Perseverance

What could be better than a three-day escape to the North Carolina Outer Banks? Holding off on vacation plans a few summers ago, Sharon and I decided to book such an escape in late September. We arrived in the late afternoon of the only sunny day that week. Rough weather moved in with intermittent rain, high wind, heavy surf, and flooding in low-lying areas. There was not much opportunity to do “beachy” things.

Feeling crushed, we decided to make the best of the situation. From the balcony of our fourth floor ocean view room, we basked in the luminary brilliance of sunrises that cast prismatic brilliance through the clouds and across the ocean surface. The storms didn’t prevent us from enjoying wonderful seafood. It was also exciting to see how coastal life goes on regardless of weather. That was especially true with one man who stood several hours every day, his feet buried in the frothy foam of receding breakers, surf fishing. Although we never saw him catch anything, he exuded a sense of solitary contentment.

Fast forward. Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, Sharon and I have been staying home as much as possible, wearing masks and gloves when we do go out. For several weeks we did a lot of catch-up house cleaning, then I felt an urge to do a series of Pandemic Paintings I could share online. I have been an artist all my life. After retiring, I pursued art as a business until the Great Recession impacted the market. Gradually I moved away from painting. It feels good to come back.

Recalling the Outer Banks surf fisherman, I made his seaside venture the subject of my fourth Pandemic Painting. I titled it “Perseverance,” because I see in him a message for our time. As we experience raging storms of a deadly virus, explosive racial tensions, and global warming challenges, perseverance seems like a worthy watchword.

Persevere. Press on. Fan flames of hope for times of healing to follow the ravages of the three-way pandemics through which we’re living. I find the roots of that idea in scripture. During a time of suffering the Apostle Paul wrote about finding peace amidst discord and uncertainty. He counseled that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

That’s persevering by being centered beyond ourselves, beyond our circumstances, beyond imponderable forces that threaten us. If there was ever a time for people of faith to persevere, it is now. Keep casting your faith into stormy seas, trusting in the God of love who is greater than all contrary forces.

Persevere.

Revisits!

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Return of Bliss

Since I switched to Kindle Direct Publishing, I’ve been revisiting my novels in the Dinkel Island Series.  This weekend a Second Edition of Book 2, RETURN OF BLISS, has gone live in both e-book and paperback formats.  There’s a new cover, extensive rewriting, and a new organization to the story.

If you’re new to the Dinkel Island Series, this book would make a great starter.  Things are alive and active in the quaint Chesapeake Bay community.  Crime and grief seem to lurk in the shadows.  A cold case from a Maryland abduction with connections to Lighthouse Point is stirred to new life.  The discovery of a mysterious cache’ of money in Tranquility Bay tweaks the suspense.  Ed Heygood is now retired and moves back to town at Stan Grayson’s invitation.  Both men are now widowed and ripe for new relationships–romance is in the air.

Sarah Jones keeps the grapevine hot with each new development.  A new crime spree has the Old Geezers, as well as everybody else in town, speculating about what’s going on.  When a gospel group presents a program at the Wesleyan Brethren Church, one member helps solve the riddle of the mystery money.  Will bliss–restoration, completeness, wholeness–return?  Will the cold case be solved?  What will happen with the mystery money?

Return of Bliss is a story of redemption and hope rooted in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”  What joys will unfold?

If you’ve read the first novel, you’ll meet some new, colorful characters in this one:  Cybil Froster, Pastor Kate Sheppard, Molly Pringle, Herb Melloman, Doc Patcher, Darrell Tellerson, Jimmy Charles, Ben Wartman–to name a few.  Who are they?  Lots of folks from the first story are also still present.

Return of Bliss will be available in an e-book special offer November 1-5.  Why not pick up a free copy for your e-reader, tablet or I-phone?  When you’ve read the book I would invite you to send a review to Amazon.  This helps me know how my writing is being received, and helps browsers to decide about checking out the book.  Amazon has a link for doing a review on the order page.  

Next up:  I’m starting on a Second Edition for Book 3, Secrets at Lighthouse Point.  Once that’s complete, I’ll be tackling Book 4!  I can’t wait to see what new things will be going on next with the Dinkel Island folks!

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