Happy birthday, “Seeds of Evidence”!

Today’s the official birthday of my new novel! I’m excited–and I’m praying that you will love it, and that it will help people come a bit closer to God. It’s a great beach book.

The roots of the “Seeds of Evidence” story began long ago, when my grandparents bought a house on Chincoteague and retired there. Spending time with them on the island when I was a kid made me love the place–the nature, the ponies, the waterfowl, the reeds and marshes… I’ve brought my own family back there many times over the years, and we still love it.

Here’s a picture of my grandparents’ house in 1965, on the day of my grandfather’s funeral. Two of my cousins are standing on the front porch. Rustic? Yes, but lovely to this suburban girl!

“Seeds of Evidence” is in bookstores now! Drop me a line and tell me what you think. Visit me at lindajwhite.com

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Easter Weekend in Chincoteague

One of the things I love about Chincoteague is its natural environment. The rolling breakers, an endless sea, and the waterfowl that migrate up and down the East Coast all remind me of the beauty of God’s creation–and of his watchcare over it.

Artists flock to Chincoteague to capture that natural beauty in oils, pastels, photography, and decoy carving. Each year over Easter weekend there’s a decoy festival in town, featuring gifted carvers and other artists. It’s a way of celebrating Creation, Creativity, and of course, the Creator all in one. While you’re there, the island’s numerous churches will welcome you to celebrate the joy of Easter.

Here’s a link to the decoy festival’s website. Enjoy! http://www.chincoteaguedecoyshow.com

 

old pics 1802

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March 6, storms, and Chincoteague

The snow falling outside my window here in Virginia is unusual for March, but not unprecedented. One of the most memorable March storms happened 51 years ago today: the great Ash Wednesday storm of 1962, one of the most damaging storms ever to hit the Mid-Atlantic states.

My older sister Karen (today’s her birthday!) and I were teenagers, home alone with our three-year old sister, Jackie. Mom and Dad had gone out to dinner. Karen and I were watching TV when breaking news cut in: the storm roaring up the coast was forcing the evacuation of Chincoteague Island, where our grandparents lived (and where I’ve set my novel, “Seeds of Evidence”). Parts of Main Street were under six feet of water and the causeway to the mainland was closed. The news footage was horrifying.

Alarmed, Karen did the responsible thing: She called the Virginia State Police to see if we could find out where our grandparents were and if they were safe.

Whoever she talked to assured her that Chincoteague was NOT in Virginia.

But of course it was! Undaunted, Karen called the Red Cross. Eventually, we found out that Memaw and Pepaw had been evacuated to Wallops Island and were fine.

In fact, my grandparents’ house on South Main Street was one of only a handful of island homes that wasn’t flooded, as my grandfather proudly pointed out many times over the next years. It was on “the ridge” which, if I remember right, is about 17″ above the rest of the island! The house is still there; you can see a picture of it on my website (lindajwhite.com)

Sitting here in my warm house today, snow falling like crazy outside, I’m thinking about my sis and my mom and Chincoteague. Fifty years ago, the little island took a devastating hit from an awful storm, but it came back, and it’s still a lovely place.

Happy birthday, Karen!

Snow falling in Somerville, March 6, 2013.

Snow falling in Somerville, March 6, 2013.

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Snow!

With a significant snowstorm on the way to the Washington area (the Capital Weather Gang is calling it “Snowquester”), I started thinking about snowflakes. Descending, they’re beautiful.  Collectively, they transform my usual world into a fairyland. Under my tires, well…I’m not so happy about them then.

But the most incredible thing about snowflakes is their diversity. None are exactly alike; yet scientists can classify them by their structure, from simple prisms to stellar dendrites and sectored plates.

Kind of reminds me of people. We have some commonalities but yet we’re all so different. What kind of God is this, who creates such diversity? It would have been so simple to stamp out snowflakes–or people–like Lego blocks, Yet He didn’t. 

When you look out of your window and see those billions of snowflakes, think of that God, and wonder.  

CalTech has an amazing guide to snowflakes: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/class/class.htm

 

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Honoring Jane

January 28 marked the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” “I have got my own darling child from London,” she wrote her sister Cassandra and indeed, that “darling child” has become beloved by millions of readers all over the world.

P&P was Austen’s second published book (her first, “Sense and Sensibility,” was published two years before). She had written P&P years earlier–originally titled “First Impressions,” it was rejected “by return post” by a London publisher. Austen re-worked it and re-submitted it sixteen years later, this time, successfully. In a large BBC survey in 2003, P&P was named readers’ second-favorite book of all time, second only to “Lord of the Rings.”

In honor of Austen’s achievement, this week I read “A Walk with Jane Austen,” by Lori Smith. Smith, a 30-something single woman, travels to Great Britain to re-trace Austen’s life path, and look for her own. Smith’s memoir, in which she is open and humble, charming and vulnerable, is highly readable and makes me want to return to England and follow some of Austen’s footsteps myself.

Here’s a sample from Smith’s book:

“[W]hile Jane was–is–big, she never believed that being big was important.

“These are the things I want for myself, the things that become more important after my own dark night where I learned there’s no end to the grace of God.”

Kudos to Smith, for her courage and heart, and of course, to Austen, a woman whose work has entertained and informed so many.

My goal: To read (or re-read) all of Austen’s six novels in 2013.

Austen

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Modern Day Slavery

Modern Day Slavery.

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Modern Day Slavery

She was young, just 14, a typical American teen, full of life and hope and promise. She thought it was cool that the 20-something guy at her local Starbucks would talk to her. That he seemed to like her. That he understood her dreams. That he found her attractive.

She had no idea who he was behind the smiles, and the soy lattes. But on the day she got into his car, she found out.

He took her. And sold her. To five men. On that first day.

Damaged goods, she would spend the next several years, not at high school, not going to Homecoming dances, not flirting with the cute guy in Algebra, but as a sex slave, here, in the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free.

This is a true story. Human trafficking happens in India, in Africa, in Southeast Asia, in Eastern Europe, and here, in the United States of America. It’s happening to our kids.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Every month should be. Because until we open our eyes to the problem, until men realize that they are abusing a human being when they dabble in porn, that they are  raping someone’s daughter when they buy a prostitute, until the law recognizes the difference between perpetrators and victims, injustice will reign.

No one should be enslaved by men looking for sex, or a brick kiln owner in need of workers, or an agricultural operation looking for pickers.

No one.

Part of my motivation in writing my soon-to-be-released novel, “Seeds of Evidence,” is to bring attention to the problem of human trafficking. There are others who are doing much, much more. Here are links to three of my favorite groups fighting this scourge:

Wellspring International  http://wellspringinternational.org

International Justice Ministry: http://ijm.org

Shared Hope International: http://sharedhope.org

Get educated. Get involved. End trafficking now.

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Newtown

The massacre at Newtown is beyond comprehension. I can’t begin to imagine what the parents and siblings, teachers and friends of the victims are going through today. I pray for them, weep for them, mourn for them.

Ironic, isn’t it, that Jesus’s birth was also marked by the massacre of the innocents. The evil King Herod, so threatened by the Babe, ordered the death of all the boys ages two and under in Bethlehem. What tears must have been shed, what sorrow must have filled the land!

I believe Satan, who hates mankind with a bloodthirsty passion, particularly hates children. Children represent innocence, purity, dependence, and trust. They particularly bear the Image of the Baby born to vanquish the Evil One. And so, children become targets of Satan’s vile plans.

But I believe in a God who says “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” A God who understands the innocence of those little hearts, not fully ready to comprehend spiritual realities. I believe that, as David said, they will not return, but we will go to them.

May the love of God be poured out on those children’s families in very real and poignant ways, and may His peace overcome the terrible anguish of these days.

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François-Joseph Navez

François-Joseph Navez

The massacre of the innocents, 1824

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On pruning … and abiding

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  John 15:1-2 (ESV)

Oh, how I want to bear fruit! I want my writing, my speaking, my living to be purposeful, to make a difference. To plant comfort and solace, strength and encouragement, hope and love in peoples’ lives. To see light break through and darkness flee. To have my own soul become a reflection of His as I grow in love and joy and peace.

But oh, that abiding and pruning! I open my Bible early in the morning and my mind races away. It flits like a hummingbird, seeking nectar from my to-do list, politics, work, the dog that is coughing, my husband, asleep upstairs, my children. Incline my heart to your testimonies (Psalm 119:36), Lord, because  my heart has a mind of its own. Help me abide. Nestle up to you and receive my nourishment from you. Stop flitting and start focusing and receiving all that you are.

And the pruning: Lately I’ve been on the receiving end of his holy pruning shears. My work. My health. My relationships. My finances. My house.

Sandy was just the latest. The superstorm sideswiped Virginia on Oct. 28-29, delivering its main punch to New Jersey and New York. But her glancing blow to the Mid-Atlantic brought down a 100-foot red oak behind our house. The huge tree carried two more oaks to the ground with it, hitting our screened-in porch and deck before slamming into the ground just next to our house. I picture three buff angels shoving it westward a couple of feet, just enough to miss us. Thank you for your mercy, Lord. It could have been so much worse. We have a big mess to clean up. And lots of firewood for next year.

The pruning hurts. A cancer scare. A routine screening procedure that goes awry, sending me to the ER and a four-day hospital stay. My mother’s cancer. And my husband’s. Loss of work hours. Loss of income. Loss ofok, I admit it…pride in my position.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares, the LORD. (Jer. 29:11-14a)

Pruning has a way of clarifying my priorities. Reminding me of Whose I am. Focusing my heart. I’m so grateful for that. Because there’s nothing like pain, few things like despair, to drive my seeking until I find myself deep in his arms, where I’ve been all along.

Whom have I in Heaven but you, Lord? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26)

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