came to redeem people. To free them from sin, Satan, and death. If everyone accepted that redemption, then peace would reign on earth.

But someone has far too much to lose if everyone chooses redemption. Satan would completely lose his power over humans. Oh, sure, he’d still be able to tempt them. But they would be equipped to resist his lures. They’d be armed to withstand him as never before. They would no longer be his slaves.

And he will stop at nothing to prevent his captives from slipping away.

So Satan convinces people that Jesus is the problem. That all who follow Jesus are a threat. To freedom, to pleasure, to life. Anything to get souls frightened and furious at the very thing which could save them.

Clever distraction tactic, is it not?

Unfortunately, this distraction tactic tends to ensnare Jesus’ followers, too. We see all these people attacking us, and we think we have to attack back. (Best defense and all that.) We fall into bickering and bitterness, cruel words and worse. But we miss the real enemy. We think it’s the people charging against us. It’s really the devil who has deceived these people.

It’s such a brilliant plan. It keeps the slaves safely bound, and keeps the redeemed ones wasting their energy on the wrong enemy.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

-Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

That’s why God commands us:

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

-Romans 12:18 NKJV

Christians are not supposed to be quarrelsome, contentious, argumentative, rude, disrespectful, unkind, or violent. We may be hated and despised because we follow Jesus, but we shouldn’t retaliate. In fact, we don’t need to retaliate; it doesn’t do any good. Our job is to live peaceably as much as possible.

But guess what? Sometimes it’s not possible. We may do everything in our power to have amicable relationships with others. We may bend over backwards until our heads touch our heels (figuratively), and still be unable to appease those in our lives who just cannot stand us.

That’s okay. That’s when we step back and pray because the enemy is not the person in front of us. The enemy is the “spiritual hosts of wickedness.” Until Satan’s defeat, begun on the cross, reaches its culmination, there will always be conflict on earth.

See, Jesus didn’t come to give peace. He came to be peace.

The angels’ message was true in the most literal sense possible. Peace had come to earth—because Jesus Himself is the Prince of Peace and He had come to physically dwell on earth. Peace was truly on the earth for the first time.

Now those who believe in Him have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within them. We have peace. Mind-blowing peace, if we choose to embrace it. (see Philippians 4:6-7)

So as we sing this Christmas of peace on earth beginning with us, it is a worthy goal. We should strive to let the peace of God dwell in us and spill over into our relationships with every person who crosses our paths.

And when people dislike you, despise you, or hate you for no apparent reason, take heart. Division is just part of life in this world.

One day, Jesus will come to this earth again. And at His second coming, He will finally establish peace on this earth.

-Miss Darcy