Tag Archives: United States

Strait of Hormuz

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Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn is my first experience with Bunn’s novels. I met him in 2012 during the Christian Writers Guild Writing For The Soul Conference. True to reputation, his writing is fantastic.

This reads like a military-spy novel with a dash of romance. Marc Royce is a spy sent to Switzerland to investigate why mysterious cargo is being moved. Complicating his mission is the usual political problems and clash of personalities. While Marc is in Switzerland, Kitra receives a phone call from a mysterious man her father states she must trust. Kitra is sent to Switzerland to save Marc’s life.

A hidden back-story is slowly revealed. Kitra and Marc are in love, but with different life goals that keep them a part. Marc doesn’t want to live in Israel on a kibbutz with Kitra, and Kitra is having a problem leaving her father’s kibbutz.

The dangers escalate and the plot begin to involve Switzerland’s spy network and police. Problems back at home with the CIA’s top ranking officials eventually mean Marc hasn’t any United States back-up for the danger that is rising. Enemies become friends and slowly a worldwide agenda by evil rulers become revealed.

It’s a lot of action and romance with enough tension to keep the story moving forward. I really enjoyed this novel and gave it five stars.

*Book given by publisher to review.

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Reinterpretation of a Gingerbread House

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One dark and dreary December eve, the witch, Esmeralda, sat inside her gingerbread house casting spells, hating Christmas, and plotting to get Hansel and Gretal for killing her sister. A knock came at the door. Esmeralda grumbled about door-to-door sales people and walked over to answer it. When she opened the door, she only saw the dark evening sky, the bright stars, and the pure white of snow on the ground.

“Stupid kids.” Esmeralda shook her head, wished upon the kids of the neighborhood all sorts of curses. Esmeralda stepped outside and investigated the shadows around her yard to find the little devils who intruded upon her time. Only the distant hum of…What was that hum?

BAM!

The witch felt a white-hot force propel her into the snow. Her eyes fluttered open a bit in time to see a boy rappelling off of her roof, fire coming out the side of her house, and the shell of a bomb nearly crumpling the whole side of a house she no longer recognized. She looked down to her sides and found her arms missing and blood coming out, turning the white snow red.

The boy on the roof hopped down into the snow and yelled, “You will never hurt any more children. You are the last in the line of witches. Now our neighborhood is safe.”

The distant wail of sirens sent the boy running away. The witch turned her head and saw a drone circling above her home before flying off into the west. Someone stuffed a card in her shirt.

The person whispered, “I am Gretal, and we are part of a secret force sent to save children from cannibal witches.”

Esmeralda tried to curse Gretal with her powers, but the loss of blood into the snow weakened Esmeralda so much that speaking felt impossible. The dark sky faded and everything went black.

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The Secret Agent

“We were raised to resist tyrants and dictators–and against any and all that used brutality and force to gain their goals.” – Eric Erickson

412WMBNzyfL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-71,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Eric Erickson was America’s best weapon during World War II. Without him, the war might have dragged on longer, or as some say, we might have lost the war. Stephen Talty goes deeper into Erickson’s profile in his Amazon book, The Secret Agent.

Eric Erickson made lots of money on the oil fields. While making a living in Sweden, this American didn’t have any problem selling oil to Germany who was fast becoming a problem to the world. It wasn’t until his brother, a soldier in the U.S. military, wrote a convicting letter to Erickson that Erickson began to see himself as he truly was–a man without morals. To make things right, Erickson turned to the U.S. OSS and began act Nazi to infiltrate German leadership so he can let the Allied bombers know the locations of the German synthetic oil plants.

Germany was the leading developer of synthetic oil. Oil would determine the war’s end. Hitler’s planes and tanks used oil in the thousands of gallons. So Germany had to figure out a way to synthetically produce the oil or their pantzers could run out of oil during a crucial battle. Eric Erickson began a Nazi makeover that astonished his wife and friends. Because Erickson could not tell anyone of his plans to feed information to the bombers, Erickson lost friends and family as people he loved angrily distanced themselves from him. People believed he was a Nazi. His wife, Talty reports, even went insane from the sudden change in her husband. Erickson would later regret not telling his wife. Erickson’s Jewish friend was also outraged, but Erickson told him, “…please believe in me.”

Erickson dined with Nazi’s, made crude jokes as a Nazi would make, and even hung a portrait of Hitler in his livingroom, but still, he could not breach the inner circle. The people in Sweden weren’t aware of the locations of the synthetic oil plants. Erickson knew he’d need to go to Berlin to gain that information. He asked his friend, a prince, to join him. Berlin loved royalty. So the American OSS made the Prince a spy, and together, he and Erickson began to charm the Germans. Many harried moments put Erickson in danger of being sent to concentration camps designed especially for spys.

In fact, a spy who got caught would have a special execution–he would be led to the guillotine, and instead of lying face down, the spy would be turned to watch the blade come down on his neck. Erickson met a female spy in Berlin and fell in love.

Both agents had a secret affair in Berlin until his girlfriend made a fatal mistake–in her love letters to him, she revealed too much information and was sent to Dachau. Mysteriously, Erickson was forcibly brought to Dachau and watched as they hanged his girlfriend. Then, he was released. Erickson had no idea why they had him watch his girlfriend die.

Stephen Talty does a wonderful job detailing Eric Erickson’s life before, during, and after World War II. A few grammar mistakes peppered the book, like a word that didn’t belong in the sentence structure, extra spaces before a period, etc. At the end, when the book discussed the Hollywood movies about Erickson, the book moves from impassive historian to passionate conversationalist, slipping in a curse word. Because of these mistakes, I gave this book four stars.

Buy the book here:  The Secret Agent: In Search of America’s Greatest World War II Spy (Kindle Single)

Get a Hobby

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Fox and Friends said 34% of Americans don’t want a job. The lack of fulfillment in the job was cited as the reason. My message to that 34%?

Get a hobby. Your job is necessary as part of being a responsible adult to your family and to the economy.  I am reminded of a famous quote from Office Space:

“Peter, most people don’t like their jobs. But you go out there and find something that makes you happy.”

Happiness is a choice, too. We can find joy in the most menial tasks by simply choosing not to dwell on what makes us unhappy. If you want fulfillment, volunteer after work and, in the process of finding your own fulfillment, you help others. No one owes me a living, a roof over my head, or even health insurance so liking my job has never been on the top of my list.

I consider it my responsibility to work for the things I enjoy, even if that work becomes tedious or hard.  My fulfillment is coming home each day knowing I have contributed to a healthy society by helping my job and my family succeed. When I don’t find fulfillment at the workplace, I find it here in my writing and in the evenings my husband and I share together.

Is your job fulfilling? If so, how? If not, how can you make it fulfilling?

Anonymous Blogger: A Vet’s Rights

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Buy book above here: American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom

My Anonymous Blogger  gave me her piece just before the government funded. So I have only published part of her paper here.

Nikki,

Please call Gosar, Flake, and McCain

Ask them to support a service member’s constitutional right to freely exercise his or her faith within the U.S. Military without fear of censorship or retribution. If legislation is required to do this, then ask that they introduce such to do so.

Anonymous Blogger

Fill in The Gaps

Image copyright, 2012, Nikole Hahn; available here for purchase http://www.cafepress.com/thehahnhuntinglodge
Image copyright, 2012, Nikole Hahn; available here for purchase http://www.cafepress.com/thehahnhuntinglodge

Many news sources, including Fox News and Glenn Beck, reported on the man from North Carolina who volunteered his time to keep the grounds of the National Mall clean and mowed. Glenn Beck said, “If we really want a smaller government, it’s our responsibility to fill in the gaps.” Actually, this applies to about everything, including church. If we really want a better church, it is our responsibility to fill in the gaps!

Americans were the people who, as a minority in a Tory country, fought and won against the British who were, at that time, the greatest military on earth. Those early Americans fought bitter cold, hunger, and disease. By all accounts, we should have lost. We landed a man on the moon, invented the automobile, and the Apple computer. We brought to the world the internet. So how did we get so far as to become the lowest culture on earth where we think the world owes us everything, including a living or great church programs? Where is our initiative?

The age group that often volunteers are seniors. If you walk into a hospital, you’ll see more white and gray than brown or blonde volunteering in the halls. If we want our churches, schools, government, or (fill in the blank) to do something, we need to step forward and fill in the gap. The man using a push mower at the National Mall did it for the World War II veterans visiting that weekend. The people who helped out a local school get ready for the new year did it to ease the burdens of the teachers just returning from summer break. The people who greet you when you walk into the church, do it because they love you.

If we want a better church or government, we need to step in to fill the gap. Plenty of volunteer opportunities exist all over your community, and if you only give an hour or two a week or month, that’s something of value to that ministry or organization. It’s also character building.

How are you helping your community?

Dangerous: Engaging The People and Places No One Else Will

51YQxCncF8LClick on the link below to buy:

Dangerous: Engaging the People and Places No One Else Will

Dangerous by Caleb Bislow is a book that will challenge the nominal American Christian into action.

Much like The Insanity of God by Nick Ripken, Dangerous isn’t the usual dry missionary letter aimed at filling an obligation. Caleb demonstrates a fearlessness in writing of his experiences in getting to his missionary program, “Unusual Soldiers.” Endorsed by legendary Bear Grylls as, “A book for aspiring heroes, about real heroes, by a quiet hero,” Dangerous is a how-to book in becoming a missionary.

Dangerous begins with Section One: In Search of Unusual Soldiers. I wouldn’t have begun the book this way when the description on the back of the book says, “In 2005, Caleb Bislow decided safety was overrated.” The first section speaks about Caleb’s program, Unusual Soldiers. While this wasn’t uninteresting, it certainly slowed down the book. In Section Two, the tension escalates and never slows down until the last sentence of the book.

Caleb writes about his experiences. He drained his savings and quit his job to go on a short term missions trip to Africa with just a backpack, Bible, and a few changes in clothing to sleep in a mud hut with a local and visit dangerous and unreached villages in Africa. In returning home, he felt that a short term missions trip wasn’t enough. People were brought to Christ in these villages, but no one stuck around to disciple them. So he worked with another ministry while living in his parent’s home as he and his wife began a family. Eventually, their financial situation improves and Caleb lands a job with a ministry who enthusiastically takes on his vision.

The rest of the book speaks about Caleb’s work with an African people and the raw work of a missionary. I like how he outlines the different ways both domestically and internationally how a Christian can turn from living the nominal Christian life as an American to living a die-hard life of a believer serving God’s purpose. Caleb also speaks about his program, Unusual Soldiers, as he trains people to survive in the most dangerous places on earth. He speaks about the amount of unreached people groups and on follow-through. This means not just popping into someone’s life to change it, but making sure the person or people changed get discipled and connected with proper teaching.

Dangerous has haunted me since closing the book. I gave this book four stars only because of the slow beginning, It starts slow and becomes very quickly an intense and resource-filled book.

*Book given by publisher to review.

Your Livelihood or Your Faith?

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Worldnet News Daily jerked me out my Christian slumber when their headlines read, “U.S. Court: Choose Faith or Livelihood.” It caused me to ask: What would I choose if faced with that kind of persecution?

The picture above is what I created to illustrate the headlines. This is not some “right-wing conspiracy theory”, but a real threat. If business owners or workers are forced to choose between their faith or their livelihood we could see a new era evolve that closely resembles India’s caste system; real poverty, like a third world country where Christians (and anyone who disagrees with the elite of the country) are the aliens.

WND’s article says, “The stunning verdict came in a case brought by lesbians against Elane Photography. The lesbians wanted the photographer to document their “wedding,” and the studio declined, claiming it would violate the Christian faith of the owners. Tough luck, said judges Edward Chavez, Petra Jimenez Maes, Charles Daniels, Barbara Vigil and Richard Bosson. They make clear the company has the option of going out of business.”

This verdict isn’t new. Fox News reports how a Colorado gay couple is suing a bakery for not providing a cake. In Washington State, ABC News reports a florist is being sued for not providing flowers for a same-sex wedding. In England, Lifesitenews reports how a gay couple is suing a church for not providing the wedding of his dreams. Two Catholic Innkeepers are being sued for refusing to host a gay wedding.

In this anti-bullying fever, it’s amazing how no one is pointing out the obvious; how the same people who want to live in peace are forcing people out of business or asking them to compromise their deeply held religious beliefs using the tactics of a bully. A gay congressman has even mentioned taking a Christian’s children away. This is re-enforced by what an ASU professor said from an atheist’s standpoint, because it’s not just gays attacking Christians, but some atheist groups and individuals are also working at eradicating Christianity from the fabric of America. But the Bible is clear on persecution and trials:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14 (ESV)

I’m not sure us latte-sippin’, iphone playin’ Christians are ready for this choice. There are exceptions. One woman I know has decided she will die as a missionary in a hostile country. Every day is survival mode as buildings blow up, but she is determined and an inspiration to me. What would America look like if we lived and died for Christ, like a Billy Graham or a Nate Saint?

I’m not even sure what that looks like in America. After attending service at a Navajo church on our own, independently funded, missions trip, I saw the church stripped down to faith and truth. No bands. No battle over hymns or contemporary music. No private membership feel or getting lost in a crowd or alienated by a clique. No one went without. No place is perfect, but it’s a reminder to me how complicated and consumoristic we have made church.

So what would we choose, if forced to choose between living a comfortable life in a house, two cars, and yearly vacations or living destitute like a homeless person only with no free meals or hot showers? The latter, of course, could be those of us who choose Christ, and as in the India Caste system, become the ‘untouchables.’  Are we ready? What would you choose if faced with that very real possibility of losing everything you’ve worked hard to keep?

Activist Faith: The Growing Hypocrisy

From The Higher Calling
From The Higher Calling

While teaching a Sunday School on marriage, someone asked me, “What’s the difference between living together and marriage?” The fight for marriage has dominated the headlines, but how can we say that same sex is not okay if we are living together in sin as professing Christians?

Read More Here @ActivistFaith

Anonymous Blogger: Petition Alert!

ccvresources.com
ccvresources.com

Unfortunately, our Anonymous Blogger gave me a paper petition. I am unable to pdf it from this location. Be aware that a citizen’s petition for the “Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2013 (S.890) is being circulated. American Policy Center is requesting that the signed petitions be sent to them. Please call Senator McCain and Flake to support passage of this bill.