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Many people have inspired me. One of them, who I’ve mentioned & blogged about several times, was my late father-in-law, Al Eide. (The little cutie on his lap is my husband, Dan, and the other cutie is his brother, Phil. And yes, Al was once a sailor, if you caught the tat. 😉 )

Al was a man who never met a stranger, never said an unkind word, rarely ever complained, prayed and meditated on God’s word daily, always went to church, and never failed to trust in God, even when dementia in his 90s muddled his mind. Even then, he still loved Jesus and asked caregivers if they knew Him. Even then, he displayed kindness, patience, and the living spirit and love of Christ. 

Many who knew him will readily tell you they want to be like Al when they grow up.

In my NEW novel, Wings Like a Dove, sisters Anna and Shayna are not only very close, but inspire each other to be better, each in their own way.

If you have read the book, I wonder if you can spot (and name) the person in the story inspired by my father-in-law.

Question: Who inspires you to be a better person?

And as Al would say, God bless you real good!

~Camille

If Only . . .

“Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”

Psalm 55:6-8

I have heard people say, “If I could just get over this health issue,” or “If only I had more money.” If only I had less stress, more help, less pain, more support, etc, etc.

 

Have you ever been there?

If only . . .

If I could just . . .

 

Between these words, I hear a cry for relief. Not only relief from difficult circumstances, but also from hopelessness. What if I become so sick or anxious or overwhelmed or so deeply in debt that I can’t function? What if my circumstances never change? What if it gets worse?

 

Thanks to our Adamic inheritance, we live in a fallen world, full of sin, disease, dysfunction, injustice, abuse, brokenness—the list is endless. You may be dealing with something that could wreak more damage than a hurricane. Whether from external circumstances or personal struggles within, the weight of constant suffering can be unbearable and make us hopeless for a way out, no end in sight. No hope for relief.

 

I am blown away by my pastor. For too many reasons to list here, but for one in particular: He suffers terrible migraines. These are horribly painful to the point of making him physically sick. He can’t think or do anything but lie still. With a family and a loaded plate of pastoral responsibilities, he doesn’t have time to be sick, and yet he somehow presses on, with the diligence of a faithful, caring shepherd. He asks God for healing and asks others to pray, and yet the headaches continue. When a migraine strikes on a Sunday, we’ve seen God answer prayer many times by giving Pastor enough strength and relief to deliver his sermon. What amazes me is that in spite of this suffering, this man is absolutely unwavering in his faith in Christ. His life is an inspiring example of steadfast confidence in and obedience to God. The fact that God has not yet healed him doesn’t stop him from serving the Lord with his whole heart, with truth and grace, every minute of every day.

 

He continues to ask God for healing. And we should keep asking God to relieve us and others of suffering. I know he can. And many times, he does. But what if immediate relief isn’t part of his plan for us right now? What if God is more interested in how we weather a storm (or an entire hurricane season) than he is in rescuing us from it?

 

The Apostle Paul talked about his “thorn in the flesh.” I think Paul came to terms with the fact that relief for him would not be coming. I also think he became grateful for the thorn, because it drove him closer Jesus.

 

How does being closer to Jesus help when we face difficult circumstances?

 

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

So I’ll never fail to bear fruit. Awesome. But what good is fruit when I’m suffering?

When we turn our lives over to Christ, his Spirit moves in and begins the work of making us more like him. God’s word and presence feed, sustain, and transform us. This transforming work is evident by such “fruit” as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Not a pretense pulled down over us like a goody-hoody, but a God-kind of gentleness and peace that springs from the place in our soul where Jesus lives and works on us. This fruit not only lets others see God in us, it reminds and assures us of his sanctifying power and love. This assurance comes from experiencing God in a way that teaches us we can trust in his goodness, his provision, and his constant faithfulness.

 

If storms feel endless and unbearable, maybe we need to stretch our roots deeper in God’s stream. When we make him our Source, nothing can destroy us. No drought, famine, wildfire, (debt, depression, cancer) can steal our love, joy and peace when we are nourished by The Stream. Yes, storms may shred our bark, and our fruit might be knocked off and crushed, but we will never wither. We will sprout new leaves and blossom again. What tremendous hope we have!

 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Romans 8:35-39

We might be battered for a season, but God will be our strength and sustenance. If he is allowing us to go through difficulty, he will provide what we need. And he won’t let us weather a storm alone! He is a “friend who sticks closer than a brother” and will stay beside us all the way to the other side, whatever that may be. He will never leave or forsake us!

 

Sometimes, the response we get to “If only” or “If I could just” isn’t the relief we desperately want. I know, not very comforting, I’m sorry. Relief from suffering may come soon, later on, or it may not come at all—in this life. But even if we suffer the sting of some particular thorn for the rest of our lives, we won’t suffer forever. An entire earthly lifetime doesn’t even compare to forever. It may feel like eternity, but no matter how long our suffering lasts, God promises us it will not last forever. He also promises to be with us, strengthening and providing. Let’s set our hope in him, and look forward to a joyful forever yet to come, where all difficulty, sorrow, and suffering will be forgotten.

 

Paul could say this with full assurance, thorn and all.

 

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing
with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

Are you in a season of suffering? Can you share a time when circumstances felt too unbearable? Have you “reached your roots” into the stream of God’s provision and strength?

My Book Baby is HERE!

Wings Like a Dove is HERE!!

4-Cover Wings like a Dove

My Book Baby has finally arrived!

(So, coincidentally… there is a birth scene in this book, but let’s not camp on that topic just yet, since you may not have had a chance to read the book. But soon, I hope to get some conversations going about the journey each of the characters take in this story, including a couple of intense scenes…)

Needless to say, I’m excited to finally be able to share Anna’s story with you!

“BOOK BIRTHDAY” PARTY: Since today is Launch day, I’m celebrating by hosting a Launch Party & Book Signing, so if you’re in NW Oregon, come on over to Sandy Assembly of God Church between 3 – 5pm (PT) today.

AND … this party is NOT limited to local folks only. We are also hosting a Facebook LIVE “virtual” party to coincide with the “real” party, so you are invited to celebrate with me online from wherever you are. We will be giving away some great prizes, both in person and online, so come on over and join us!

If you do, be sure to say HI and let me know you’re there! Virtual attendees will have their name entered in our drawing pool once you leave a comment. My rocking publicist Cara and I are going to magically combine everyone into ONE party!

So I hope you’ll jump in and take part in the LIVE video feed, it should be fun.

But …

dodge park sept 2019If you can’t make it to either party, or are of a more introverted nature (totally get THAT), did I mention that the book is now available? (yay!) So another way you can join me in celebrating its release is to read the book and then come back here or email me to discuss Anna’s story and some of the topics & themes. I’d love to hear from you!

-Camille

You’re Invited!

We’re wrapping up this week on a high note with Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Pumpkin-Pie-Is-Totally-Appropriate-for-Breakfast Saturday, and then bam! Sunday is December.

How did that happen??

I want to take a moment to say (to those not recovering from a Turkey Coma) that you’re all invited to a special “Book Birthday” Party on Sunday, December 1 to celebrate the launch of my new book, Wings Like a Dove.

There are 2 ways to join the party:
1. LOCAL: “In Real Life” Book Launch Party at the Sandy Assembly of God Church Coffee Café, 39800 Hwy 26, Sandy, Oregon from 3:00pm – 5:00pm. We’ll have goodies to snack on, books to sign, and drawings for some great door prizes.

2. ONLINE: click here to join the Wings Like a Dove Book-Birthday Facebook Event where we will gather online and rub “virtual” shoulders via LIVE video, thanks to my super-savvy publicist, Cara, aka Queen of All Things Fun & Exciting. We will have giveaways for virtual attendees as well.

So if you are planning to come, head on over now and mark “going,” and then join us on Dec 1. Be sure to comment on the “CHECK IN” post so we can add you to the drawing pool.

Hope to see you soon!
-Camille

WINGS Giveaway

In my upcoming novel, Wings Like a Dove, sisters Anna (20) and Shayna (16) are many miles apart and the distance serves as a reminder of how much they miss each other, and even more, how they draw inspiration from each other, and in ways they may not have realized or expressed before.

Wings Like a Dove releases December 1, and to celebrate, I’m giving away a signed copy. To enter, just hop over to my Facebook page and name someone who inspires or has inspired you in some way. The winner will be drawn December 11. (US only, sorry!)

A Beautiful Neighbor

mister-rogers-television-persona

The film “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” releases in theaters today. I haven’t seen it yet, but I think I already love this movie.

But let’s back the trolley up…

I have a confession: I grew up watching Mister Rogers, and I liked him fine, but I didn’t really appreciate him, not as a child. I remember being about 10 and not understanding the gentle guy with the soft voice and the puppet friends and the incessant drive to keep peace in the neighborhood. To always be neighborly, to point out how neighborly others were being.

And I didn’t understand why he would look into the camera (at me) and say, “You’re special,” and, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” These platitudes (I thought, at all of age ten) were lost on this emotionally struggling kid, because life hadn’t been special, there hadn’t been kindness or a safe, gentle community in which to develop healthy self image and relationships. Moving multiple times combined with dysfunctional dynamics had left me feeling disconnected with no grasp or appreciation for community and no concept of kind, gentle fatherly figures.

So I appreciated the polite guy in the sweater and alternating loafers, but I really didn’t know what to make of him. I mean, there weren’t really men like that (in my worldview). I think I decided he was only a caricature, a fictional invention, like the Six Million Dollar Man. Although why anyone would go to such lengths to invent a character who talked to slightly creepy little puppets didn’t make sense… Life in the real world simply did not look the way it did in Mister Rogers’ polite neighborhood, so, as pleasant as it was, it was just TV, not real.

But deep down, I wanted Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood to be real.

Can such a kind, neighborly world exist? What would it take? An army of Fred Rogers? An increase in education? A decrease in guns? A change of neighborhood? Where can we go where everyone is just like us?

Who is my neighbor?

Someone asked Jesus this question once, and his answer was to tell a story (what a novel idea!). The story of the Good Samaritan tells us what God thinks about where we should draw the line at kindness.

The Bible has a lot more to say about how we respond to others.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:17-18

If peace and harmony could actually be as simple as each person committing to live peaceably with all. If only we could actually resist the temptation to repay evil with evil, an eye for an eye, if we gave conscious thought to the way we respond instead of acting rash or retaliatory. If only Love was patient and kind. If only…

it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Cor. 13

Love takes the initiative, Love desires to have the last word, leave a lasting fragrance. Like Mister Rogers and his tireless devotion to kindness, peace, and treating each person as someone of special value—also known as Fruit of the Spirit.

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” opens today, and I’m planning to see it tonight. I can only imagine how this story will impact me, now that I’m not that naive, jaded child, and now that I have a deepening and purposeful desire to see Love getting last word, and to see what impossible things God can do among us.

So I’ll be back… when the day is new… and I’ll have more ideas for you…

-Camille

Pass it Down

If you haven’t yet signed up for my newsletter, you’re missing out! That’s where you’ll find special things I don’t share anywhere else, like a mouth-watering pie recipe (next newsletter) that I found while researching for my upcoming book, Wings Like a Dove. [You can sign up for that newsletter HERE, and when you do, you’ll also get a link to download a free novella, a tender love story only available to my newsletter subscribers.]

wacky cake

Due to a lack of standard ingredients (as in the Depression, and war rationing), some recipes were altered, and new ones were invented. One of the recipes from such an era is “Wacky Cake” which gets its name from its “crazy” lack of eggs, butter, and milk. The decision to invent a chocolate cake without eggs and dairy was sheer genius. Wacky Cake is easy to throw together in a pinch, and has always been a favorite around my house.

But back to pie…

I’m not sure why pie kept turning up in Wings Like a Dove, but I have a theory, which we’ll come back to in a minute. In one instance, pie plays a part in mastering sixth grade math. In another, pie is involved in something far more dramatic.

Samuel

A young black boy named Samuel is accused of stealing a pie, and Anna, the heroine, inserts herself in the situation hoping to divert some potentially ominous consequences.

So how did pie find its way into my 1930s story? From a conversation with my late father-in-law, who was a boy of Samuel’s age the year Wings is set.

Even though Dad had dementia, he loved to tell stories. I got him talking once about growing up in the 30s, and since I was working on this novel, I asked him what kinds of things he and his friends did for fun, how they spent their summers, etc. He and his buddies rode their bikes all over, sometimes from Northeast Portland all the way to Multnomah Falls and back, a fifty-mile round trip. (50! I’m trying to picture kids doing that now, but I can’t, sadly…). They did a lot of fishing, hiking, and exploring. I asked what they did for food on a long day like that, and he said he would pack himself five or six sandwiches.

pie on windowsill

And then out of nowhere, my conscientious father-in-law piped up and said, “Sometimes, I’d swipe a pie.”

“What? You stole a pie? Like a whole one?” I wasn’t sure if this was actual fact, or the dementia talking.

He chuckled. “Yeah, but most of the time, I paid for it.”

“How much did a pie cost back then?”

“Twelve cents,” he said without missing a beat. Even with dementia, his ability to remember history and ancient detail was sharp.

“And I’m guessing you shared it with your buddies.”

He just smiled. “Sometimes.” (Al was a tall, lean Norwegian with an appetite the size of Rhode Island—anyone who knew him can attest to this.)

Stories from previous generations ought to be passed down and treasured up. And sometimes, bits of real-life stories can be preserved by inserting them into a novel—like a pack of adventurous boys and a twelve-cent pie.

Q: Do you have stories passed down from parents or grandparents, from childhood, from earlier eras, from simpler times? Can you think of some special ways to make sure these stories are preserved?

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