Amoebas and Big Boots

When I was in fifth grade, I had a truly wonderful science teacher. I thought she was AWESOME. One day, my science teacher taught us about amoebas. She told us that they lived in ponds, streams, and lakes. She mentioned that if any of us could get a jar of lake water, and if there was an amoeba in the water, we could look at it beneath a microscope. I was so excited! I lived on a farm, and I had access to that type of water. Quickly, I raised my hand and volunteered. As my teacher and my classmates smiled at me, I felt like a celebrity.

On the bus ride home, I made my plans. I thought the best place to catch amoebas would be the back pasture of my family’s farm. Overflow from my father’s irrigation lake was slowly flowing through part of the pasture, and the lazy stream was full of moss and algae. It seemed like an amoeba paradise.

Being a confident fifth-grader, I didn’t tell my mother what I was doing. After all, I was practically grown up, and I thought that amoeba catching was a fairly harmless pastime. I didn’t think I needed Mom’s help or advice. Sneaking out of the house, I collected a canning jar from the shed. And feeling very smart, I tucked my father’s rubber overshoes under my arm.

My walk to the pasture was beautiful. Birds were singing and butterflies were flying. But my jaunt took a different turn when I finally reached the sluggish stream. My nose twitched at the dank, mucky smell. The stench of the water wasn’t exactly pleasant. Looking down at the murky depths, I could see all kinds of bugs swimming beneath the surface. In spite of the stench, I knew I’d hit gold.

Although I could stand on the bank to collect my sample, for some reason, I decided that the best amoebas would be in the center of the stream. Tugging on my father’s overshoes, I wadded into the water. Dad’s overshoes were about a gazillion sizes too big, and they kept trying to fall off my feet. The bottom of the stream was mucky, and the mud kept trapping my boots. Being stubborn, I kept going. After several instances of stumbling, whirling my arms like a windmill, and catching my balance, I thought about stopping. But I decided that my teacher and my classmates were worth some extra effort. Tenaciously, I made my awkward way to the middle of the stream.

When I arrived, I looked down at the water. Plodding around had disturbed the muck, and the water was murky. I frowned. I was afraid that the amoebas had skittered away because of the mud. Patiently, I stood still, waiting until the mud settled and the water was clear again. I’m not sure how long I stood with my hands on my knees, anxiously peering down at the water, but it was quite a while. Finally, when all the muck was settled, I held my breath and filled my jar with water. I felt a rush of triumph as I screwed on the lid. I had done my best, and I knew it!

Smiling widely, I decided to walk toward the shore, but when I tried lifting my foot, it wouldn’t budge. I was horrified! Looking down, I realized that my boots had sunk in the mud while I was waiting for the water to clear. My boot tops were now only a few inches above the stinky waterline. With all my might, I tried lifting my feet. My boots wouldn’t move. Bending over, I tugged on my boots with my hands. They still wouldn’t shift. Frozen in place, I tried thinking my way out of the silly situation. I hadn’t told my mother where I was going, so I couldn’t expect immediate help…

Suddenly, I felt my boots sinking deeper into the muck. Desperately, I made a violent lunge toward the shore. I felt sure that my momentum would free my boots, but it didn’t work that way. One foot popped out of its boot while my other foot held fast. I almost toppled into the water—only my extreme distaste for the stinking muck kept me on my feet. If Olympic judges had been watching my improvised twists and shimmies, they would have given me a 10.0 for flamboyant style!

Standing on one leg, and trying desperately not to get wet, I tugged at my empty boot.  After a momentous struggle, it finally came loose with a squelching, sucking sound. I could feel my captive, booted foot sinking further into the mud. Wiggling like mad to keep my balance, I tried to put the freed boot onto my freed foot…

I am not a gymnast, nor am I an acrobat. I’ve never claimed to be graceful or even reasonably coordinated. What happened next was inevitable. I ended up flat on my back in the mucky water. Few things are quite as stinky as stagnate pond water. And not many things are as gross as being immersed in it.  The only good thing about that incident is that I did come away with a jar of water.

The next day, I proudly presented the jar to my science class, and it did yield quite a few excellent amoebas. As my teacher praised me, I smiled shyly and said that gathering the water hadn’t been a problem at all…

Down through the years, my memory of amoeba catching has always made me chuckle. And believe it or not, I’ve found a correlation between my pond adventure and my current life. You see, when I was in fifth grade, I didn’t tell my mother where I was going because I didn’t want any advice. I thought I could do everything on my own. If Mom had been with me, she would’ve told me that a water sample from the edge of the stream would be just as good as one from the middle. She also would’ve told me that wearing big boots in a muddy area wasn’t exactly a brilliant idea. But I didn’t want advice, and I suffered the stinky, smelly consequences.

I find that sometimes I still don’t like asking for advice. And many times, when I go blindly on my way, I make stupid mistakes that could’ve been easily prevented. This holds true in my spiritual life as well. Sometimes, I don’t pray over my plans. I have lots of excuses for this lapse, but usually it boils down to three reasons:  I think I have everything figured out, or I think that the decision I’m making is small, or I’m feeling pressed for time. I’ve found that when I don’t pray over my plans, disaster is just around the corner. Usually, the small decisions that I don’t cover with prayer end up being more perilous than the big decisions that I commit to God.

Over the years, I’ve learned that asking advice from others—and especially, asking advice from God—isn’t a sign of weakness, but of strength. I’ve found that seeking advice is the one thing that can keep me from ending up on my back in the middle of a mucky stream desperately clutching a jar full of amoebas.

 

“A fool thinks he needs no advice, but a wise man listens to others.”  Proverbs 12:15

 

 

Time Search! Book Launch & 20-Stop Blog Tour!

MARCH 20th ANNOUNCEMENT: Congratulations LYS RINEHART! You are the GRAND PRIZE winner of the $25 Amazon gift card!

“Time Search’s” book launch and 20-Stop Blog Tour has been such a wonderful experience! I want to thank everyone who has supported me by reading and reviewing my books, sharing my posts, participating in “Time Search’s” blog tour, commenting on the tour’s articles, entering the contest, and spreading the word about my novels! I couldn’t have done this without you! I also want to thank my blog-tour hostesses–working with you has been fantastic!

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timesearchDear Friends, I’m constantly amazed by the wonderful mercy of God! Years ago, when I was ill and in quarantine, I never would’ve believed that the stories I wrote to distract myself from pain would end up being published! But here I am, announcing the publication of my third book, Time Search! Time Search continues the adventures of the TEMCO team in The Time Counselor Chronicles. It was published on Friday, January 13, 2017 by Prism Book Group!

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blog-tour-ad20-STOP BLOG TOUR FOR TIME SEARCH!

I have wonderful news about Time Search’s book launch!! From January 13-March 14, 2017, information about Time Search will be featured in a 20-Stop Blog Tour! The blog articles will be found on different websites, and they will cover a variety of themes! Some of the blogs will include interviews of me which will span all sorts topics such as my love life, my writing journey, my most embarrassing moments, my favorite books, etc. Other articles will include a recipe exchange, imaginative interviews of my characters, reviews of Time Search, and opportunities to win books and a variety of prizes! NOTE: The giveaways have closed. The winners have been announced. 

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cloudy-roadGRAND PRIZE ALERT! WOW! A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD!!!

During each stop of the blog tour, I will include the phrase “DANELE’S MYSTERY WORD” in the body of the article or in the article’s comment section. If you find all 20 mystery words, you may enter a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card! NOTE: The giveaway has closed. The winner has been announced. 

GRAND PRIZE INSTRUCTIONS: On March 14-19, 2017, you may scroll down to the bottom of this article’s comment section. You will find a box that says, “Leave a reply.” In the reply box, please give me your name, e-mail address, and a list of the 20 mystery words you have found during the tour. (Don’t forget to press the “Post Comment” button.) Within 24 hours, you will find a congratulation message addressed to you in the comment section. This message will confirm that you’ve been entered into the drawing. The winner will be picked randomly from those who report the correct mystery words. The contest ends on March 19, 2017. The winner will be announced on March 20, 2017. NOTE: The giveaway has closed. The winner has been announced. 

NOTE: This article is PRIZE CENTRAL—please refer to it for updates about the blog tour and contest.   

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ITINERARY FOR TIME SEARCH’S 20-STOP BLOG TOUR!!!      JANUARY 13–MARCH 14, 2017

GET READY FOR FUN AND A CHANCE TO WIN PRIZES!!!!

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Lisa Lickel ABLOG STOP #1—Jan. 13, 2017 

Website: Living Our Faith Out Loud

Host: Lisa Lickel

Subject: Book Review—Read Lisa’s review of Time Search! 

Link: http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com/2017/01/time-search-new-from-danele-rotharmel.html

1st Mystery Word: Revealed!

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Carlene HavelBLOG STOP #2—Jan. 14, 2017

Website: Chavel Books

Host: Carlene Havel

Subject: A discussion about the Cinderella aspect of Time Search! Plus a never-before-seen excerpt from the book! (It’s one of my favorite scenes!)

Link: http://chavelbooks.com/time-search-is-here/

2nd Mystery Word: Revealed!

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MaryBBLOG STOP #3—Jan. 15, 2017

Website: Monthly Smiles

Host: Mary Ball

Subject: An article I’ve written about new beginnings and New Year’s resolutions. Plus information about all three of my books: Time Tsunami, Time Trap, and Time Search!

Link: http://www.marylball.com/blog-monthly-smiles/new-beginnings-by-author-danele-rotharmel

3rd Mystery Word: Revealed!

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Nancy BoltonBLOG STOP #4—Jan. 18, 2017

Website: The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction

Host: Nancy Bolton

Subject: Author interview–a discussion about my writing process and how I deal with writer’s block, etc! In addition, an excerpt from “Time Search” will be shared!

PRIZE ALERT! An autographed paperback copy of Time Search is being offered! Visit Nancy’s article for details. NOTE: The paperback giveaway has closed. The winner has been announced. 

Link: https://diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com/2017/01/interview-and-giveaway-with-author.html

4th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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robinBLOG STOP #5—Jan. 19, 2017

Website: Robinsnest212

Host: Robin Mason

Subject: Author interview–an in depth discussion about my personal and professional life. If you want to know who I am, this article will give you a good idea! Information about Time Search is also shared–including part of the first chapter!

PRIZE ALERT! A rose coffee cup prize package is being offered! Visit Robin’s article for details. NOTE: The rose coffee cup giveaway has closed. The winner has been announced.

Link: https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/blogwords-thursday-19-january-2017-chat-thursday-author-interview-danele-rotharmel/

5th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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toni-shilohBLOG STOP #6—Jan. 24, 2017

Website: Soulfully Romantic

Host: Toni Shiloh

Subject: Author interview–why I chose to write about time travel, what type of research I do, my favorite childhood book, my favorite author, and a discussion about the technical side of  “The Time Counselor Chronicles.”

Link: http://tonishiloh.weebly.com/blog/interview-with-danele-j-rotharmel

6th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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cherillyn-bisbanoBLOG STOP #7—Jan. 27, 2017

Website: Truth to Shine

Host: Cherrilynn Bisbano

Subject: Author interview–what I love the most about being an author, why I didn’t tell anyone that I was writing for so many years, and discussion about what I hope my readers will take away from my books!

Link: http://truthtoshine.blogspot.com/2017/01/guest-blogger-danele-j-rotharmels.html?spref=fb

7th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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gay-lewis-1BLOG STOP #8—Jan. 30, 2017

Website: Gay N. Lewis

Host: Gay Lewis

Subject: Author interview—information about my travels, what I do for fun, and a discussion about Crystal and Drake! Plus, I share a secret! Shhhhh!

Link: http://gaynlewis.blogspot.com/2017/01/time-travel-lets-go.html

8th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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Lisa LickelBLOG STOP #9—Jan. 31, 2017

Website: Living Our Faith Out Loud

Host: Lisa Lickel

Subject: A character interview of Drake Procerus! Don’t miss what Time Search’s notorious villain has to say!

Link: http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com/2017/01/meet-villainous-drake-from-time-search.html

9th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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Gail PallottaBLOG STOP #10—Feb. 1, 2017

Website: Peering Through Life’s Window

Host: Gail Pallota

Subject: Author interview–insight into how a bad case of cabin fever led me to write Time Search, information about my character, Angelina Ableman, and a discussion about how faith influences my writing. In addition, I will be sharing a special Scripture verse and a recipe from my great-grandmother!

PRIZE ALERT! A lovely sunflower & butterfly prize package is being offered! Visit Gail’s article for details. NOTE: The sunflower & butterfly giveaway has closed. The winner has been announced.

Link: http://gailpallotta.blogspot.com/2017/02/looking-out-window-danele-rotharmel.html

10th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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DeborahBLOG STOP #11—Feb. 2, 2017

Website: Uncovering the Unthinkable

Host: Deborah Piccurelli

Subject: Author interview–a discussion about many things, including what I love about “Time Search,” why I write about time travel, why I have glossaries in my books, my struggle with amnesia, my history with Bible Quiz, and why I memorize Scripture. In this interview, I also share some fun trivia facts about my latest book!

PRIZE ALERT! A lovely pink & yellow rose prize package is being offered! Visit Deb’s article for details! NOTE: The pink & yellow rose giveaway has closed. The winner has been announced.

Link: http://www.deborahmpiccurelli.com/article_archive_02_01_17.php

11th Mystery Word = FORGIVENESS.

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Paula Mowery 1BLOG STOP #12—Feb. 6, 2017

Website: Passing on a Godly Legacy

Host: Paula Mowery

Subject: Author interview–a discussion about several things including Crystal’s Cinderella moment, the theme of forgiveness in Time Search, and my idea of the perfect writing location.

Link: http://paulamowery.blogspot.com/2017/02/time-search-by-danele-rotharmel.html

12th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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freedom 1BLOG STOP #13—Feb. 14, 2017

Website: Living Our Faith Out Loud

Host: Lisa Lickel

Subject: Character interview of Vice President Andrew Hamilton! Here’s your chance to gain insight into one of Time Search’s heroes. During this interview, Andrew describes his dream girl. Can Lisa Lickel steer him toward Angelina Ableman?

Link: http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com/2017/02/meet-vp-hamilton-from-danele-rotharmels.html

13th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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vicki caineBLOG STOP #14—Feb. 16, 2017

Website: Victoria Pitts-Caine

Host: Vicki Caine

Subject: Author interview–a discussion about the European travel aspect of Time Search and why I created Angelina Ableman! Vicki also shares information about Time Search.

Link: http://victoriapitts-caine.blogspot.com/2017/02/danele-rotharmeltime-search.html

14th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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susanBLOG STOP #15—Feb. 20-21, 2017

Website: Gracious Woman

Host: Susan Karsten

Subject: A two-part adventure! 1st post=Susan’s review of Time Search. 2nd post=Author interview–a discussion about many things, including my favorite books and authors, where I would go if I could time travel, my hobbies, and my favorite foods. Information about Time Search will also be given!

1st Link–Susan’s review of Time Search:  https://graciouswoman.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/time-search-by-danele-rothermel/

2nd Link–Interview conducted by Susan:   https://graciouswoman.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/an-interview-with-danele-rotharmel-author-of-the-time-counselor-chronicles-series/

15th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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AnitaBLOG STOP #16—Feb. 28, 2017

Website: The Tuesday Prude

Host: Anita Klumpers

Subject: Author interview–a discussion about many things, including my brush with death, where I would go if I could time travel, and my character Crystal Stuart! Anita will also give more information about Time Search!

Link: https://thetuesdayprude.com/2017/02/28/a-bakers-dozen-minus-one-questions-for-danele/

16th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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writingBLOG STOP #17—March 3, 2017

Website: Almost an Author

Subject: In this article, I discuss my writing journey and give tips for new authors!

Link: http://www.almostanauthor.com/write-enjoyment-danele-j-rotharmel/

17th Mystery Word = ACTION.

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Brooke WilliamsBLOG STOP #18—March 7, 2017

Website: Author Brooke Williams

Host: Brooke Williams

Subject: Author interview–a discussion about the clues and puzzles contained in my books and information about Time Search!

Link: http://www.authorbrookewilliams.com/blog/time-searchreviewdetailsguest-post-and-more

18th Mystery Word: Revealed!

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Sharon McGregorBLOG STOP #19—March 10, 2017

Website: Sharon McGregor

Host: Sharon McGregor

Subject: Author interview–a discussion about many things, including my struggle with amnesia and writer’s block, my characters, and the future of my book series. An excerpt from “Time Search” is also included!

Link: http://www.sharonmcgregor.com/blog/time-search

19th Mystery Word = PHOEBE.

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tulips

BLOG STOP #20—March 14, 2017

Website: Living Our Faith Out Loud

Host: Lisa Lickel

Subject: Get ready for a funny interview with Crystal Stuart! Character interviews are such a blast. Learn what Crystal thinks about Marc and Drake, and get updates about the TEMCO team!

Link: http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com/2017/03/welcome-back-crystal-from-time.html?spref=fb

20th Mystery Word: Revealed!

* * *

SPECIAL BLOG TOUR NOTE: From January 13-March 20, information about Time Search’s blog tour and the grand prize will be continually updated in this article. Check back here for the latest news and updates!!!

MARCH 20th ANNOUNCEMENT: The giveaway has closed. The winner has been announced. 

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BONUS STOPS: Mystery words will not be given at the following stops–they are simply for your reading pleasure. They contain additional interviews, lovely reviews, and other fun information!

BONUS STOP #1: A Baker’s Perspective / Jessica Baker  https://abakersperspective.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/time-search-review-and-author-interview/

BONUS STOP #2: Blogging with Carol / Carol E. Keen http://carolkeen.blogspot.com/2017/02/time-search-by-danele-rotharmel-book-3.html

BONUS STOP #3: The World Can Wait / Clare Revell                              Time Tsunami http://telscha.blogspot.com/2017/02/time-tsunamithe-time-counselor.html?spref=fb

BONUS STOP #4: The World Can Wait / Clare Revell                              Time Trap http://telscha.blogspot.com/2017/02/time-trapthe-time-counselor-chronicles.html

BONUS STOP #5: The World Can Wait / Clare Revell                              Time Search http://telscha.blogspot.com/2017/03/time-searchthe-time-counselor.html

BONUS STOP #6: Diana’s Tea Time Reviews/ Diana Montgomery  http://dianasbookit.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-time-counselor-chronicles-series-by.html?spref=fb

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Danele RotharmelWHO IS DANELE ROTHARMEL???

For those of you who are just discovering my books and my blog, please allow me to introduce myself! I’m Danele Rotharmel, and I’m the author of The Time Counselor Chronicles. Writing my books was an act of pure joy, and I hope my readers enjoy them just as much as I do. If you would like to learn more about me, please feel free to follow these links!

My Testimony

A Description of My Writing Journey

Crocus in the Snow–An Article Close to My Heart

Information About My Books

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dragonfly-flower-1WHAT IS DRAGONFLYDANELE???

I began my blog, dragonflydanele.wordpress.com as a way to express the spiritual lessons I’ve learned down through the years—especially the lessons I learned during my illness and quarantine. I usually post a new blog article every Thursday morning. If you would like to learn more about what my blog means to me, or how it is reaching the nations, please follow this link: When Dreams Delay.

As a special treat, here are links to some of my most popular blog articles! I hope you enjoy!

Is God Really Real?

Embrace the Chaos

Lost But Not Lost

Fairy Wings and Forgiveness

Does Jesus Really Matter?

Stars and Yard Lights

Destroyed by Friendly Fire

The Kind Word

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Locket Greedy

The Dragonfly

The Murky Ditch and Fear!!!

NOTE: If you would like to read more of my articles, please feel free to visit my Article Index.

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timesearch_prism_680TIME SEARCH’S BACK COVER BLURB:

In the wake of a recent wave of violence, TEMCO employees are left reeling. While some of the staff are put into hiding, others are left behind to discover the true identity of the mysterious nemesis who is determined to destroy them all. While Crystal, Marc, and Zeke search for clues to unravel the mystery of his real name, their enemy is lurking in the shadows searching for TEMCO’s missing leaders. It’s a race against the clock! And as the hours and seconds tick away, it’s anyone’s guess whose search will be completed first. It’s a classic battle of good versus evil, and the stakes couldn’t be higher!

* * *

balls-1EXCERPT FROM TIME SEARCH:

Taking a deep breath, Crystal entered Drake’s apartment with Marc and Agent Ruthford. Her mind kept flashing back to that horrible moment when she’d regained consciousness and realized she was locked inside a burning building.

“We’ve already searched the premises,” Agent Ruthford said, walking to the center of the room. “We didn’t find anything.”

Attempting to forget that Drake had tried to burn her alive, Crystal replied, “We’re searching for different things. I’m sure Drake left us clues to his identity. With his ego, he would’ve thought it amusing.”

Studying her surroundings, she shuddered. Although at first glance, Drake’s home was like many other student apartments—something was a little off. It was as if she could feel an undertone of evil oozing from the walls.

Marc came and stood by her side. “What’s bothering you?”

“Everything,” she said. “It’s all an act. Drake owns everything in this place, but nothing is reflecting him. He’s deliberately picked out every piece of furniture to bolster his fake identity.”

“You notice something else, don’t you?” Marc said.

She nodded. Walking across the room, she studied the framed photographs on the bookshelves. “He doesn’t know any of these people. They aren’t interacting with him.” Moving to the fireplace, she studied the picture of Drake on the mantle. “This is the only real picture in the room.”

Leaning closer, she took in each detail. In the picture, Drake was smiling and holding a red flag in one hand and pointing to the ground with the other. He was dressed all in yellow. Crystal gasped.

Marc was immediately at her side. “What is it?”

“Something awful,” she whispered, feeling a chill running down her back. She forced herself to point at the red flag. “For ancient Romans, a red flag was a signal for battle.” She pointed at Drake’s yellow clothes. “In medieval Spain, executioners wore yellow. Drake’s telling us that he’s coming for battle and that he’s going to be the executioner.”

Marc’s eyes filled with comprehension. “Drake isn’t just searching for a Wave Trapper. He wants to kill people.” He hesitated. “But we knew that, didn’t we?”

An uncontrollable shiver ran through her body. “There are many ways to die. The Spanish Inquisition was known for its cruelty and torture. Drake’s telling us that Phoebe wasn’t a fluke. He’s planning on being brutal.” She turned to Agent Ruthford. “Has this picture been moved?”

He shook his head.

Turning back to the photograph, she studied Drake’s body position. It looked as if his finger was pointing toward the carpet. Studying the angle, Crystal fell to her knees and gave the carpet a tug. A six-inch square came up in her hands. Lines from the poem “Revenge” were written on the floorboards.

Marc took a picture of the disturbing verse. “The meaning seems clear enough.”

“Yes.” Crystal shuddered, clenching and unclenching her fists. “Drake thinks we deserve to suffer.” Turning, she approached a table that held a wilted flower arrangement. “Amaranthus caudatus, rosemary, and star of Bethlehem,” she murmured, fingering a wilted blossom.

“Is that important?” Marc asked.

Nodding, Crystal pointed at the drooping red plumes cascading down the vase. “Amaranthus caudatus is commonly called love lies bleeding. In the language of flowers, it represents hopelessness. The purple spears are rosemary. Rosemary represents remembrance.”

“What about these flowers?” Marc asked, nudging a wilted, white blossom.

Crystal picked one up. “Star of Bethlehem represents reconciliation. The flowers show we’re on the right track. When he steals a Wave Trapper, Drake’s going to reconnect with his old love.”

Seeing nothing further, she entered Drake’s bedroom. It was neat, tidy, and very masculine. Hugging her arms across her chest, she stood in the middle of the floor and looked around. Again, everything seemed normal, but something felt off.

“What do you see?” Marc asked gently.

“It’s what I don’t see,” she replied. “This room is twelve inches shorter than the living room.”

Moving to the northern wall, she spotted a blotch of ink. Her mind recoiled in horror. Springing back, she stuttered, “T-this is a false wall. Drake’s hiding something behind it.”

“I think you’re right about the dimensions of the room,” Agent Ruthford said. “I’ll have my team check it out.”

As Agent Ruthford contacted his agents, Marc touched her arm. Crystal jumped nearly out of her skin.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“Can’t you feel the evil in this room?” she replied. “It’s oppressive.”

Marc looked around. “Everything looks normal to me.”

“Everything is a lie.” Running her hands over her arms, she whispered in a voice full of horror, “I don’t want to be here when that wall comes down.”

“Why? What do you think is behind there?” he asked.

“Nothing good.” She pointed at the tiny, black stain on the wall. “That says it all.”

Kneeling down, Marc studied the blotch. “It seems like an ordinary stain to me.”

“It’s not ‘ordinary’ at all,” she replied. “Look closer. It’s a black half-circle with one short line and one long line dangling down. It’s the ancient Egyptian symbol for Amenta. It was used to represent where the Egyptians buried their dead.”

Providence: Hannah's Journey. Biblical fiction from Pelican Book Group.

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PURCHASING LINKS FOR TIME SEARCH—EBOOK & PAPERBACK VERSIONS:

Amazon Kindle eBook–Available Now!

Amazon Paperback–Available Now! 

Barnes & Noble Nook eBook–Available Now!! 

Barnes & Noble Paperback: Coming Soon!

Paperback Ordering Through Stores: Coming Soon!

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thank-youA SPECIAL THANK YOU!!! Thank you so much for sharing in the joy of my book launch! I want to thank each of you for your encouragement and support! I hope you enjoyed visiting my blog, and I also hope that you really enjoy my books! Have a wonderful day! –Danele

 

  

Spring Is Coming!

frosty pineHave you ever walked across a frozen field in the cold of winter? The frost sparkling on the barbed wire, the dead branches of the seemingly lifeless trees scraping the iron-gray sky? There is a silence.  A waiting. A wondering. Is everything dead? Will the ground ever produce again? You look up at the sky and wonder why the winter came.  You wonder what God was doing.  Why did He allow the frost? Questions pile on questions, and all around you is only silence.  The only sound is your footsteps against the frozen snow.

winter bare treeWinter can be lonely and frightening.  Blizzards come that threaten to rip you apart.  Storms of anger, and weeping, and sadness overwhelm you.  But between the storms, a beautiful quiet comes.  On the surface, winter appears to be a time of death, but it is also a time when the sap begins to rise in the trees giving them new life.  It’s a time when the earth rests and prepares for new harvest. It is a time of waiting. And the waiting has a beauty too.

Over the frozen expanse of your soul, a silent voice speaks, and if you’re willing to listen, it will tell you that everything is going to be okay. It will assure you of God’s love. In a frozen wasteland, a whisper carries far and is memorable. A connection to God can be forged that is even more potent because of the stillness. Winter makes God’s voice loud.  The whisper becomes a shout. And the shout becomes more real than the frozen snow around you.

ice meltingAs you slowly let go of your disappointment and confusion, almost imperceptibly, spring begins to come. Small things.  Little changes. A trickle of water, a blade of green, clouds parting to reveal a glimpse of blue sky.  Chilly gales become warm breezes. And in the crusted snow, the first crocuses of spring slowly appear. Splashes of color against the desolation.

Questions asked in the middle of winter aren’t always answered immediately.  But as time passes, the truth of Romans 8:28 is revealed. God turns every bad thing into something good. And as that truth settles in and becomes your reality, frozen winter melts into glorious spring. Contentment comes.

If you’re in the middle of winter—if the blizzard winds are howling around and the life you once knew is dead—don’t despair.  You’re going to make it.  Things will change. Never forget that spring is on its way. The crocuses are about to peek out and greet the sun.

purple crocus snow“For the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers are springing up and the time of the singing birds has come. Yes, spring is here!” Song of Solomon 2:12

The Stained Glass Catastrophe–Revisited

stained glassWhen I was a child, one of the things I loved the most about Christmas was doing crafts with my mother.  Along with my sisters, we would make fabulous ornaments.  One year, my family worked with beads, another year we painted ceramics. Every craft project was fun, but the one I enjoyed the most was the stained-glass ornaments. As Mom helped me, I carefully poured little bits of colored glass into metal frames, and then Mom baked the ornaments in the oven.  After the glass melted and cooled, I was able to hold my stained-glass masterpieces up to the window and watch the sunlight streaming through the beautiful colors.  I felt like Picasso. I felt talented! I was invincible! I was Queen of the World!

The years passed, and when I was in 5th grade, I decided that I wanted to make stained-glassed ornaments again—but this time I wanted to make them without ANY help from my mother. After all, I was practically grown up, and I knew how to handle an oven. My mom quirked an eyebrow at my cocky declarations, but she just cautioned me to be careful and let me alone. Being a middle schooler, I reacted by rolling my eyes. Of course, I would be careful. Sheesh!  

glass-3Feeling VERY mature, I carefully arranged the stained glass beads in their metal frames on the cookie sheet. My work was flawless. It was beautiful. It was the epitome of perfection. With a smug smile at my mother, I pushed the cookie sheet into the oven with flourish. What happened next was inevitable; the corner of the cookie sheet got caught on the oven rack and all the glass beads slid off the tray onto the bottom of the oven.  I was horrified.

As the beads melted into a stained-glass mess on the bottom of the oven, I waited for my mother’s reaction.  She didn’t yell or even sigh.  She just got a butter knife and helped me carefully scrape up the mess. When we were done, I found myself looking at her in a new way—not as a child rebelling against authority—but as a child feeling love for someone worthy of respect.

glass-5I learned a lot that day.  I learned that I wasn’t invincible, that warnings should be heeded, that the fun of crafts is doing them together, and most of all, I learned that my mother is the nicest woman in the world. Looking back on it; however, I also learned an important lesson about God. Down through the years, there have been times when I’ve told God to back off and let me handle things on my own—usually because I haven’t wanted to follow His instructions. Inevitably, I end up falling on my face, and when I do, God doesn’t yell or sigh or make me feel small.  He just fetches a butter knife and helps me clean up the mess. And each time He does, I realize that God isn’t just wonderful—He’s also KIND.

Whenever I look at stained-glass, I think about my mother who didn’t rebuke me when she had the chance. And I also think about our kind God who never turns His back on us when we make a mess.

 

glass-1“Give thanks to God and bless His name. For the Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and His faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation.”  Psalm 100:4-5

“But You are merciful and gentle, Lord, slow in getting angry, full of constant lovingkindness and truth.”  Psalm 86:15

 

The Presence of God

ornament 2Down through the years, I’ve heard some people dismissing God as a silly myth. I’ve heard others declaring that God is far away and unconcerned with the puny mortals inhabiting the Earth. I might have bought into their opinions if I hadn’t experienced something unexplainable at 2:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve long ago.

When I was in middle school, I was worried and concerned about many things—especially my looks. Even though I was young, I was almost six feet tall. I towered over my classmates. I felt like a hulking giant. Cinderella had tiny, dainty feet, but my feet were enormous. I definitely wasn’t princess material. I was awkward, clumsy, and at times, painfully shy. Life–as I saw it–wasn’t easy.

christmas-4During Christmas vacation, I tried pushing my worries aside, but I couldn’t manage it. When I went to bed, my troubles swirled around me like a big, black cloud. I tossed and turned. I thought about my problems and tried to find solutions. Unless I wanted to chop my feet off at the ankles, there weren’t any. I desperately wanted to be pretty, but in my opinion, I was just a freak of nature.

christmas sceneBy the time Christmas Eve arrived, I was a moody, grumbly, icky mess. I couldn’t sleep again, so at 2:00 a.m. I crept from my bedroom and went to the living room. My parents and siblings were all fast asleep. Padding across the carpet in my bare feet, I plugged in the lights of the Christmas tree and sat on the couch to watch the embers flickering in the fireplace. Turning my head, I looked out the window and saw Orion twinkling in the inky black sky.

I sat for a long time, reviewing my problems and mourning the fact that I wasn’t “princess” material. I felt like a weirdo—an ugly weirdo. I wished things could be different—that I could be different.

christmas-2As a tear snaked down my cheek, I saw my mother’s music box on the window ledge. The music box depicted a lovely angel playing a piano. I had always loved that music box. Even when I was little, listening to it play “Silent Night” would fill me with joy.

Even though I felt awful, I picked it up and wound it. Deafening silence cowered and slunk away as the music box played. As the soft sounds of “Silent Night” filled the room, my turmoil started to recede. When the music ended, I wound the music box and listened to the song again. As Orion made his way slowly through the dark sky, I listened to “Silent Night” over and over.

About the tenth time through, I started singing the lyrics softly, “Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright.”

I looked at the flickering embers. I studied the lights of the Christmas tree. I tipped my face up to the sky and watched Orion.

christmas-3Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright.”

As the music box wound down and the music stopped, I sat in silence staring at the fire. Suddenly, I felt a warm peace surrounding me. It felt as if a cloud of love was wrapping around my body, encasing me in a soft, heavy quilt. Sighing, I closed my eyes. The peace in the room was so thick—so tangible—that I felt I could touch it. I sighed again.

spruceSuddenly, I heard a soft, quiet voice whispering inside my heart. The voice wasn’t audible, but it was powerful. I knew it was the Lord. God simply said, “I made you. And I love you for who you are.”

My eyes popped open. The peace and love surrounding me increased. Again the voice said, “I made you. And I love you for who you are.”

As I sat on the couch blinking, the voice said firmly once again, “I made you. And I love you for who you are.”

ornamentThe peace and love that I was feeling was overwhelming, and suddenly, it was mixed with unspeakable joy. I looked down at my huge feet and smiled. God made my huge feet. God LIKED my huge feet! I studied my impossibly long legs and grinned. God designed my legs. He LIKED my legs. Standing, I went and looked at my reflection in a mirror. I studied my messy hair, my crooked teeth, the pimple on my chin—and I smiled. God made me. God LOVED me. God LIKED me just as I was!

Standing in the middle of the living room, I hugged myself. Tipping my face up toward the ceiling, I whispered, “I kinda like you too, God.”

 

christmas-1Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright.”

Cheer up, don’t be afraid. For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a might Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you in great gladness; He will love you and not accuse you. Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord Himself exulting over you in happy song.” Zephaniah 3:16b-18a

 

Penelope Marzec #2–Author Interview

penny-m

Dear Friends, I’m honored to have Penelope Marzec on my blog today! Penelope is one of the most talented people that I know. She writes, paints, sings, and takes beautiful photographs! Not only is she talented, she’s also incredibly kind. I consider her a wonderful prayer partner and a lovely friend! Penelope is a beautiful person, and I’m so glad that I know her! And guess what??? I have exciting news! Penelope’s latest book, Hoping for Joy, was just published a few days ago!

Danele: Penelope, I’m delighted to have you with us today!

Penelope: Thanks so much for the warm welcome. I’m very happy to be here. Your blog is always interesting, insightful, and a joy to read.

Danele: Thank you! That’s so nice of you to say! I appreciate all of the support you have given me, and I can’t wait to learn more about you. Can you tell us where you feel the presence of God the most?

Penelope: I feel the overwhelming presence of God most in nature. I enjoy walking along trails in the woods in the silence of my own thoughts, but most of all I enjoy walking by the ocean. I was fortunate to grow up along the shore and though I live further inland now, the ocean is not far away. Huge, powerful, and mysterious, the ocean is truly awe-inspiring. Just to sit on a rock and stare out at sea gives me a deep sense of peace. The waves rush in and out with a thunderous rumble. There’s a timelessness to it, helping me to understand the concept of how God is, always was, and always will be. I pray everywhere, but when I’m beside the ocean, I am transfixed by the majesty of it and I don’t have to say anything. I am consoled, calmed, and healed.

Danele: That’s so beautiful! Your words have just painted a lovely picture for me! Thank you for sharing your heart! Now, Penelope, here’s another question for you–has God ever revealed Himself to you in a humorous way?

Penelope: I know God watches over us, but I also am very much aware that He has a sense of humor and sometimes His angels in disguise are quite different from what anyone would suspect. I know this because many years ago, when my daughters were young, I was a Brownie Scout leader. One fine afternoon, I drove to the scout headquarters to pick up pins and badges for the girls in my troop. It was quite a distance from home and way out in farm country. I had my three daughters in the car with me. The car was aging, but it hadn’t given me any trouble–until the engine simply stopped dead on the return leg of the journey.

Danele: Oh, no! That’s awful! What happened next?

Penelope: We were in the middle of nowhere, with a wheat field on our side of the road. However, there was a small bar and package goods store not far away on the other side of the road and the car had enough momentum to coast into the parking lot. Fortunately, the bar had a telephone. (This happened long before cellphones and long before we signed up for Triple A.) I called my husband who promised to rescue us, although he had to leave work.

Danele: I’m glad you were able to get a hold of him!

Penelope: Me too. As we waited outside the bar, men came out and laughed at me. “Hey, lady, what did you do, forget to put gas in the car?” Not one of them offered to help in any way. I was fuming!

Danele: I can understand why! That’s awful!

Penelope: My husband finally appeared, but he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the car. Then a battered car pulled up beside mine. A very short, older woman got out. Her gray hair was straight and covered by a beret, her only nod to fashion. The rest of her outfit was frumpy. She asked about the car, opened the hood, put her hand over the intake of the carburetor, and told me to start the car. After a few sputters, the engine caught.

Danele: That’s marvelous!

Penelope: Maybe she wasn’t an angel, but I sure thought she could qualify as one. All of us have hands to do God’s work but not everyone takes on that responsibility. While all the men didn’t or couldn’t help with the car, that one older woman knew the trick and solved the problem. God sent someone to help, but while she appeared to be an unlikely candidate for the job she was more than capable. God must have had a good laugh. As for me, I was extremely grateful.

Danele: I would’ve been grateful too! I’m so glad that she helped you out! What a fun story! Now, before I let you go, can you give us a list of the books you have written?

Penelope: Of course! Daddy Wanted, Patriot’s Heart, Patriot’s Pride, The Cowboy’s Miracle, and Hoping for Joy. Hoping for Joy was released on December 16, 2016.

Danele: Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! There’s nothing quite as exciting as having a book released! Can you share a little bit about Hoping for Joy with us? And can you also give us a purchasing link?

Penelope: Sure! Hoping for Joy is part of Prism Book Group’s “Love Is” series, based on 1 Corinthians 13. My book is drawn from the part of Scripture that reads, “love always hopes.” The story is set in a small seaside town with an amusement park. The heroine, Hannah, stares at the diamond ring on her finger and believes her hopes for a wedding are gone as her fiancé, Logan, puts off the date.  She wonders if he loves her anymore. She considers handing him the ring and moving on. He has no faith in the Lord. Should she stop praying for a fiancé with no faith?

But Logan is troubled. He hopes to save his sister from her addiction while helping his father raise his young niece. With his life in turmoil, his dreams have vanished. One night, his sister holds a knife to Hannah’s throat and robs her. Will Hannah forgive him? What will he do with Joy, his sister’s child? Where can he turn for help?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2U0XE6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481907783&sr=8-1&keywords=hoping+for+joy

Danele: I wish you all the best with your new release, Penelope! Thank you so much for being here! I’ve had a great time talking with you!

Penelope: It was my pleasure. I truly appreciate being invited. It’s an honor!

 

Friends, Penelope is such a wonderful person! If you would like to learn more about her, or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/penelopemarzecbooks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/penelopemarzec

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/penelopemarzec

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/marzecpenelope

Website: http://penelopemarzec.weebly.com

Blog: http://penelopemarzec.blogspot.com

 

Locket Greedy

grandma-5When I was a senior in high school, my grandmother died. I loved her very much, and I was devastated. What made it even worse was that I’d begged God to let her live. I didn’t see why God had to take her away. I thought it was mean.

Later, after the funeral, the extended family went to Grandma’s house to dispose of her belongings. Several of us were in Grandma’s bedroom sorting through clothes when one of my relatives spotted a locket on the dresser. I spotted another one. We asked the rest of the family if we could have the lockets as keepsakes. They agreed.

locket-1My locket wasn’t very large, and it definitely wasn’t expensive. But I thought it was lovely. I planned on putting a picture of Grandma in it. I was going to wear it constantly to remind me of her love and kindness. I was drowning in nostalgic memories when one of my young cousins came into the room. I loved my cousin very much. She was kind, tenderhearted, and gentle. She was beautiful inside and out.

My cousin saw the lockets, timidly put her hand on my arm, and asked, “Can I have a locket too?”

grandma-7My heart plummeted. I knew there wasn’t another locket. Holding my locket tightly in my fist, I went through the motions of looking for another one. I was seventeen, and I’d been trying to grow closer to the Lord. I knew that it was my responsibility to listen for God’s voice. At that moment, I heard the Lord speak clearly. His quiet, gentle voice wasn’t audible, but it resonated deep inside my spirit. God simply said, “Give her your locket.”

My thoughts raged and whirled. My grandma was dead. God could have saved her. God let her die. Now, God wanted to take my locket too. I wanted to wear that locket in Grandma’s honor. I didn’t want to give it away.

Deep inside my spirit, God’s voice repeated, “Give her your locket. Give it to her. Give it to her. Give it to her.”

Anger and pain wrapped around my heart. I couldn’t believe what God was asking. It wasn’t fair!

Give it to her. Give it to her. Give it to her.”

grandma-3Turning to my sweet, kind cousin, I said flatly. “I’m afraid there isn’t a locket for you.”

My cousin’s eyes filled with pain as she nodded and turned away. She didn’t whine or complain. She simply accepted my statement. I felt a wave of remorse. I knew she was hurting just as much as I was. She deserved the locket—she was such a nice person, and she was younger than I was. My grandmother was extremely kind, and I knew she wouldn’t approve of my stingy behavior. I also knew my other relatives would probably have given away the locket if they were in my shoes. Tightening my white-knuckle grip around the locket, I decided that I didn’t care. The locket was mine.

Again, I felt God say, “Give her your locket.”

Remembering my grandmother’s funeral and my vain prayers for God to spare her, I hardened my heart. I wasn’t giving anything else away—not even an inexpensive, department-store locket. It wasn’t fair of God to ask me to! God had taken so much from me already! Glaring up at the ceiling, I shook my head. Mentally, in an extremely snotty way, I told God to shut up and get lost.

locket-2A few seconds later, one of my relatives shouted for everyone to look. She pointed at a beautiful, expensive locket hanging from the bedpost. The locket was absolutely stunning. It wasn’t a piece of cheap jewelry—it was an heirloom. Unanimously, my relatives smiled at my young cousin and placed the gorgeous locket around her neck. Grateful tears flooded her eyes.

I looked down at the tiny trinket clutched in my fist. I knew that if I had given my locket away, I probably would’ve been given the heirloom instead. I was extremely happy for my cousin, but I felt horrible inside. Instantly, I realized how greedy and silly I had been.

grandma-6My cousin wore her lovely locket the rest of the day, and she wore it constantly for years after that. I never put my locket around my neck. The trinket had changed from a beautiful symbol of my grandmother into an ugly reminder of my petty greed. Even though my locket doesn’t bring back good memories, I’ve never thrown it away. In fact, every day, I see it hanging in my jewelry box. I keep that locket as a visual reminder not to ignore God’s voice. I keep it to remind me to be kind, tenderhearted, loving, and generous.

I wanted a locket to keep my grandmother’s memory alive in my heart. I wanted it to remind me of her kindness and love…

Come to think of it—maybe that locket was the perfect keepsake for me to have.

 

grandma-8Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed, a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.‘”  Luke 12:15

When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule for everything she says… Charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn’t last, but a woman who fears and reverences God shall be greatly praised.” Proverbs 31:26 & 30