A cold day

From my column This Crazy World
The PRC school board meeting had not started yet, there was a question about the air conditioning. The women sitting in front of the a/c were cold so Jodi Penton had turned it off. It didn’t take long before the men were waving papers and commenting on the heat.

Dennis Penton said it was strange but men had different thermostats than women did and they were usually cold and men were usually hot. He made the comment to Billy Spence.

Only my family and possibly my work family can understand the white- knuckled grasp I have on restraint at any public meeting. Maybe you could tell I’ve got a huge collection of opinions on just about everything. I have teeth indentions in my tongue at meetings I attend for the purpose of reporting on them. So you know I just had to interject after Penton’s comment, “Only to a certain age.” But, his comment did remind me of something.

I do remember the days a long time ago and not quite in a galaxy far away, when I my thermostat was normal and I was generally cold when my husband was sweating buckets. It was a good thing there wasn’t such a thing as dual controls on the air conditioning in automobiles back then or we would have been like Rita Rudner and her husband in their new, dual-control equipped car. She said when they discovered that feature, she would turn the temperature up on her side and he would turn his down to glacier level. They had hardly gotten to the corner of their street before clouds began to form in their car.

What Penton said is true up to a certain age. Then it reverses. Have you notice this phenomenon?

A fifty year old woman can be standing in front of a glacial gale and her face will turn beet red, her hair will plaster to her head and her clothes will become sticky. It is called hot flashes. I read some where that old women don’t have hot flashes, they have power surges. Regardless, it is most uncomfortable.

I also read somewhere that some doctor did a study and these hot flashes only last about three minutes. I should be so lucky. Then I got to paying attention and that does seem to be true, they last for three minutes. Unfortunately, they sometimes come in waves and the three minutes may stretch into half an hour. If the air conditioning is turned down to a comfortable 68 degrees, then the hot flashes are not a problem, just a minor irritation.

It took moving back to my mom’s and dad’s after my divorce to fully appreciate the reversal of gender thermostats. At temperatures that fry eggs on concrete, dad would be drinking coffee and admiring what ever project he was working on. At temperatures that melt chocolate, he was most comfortable watching TV.

I would go in my room and raise both windows so the arctic temperatures that freeze water could combat the temperatures that melt wax which raged in my body. I had to let mom fend for herself on this, while I shut the door. I prayed that God would skip summer just that year so I could go outside when these power surges flooded my face, so I could cool down.

One night we were watching TV. I was comfortable for once. Dad commented he was cold. Mom said she was fine. I was praying the conversation wouldn’t end with the temp rising. Ever innovative, dad could usually solve any problem. Soon he came out from the back all wrapped up in his down-filled parka, his hood pulled up and the ties dangling at his cheeks.

“Dad, where are you going?”

“To the couch,” was his reply.

To dance in the desert

Here's a keeper. From the very first page I was drawn into this story. The characters are well defined and seem three dimensional. It is a smooth storyline and very readable. It is slow in some places, but the characterizations are superb.
I highly recommend this book.

Jane Austin tossed

By Gina Burgess
Lifestyles Editor
The Herald Sun reported on Thursday that David Lassman sent to publishers in London England several of Jane Austin’s works: “Pride and Prejudice”, “Northanger Abby”, and “Persuasion” with his name on them. He did this because he was bumfuzzeled his own work, a thriller, had not been bought. ABC reported Friday morning that nine publishers returned the submissions unopened because they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Lassman said only one editor called him on the unabashed plagiarism. However, his point was made.

I have been bogged down with so many bad works that I am bumfuzzeled there isn’t at least one or two new authors out there that have the talent of Jane Austin or Alexander Dumas or Baroness Emmuska Orczy who wrote “The Scarlet Pimpernel”. Their works were not blatantly Christian, although God was mentioned and morals played a large part in the plots. There was no foul language or graphic sexual content in their works. They wrote excellent stories. The emphasis was story, not “realism”. The realism came through, of course, because of human nature. That is what makes an excellent story real, not foul words or graphic scenes. When will writer’s learn this simple fact?

I know publishers have huge amounts of slush piles (that’s a stack of unsolicited manuscripts that are almost never read). But, if Jane Austin gets tossed, we are in real trouble. That speaks volumes about how books get chosen for publishing.

Here we have a situation that is not only annoying, but frightening, too. Publishers who are very well respected in the literary circles as well as by the buying public rejected the works that have stood the test of time for 200 years, not to mention the multi-millions of dollars they have made around the world (remember “Bride and Prejudice from Bollywood”?).

Maybe the publishers problem is the screening process. Maybe their problem is... I don’t know what their problem is.
In my job, I am not at liberty to just review Christian books. I must also look at things from the secular lists. That scares me to death.

It would seem that standards have deteriorated to fluffy-nothings or course discourses peppered with vulgarities of foul words and graphic scenes. What, I ask you, is literary about that?

I hear the refrain, “I wanted it to be as real as possible.” That is the mantra of almost every writer I have come in contact with, including the Christian fiction writers on two message boards. It is fiction. What, I ask you, is real about fiction? But, that is beside the point.

When I was about 10, a new mall was built in Monroe, La. My mom and sister would shop the clothes stores and I would shop the book store. I used to spend my entire allowance on books at a secular bookstore. I spent my evenings and free time on weekends reading. Television never held any fascination for me, besides my imagination was much more vivid when reading than watching something on TV. The books are always better than the movies. (Remember “Bride and Prejudice” from Bollywood?)

Even the movie “Gone With the Wind” paled in comparison to the book by Margaret Mitchell. My parents were subjected to many burned dinners until I finished that book.

I think movies and television have snatched the creativity from our children, which is why there are so few really creative, imaginative, and good literary works today. And which is why publishers seem satisfied with publishing fluffy nothings or course discourses. And which is why the buying public is not discriminating enough to demand better fare.

On the road to Damascus

I posted a portion of this a couple of years ago... this was my column on Easter Sunday...

Oh, I've been on that road to Damascus many times...
You know the one, where you’re breathing fire and murder. My fingers furiously typing out Truths in bold italics, thinking all the while that the receiver of my words deserved the blistering I meted out.
Yet, that still small voice was whispering in my ear urging me, “Breathe, Gina, breathe” and then I would sit back appalled at my vindictive verbage, wincing at the bald words before my eyes, or worse echoing in in my burning ears.
How could such a sweet and loving person spew out all that sharp and jagged-edged shrapnel?
I cringe, even now to think of those times when I let my ire replace my reason.
Yea, I walked down that road which wound through the valley of spurs and loose swords slicing and dicing my fellow man in my full-blown anger at my perception of their “blatant stupidity” or at their callous disrespect of my person and well-being.
How does one ever retract that sword without leaving a wound so deep the repair of it leaves jagged scars? No matter how many times we say “I’m sorry,” the words are not a balm for the ragged wounds in tender feelings.
Sigh... Where is the satisfaction in letting loose the reins on temper?
There is none. After screaming, the head hurts, the throat hurts and the blood pressure is raised making various other things hurt. And even if one does not scream, but holds that temper in, it still makes the head hurt and the chest hurt. It does no good.
But, there is something about physical activitiy that makes the blood pump rather than press. It rushes through the veins gathering up the bad things and handing out the oxygen. The brain releases endorphins and suddenly ire is replaced with a sense of well-being and reason tip-toes back in, settling in the mind like a comforting quilt. We’re not talking about spankings here, more like a brisk walk or brisk sweeping-of-the-porch kind of exercise.
A soft word turns away wrath. I learned that lesson at a young age. I remember when my girls were little, and they were tired and cranky, whining etc. I would talk in a really soft voice and they’d quite down so they could hear what I was saying. Kinda like those folks in the E. F. Hutton commercials. It was amazing. Yelling only made everyone more cranky.
Lesson learned and peace descended upon my being as well as those around me. Until...
A monster out there snatched my lessons learned, twisting them into oblivion leaving more gray hair than sense.
That word makes men shiver in their tracks and women lock up the guns and kids look at each other wide-eyed, wondering what’s gotten into mom.
Words of advice to the wary:
- Do not disagree with a menopausal woman. She is always right.
- Before things blow up, hand her the broom and nod toward the porch. Do not disagree with her.
- Flowers are nice, chocolate is better. When handing the offering to her, say, “You’re right.”
- Recognize the fact you have done absolutely nothing wrong and it’s all your fault.
- Remember to stop and pick up chocolate. We’re in it for the long haul so fluids and air filters need changing regularly.
- Walks are highly recommended. Getting out of the house while she sweeps the porch makes for cool heads.
- Hugs and saying “I love you,” work better than all of the above.


This is a well written sequel to "Relentless". Plus, Bethany House contracted Robin Parrish for all three in this series. Very impressive!

As I read this, I kept thinking about USA channel's "4400". I know Robin thought of this first, before "4400" made the airwaves because of what I read on his online magazine Infuze.

Anyoot. I strongly suggest that if you like that kind of eery story, packed with tension and action, click on the title and purchase this book.


I just read one of the most disturbing stories on the AP wire. (Sorry, I can't share the article here.)

It was about a gang of teenage boys that gang raped a woman and her 12 year old son. They repeatedly raped her and beat the boy to within an inch of his life and then they forced her to perform oral sex on her own son.

That is disturbing enough.

What was the most disturbing to me was the reaction the reporter got when he asked a resident of the area about the incident.

"Oh, that's nothing," she said, "there are worse things that go on around here than that."

Other people's reactions were the same. One person was angry that it was a rape that caused more police vigilence in the neighborhood.

It seems to me this is just one more example of the love of man growing ice cold. I'm afraid compassion is dissapating like a vapor. It makes me physically ill.

Two of the boys were caught and the others are being sought. One young man's mother was devastated and tried to convince the officers that her boy was a good boy. She said she was raped twice, once when she was 9 and again at 12. She said her son witnessed her being attacked and almost raped a third time. "He came to me crying and saying that he'd never do that to anyone."

Be not decieved. God is not mocked. Even the elect would be deceived if it were possible.

Island Inferno

Rarely have I enjoyed a book so much as this one. It is Rip-roaring, edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting suspense. And there wasn't one single foul word in the whole book. Chuck Holton is a Wowser writer.

It takes a real man to pray and to admit he needs God to be in control.

How many men out there are still struggling with being in control?

I read this in two sittings, only because I had to go to work this morning and I was late, because I was so late going to bed. Choose a different time to read this book than Sunday afternoon. You won't want to put it down. I promise.

What are you still sitting there reading this for? Go get the book! Click on the link above and buy the book. You won't regret it.

You want to know what it's about? Sigh...

This fellow is a special ops guy... did I tell you that this is the second book of a trilogy? Anyway, the special ops guy and his team must track down this liquid bomb stuff called ITEB. When it combines with oxygen, it explodes. (Which is why so many water bottles were conficated by the airlines--did anyone but me wonder about that?)

It's a boy meets girl story only this guy literally falls into her lap.
It's a God taking control story...I do not believe in coincidences, I'm reading a book called "God Winks" which is about that. At one point in the story, I was thinking, that is just too far to stretch believability when I slapped my forehead like "Wow, skip the V-8, it's God at work without the author coming out and saying, "Hey, stupido, God is at work here performing miracles."
It's about not being ashamed of your faith.
It's about real men and how they deal with God. (Great insight, girls!)
It's about a beautiful, but deadly island off the coast of Panama.

Warm, tropical breezes, warm sea water, paradise island, what could go wrong?
Everything! Get the book.