What would you have Me do?

What would you have Me do?

{If you remember this post from somewhere else, skip to the bottom because there is an update.}

That question stopped me cold. It is a double-edged sword.

Let's back up several months. I'm sitting on this comfortable couch. My friends from several different churches are gathered about the TV and Beth Moore is teaching her Bible Study, "Jesus the One and Only" on the tube. We have our Bibles open on our laps and she's teaching about having a deep, open relationship with God through our prayer life. It must be vibrant. It must be personal. It must be a priority. It must be on purpose and for a purpose. I'm nodding my head, 'Yes, of course! I knew all this.'

Then she tells the story of being wronged by a Christian sister.

My brain moves from what she's saying to an incident that happened not so very long ago. A woman who professed Jesus, but never acted like she possessed Jesus was trying to get me fired from my job. I was very good at my job, but she couldn't stand the thought of me getting praise for a job well done. She took credit for several things that I developed. She assassinated my character to the point that I still cannot get a job where I live. I'm thinking she couldn't stand the sight of Jesus in me. Every day of the week there was new trumped up evidence that she would present to my bosses putting me in the wrong and her in the Wonder Woman suit saving the day. I can't tell you the number of times she took credit for my work... and not just to my bosses. She was so busy smearing mud all over me, her work suffered. She finally succeeded in getting me fired.

I told God on her. I told Him everything she did. I pointed out how hurt I was and how this demonic attack was affecting my job, distracting me from bringing a better economy to my part of the state. I prayed that God would expose her. I prayed that God would take her peace from her, if she really was a Christian. I prayed that God would convict her of her sins of lies and intrigues and strife. Those thoughts kept building in my mind then I suddenly came back to the present..."I heard Him ask me, 'What would you have Me do to her, Beth?' What could I say, but 'Have mercy, Lord! Have mercy!'"

Forgiveness. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." There isn't anything in that prayer Jesus taught His disciples which says, "Forgive us as we forgive only our brothers that offend us." Nor does it say, "Forgive us as we go about our daily life and never mind about those folks who offend us regardless whether they are Christian or not. They'll get theirs in the end anyway!"

Forgive them for they know not what they do. Stephen begged this as he was stoned. Jesus begged this as He hung on the cross. If they can do it in those circumstances, what is losing a job compared to that? There is much that God has forgiven me for, too much for me to harbor anger or bitterness against a woman that didn't understand eternal things. Nor did she know she was doing me a great favor in bringing me to my knees in front of my Lord and Savior. What a great blessing. What a great privilege. What a marvelous relationship builder as the Lord steps between me and Satan."Have mercy, Lord. Forgive her and bring her to Your side. Forgive her because she had no clue what she was doing because she didn't know the sweetness of Your forgiveness."

That was several months ago. I thought I had forgiven her. I found out that I had not. She was sitting on the back pew of my church one Sunday night a few weeks ago. I didn’t recognize her until I was on my way home. So I had a bit of an excuse that night. But she was back the next Sunday. I had all week long to pray about it and still thought I’d forgiven her. I had not. I could not bring myself to go talk to her or to shake her hand and welcome her to church.

Have mercy on me, Lord. Forgive me for I did know what I was doing and I failed You. I did know the sweetness of Your forgiveness and I failed.

Then God reminded me that forgiveness isn’t horizontal. Forgiveness is vertical. It is between my heart and the Lord. If I harbor anger, resentment and bitterness, that comes between the Lord and me and that ruins that sweet relationship we have. That is a choice I have… a choice of action on my part.

I must guard my heart against grudges or feuds. If I consciously decide to release that anger and resentment to God, bitterness never forms and my relationship is refreshed. I do not have to be best friends with someone in order to forgive her. In fact, it is wise to be wary of the sinner’s ways, for they can entice away from God’s side and God’s ways. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16

Violet Dawn

I am being truly, completely lazy today. I've copy/pasted Brandilyn's new book review from the CFBA website. Thank you Bonnie Calhoun! I appreciate this time saver today!

From September 27th thru the 29th, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance presents Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins. Violet Dawn, which released in August of this year, is published by Zondervan and is part of Brandilyn's new Kanner Lake series. There are two other books to come...Coral Moon, releasing in March of '07, and Crimson Eve, releasing in September of '07.You must also stop by and visit Scenes and Beans, the REAL blog for the fictional Java Joint coffehouse in Kanner Lake. I blogged about Scenes and Beans here.


This is a unique marketing tool for the series, involving about 30 otherwriters (including several of our CFBA members), and eventually involving readers of the series who want to audition posts. Now, I've made you wait long enough.

The book is classic Brandiln Collins Seatbelt Suspense. It grabs you from the very beginning...
Something sinuous brushed against Paige's knee. She jerked her leg away.What was that? She rose to a sitting position, groped around with her left hand.Fine wisps wound themselves around her fingers.Hair?She yanked backward, but the tendrils clung. something solid bumped her wrist. Paige gasped. With one frantic motion she shook her arm free, grabbed the side of the hot tub, and heaved herself out. I'm telling you that this is suspense at it's finest! Brandilyn has a group of friends that she affectionately calls the Big Honkin' Chickens Club, because the women in the group are unnerved by Brandilyn's writing. This new series is a prime example of that kind of work!Paige Williams slips into her hot tub in the blackness of night...and finds herself face to face with death.Alone, terrified, fleeing a dark past, Paige must make an unthinkable choice.In Violet Dawn, hurtling events and richly drawn characters collide in a breathless story of murder, the need to belong, and faith's first glimmer. One woman's secrets unleash an entire town's pursuit, and the truth proves as elusive as the killer in their midst.You can go HERE to read a first chapter excerpt. But using Brandilyn's famous tagline....."Don't forget to breathe..."

Bad things happen to good people, why is that?

I just want to ask. Why do bad things happen to good people?

Someone once said that it was because good people make bad decisions. Yes. I can see that.

What about those good people who do not make bad decisions? Why do bad things happen to them? Jeremiah asks, "Why do the wicked prosper?" 12:1 Yeah... I want to know the answer to that question, too.

We know that God is righteous and no matter what He decides or allows He is right, just and holy. I am not questioning that. I also know that God hands us trials and tribulations so that we can learn from them and be prepared for our eternal purpose. That makes sense. But that is so much book knowledge. My heart is what doesn't understand.

No. I do not see the big picture. No one does. But, how does a mother explain to a daughter that what is happening to her right now is not because she is unworthy or unlovely. God takes ashes and turns the into beauty. How do you explain that to a daughter who has turned her life around and dedicated her life to God, gotten close to Him and then is kicked in the teeth? That is next to impossible to explain.

Blogging as a ministry

I was reading Dee Andrew's blog today. A fellow Christian asked the question if blogging can be considered a ministry. I, too, am extremely interested in this question. If you'd take 30 seconds to give your opinion, it would be greatly appreciated. Brad will pick up the answers here, or you can email him (brad at the bloggers dot com) if you'd prefer not to post publically. He will be giving a talk about this very thing. Here is what I wrote him today:

Saw what you were going to talk about on Dee’s blog so thought I’d shoot you a line.

When I was first introduced to the internet back in 1997, my hands actually shook when I clicked on the www. And I was terrified of what I’d find. Didn’t take long to find a Christian chat room, then when that got too hectic, I switched to a message board/forum and that is when my soul started stretching. It was astounding how many people wanted to challenge what I believed. I had to start digging in the Bible to defend my beliefs. Then God allowed some sifting of me… bringing that dross to the surface and letting the uglies rise so that I would know and face what He could already see in me. After about six years, I got tired of the same ole, same ole discussions. Christians generally believe the same things about the essentials—that’s why we are Christians, but those side trips people like to take are overworked repeatedly until I realized that we are drones within our beliefs.

God took me down a path to do some work for Him and that is how Refreshment in Refuge was born—the Women’s Retreat, not the blog. Last year, God challenged me again to start up a blog. My hands weren’t shaking this time. I was really smiling. I had the world at my fingertips! Ooooo, there it was. That ugly that never got taken care of with God. Pride. I had too much of it and was sneaking some of God’s glory for myself. I’ll spare you the details, let it suffice to say that God wanted that particularly hateful dross to be skimmed. I can’t say that it has completely been taken care of, yet. BUT… we are working on it.

I ran across a blog of a young man who said that blogging was no place for ministry. [insert really shocked look here] I was astounded. Of course I posted a comment that blogs are an excellent medium for ministry. Reaching out to touch those who need words of encouragement. Blogs do not have hands to warm others hands, or arms to hugs someone hurting. Blogs can’t hand you a bowl of soup if you are hungry and can’t throw a blanket over you if you are cold. But, then what homeless person has the wherewithal to sit down a read blogs? Blogs are a ministry to those in a different world, to those who rely on words, count on words, are encouraged by words, who believe in words and who can be crushed by words. Some people believe something more if it is in black and white, published on the net, or written in the Bible.

I love words. My livelihood depends on words being put together in the right way to persuade others. Fifty-four million blogs being tracked by Technorati, but there are many more lurkers than that. Not all are searching for God or some word of encouragement. Not all, but if just one is encouraged by a word from God on my blog, that is enough for me. If just lost person stumbles onto my blog and starts thinking there is something to this God-thing… that is enough. God doesn’t require us to make the seed grow! God just requires us to scatter the seed and then to water it from time to time… the growth in is God’s hands.








Scooter

This is my kitty. The one below that is staring into the computer screen was lifted from an image search.

Surely you can tell why I chose the one with the kitty hard at work for the post below rather than this lazy, but sweet, kitty pictured here. I don't have any pictures of him working, because he has figured out how to be lazy for a living. I tried that lifestyle and it doesn't work for me. I have a craving for things like eating and gasoline to go check the mail. Posted by Picasa

Hypothetically speaking

If a guy says, 'We are unengaged, but we're just dating.' What does that mean?

I am seriously asking you men this question... or any of you women know the answer to this question.

!@#$%^&*

I just read a post by B.J. Hoff at her blog Grace Notes. My blood is still boiling. Oh, not at her! Bless her, she's probably one of the best teachers of writing on the web.

She's in the right, though. There is a rather loud feud going on in the Christian Fiction, Faith Fiction world concerning realism. Several months ago, I had this rather long and loud discussion at the discussion forum Faith*in*Fiction concerning this very issue.

Here's the premise: If you're protag is a policeman and he's catching bad guys and having to wade through prostitutes and homosexuals, then why have him say "Dadgumit" or something similarly inane. If there are lots of blood and gore and foul language in real life, then we must make our stories full of blood and gore and foul language so it will be real.

Poppycock!

I am quite familiar with foul language. My ex husband brought it home in abundance and my older daughter picked it up. I had the devil of a time trying to break her of that habit. It broke and it hasn't come back, praise God! Therefore, I am well aware of the kinds of filth that the real world has in it.

If an author wants realism, then publish in the general market. If a Christian author wants to reach the lost with a story, then write a story that is so compelling no one notices the bad words are not there.

Listen... the problem is lack of creativity, not lack of realism. Here are some creative ways to give the idea, but to not pour filth into my eyes (which btw, the Lord God Almighty has warned us from doing, I might add. Do I need to post all those scriptures?)

He singed my ears with the words that flew from his mouth like spittle.

Her mouth spilled foulness as she shrieked her fury.

He cussed a blue streak as he stomped on the ticket he found on his windshield.

He swore as he jerked the perp from the car and slammed him to the hood. Then he told him what harmful things he would do to his person if he ever caused him that much trouble again.


Foul language is the mark of a very uncreative mind. It is also a mark of the ignorant. Note, I did not say stupid, just ignorant. Let me ask this. Were there foul words in Charles Dickins day? Absolutely. Did he use any? One or two, but nothing like I am subjected to today. What about William Shakespear? Walt Whitman? Nathaniel Hawthorne? They were words not used as adjectives, adverbs or objects of the preposition or prepositions. They were expletives used oh so sparingly that the appearence of one was quite shocking.

The best wordsmith I can think of, Edgar Allen Poe, never used one. He didn't have to because he knew so many words and he was a master of description.

Christian Fiction does not have to be fluffy or stuffy or preachy. Good stories need to be written by good authors, but please... I want to know I won't be subjected to really filthy stuff just because I like to read suspense, mystery and action type books. I feel safe picking up a Christian book. I want to stay safe.

Christian Fiction writers of today would do very well to read the dictionary more, study how to use those words and forget trying to reach the lost within the Christian Fiction market. Here's a word of advice... Jesus went to the sinners and the tax gatherers. He did not sit all day in church. If you want to reach the lost... write in the general market. There is only one instance when a tax collector was in church and he already knew he was a sinner and was begging for forgiveness.

The Lost are NOT going to pick up a Christian book to suddenly get saved. If anything, a lost person may pick up the Bible as a last resort for comfort or for answers. Here's a clue people: I have yet to meet a Lost Person in a Christian Book Store. Have you? Posted by Picasa

Something That Lasts



Something That Lasts (click on the title to buy the book)

Let me just say that I did like this book. It has a poignancy in it's story line that pierces my heart. It is well written and it has fairly good characterizations. In other words, I cared about the people in the story.

The story is woven around a minister's weakness to temptation and the forgiveness that is necessary afterwards. Honestly, though, I have a huge problem with people who do not forgive and still call themselve Christians. I completely understand that it takes years to forgive serious infractions upon a person's trust. I know because I lived it. However, if you see change in that person, I have a problem with making that person pay over and over for a crime. God is not like that and He expects us to immulate Him. I just had to say that. Now... I had that opportunity to chat with James David Jordan and asked him a few questions...

Gina: I am always interested in what authors learn about God while writing their stories. James, what did you learn about our Father and how has that impacted your life since?

James: The biggest lesson that I learned from writing Something That Lasts is not to be afraid to fail when I'm attempting to do something that glorifies Christ. In the book industry, there is always someone around who is willing to tell you that you will fail. I finally decided that it didn't matter. If my purpose was to glorify Christ, my book could flop, but I wouldn't be a failure in God's eyes. (And, what a miracle, Something That Lasts has been a great success! I never really counted on that.)

Gina: In light of your story, what bit of advice would you give to a just married couple or a couple that would be married soon?

James: For new couples, my advice is (1) marriage will be the greatest thing that ever happened to you; (2) go into it with the view that you have committed not only to your spouse, but to God, to make it work, even through the tough times; and (3) there is no substitute for a positive attitude and good sense of humor in a marriage.

Gina: Do you have plans for your next book? Would you share them with us?

James: My next book is a love story wrapped in a Christian action thriller. The lead character is a young woman whose father made a great sacrifice for her. She is a former Secret Service agent and can really take care of herself. When she's thrown together with a prominent minister who has received death threats from a terrorist group, she learns to understand more about the concept of sacrificing for others. Very fun to write!

Thanks again for your nice note. I'm glad you enjoyed Something That Lasts. Please tell your friends about it.

James talks about Something That Lasts on his website. He makes a promise...

My promise to you, as always, is to do my best to write entertaining,
page-turning stories that will help you explore and grow in your faith. Thank
you for visiting my web site, and thank you for your support of
Something That
Lasts.

We'll be praying for you to keep that promise, James!



Aye, me hearties, blow me down

Argggh, I 'ave a glass to me eye an' can see book ho! This is to honor M. L. Tyndall and her newest book in her series The Reliance. More about this at a later date. For now...

Aye, today be Talk Like a Pirate Day! On this fine day, everyone can talk like a pirate all day long. ‘Tis a fine way t’be speakin’, and if ye’ disagree I may make ye’ walk the ol’ plank and send ye’ ta’ ol’ Davy Jones’ Locker!

Fact be, Louisiana was home ta one o' the grandest pirates ever... Jean Laffite. So here's a tale, me buckos (buccaneers) of ta Great Laffite...

retreived from http://www.wtblock.com/wtblockjr/jean1.htm September 19, 2006
Source: New York HERALD, as reprinted in Galveston DAILY NEWS, "Story of Lafitte," April 28, 1895.
Deep in the southwest corner of Louisiana lies a region once famed in American history as the "Neutral Strip." This forty-mile-wide stretch of wilderness and marsh land, principally in present-day Calcasieu and Cameron parishes, become a geographic entity in 1806 when the boundary between Spanish Texas and the United States was in dispute. In that year Spanish General Simon Herrerra and the American General James Wilkinson of Louisiana concluded the "Neutral Ground Agreement," whereby the Strip was left unoccupied by troops and law enforcement officials of either nation, and the agreement remained in effect until 1821.
Although a few legitimate land hunters settled there, the Strip soon became notorious for harboring the lawless elements and social outcasts of two nations, that ilk of humanity to whom piracy appealed and who became indispensable to the slave-trading and buccaneering activities of Jean Lafitte. It was also destined to retain its share of Lafitte legendry and folklore for most of a century.
Bounded on the west by the Sabine River and on the east by the Calcasieu (the Arroyo Hondo, or "Deep River" of the Spanish), the region is noted for its many deep, cypress-lined and moss-draped bayous, its marshy lowlands, and live oak-studded "cheniers," or marsh ridges, in the coastal or southern sector, and for its pine forests and hardwood bottomlands in the northern sector. Only a sprinkling of white settlers and slaves were living there by 1820. Elsewhere small bands of the fast-vanishing Attakapas tribe, led by Chief Calcasieu (or Crying Eagle), roamed the coastal confines, along with countless alligators, deer, bears, and black panthers.
By 1817 the privateers of Jean Lafitte and his predecessor, Luis de Aury, were capturing numerous Spanish slavers off the coast of Cuba. The pirate's barracoons, or slave pens, on Galveston Island were often swelled beyond capacity, containing a thousand or more African chattels. Many buyers came to the island to buy slaves at $1.00 per pound, and three brothers, John, Rezin, and James Bowie, were among the pirate's best customers. In 1853 John Bowie recorded in "DeBow's Magazine" that the brothers, who channeled their illicit slave trade via Black Bayou on Lake Sabine or via the Calcasieu to Lake Charles, realized a net profit of $65,000 in two years time from the sale of 1,500 Africans in Louisiana.
Then Lafitte learned that he could multiply his profits by marketing slaves direct to the Louisiana cotton and sugar cane planters. By December 1817, he had built two slave barracks, or camps in the Neutral Strip, one on Contraband Bayou, a tributary of the Calcasieu, and another at Ballew's Ferry, ten miles north of Orange, Texas, on the Sabine River. The latter site was later occupied by one of Lafitte's shipmates, Richard Ballew, who obtained a one-league land grant from the Mexican government and operated a Sabine River ferry crossing.
There were numerous early settlers of the Strip who sailed on Lafitte's ships, including Henry Perry, Pierre Guilotte, Henri Nunez, Jean Baptiste Callistre, Charles Cronea, Captain James Campbell, and Capt. Arsene LeBleu de Comarsac. By 1815 the latter had built his cabin at a point where the Calcasieu River intersected the Old Spanish Trail.
After Lafitte was driven from the Island, LeBleu became a rancher and cattle buyer. He drove his herds from Texas to New Orleans via the Old Spanish Trail, and his home became a well-known way station, or "stand," for the Texas cattle drivers along the Opelousas Trail. There were other Calcasieu residents, such as Charles Sallier, Michel Pithon, or Michel Trahan of Lake Charles, who were intimately acquainted with the old pirate and furnished his crews with beef and vegetables when their ships were in the Calcasieu River. It was their descendants who have perpetuated the legendry of Jean Lafitte in Calcasieu Parish (then St. Landry) almost to the present day.
In Lafitte's era, there were four tidal lagoons (two have since succumbed to natural and man-made channel routing) on the lower Calcasieu River, and the buccaneer could navigate the stream with the skill of a bar pilot. The largest, Calcasieu Lake, some fifteen miles in diameter, is encountered shortly after entering the Calcasieu Pass. The next two, Trahan's Lake and Indian Lake, have since disappeared, being little more than wide places in the stream; and the fourth and most beautiful, Lake Charles, was a two-mile, oval-shaped tidal lagoon, lined with moss-draped cypresses and willows, and a few log cabins dotted its banks. In Lafitte's day there were still a few Attakapas warriors living along the river. Today Lake Charles, La., is a thriving university, manufacturing, and seaport city of about 125,000 population.
In 1866 a traveler described the legacy that the sea rover had bequeathed to the Calcasieu region in a long article in the Galveston "Weekly News," as follows:
"This river was at one time the nest of the celebrated Lafitte and his band of pirates. Hackberry Island, in Calcasieu Lake, is pointed out as their naval depot, though it must have been deeper than now. An elevation on the river is to this day called Money Hill, and is pointed out as the spot where Lafitte buried his money. For fifty years the people of the country have occasionally been digging for it, but the proprietor has stopped it. Contraband Bayou is also pointed out as having had a depot at its head for the stowing of the goods these pirates smuggled into the country and also as a depot for the African slaves they imported."
Money Hill was also known as Barb's Shellbank, the site where the old Sallier house originally stood until 1841, when it was moved on rollers to the outskirts of Lake Charles. Around the turn of the century, this Acadian home, later remodeled, was believed to be the oldest residence still standing in Calcasieu Parish.
If the early inhabitants of the Strip held Jean Lafitte in high esteem, he reciprocated by showering them with luxuries of a type rarely seen on the frontier. In his journal, Lafitte made many references to the Neutral Strip and its residents, noting that "the Sabine and two other small rivers, the Calcasieu and the Mermentau, also served for transporting goods as far as Alexandria (La.)." Lafitte confessed that "many Negro slaves, gold, and jewels which I have given to my friends living near the Calcasieu . . . were stolen by some of my men who had revolted."
His journal also confirms that some of the Strip's residents who served Lafitte may have kept their families with them on Galveston Island. Certainly Capt. Jim Campbell's family lived there during the pirate era. Upon abandoning the island commune and dividing the property in February 1821, Lafitte wrote that "most of the families went north near the banks of the Sabine River."
Probably the oldest legend along the Calcasieu River was perpetuated by the descendants of Charles Sallier. A minor French aristocrat once living in the shadow of the guillotine, he and others reputedly escaped to Spain, and about 1811 engaged Jean Lafitte for a princely sum to resettle them in Louisiana. Months later, as the Barataria Bay pirate cast anchor in Lake Charles, the refugees watched in awe as dozens of Attakapas warriors scampered into dugouts, paddled out to the warship, and began scaling the gunwales. When the frightened Sallier dashed below decks to apprise Lafitte of the hostile intent, the buccaneer replied:
"Calm yourself, my dear sir, for they are my friends and will do my slightest bidding. The last time I was here a party of them undertook a trip for me on a mission of great importance to a settlement of Acadians in the (Bayou) Teche country."
Sallier borrowed a Creole pony from the Indians and scoured the countryside, but he found no site that appealed to him as much as the Barb Shellbank, later to be called Money Hill. He bartered trinkets to the Indians for the land and built his home there, of solid cypress, where it remained until the house was jacked up on log rollers and moved to Lake Charles. It would be four long years before Sallier would see the Barataria corsair again.
According to Sallier, a French agent contracted with Lafitte, following the Battle of New Orleans, to hurry to Bordeaux, France, on a top secret mission. During June, 1815, at the end of the famed "One Hundred Days," Lafitte one night loaded aboard a score of sea chests which contained the Emperor Napoleon's personal fortune. In the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo, the emperor had hoped to avoid retribution by escaping to Louisiana, but when he failed to arrive at an appointed hour, Lafitte sailed away from Bordeaux without him.
One old Napoleonic warrior who reputedly also escaped on that voyage was Michel Pithon, who had fought for France in every battle from Austerlitz in 1805, Moscow in 1812, to the Battle of Paris in 1814. Again in 1836, Pithon fought in the Texas Army for some months, later rearing a large family at Lake Charles during his old age, where he also died at age ninety-seven in 1871. Having been a personal friend of the Galveston buccaneer, Pithon was a walking history book about Lafitte's voyages to Calcasieu Parish.
Early in September, 1815, Sallier was startled one morning to see a "strange, clipper-built schooner," bearing a massive spread of canvas, glide up the river to the Barb shellbank and cast anchors overboard. He was apprehensive at first, for a large complement of men scurried about the decks, where the muzzles of twelve brass ship cannons frowned their metallic belligerence. Soon two men came ashore, one a heavy-set man with a brace of musket pistols in his belt, and the other "a tall, dark man with a black mustache" and carrying a sword in hilt. The former was Lafitte's half-brother Alexandre, commonly known by the alias of Dominique You. It was a happy reunion for Sallier and a few of the other transplanted "aristocrats," who quickly supplied Lafitte with tons of fresh vegetables and beef, and later reveled for a week, gorging on the best of French brandies, wines, and Spanish cigars, aboard the pirate ship.
But Lafitte was as unpredictable as he was close-mouthed, and one morning Sallier awoke to find that the buccaneers had sailed away. It was later rumored that the schooner anchored again at a marsh ridge downstream near Trahan's Lake, where Lafitte and his henchmen carried some of Napoleon's sea chests ashore and buried them in the marsh.
Many months elapsed before Sallier saw the corsair ship in the Calcasieu again. This time Lafitte sailed north to Lake Charles, where his crew encamped for several weeks on the high bluff where later the H. C. Drew Lumber Company sawmill was built. Again his crew buried a large sea chest on the shores of the lake. While half of the pirates moved slave coffles and contraband booty overland to Opelousas and Natchitoches, the remainder scurried about for provisions of corn and beef, painted and caulked the hull of their ship, and repaired guns, rigging, and sails.
On this occasion Lafitte's ship had been in dire danger of attack as he prepared to enter the Calcasieu Pass, for he found that the New Orleans revenue cutter "Lynx" was engaged in antislaving patrols between him and the mouth of river. Relying on the brand of cat-and-mouse tactics that only pirates employed so well, the buccaneer schooner hoisted reserve sails and headed for the open sea. There Lafitte waited for darkness, then circled the cutter, and blanketed by fog, sailed into the Pass the following morning, leaving his pursuer baffled.
True to his tendency to act on sudden impulse, the pirates broke camp one morning and sailed away so abruptly that Lafitte left his favorite slave cook, Catalon, asleep on the shore. Sallier took charge of the young Negro for several months, and when Lafitte returned to the Calcasieu at a latter date, Sallier bought the slave for the price of two sides of beef.
Emancipated in 1865, Catalon survived in Calcasieu Parish until about age 94 but, having witnessed murders over the search and division of Lafitte's gold, the old man became notably silent about his former master's activities.
There was another ex-slave named Wash who died at Lake Charles in 1880 at age 104. Born in Africa, Wash was one of the slaves who as a young man had been sold by Lafitte on Galveston Island. Wash deserted his former owner in Kentucky and made his way south to Louisiana, where he attached himself to a new master. In general Wash's accounts of Lafitte agreed with those of Pithon and Sallier. One such tale related that Lafitte, whose ship was laden with booty from a particularly successful expedition, once entered the Calcasieu River while under pursuit by a large American frigate. Lafitte posted sentries at the mouth of the river to watch the warship's movements, and put half of his crew to work burying treasure in the vicinity of the Barb Shellbank. The rest built a clamshell fort, moved the guns ashore, and then they sank their leaky ship, with a portion of its decks still awash, nearby in the river.
Time passed, the American frigate sailed away, and the buccaneers returned to Galveston Island on a new schooner purchased at Lake Charles.
Some years later, two old Acadian Frenchmen, while scavenging aboard the hulk of Lafitte's old vessel, discovered two chests of silver plate and bars which had been overlooked by Lafitte's old cutthroats. The Acadians hastily removed the chests downriver to the vicinity of Cidony's Shipyard, where they buried them on a marsh ridge. Oldtimers of that vicinity believed that the old Acadians eventually returned and claimed their treasure, for in later years, beneath a curiously-marked cypress tree, a fresh excavation was found, the bottom of which was still filled with rust and imprints where the two sea chests had formerly lain buried.
As late as the 1890's, the remains of Lafitte's old fort at the Barb Shellbank could still be seen. Long known as "Dead Man's Lake," it consisted of a small depression in the soil (which trapped rain water), about 100 feet by 50 feet in size, and separated from the main stream by a levee of clam shell.
If during the last years of his life, the ex-slave Wash became as close-mouthed as a pirate, it was because of a murder he claimed he had witnessed. Only one of the many misdeeds known to have been perpetrated by greedy treasure hunters, it is best retold in old Wash's own words:
"A long time ago when I first came to this country and was living out on the prairie, east of Lake Charles, there came three men from New Orleans a-riding big American gray horses. These gentlemen went to where the court house now stands and stuck a curious looking instrument into the ground. It looked like a broomstick, and had a sharp iron point to make it go into the ground easy. On the other end was a curious little contrivance that looked like a watch, only it was a lot bigger, and had a little finger inside that never wanted to keep still . . . . Finally at last it pointed them to a big green knoll right on the banks of Contraband Bayou."
"When they stuck it down on top of the knoll, it stopped pointing and commenced a-rustling around every which way like a dog hunting a rabbit in the brush. Then the gentlemen knew that was the right place, and right there, about three feet under the ground, was an iron chest, three feet long and two feet wide, with a whole lot of gold inside. Well, they got two sacks of gold and tied the ends together, and threw them across the back of one of the horses, and came away and camped near my house . . . . 'Fore God, I swear that I saw with my own eyes three men go into them woods on Contraband Bayou, and never but two came out of there, and they brought the other horse to carry the gold!"
"About a week after that a darky come down along the bayou fishing. He saw where some digging had been going on . . . . and he saw a lot of green bottle flies. That scared him awful and he went and told a white gentleman. The two of them went back and dragged the bottom of the bayou, underneath where the darky saw the flies, and brought up the body of the other man, with an iron bake oven tied around his neck. They buried him on the green knoll where the money was found."
"Yes, sir, that's the God's honest truth! And that's why there ain't no more known about that big pirate than there is. People were afraid to open their mouths those days unless it was to eat. There's that old Catalon that died here about four years ago. Why, that poor old darky was scared to death of his life most of the time, because everybody knew that he was one of Lafitte's cooks and knew more than anybody else alive about where the money was buried."
Whether or not old Catalon, or Wash, or Charles Sallier, or Michel Pithon, or even old Captain Arsene LeBleu ever knew where any of Lafitte's gold was actually buried is, of course, a matter of sheer conjecture.
From time to time the writer has been asked if this or that particular Lafitte legend were true. Yes, they were nearly all "true" to the extent that they were originated by people who knew Lafitte or some of his men, or at least claimed that they did. Most of the treasure legends had two things in common----the burial or search for buried treasure at some remote spot on the coastal Gulf Prairie, usually a marsh chenier, and nearly always, the existence of a "patron" or apparition----an eerie light to lead the gold hunters astray, or a big rattlesnake with fangs bared, perhaps a cutlass-swinging skeleton, or some other ghostly creature whose assignment was to guard the pirates' money.
And perhaps "truth" did stray occasionally from its path, having no obligation to do otherwise, but there are two vital ingredients of a treasure legend that cannot be taken so lightly --- one being its plausibility, and the second, a need to fire imaginations, the hearer's or reader's interest, passions --- and even greed --- to fever pitch. Jean Lafitte left Southwest Louisiana a rich legacy of legends!

Road to Damascas

I have posted the piece before... I am posting it to preach to myself. You just happen to be invited to the sermon...

Oh, I've been on that road to Damascus many times... breathing fire and murder as my fingers furiously typed out Truths in bold italics, thinking all the while that the receiver of my posts deserved the blistering I meted out. Yet, that still small voice was whispering in my ear urging me to "Breathe, Gina, breathe" and then I would sit back appalled at my vindictive verbiage barrage. How could such a sweet and loving person spew out all that sharp and jagged-edged shrapnel? No. Absolutely not! That did not honor God in the least and it was I who pounded those nails as I pounded the keyboard. Yea, I walked down that road which wound through the valley of spurs and loose swords slicing and dicing my brothers and sisters in my full-blown anger at my perception of their "blatant stupidity". Sigh... Where was the satisfaction? And there was none. Only empty holes where "righteous" indignation had reigned... deep pits where the witness program (founded by a committee of One) of God's Word and my heart had somehow slipped out of gear allowing something else control of my brain. "Out dam-ed spot, out I say!" And yet, the stain of my lack of self-control spreads across that place where Jesus is supposed to reign. Was it Truth? Yea, it was. Was it Love? Nay, it was not. Then it was not good. Nay, it was not good, nor was it safe for the reader.

I think I get it now. Truth is rarely safe but always Good. Some are never ready for Truth no matter how it is served. However, the thoughtful Truth clothed in Love is always Good but may not be safe or unsafe and is absolutely dangerous to evil for it shines the light in all the corners of the heart.




21st Century Man

I was talking to my sister night before last and she told me that my nephew is divorcing his wife.

"Why? What happened?" I asked, crushed that this young little family was breaking up. My great nephew won't know the safe harbor of a close knit family.

"I don't know, Gina. It's the 21st Century Man thing."

"Huh?"

I had never heard that term before. The 21st Century Man. I never thought I'd quote David Bowie, but here goes: Heathenism is a state of mind. You can take it that I'm referring to one who does not see his world. He has no mental light. He destroys almost unwittingly. He cannot feel any of God's presence in his life. He is the 21st century man.

I had no concept of this until I remember Paul's most excellent explanation to his spiritual son, Timothy...

2Timothy 3:1 But know this, that in the last days grievous times will be upon us. 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, money-lovers, braggarts, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural feeling, unyielding, slanderers, without self-control, savage, haters of good, 4 betrayers, reckless, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; even turn away from these.

It is truly about vertical relationships, not horizontal. It breaks my heart that I see marriages break up all the time because "He doesn't make me happy anymore..." "I don't love her anymore..." "She doesn't make me zing anymore..."

[insert shocked look] Since when did God ever promise happiness from another person? Since... ummm... never.

God has promised peace... love... blessings... satisfaction... strong bones... no thirst or hunger... and so much more there's not space for it, all from God Himself. But, never from another person. Not horizontally, only vertically.

That Vertical Relationship has no end, no topmost point because it is anchored in God Himself. It is He that makes it solid, and since He is our Rock, we will never be moved. It is as Solomon points out, God being that third cord wrapping around the two cords which makes the rope unbreakable and the knot immovable from the Anchor.

Horizontal relationships with family, friends, acquaintances and associates will never be healthy unless tied with the unbreakable Cord and knotted in the true Anchor.

Something rather cool...

As you guys know, I have been searching for a really good job that will pay the bills and give me something extra so I can have neat things like -- benefits, retirement -- things like that. I call them needful things, although God has kept me perfectly healthy for the last several years while I got my degree and hunted for my career spot.

So... I'm walzing through all these fabulous opportunities on CareerBuilder. Found the same jobs on Yahoo and everywhere else. It seems that some of these companies are just blasting the opening and hoping the perfect person for the job will fly through the internet and land on their desk. [Insert ladylike snort]. Like that is really going to happen!

But on Craigslist.org I found a wonderful little ad for a ghostwriter. Know that that is? You write something and don't get credit because someone else will take what you wrote and put their own personality stamp on it. You get paid for these gigs. Really. I am also getting paid to write blog posts. Oh, not here... but, here at Blogger News Network. It will not make me rich. But... these are stepping stones to where God would have me go. Know how I know that?

Because God promised to provide for me. Because the first gig came within a few hours of my application. The second gig came the next day. God is so good!

Please pray for my daughter. She needs a job very badly and God has promised, but He's not exactly speeding to the rescue and she is faint hearted right now. Thank you! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it.

Squat... the interview and review

Do you remember Monte Python? There was a movie... And Now For Something Completely Different!

Well, that describes this book. It is something that is very real and at the same exact time it is heart wrenching and heart warming. That's the only way I can describe it. The press release calls it gritty and graceful. I agree with that.

Taylor Field, a Princeton graduate, has lived and worked in New York’s inner city since 1986 and previously written nonfiction. He won Outreach magazine’s Best Outreach Resource of 2003 award in the Testimony/Biography category for his second book, Mercy Streets.

You can find more at the Squat website
You can buy the book at Amazon

I took the opportunity to ask Bro. Taylor a question or three...

Bro. Taylor...
I can tell from all I've read that God is first in your life. What didyou learn about God while you were writing this book? How has that impacted your life since?

Taylor: I learned how precious each moment is. One American writer once said, “You see the most of life through the smallest windows.” While I spent time in quiet, remembering the people who lived in one abandoned building and have already died, I realized again how special each moment with each person is. If beauty really is reality seen through the eyes of love, then even the difficult times that people went through here can be seen as beautiful.

This realization has made me, on my better days, savor what God has given us more than I did before.



Could you tell me and my readers how things have changed since the 80's in your neighborhood? Things like attitudes of the homeless and theattitudes of those who walk around them...

We have moved from the old-time phrase “ghetto” to a new situation—“a tale of two cities.” On one side of our church is a building which was formally a “squat.” The group of people who live there were formally squatters and slowly, with much hard work, they are renovating the building. On the other side of the church are luxury apartments. The church is in between them. This is the new situation in many urban areas now—people who have very little right next to people who have a great deal.



It has got to be so hard to keep going when there is so muchhopelessness felt around you. Would you share with us some of thehope-filled things that have kept you going for over 15 years in thisministry to the hope-less-filled people?

Our new servant-deacon used to shoot up on the roofs of Harlem. One of our most anointed teachers used to sleep on a park bench. One of our most faithful leaders had two parents who were drug dealers and she had been involved with drugs, too. Thinking of the resurrection power in these people’s lives keeps me going.


What a wonderful thing to be living with miracles every day!

Book Review
Taylor Field



Bible Code


I was watching a feature on the Bible Code last night while I was ironing. (I do not want to hear anyone telling me to buy permanent press... I actually like to iron clothes.)

The incredible thing about this Bible Code thing is that these computer scientists have confirmed several events after the fact such as the assassination of Rubin and Osama Bin Laden being the author of the 9/11 horror. They have also found several heads of state associated with Bin Laden in that horror... even whole sentences instead of the two or three words as before.

The question asked was, "How much more horror does the future hold?"

I snorted at that question. Good grief! Didn't the documentary people read the back of the book? Don't they know that God wasn't cryptic about the tribulation to come? Does God only get His message across by embedding futuristic messages in His word? Come on, people, wake up! The coffee is boiling on the stove.

I have no problem what so ever believing that God Almighty knows how everything will turn out and that He provided a way to reveal Himself as the One True God by embedding far into the future events in His Word 6000 years ago. No problem.

While they were blathering about what kinds of things did God not mean for us to know... I was shouting at them, "Don't you GET IT?"

God is revealing Himself in such a Wonderous Way. It isn't a miracle. It isn't a Blinding Light on the road to Damascus. It is part of His character. He is omniscent. He knows everything past, present, future and He did this so that when Man got too big for his britches and invented these faster than light computers, Man would find something far beyond his own capabilities. God.

It doesn't get any better than that.


End Times Bible Code  Posted by Picasa

Christian Single Women... good news!

I was doing some research... trying to find out a good guesstimate of how many Christian women are in the States when I ran across this article in Boundless Webzine by Candice Watters. Regardless of the title Plenty of Men To Go Around, I was amazed and saddened to note there are 11 to 13 million more Christian women than Christian men. But wait!

It raised a horrendous question in my mind that the article addresses several paragraphs later. Should young women give up the Biblical principle of refusing to be unequally yoked and just find a nice, moral young man to marry with hopes of eventual conversion? I choked. Being the recipient of alcohol induced abuse and continual verbal abuse towards me and my daughters, I blanched at the thought.

I continued reading.

Those stats were from 2000. The new 2006 stats state that the gap is closing fast. There are just under 30 million single never before married men in the States compared to 23 million single never before married women.

In fact, the gap between never-married Christian men and never-married Christian women was closed and passed because according to "Barna's most recent faith percentages to the totals for never-marrieds, you come up with 12,120,000 never-married Christian men for 11,590,000 never-married Christian women — a variance of 1,530,000 more Christian men."

In fact, the age group where the women out number the men is at age 75!

I am amazed and delighted. For years I've believed that there are no really good Christian men that are unattached out there. God found me one (albeit he is stubborn and needs some God-tutoring right now). Actually, God brought him to my church and into my life without the first effort on my part.

Listen girls... there is no excuse for settling for less! Stick to your Biblical principles and let God work His mighty ways in your lives.

Better and Better...

It is amazing what a shot in the butt will do for a person.

I am feeling much better, thank you everyone for your prayers. I am utterly convinced it is the prayers and not so much the shot that has made me better today!

Allegeritis...


is what they call an allergy attack these days. I didn't know if I had a terrible cold, sinusitis or if it was just allergy.

It's allergy.

I'm taking a day or two off because my head is full of cotton, my nose is leaking and the top of my head has exploded. I can't breathe, therefore I can't think. I'm going to take my medicine and climb on the couch. Ta ta and stay well.

To the kids of the 50s and 60s

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1950's & 60's

First, we survived being born to mothers who did not take care of themselves while they were pregnant.They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in babycribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats,booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because .WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as wewere back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day.

And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games atall, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, nosurround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms.......WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were nolawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them . . . CONGRATULATIONS!

If you are not... try turning off the TV and cell phone and have a blessed day!