Saturday, April 21, 2018

Memories in the Strangest Places

Now days with a good camera in every cell phone, snapping a photo to capture a memory that will become precious and knowing the light is just right is common. But when my children were growing up there were twelve, twenty-four or thirty-six shots to a roll of film and each roll had to be sent away to be developed. It's no wonder that a lot of years the photographs were of Christmas around the tree, a birthday, graduation, Now, we can be more spontaneous.

I realized yesterday that I do have something tangible that triggers memories.Through so many moves, I've culled my collection of sewing patterns to a fraction of what it was when I was sewing for the entire family. This little girl's dress was my daughter's flower girl dress when I re-married. She was certain that our wedding--hers, mine and Greg's--would be the first day of our happily ever-after. I still have the blue dress.

The next pattern was one I made a few times for her, but the most vivid  memory was of a bold blue floral fabric on a black background and eyelet lace petticoat, also with a ruffle. The idea was to leave the bottom buttons of the skirt unbuttoned showing the petticoat ruffle. She was in high school at the time and what I didn't realize was that such a frock--much as she loved it--drew jeers and criticism from her peers. Not knowing this at first, I was deeply hurt that she'd loved the fabric and pattern and asked me to make it for her, but rarely wore it. Communication wasn't always our strong point back then. When she realized this, she wore it to church and around the house in the evenings. But until that bit of communication, I suffered unnecessary pain.

It's natural to want to remember the good times and to want to leave reminders for ourselves to remember lessons learned years later. That's why I underline passages in my Bible. It's good to look back and remember. When the Lord brought the Israelites across the Red Sea, God told them to have each of the leaders of each of the twelve tribes to bring a large stone and pile them up so that when their sons asked the meaning, they'd remember the story of their deliverance. That's what this final pattern, here, is for me. I made for myself back in 1982, to wear during a Women's Aglow ladies conference. It was a joyous time. After years of struggle, I'd come to a place where I was happy with myself and my life. The Lord had healed many of my emotional scars and I was excited to move forward. Now I look back and marvel that I survived, as many if not most, of my problems were self-inflicted through either ignorance or self-delusion.

I have few photographs of that time, but I still have mementos that evoke memories. Memories that remind me of the greatness and mercy of God.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Every Good Gift

Every good gift and perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:17 NKJV


We were in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, two and a half hours away from our destination of Anacordes, Washington. There was no convenient rescue, no place to rent a vehicle and no nearby auto repair. We were grateful for the tow truck USAA sent and determined to treat the episode as an adventure.

The only road to the only mechanic’s place of business was deeply rutted, packed dirt and in some places not quite wide enough for two cars to pass. As I rode higher up the mountain, squished between my husband and the tow truck driver with a nervous poodle perched on my lap, the sun began to set and the lane began to feel more like a dark tunnel. The tow-truck driver couldn’t have been more helpful, but the fumes from the diesel engine made my stomach churn, and the adventure began to wear a little thin. As darkness fell, our surroundings began to feel more than a little creepy.

Finally, after a twenty minute  bone-jarring ride that I knew would take a couple visits to my chiropractor to fix, we turned off and the driveway dipped down into one of the most beautiful hollows I’ve ever seen. With a large automobile shop on one side and a home, fenced garden and a playground for a toddler on the other, the place was lovely.

We had barely enough time for the tow-truck driver to drop us off at the U-Haul rental so we could rent a van to get our luggage. By the fourth time we drove over that bone-jarring road, I was longing for my chiropractor and a heating pad.

Sitting right on Interstate 90 in the Cascade Mountains and close to Snoqualamie Falls, North Bend is a friendly little town. We found a sandwich shop that would accept our little poodle and afterward settled into our rented U-haul to wait for our friend to make the two and a half hour trip to pick us up. I was quietly appalled at the trouble we were causing our friend. There would be, of course, a return trip to get the car.

Early Tuesday morning driving from small town to small town, we were all amazed at the beauty. It wasn’t quite the full glory of fall, but still the dew sparkled on the trees and made even the fallen leaves shine as the sun filtered through the trees. At least twice we came around a quick curve to see a little hollow with a smooth, thin layer of morning fog still hanging just inches above the meadow grass.  But, it seemed that around every bend something beautiful awaited us.

Soon, it was almost embarrassing that a couple of writers could only point and say, “Look! It’s so beautiful. Everything is just gorgeous!” Even the shape of a dead tree stump in the midst of the its hardier fellows drew my attention. Though the carpet of leaves littering the side of the road were crushed, still they shined.
As I leaned back in the seat, I felt the Lord’s smile and heard His voice in my head. “I’m glad you like it.” I got the sense that He added, “I did it for you to enjoy.”

Funny, the trip over that dirt road wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable on the return trip. Possibly it was the suspension in my friend’s van. Perhaps it was that the sense of adventure had returned.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

No Greater Gift Review by Romantic Times

I am thrilled at the wonderful reviews my new book is getting. The latest is by Romantic Times, one of THE voices of what's new and great in Romantic fiction. They gave No Greater Gift four stars out of a possible four and a half.

Remember, the release date is May 1. It's now available to pre-order as an e-book on Amazon. On May 1, you'll be able to order it, there, in paperback. 

When you search for it on Amazon, make sure you search for Teresa H. Morgan. The H is important. Here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Teresa+H.+Morgan 

 Here's the review and summary:

No Greater Gift  - Four Stars, Romantic Times.

"A fast-paced family saga, this book transports readers between the current era and World War II. Characters are well-rounded, each with their strengths and weaknesses, which is refreshing. Morgan did her research on World War II, but it doesn't overwhelm the plot." -- Romantic Times
 
Summary:
 
Grace Ryan has returned to her hometown expecting to help her grandmother turn her journals and her memories of WWII into memoirs, but instead finds herself at the hospital bedside of her grandmother, who begs Grace to dig into a decades-old crime of treason that could rip her family apart. Physicist Erik Petersson has suffered through a nasty divorce and the loss of his children and their love, and he agrees to help Grace decipher her grandfather’s scientific papers while on sabbatical. When Grace’s life is threatened by someone they both know, they realize they are very close to uncovering the truth.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Are Christians Really So Intolerant?

There's a lot of anger out there against Christianity and Christians. I expect it'll get worse during this political season. One of the first accusations we usually hear--and one of the mildest, lately--is that we're intolerant of other religions.

The charge of intolerance comes because we believe faith in Jesus is the only way to God. We’re perceived as arrogantly stating: if you don’t believe what I believe, you’ll spend eternity in hell. When a Christian shares their faith, it shouldn't be out of the self-righteous superiority that says that I’m right and you’re wrong, but out of brotherly love. Something along the lines of:

I’ve made a friend who brings me unspeakable joy. His compassion is endless because in his time on earth, he knew physical pain and emotional brokenness. One of his best friends betrayed Him. He experienced the rejection and scorn of his own family. Many of my relationships, my emotions and my body have been healed. I despaired of living a life of meaning, but now I have hope again. I've experienced something life-changing and I want to share it with you.

In 2009 magician Penn Jillette, an avowed atheist, spoke of his conversation with a Christian businessman. "And he was truly complimentary. It didn't seem like empty flattery. He was really kind and nice and sane and looked me in the eyes and talked to me and then gave me this Bible."

Then Mr. Jillette made a surprising statement:

"How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? If I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you and you didn't believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there's a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that...Now I know there's no God, and one polite person living his life right doesn't change that. But I'll tell you, he was a very, very, very good man, and that's really important. And with that kind of goodness, it's OK to have that deep of a disagreement."

The "problem" with the Christian worldview is that it deals in absolutes. But, don't most religions? Certainly Muslim faith does. Few people would say, in effect, “The law of gravity may work for you, but it puts limitations on me that I don't like. It doesn't work for me, so I'll ignore it.” Whether or not we choose to acknowledge gravity’s authority over us, we’re still subject to it. Sounds silly, right? The principle is the same.

Reality doesn't change because we cannot see Jesus sitting on His throne at the right hand of the Father. Some say that Jesus was a good teacher, but not the Son of God, the Creator of all. But Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except by Me.” If He is not the Son of God and, as He claims, the only way to the Father, then He was either insane, deluded or a liar.

Reincarnation and Christianity cannot both be true. After our physical deaths we are either reborn into another human body on earth, or we enter the spiritual realm--into the presence of God.

Society today seems believe that if we do good things, refrain from any gross sin, we'll go to heaven. God is love, after all. Scripture says so. Could a God of love send people to hell? Or so goes the argument.

Ah, but He must. God isn’t only love. He is also absolute holiness. When Adam and Eve sinned, God had to banish them from the garden. God certainly took no pleasure in it, but it was a necessary, and temporary, separation. God cannot have fellowship with anyone or thing less than holy. His heart is also one of deep abiding love, and He would not abandon mankind. That’s why Jesus came to die. To pay the legal price for our sin.

I have many friends who aren't Christians, and when the time is right I've shared the gospel with them. Because I love and respect them, the differences in our beliefs doesn't affect our friendship. While I don't compromise what I believe, I'm not their judge or their conscience. But, because I try to walk the walk that I talk, they know I'm a Christian. Hopefully, when they want to hear more, they'll feel so secure in our friendship they'll know they can come to me.

1 Cor 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Why, God? Part 1

For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. -- Mark 4:22

We all wonder why innocent people die in terrorists' attacks, why children get sick or suffer despicable abuse. We see images of war and famine. We shake our fists at God and declare that a loving God wouldn't allow such things to happen. If He was good, He'd intervene and dispense justice.

Why? At the question's root is our need to understand with our minds when the very heart of faith is trusting God when we have unanswered questions. 
I try to remind myself of what I know, what I've exerienced. God is good. He never changes, and I can trust Him. I know this not only because the scriptures tell me this, but through my own relationship with Him. He has shared my sorrow, dried my tears, consoled me after my failures and given me great joy. He understands me and has  assured me I am loved.

When I demand to understand why, I forfeit the peace of God and entrance into the sabbath rest that is our right. That's having peace without understanding why. What is the alternative? Turmoil. Pain. Aloneness. Denying that God exists, or that He cares doesn't make the pain go away. It merely ensures that we walk through the inevitable suffering without the comforting presence of God.

Certainly, this isn't going to make sense to anyone who doesn't know God or have a relationship with Him. To some, the very mention of the name of God to someone in difficulty or seeing injustice often triggers the release of intense rage and bitterness.

In No Greater Gift, Grace Ryan's faith in God and in His love for her falters. She's tried to serve and obey Him her entire life, and now it appears she's lost everything. She can't help but ask why.
Though the answers aren't simple, they do exist.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Announcement: No Greater Gift

I am thrilled to announce that my newest book, No Greater Gift, will be published by Mountain Brook Ink on  May 1, 2016.

Inspirational Women's Fiction          
NO GREATER GIFT


History professor Grace Ryan returns to her hometown expecting to help her grandmother turn her journals and memories of WWII into memoirs. She arrives to find her grandmother being loaded into an ambulance. When she begs Grace to find the truth about a decades-old crime, whispers the word treason, then slips away forever, Grace is left to separate fact from fiction. Then, an unwelcome inheritance strikes at her already fragile family bond. Though God’s voice seems silent, He sends someone to stand in the gap for her.

Erik Petersson, unjustly accused of infidelity, suffered through an unwanted divorce and the loss of his children’s love to his former wife’s bitterness. A physicist on sabbatical, he agrees to help Grace dig through her late grandfather’s scientific papers. As he struggles to win back his children’s love, he and Grace are catapulted into a quagmire of truth and lies that could tear her family apart.

Preorder Here


The preorder price is an amazing $3.49.  If you're searching for it on Amazon and not using the link, make sure to remember to use my middle initial H or you might find it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Strong Tower

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.

Proverbs 18:10

A loved one receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a body blow. What is my instinctive reponse, right after the head snaps back and my vision clears? That depends. Where have I placed my trust? Fortunately, I was raised to walk with God, to trust in Him even when I don't understand. Even when there are no answers we can trust His love. Yes, even as we watch a loved one begin chemotherapy.

In Hebrew culture a peron's name illustrated his character. Throughout scripture, God met His people in desperate situations and revealed one of His names, and thus, a particular aspect of His nature.

A strong tower in Biblical times was at times large enough to give a place of refuge, for the population, sometimes an outpost on high ground for soldiers whose sentries to guard against enemy attack. But a tower could also be seen by the enemy as a sign of a line drawn in the sand that said this far and no farther, a sign that this ground is under protection.

In times of trouble, where do we run for comfort and safety? Don't get me wrong. In this time of trial, my family member sees the physicians and is enduring the therapy. We're comforted by family members and those brothers and sisters in Christ, but the first place we go is to our Strong Tower and to the scriptures, knowing that God is who He says He is.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Peace of God

"...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 


It’s January. Are your Christmas decorations put away, yet? Our bank accounts are noticeably lighter, the daylight hours are still pitifully few, and it seems like Spring is still a long way away.

The birth of Christ was the fulfillment of God’s promise that He would reconcile mankind to Himself. The angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men."

 
So where is the peace of God in the heart of January?

In the scriptures the Messiah is prophesied as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, as the lamb of God brutally sacrificed for the sins of the people.  He’s also prophesied as an king who would deliver the nation of Israel from their oppressors and whose reign would never end.

Not understanding how Jesus could be both, the people of Israel focused on the Messiah coming as a great king who would free them from the bondage of the Roman empire. They wanted Him so desperately. The problem was, they saw the prophesies as a single range mountain peaks, grouped together in time. What they couldn’t see from their perspective was the valley of time separating the coming of Jesus as an infant and His death on the cross in 33 AD from his coming as a reigning king. They couldn’t see the 2000+ years of the church age between the time of His sacrifice and when He will come as a conquering king who will reign forever.

So where is the peace that He promised? The peace Jesus brought when He came the first time is between Man and God. He redeemed us—bought us back and paid the price—from the power of sin and death. Jesus reconciled us to God by paying the price for our sin. When we yield ourselves—mind, will and emotions—to Him, He changes our hearts and gives us peace. Not just peace with God--that's reconcilation with God--but the peace of God.

Unfortunately, as long as the hearts of men remain unsurrendered, there will be sin and death in the world, and, no lasting peace on the earth, except in the hearts of His people.