I have certain guilty pleasure staples which have helped me through the writing of several books— Supernatural, , The Bachelor, Revenge , and, most recently, Ghost Adventures. No research, no outlining, no coming up with ideas and storylines out of thin air, no writing, no editing.
For that precious hour or two, depending on how many episodes I go through , I just turn my brain off and let the guys entertain me. So thank you, Ghost Adventures , for seeing me through this stressful time. This week, an article I wrote in tribute to some courageous female spies appeared in the HuffPost , and I wanted to rerun it here. Nancy Wake died in at the age of She killed a Nazi officer with her bare hands. She ordered the execution of a fellow female spy, because she believed the woman was working for the Germans.
Wake received so many medals for her wartime service… that she lived out her old age on the proceeds from their sale. Before the war, a good number of these women had been stay-at-home wives and mothers. But wartime found them going to work in Washington, D. They worked with the French Resistance and the Allies to recover missing or captured agents or prisoners of war.
They gathered invaluable, critical information. They helped downed pilots and Jews escape over the Spanish border. They hid precious works of art from the Germans. Yet most will never be recognized and too many of them are already forgotten. However, recently the spotlight has been cast on a few of these brave heroines. On November 8, , seven decades after the death of an Indian princess, a statue was unveiled in London. She was the descendant of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler of Mysore. Her father was Indian, her mother American. Noor Inayat Khan grew up in luxury and comfort, playing the harp and writing stories.
She later studied child psychology at the Sorbonne. At the end of , the family fled France escaping to England by boat before the government surrendered to Germany. She was sent back to Paris a year later. There, under the codename Madeleine, she sent vital messages to London while trying to evade the Germans.
In October , she was arrested and tortured, but she refused to talk. In September , at Dachau, she was executed by the SS. She was Valland was an employee at the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris. The Germans took over the museum in October and used it to store paintings and other works of art stolen from private French — mostly Jewish — collections.
Valland was the only museum worker allowed to stay on. In the eyes of the Germans, she was nothing to worry about. She was quiet and plain, a dowdy spinster who followed instructions. But, unbeknownst to the Nazis, Valland spoke German, and because of this she was able to track the shipments of stolen artwork from Paris to locations throughout the Reich. On August 1, , days before the Liberation of Paris, she notified the French Resistance that the Germans were planning to smuggle out five boxcars filled with art.
The Resistance stopped the train from leaving Paris. Thanks to her efforts and her meticulous, covert record-keeping, hundreds — if not thousands — of pieces of artwork were located and returned to France. Elizabeth Peet McIntosh grew up in Honolulu, where she learned Japanese and yearned to travel and have adventures overseas. Her father worked for the Washington Herald as a sports editor, and Betty, as she was called, soon followed him into reporting.
She swore an oath never, under any cost, to reveal OSS secrets. And then she was sent to India. In March of , the year-old was honored as one of the Virginia Women in History by the Library of Virginia. In an era when most women were expected to stay at home and tend to the house and the children, these were women ahead of their time. When the war in Europe ended in May , there were , women in the military and over 6.
Seventy years later, we continue to honor the courageous spying women who — thankfully — did not agree with that. Why is she here? And what can we achieve in her memory? One of the best things about being an author is hearing from readers of my books. I love receiving emails and notes and comments and questions and feedback.
And Gossie in a WAC uniform, no less! The apparently offensive passage dealt with one of my characters— the aforementioned Gossie— who works as a member of the st Signal Battalion in German-occupied Paris during World War II. Other readers have also written to question the plausibility of such a thing, and to take me to task for having Gossie wear her WAC uniform in public. Work too extensive for me to detail here, but those who are interested can follow the links at the end of this post to learn more.
One of the members of that battalion, Ida E. Simpson, vividly remembered the training her WAC unit received in England, the deployment to France, the landing on war-ravaged Normandy Beach, and the arrival in Paris in the fall of , where she spent a year operating field switchboards. We sent messages back and forth across the English Channel and all over the European Theater. The women put through hundreds of telephone calls every day. The enemy may be listening.
Department of Defense website. In my reply to this man, I told him that while I certainly welcome and appreciate comments re. To deny these women their history and their selfless contribution is insulting to them and the brave and dangerous work that they did! Each new year is like a clean slate, a fresh start, a chance to make goals and follow through on them. Or both! My very favorite comes from legendary American folk musician and singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie , who wrote this funny, warm, and wise list in when he was thirty.
Work more and better 2. Work by a schedule 3. Wash teeth if any 4. Shave 5. Take bath 6. Eat good — fruit — vegetables — milk 7. Drink very scant if any 8. Write a song a day 9. Wear clean clothes — look good Shine shoes Change socks Change bed clothes often Read lots good books Listen to radio a lot Learn people better Keep rancho clean Dont get lonesome Stay glad Keep hoping machine running Dream good Bank all extra money Save dough Have company but dont waste time Send Mary and kids money Play and sing good Dance better Help win war — beat fascism Love mama Love papa Love Pete Love everybody Make up your mind Wake up and fight.
One of my dearest friends, Angelo Surmelis , is a brilliant designer. In addition to his gorgeous and affordable! Listen to it here! He has some wonderful sofas and chairs, perfect to read a book in…. When I was nine years old, my parents and I moved from Maryland where we lived on the water and sailed and ate fresh seafood, which we often caught ourselves, and spent time on our own little sliver of beach to landlocked Indiana where a narrow creek ran through our back yard.
In Hoosier City everything was a dark gray. Not one person was happy. One day a jolly old man came to Hoosier City. He met Mr. Vox Poxie, the king of gray. Vox Poxie inquired what he was doing on his property. The king led Santa Claus for that was his name through the town. Santa stared sadly at the people. An old woman who was hanging battered clothes on an old clothesline in her tiny, gray yard almost broke his heart.
They walked on.
Santa Claus eyed the shabby houses with little children playing unhappily in their yards. A tear rolled down his cheek and soaked his beard thoroughly.
Finally they reached Mr. The king invited Santa Claus inside. Santa Claus stared at the king, thinking this man is crazy! But there was a note attached to the post. It said: Dear Mr. Vox Poxie, I have left. Santa Claus.
The king gasped. What was Christmas? He did not know it, but that very day was Christmas Eve. When he got up the next day, there was gray snow on the ground. No Santa, no presents. The next day and the next day, no Christmas. No Santa. No toys. Quickly, the king hopped back into bed, and the next morning everything was green! The houses were new! The people were happy! Everybody was playing with toys! Even though Christmas was late, it was a nice one! And everybody lived happily ever after! When it got toward supper, I went into the kitchen and rolled up my sleeves and started cutting up vegetables for soup.
For some reason, it was the only thing I could think to make. There was an actual icebox, not just a springhouse, but the stove was the same— an old comfort stove just like Mama had and just like Ruby Poole had. We can find complete Bibles, all the way back to A. You can find one in the London Museum, in the Vatican, and many other places. If you compare today's Bible with the Bibles of A.
Did you know that there exists today nearly 25, hand-written copies of portions of the New Testament? As historians have compared these manuscripts, they have concluded that the New Testament we have today is at least No change. Also, you might be familiar with the more recent archeological findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These were found in caves of Qumran, just off the northwest corner of the Dead Sea. Don't let anyone tell you that the New Testament or the Bible has been changed from its original writing.
That simply is not historically accurate. Ok, but what about having four Gospels? Aren't those different Scriptures, different from each other? These actually help show that the Bible has never been falsified. These are four witnesses, four accounts of Jesus' life, what he said, what he did. Imagine if one or two, or let's say four people, witnessed a car accident on a corner of a street. And each one was asked to write up their account, their witness of the accident for the court.
Do you think that each one would give the exact same description, exactly the same witness, word-for-word? Obviously not. Each one would write from his or her own perspective of what he or she saw. And that's what happened when each of these witnesses wrote their account of Jesus, as eyewitnesses of Jesus.
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For centuries judicial systems have involved witnesses. And, on very important matters, it cannot be one person's word against another's. Often, you need more than one witness. Here's a statement in the New Testament, quoting from the Old Testament, "Every matter must be established by the witness of two or three people.
Not only are there four witnesses about Jesus who wrote the gospels, but there are many more witnesses. John said, "[We write] what our eyes have seen, what our hands have touched. So they wrote what they saw. What about all the languages that the Bible is written in, all the translations?
The Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek. Any Bible, no matter what year it was printed, is always a translation from the original Hebrew and Greek languages. Bibles are never translated English to English, for example. They always start with the original text. There are some Bibles that are paraphrases, not translations. And they are identified as paraphrases. However, translations, are just that -- translating what the original Hebrew and Greek text states.
The Hebrew and Greek writings of the Bible have been translated into thousands of languages. Because God wants every person in the world to know the good news of salvation. And the Bible is not difficult to translate. But the heart of the Bible itself is a very simple language that deals with our daily lives.
It is not hard to translate. The fact that the Bible is a straightforward, simple account is another reason to trust the Bible. He was in another country, in the middle of a big highway, in a car accident. His car was hit by another car, and was turned degrees, landing in the middle of the highway, in the wrong direction.
He's in trouble. He needed help. Well, do you think this is the time that I will send him a poetic message? A poem that I have memorized? This is the time to simply say, 'John, here's what you need to do. You're in deep trouble and here is how to get out of it. Humanity is in trouble, heading for hell. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
And we need a simple message of salvation. The Bible tells us how we can be forgiven, how we can be brought into a close relationship with God that begins now and lasts eternally. It is a message that changes our lives. Does God intend that we would start with Judaism, then change to Christianity, then change to Islam? Beginning with Abraham, God has been clear about revealing himself to us so that we could be in relationship with him. A relationship, not a religion, is God's ultimate purpose in creating us. Let's look at the beginning, with Adam and Eve. They had direct communication with God, and all of their needs were met.
Then Satan appeared to Adam and Eve as a serpent, and tempted them. Unfortunately they chose to believe Satan and disobey what God told them. As a result, Adam and Eve fell out of relationship with God. But do you know what God immediately told Satan? God said that a woman's child would be Satan's enemy. God said that Satan would have partial victory, bruising the child's heel. But the child would deal the final blow, crushing Satan's head. Here it is:. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live.
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. Throughout all of history, who is the only man born of a woman, and not from a man and a woman? Jesus, the Son of Mary, right?
Satan would strike the heel of this offspring of a woman. But the offspring would strike a blow to Satan's head. And the only way to kill a serpent is to strike its head. Satan dealt a blow to Jesus on the cross, when Jesus' feet and hands were nailed. But Jesus' delivered the crushing blow to Satan. On the cross, Jesus overcame Satan. Jesus paid for the sins of all humankind, offering everyone forgiveness and a way to come back into relationship with God. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Who is the prophet Isaiah talking about? It's very clear. He is talking about Jesus. And when was this written? More than years before Jesus Christ. From the beginning, through thousands of years, God always said that Jesus will come and he will die, just like we read from Isaiah. What would you think of God if, at the very last moment, he changed his mind?
What if, after thousands of years promising Jesus, God would change his mind and not have Jesus die for us? God does not change his mind. God is spirit. And Jesus is only God's Son in a spiritual sense, not in a physical way. If someone says, "You are the Son of the Cedars" it means that person is from Lebanon. Or, if from Egypt, "You are the Son of the Nile. It is like a title. When the angel appeared to Mary, the angel said, "the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.
Christians do not believe that God had any sexual relationship with any woman. Isaiah said, "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. He is God, who became a man, through Mary. He is God and Son at the same time, born of the virgin Mary. When Adam and Eve fell into sin, they passed on the sinful nature from one generation to another, through their own children, down to us. We are all born as sinners. We're all born with a tendency toward doing things our way, instead of God's way. We all sin. That's why the prophet David cried out, "With sin, my mother conceived me.
We live as sinful people and we all need a redeemer. But for Jesus to redeem us, he needed to have a different nature. He needed to be from the spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, no sinfulness at all. Isaiah said, "No deceit was found in him. In Scripture, God took on the form of a burning bush when revealing himself to Moses. He took on the voice of heaven when speaking to Abraham. Who is to say that God is not allowed to take on the form of man in order to reveal himself to us? How did God test Abraham? He asked Abraham to put his son on the altar. As they were going up the mountain, the son asked, "Where is the offering?
He will provide the offering. Then in Exodus, we see the importance of a lamb again. In Exodus, God warns his people in Egypt that he is going to strike the Egyptians. If those who believe in God will put the blood of a lamb on their doorpost, God would have the angel of death go past them, saving them from death. A nation of believers were saved by one lamb. Then we see a lamb again in Leviticus. Every year the priest is told to take one lamb out of the city and sacrifice it for the sins of those people who believe in God.
Each year, one people saved again by one lamb. Then we hear John the Baptist addressing a crowd, saying this about Jesus: "Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! What would have happened if Abraham had not listened to the voice of God, or had not believed that God was speaking to him? That's right, his son would have been killed! So now is the question. Some 2, years ago, Jesus, the Lamb of God, hung on a cross, and gave his life for you. We are clearly told, "God shows his love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.