Overcoming #shame: Time to Let in the Light @harmony_kent #RRBC #MondayBlogs

Today I’d like to welcome RRBC RWISA author Harmony Kent to share her piece: Live or Die?

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Live or Die?

by Harmony Kent

Sometimes, you need to accept help. Sometimes, you need to admit that you need it. Sometimes, you need to take the hand that’s offered. You reached out and took my arm. I let you. I took the assistance I needed. I gripped your hand so that you could pull me to my feet. The last thing I needed was for you to slit my wrists. So much blood. All that carnage. My heart ripped right out of my chest.

I did my best.

Though, what kind of an epitaph is that?

Do I want that immortalised on my headstone?

Does that adequately sum up a life?

What about all the rest?

At the end of the day, what’s left to show for all that struggle, all that pain?

Right now, only one thing remains certain, that things can never be the same. That river? Already crossed. That road? Already travelled. That life? Already lived.

No going back. Not ever.

Going forward, though? Now, there’s the question.

For this gal, only one choice remains. Live or die?

Sometimes, you need to accept help. Once bitten, twice shy and all that, though, ya know? Truth be told, I’ve come to the end. Like I said, no going back. The rub is that I can’t go on either. The wind whips my hair into my face and throws cold pellets of rain at me. I shiver and dig deep for the courage. Never did like heights, yet here I stand. To jump or not to jump? That is the question.

The darkness wraps around me and locks the breath in my lungs and my feet in place—leaves me perched here in a daze. The metal burns cold within my death grip. With pulse racing, I edge my left foot forward a couple of centimetres, and then bring the right one up level. Perforce, I have to let go of the steel girders now. I’ve taken a step too far. Sweat breaks free from every pore and soaks this trembling mass of flesh, muscle, and sinew. With a heart this broken, how does it even continue on?

‘Miss? Are you okay? … Miss?’

At the unexpected voice, I twist and startle. A man reaches for me, indistinct in the arc-sodium lights.

‘Miss? Here, take my hand.’

A sudden gust buffets me from behind, and I stumble forward, a scream frozen in my terrified throat. All of a sudden, it hits me, I don’t want to die. Too late, however, as I’m off balance and too close to the edge. Dimly, as I fall, I see that it’s not about living or dying but about having the choice. It seems the wind has finished your job for you. Limp and spent, I plummet to the waiting river below, which sends up cold plumes of spray and waves like open arms welcoming me in and under to die beneath.

Sometimes, you need to admit that you need it. At the first swallow of brackish water, I swallow my pride, and every molecule of this being cries out for help. I should have grabbed his hand. Should have, but could I have? Would I have if given the chance? More ice-cold water pours into my throat and drowns my lungs. All the philosophising ceases as it becomes a fight for life. The cold pierces and stabs like a knife.

Tired and afraid, and no longer quite so numb, I kick, searching for the surface. Already, my limbs have gone stiff. The pressure in my chest has grown unbearable, and I have to take a breath, even though I know it will mean certain death. I just can’t do it. Can’t hold it all in anymore. Bubbles erupt when the life-giving air breaks free of my now open lips.

They show me the way when they float up, up, and up.

For a second, I hesitate. Do I go for it or not? Here is my chance for total surrender. To not have to fight any further. Do I have the energy? The will? At the end of the day, what’s left to show for all that struggle, all that pain?

I did my best, but I don’t want that on my epitaph.

My legs kick and arms stroke, pushing through the murk and trying for air. With this exhaustion and cold, I doubt I’ll get there. By now, the bubbles have long gone, but I’ve come near enough to discern the orange city glow. Not far now. One more kick. One more. That’s it. Just one more.

Sometimes, you need to take the hand that’s offered. I come to, afloat on my back, and the icy waves provide my waterbed. Way up high, atop the bridge, come the blues-and-twos, as the emergency services rush to the scene of my demise. Don’t they realise that I’ve fallen too far from reach? Beyond any assistance or redemption.

It seems as if hours pass me by while I drift in and out and upon. This time, a deafening roar causes me to rouse. A shadow flies through the sky, trailing a bright beam. The search is on. These arctic temperatures have other ideas—so much so that I’ve begun to feel warm. A bad sign. Sleepy too.

Impossibly white light hits me and burns my eyes. I raise a hand to cover them and, immediately, lose my buoyancy and sink back into the dark. The search light now glows dimly above the water. Too tired, too cold, too done to even try and fight, I let the river have its way.

The universe has other ideas, it seems, and once again, I lose the choice. Strong hands grip my armpits and haul me upward. To the artificially lit night and the cold and the air and the despair. Oh, love, what did you do to me? So much blood. All that carnage. All those lies and abuse. What’s the use?

You reached out and took my arm. It all unfolded in a blur and strobe-like snapshots—the winch into the helicopter, the medi-flight, and them getting me here. Trouble is, I think they left my heart there.

A nurse bustles into the private room and pulls apart the drapes. ‘Time to let in some light,’ she says. Oh, how wrong could she be? The last thing I want to do is see. Right now, only one thing remains certain, that things can never be the same. I want to stay in the dark; hide from my shame.

‘You have a visitor.’ Her voice sounds far too bubbly. It hurts. ‘The police officer who tried to help on the bridge.’ A shadow crosses her face. Then she gets busy tidying the bedding and then me. ‘I’ll just go and show him in.’ Once again, I don’t get a choice. No time to find my voice.

The door opens slowly, and I lay with baited breath. A young man eases in, dark hair and chocolate eyes, with a smile that feels like the most glorious sunrise. ‘May I?’

His question gives me pause. Never before did anyone ask my permission. Dumbstruck, I give a mere nod. My visitor edges to the bed and takes a seat on the hard plastic chair that the nurse placed there. We sit in silence for a while, and then his eyes find my scars. So many. Clouds snuff out that beautiful dawn and darken his face.

Now, he’ll make his excuses and take his leave. He’s done his bit. But no. Instead, he takes my hand. Looks into my eyes. Somewhere from the edges, I register that he doesn’t have on his uniform. ‘It’s okay,’ he tells me, fingers rubbing mine. ‘You’re safe now. We’ll make this right.’

Uninvited, a sob brings the elephant right into the room. ‘No one can,’ I croak.

‘It’s okay. He won’t hurt you again.’

‘You know who I am?’

He nods, gives my hand a squeeze. ‘We know everything.’

All I want to do is shrivel up and crawl within.

With both hands, he reaches out and takes my arms. I let him. He seems an angel in human form, and I feel safe within his embrace. Into my hair, he whispers, ‘It’s okay. I’ve got you. I got you now.’

Can I take the leap of faith?

Now, there’s the question.

Live or die?

Please take the time to visit Harmony’s RWISA page!

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Look at Amazing Cuba with #RRBC RWISA author @mhthompsonsr #faith

Today, I welcome RRBC RWISA author Michael Hicks Thompson and this powerful piece about Cuba:

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DETOUR → CUBA

PART I

Once the port-of-call jewel for Magnus Wealthy, Cuba has been a country lost in time for the last half century, plus some.

Never been to Cuba? I recommend it. But do it before it returns to the playground of the filthy rich and the Hemingway admirers.

Yes, I’ve been there twice. But not as Magnus Wealthy. Think short-term mission trip. Door-to-door evangelism. Knock, knock. “May we come in.” (Of course, my interpreter said it the proper way: “¿Podemos entrar?”)

An interpreter is essential if you can’t speak the language.

But here’s the beautiful thing. Most Cubans are the friendliest people you’ll meet. They love to meet and greet Americans. We’re a mystery to them. It’s amazing. And understandable. Most have never tasted freedom.

Castro usurped the country in the biggest land swindle ever. Now, the elderly Cubans alive today are happy with a single, pathetic gift from Papa Castro’s government.

“He give me this cooking pot,” the appreciative, sun-wrinkled, Spanish speaking octogenarian said.

Never mind that his midget refrigerator will take him a lifetime to pay off.

PART II

We flew into Havana, via Mexico, spent the night and flew on to Holguin (hole-Keen) early the next morning. It’s a four-hour flight. Cuba is the size of California.

The ‘hotel’ in Holguin was once a grand one—now, dilapidated. Papa not only didn’t let the government keep hotels up to standard, he took the toilet seats away. From personal experience, I can assure you he did it to humiliate the eleven-and-a-half-million souls into submission.

Ask any American what Cubans look like and they’ll include “dark-skinned” as an answer. However, you’d be surprised to see nearly as many red-headed and blue-eyed Cubans as dark-skinned islanders. The Spanish influence is apparent. Fifty-one percent of Cubans are Mulatto, thirty-seven percent, White, and eleven percent, Black.

All Cubans are proud. And friendly. Why shouldn’t they be? They’ve not had the outside world of communications and world events for three generations. They’ve simply missed the rise in socio-economic gain around the world. They’ve been isolated. They don’t know any other life. They’ve lived on Cuban baseball and communism since 1959.

And they’ve avoided all the gun-shot TV news and television episodes of Law & Order. God blessed them.

Or, did He?

When I think of Cuba, I think of Maria. She’s the Lady who led our group through Cuba. Maria was born and raised in Havana, in a prominent family.

Shortly after Castro took over, her father gathered his wife and children and fled to America.

Maria has such a huge heart for her native land. She’ll always love her people and her land.

Many wealthy families left their homes and their businesses behind; to start over. But the ones not able to afford travel remained behind. They faced the dark days of seclusion.

Catholicism gradually faded away. To be replaced by many false religions—Santería being the most prominent. It’s a singing religion based on the old songs of slavery. So, most Santeríans are descendants of African slaves.

PART III

Every morning ten of us would have breakfast, pray, and pile into vans with our interpreters for an hour or two ride to a small village, usually to the south, near Guantanamo. A different village each morning. That way, we could avoid the immigration officials who’d heard we were proselytizing in their country. Only once did we hear our leader yell out, “Everybody in the vans. We have to leave. Now!”

We would meet at a local house church and greet the pastor. Some would have no more than ten church members; some as many as thirty. We snuck in bibles, clothes, hygiene products, and boatloads of gum.

Each church provided a local member to escort us, individually with our interpreter, to un-churched homes in the village. The patriarch or matriarch always welcomed us. Some even asked us to hold off any discussion so they could gather their family. Even neighbors. All ages would gather around in a small living room, many sitting on the floor, while we introduced them to original sin, Jesus, the Gospel, and a merciful God.

The interpreter kept track of those who repeated the prayer of salvation (asking Jesus to come into their hearts and save them from eternal damnation). More than a few grown men cried on my shoulder after accepting Jesus into their hearts.

Naturally, there were plenty who preferred to worship their idols. Ceramic statues, sometimes made of wood or plastic.

If the idol worshiper wasn’t getting what they wanted from their man-made God, they’d place them face down in their underwear drawer, to punish them. Strange stuff. And sad.

At the end of the week, our leader would give us the number. “Four-hundred-fifty-two made a profession of faith this week. You’ve not only sowed the seeds of the Gospel, you’ve been a part of the harvest.”

That made me feel pretty good, but we all knew Holy Spirit had been working in those hearts long before we arrived. Only God can change the heart of man. But, what really made me warm and fuzzy, was the sight of my sons who’d been able to join us on the mission field. They had been part of the harvest. And it would have a lasting, lifetime effect on their lives. They talk about it to this day.

And so do I.

Michael Hicks Thompson is a RRBC RWISA author. Please visit his page here.

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#releaseday THE SOLDIER’S RETURN #historicalfiction

 

The Soldier’s Return

Book 2 in the HEAVEN’S POND Trilogy is now available in paperback, for your Kindle, and FREE with the Kindle Unlimited lending library.

The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?

 

 

#cozymystery #giveaway SMART, SEXY, FUN! @BlueHeronBW

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Dead Karma (The Swanson Herbinko Mystery Series): Swanson on a yoga retreat in Tulum, Mexico

by Bathsheba Monk

Boston divorce lawyer, Swanson Herbinko, knows better than to fall in love again after her first two loves ended tragically, but when the sun is hot and water turquoise blue and there’s magic in the air—in other words if she’s in Tulum, Mexico—she can’t help falling under the spell of not only Mark Stevens, but of world famous yoga guru Hunter Hanna.

Swanson first meets Hunter at a hot yoga class in his studio, Savas Hanna, in Boston at the same time she meets Christine, who claims to be Hunter’s lover and who enlists Swanson to help Hunter get a divorce from his wife and business partner, Layla, so he can marry Christine.

Swanson and her private detective Dick join nine other people on the Savas Hanna yoga retreat in Tulum, but while visiting the famous Mayan ruins there one of the group falls off a cliff to the water below and then there are only 8. But was the fall accidental? Everyone says so, but Dick claims to have seen someone push the victim and Swanson can’t be sure—under the spell of the Mayan ruins she had a hallucination she can’t explain either. But as Swanson gets closer to finding out what really happened on the cliff, dark forces of jealousy, her own doubts about her motives, and the presence of a Mayan drug lord in the yoga inner circle push her closer to danger.

Enter the giveaway here!

Bathsheba Monk’s books

About the Author

 

Book Blast: The Soldier’s Return by Laura Libricz

The Soldier’s Return Book Blast is in full swing! Read more here:

Jo's Book Blog

The Soldier’s Return
by Laura Libricz

Publication Date: September 15, 2017
eBook & Paperback

Series: Heaven’s Pond Trilogy, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction

The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies…

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Why Bubenreuth? A brief look at a fascinating village #Germany #History

Bubenretuh

At first glance, Bubenreuth is just another small town near Nuremberg in Southern Germany. A closer look however reveals a town well known as an important centre of musical instrument manufacture.

Before World War II, Schönbach, Graslitz, Markneukichen and Klingenthal were part of the Saxon-Bohemian ‘Musical Corner’ or Musikwinkel, one of the most important musical instrument making regions in the world. When musical instrument production was revived after World War II, these instrument makers from Czechoslovakia were resettled in the Nuremberg area. The community council of Bubenreuth – then a village of fewer than 500 inhabitants – decided in October 1949 that about 2000 displaced luthiers, bow and part makers, string spinners, tonewood dealers, lacquer and rosin producers, and instrument manufacturers from Schönbach would be allowed to resettle there over the following ten years.

Thus, Bubenreuth was transformed from a small farming village into the main centre of German string instrument making. Violins, lutes, mandolins, banjos, zithers and guitars of all kinds (classical, western, archtop, semi-acoustic and electric) were made here. Among companies and luthiers active were Dörfler, Framus, Glassl, Hanika, Hannabach, Hirsch, Höfner, Hoyer, Klier, Mettal, Paesold, Placht, Pyramid, Roth, Sandner, Schuster, Teller and Wilfer.

Without this small village in Germany, the European and, in particular, UK music scene in the 1950s and 60s would have been very different. Both the ‘Beat Boom’ and the ‘British Invasion’ owed their sounds to Bubenreuth with most of the guitars and basses played originating here. Members of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd and guitar heroes Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore, along with many others played instruments from Höfner and Framus, two of the biggest makers then in Bubenreuth.

Today Bubenreuth still retains its importance in the musical instrument making world and to honour this a museum was formed in order to maintain the cultural heritage of Bubenreuth.

To see the Museum website please click here:  http://www.bubenreutheum.de/en

Thanks to Dr. Christian Hoyer for the information on Bubenreuth

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Hutchins Guitars are proud to still be hand making guitars and basses in a town where so much musical history originated.

The Hutchins Workshops are in the old Hofner building, Bubenreuth.

We offer sales, set-up and repair services at our Bubenreuth workshops.

Please ring us to make an appointment or e-mail us using the contact sheet here

+49 (0) 9131 9085802

In unseren Bubenreuth-Werkstätten bieten wir Verkaufs-, Installations- und Reparaturleistungen an.

Bitte rufen Sie uns an, 09131 9085802, um einen Termin zu vereinbaren oder schicken Sie eine E-Mail mit dem Kontaktformular hier.

 

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#Bubenreuth CROWDFUNDING FOR THE HISTORICAL VIOLIN COLLECTION #germany

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The Crowdfunding project COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL VIOLINS has started!

In order to collect donations at all, the Bubenreutheum e.V.  needs 100 “fans” for the project “Stringed Instrument Collection” within 2 weeks.

Here you can register and become a fan:

https://vr-bank-ehh.viele-schaffen-mehr.de/saiteninstrumentensammlung

We need as many fans as possible to show the bank that the project is popular with the population and has success prospects. Therefore, we would like to cordially thank you for helping to start the project through your non-binding registration.

With your registration as a “fan” you have no obligations.

YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS WILL NOT BE USED BY THE VR-BANK EHH OR BY THE ASSOCIATION BUBENREUTHEUM E.V. FOR ADVERTISING PURPOSES!

Please support us. Thank you very much!

Here in German:

Unser Crowdfunding Projekt Saiteninstrumentensammlung ist gestartet!

Um überhaupt Spenden sammeln zu können, benötigen wir 100 „Fans“ für unser Projekt „Saiteninstrumentensammlung“ innerhalb von 2 Wochen.

Hier können Sie sich registrieren und Fan werden:

https://vr-bank-ehh.viele-schaffen-mehr.de/saiteninstrumentensammlung

Möglichst viele Fans zeigen der Bank und uns, dass das Projekt in der Bevölkerung Zuspruch erfährt und Erfolgsaussichten hat. Deshalb bitten wir Sie sehr herzlich, durch Ihre unverbindliche Registrierung dazu beizutragen, das Projekt starten zu können.

Mit Ihrer Registrierung als “Fan” gehen Sie noch keinerlei Verpflichtung ein.

IHRE PERSÖNLICHEN ANGABEN WERDEN WEDER VON DER VR-BANK EHH NOCH VOM VEREIN BUBENREUTHEUM E.V. FÜR WERBEZWECKE VERWENDET!

Bitte motivieren Sie auch Freunde und Bekannte uns zu unterstützen.

Herzlichen Dank!