Friday, September 29, 2006

More Friday Fun

Song Stuck on the Brain: Mary Poppins' Spoonful of Sugar

YAY!!! It's Friday again. I don't get Stargate tonight because last week was the mid-season ender. I have a little over three months before I get a new episode. I do get a new episode of Numb3rs though, so I can feed my nerdy math geek crush.

Being Friday, I also found myself playing again, so here are the most recent quizzes.

I've been reading Fantasy lately so this caught my eye.

You Are a Centaur

In general, you are a very cautious and reserved person.

However, you are also warm hearted, and you enjoy helping others in practical ways.

You are a great teacher, and you are really good at helping people get their lives in order.

You are very intuitive, and you go with your gut. You make good decisions easily.

Pardon me if this is T.M.I. (too much information) but I cracked up when I saw this quiz. I had to take it. I have to admit, I had never considered naming them before.

Your Boobies' Names Are...

The Blind Melons

Have a great weekend,
The Blind Melons... er, A.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins

CFBA Book Review:

Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins, which released in August of this year, is published by Zondervan and is part of Brandilyn's new Kanner Lake series. There are two other books to come...Coral Moon, releasing in March of '07, and Crimson Eve, releasing in September of '07. You must also stop by and visit Scenes and Beans, the REAL blog for the fictional Java Joint coffee house in Kanner Lake. This is a unique marketing tool for the series, involving about 30 other writers (including several of our CFBA members), and eventually involving readers of the series who want to audition posts.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

From the Cover:

Something sinuous brushed against Paige's knee. She jerked her leg away. What was that? She rose to a sitting position, groped around with her left hand. Fine wisps wound themselves around her fingers. Hair?She yanked backward, but the tendrils clung. something solid bumped her wrist. Paige gasped. With one frantic motion she shook her arm free, grabbed the side of the hot tub, and heaved herself out.

Paige Williams slips into her hot tub in the blackness of night...and finds herself face to face with death. Alone, terrified, fleeing a dark past, Paige must make an unthinkable choice.

You can go HERE to read a first chapter excerpt. But using Brandilyn's famous tagline....."Don't forget to breathe..."

My Thoughts:

Go buy this book now. I mean it. Well, you can finish reading my blog first, but then you HAVE to go get this book. I love a good suspense novel and I've always enjoyed Brandilyn's style, but I think she's outdone herself this time around. You probably all know that she's one of my 'author heroes'. If I can ever get my writing to reach this level, I'll be very happy.

But this about Brandilyn, not me.

The characters in Violet Dawn are quirky and yet very real. It's a small town where everybody is in everybody else's buisness, so when Paige moves in with past full of secrets things are bound to get exciting. The very first page had me hooked. I felt myself in that hot tub with wet hair grabbing me. I don't know if I would have had the courage to do what Paige does, but desperation can drive people to do things they would never have imagained. What's great is that Brandilyn shows us just how desperate we can be given the situation, and just how great God is to find us in that dark place.

Seriously, I can't recomend this book enough. So go get it now and don't forget to come back and tell me what you thought.



Just a little announcement for you all. I've just joined the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and FIRST (Fiction In Rather Short Takes). Both groups give me the opportunity to review some really great fiction, interview authors and offer free books as prizes. I'm really excited to be a part of both.

Be sure to stay tuned for your chance to win and check out the links on the side bar to see our current cycle of books and bloggers.

Also, I asked a little while ago what kind of things you like to read about on this blog. Some of you wanted to see some of my writing and I've been glad to share that. So far it's been personal essays, but I do have some 'book bites' from my own novels that I'll post as well. The important thing is to keep this site fun and interesting, so if you see something you like, let me know. And if there's something you want to see me blog about (withing reason of course), let me know that too. On the flip side, if you see something you hate, keep it to yourself. No, just kidding. I want to know that too. :)

I may be Projecting A, but in the end it's all about U.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Blessings in Disguise

Song Stuck on the Brain: You've Got a Friend by James Taylor
I still haven't figured out what the tune from yesterday was. I'm thinking now that it sounds a little like a ringtone... . Not sure.
Today's post is another essay I wrote several years ago. I think I tried guideposts with this one too and they weren't interested. Maybe it's depressing? I'd like to think I ended it on a hopeful note. Anyway, enjoy it or hate it - here's another piece of me.
Blessings in Disguise

It was an odd perspective on the world, floating high above my own head. There I was walking through the store like a normal eleven-year-old when I found myself floating. I looked down and saw myself trailing down the aisle. I could see the dirty white tiles and the shelving on each side. Time slowed, someone said my name and it was over.

It’s strange the way the mind deals with pain and uncertainty. I had never before experienced that out of body type sensation and never did again. Although it did not frighten me when I was floating, I was certainly unsettled when it was over. Sure that I was losing my mind, I didn’t mention it to anyone right away. Instead I shoved it to the back of my mind and tried to ignore it.

It didn’t take much to figure out why I felt like I was going crazy; I just didn’t know how to fix it. I had been struggling emotionally since the day my seventeen-year-old brother came home from a sleepover and told us his best friend’s head had been blown off.

He was covered in mud from head to toe from crawling through the fields trying to get away from the danger around him and he stunk with fear. My father called the police and in a very short time they had arrested my brother for murder. Did he do it? None of us knew at the time, but in my heart I didn’t believe him capable of it. The next few days were like one long nightmare. Concerned friends would call to get the details of our tragedy and before we could hang up the phone, call waiting would interrupt with a new caller wanting the same information. My parents and sister were asked to relive the nightmare over and over again via the phone. They could go hours without ever hanging up. After a while we began taking the phone off the hook.

I cried, I vomited and when I did sleep my imagination conjured up images of our dead friend. I dreaded bedtime. I wasn’t scared of the dark - I was scared of the dark images. The scene my imagination created stuck with me for years.

After a lot of prayer, I found a bit of peace and began to move on. It wasn’t easy. People I had once considered friends turned their backs on our family. Since the family of the murdered teen attended church with us, it began to cause a division. Many believed that my brother was guilty, many did not.

As the investigation progressed and his trial drew near I came to the conclusion that in order to spare my family more grief I must bury my own. I don’t know where I came up with that notion. I certainly didn’t get it from my parents. I knew they cared about me, but I also saw the demands being placed on them emotionally and physically and I didn’t want to add to that.

Things moved on as normally as they could until, finally, they set a date for the trial. It was at this time that the stress grew. I believed I needed to be at his trial to show my support and love. I felt that responsibility with great certainty and at the same time felt a great fear of sitting in that courtroom. When I finally gained the courage to tell my parents that I intended to be there, I was relieved to hear them deny me that request. Instead I would stay with my best friend’s family until it was over and continue going to school.

I felt guilt and relief battle for dominance in my heart and I began to tune out everything else around me. The out of body experience burned in the back of my mind. Events and emotions swirled in my head like a tornado until one afternoon at school I fled to the girl’s restroom and broke down. I cried almost hysterically. I had no idea if anyone else saw or heard me or how long I was in there. I just completely lost it, huddling on the cement floor with my face in my hands. At some point I felt someone touch my knee and looked up to see my teacher, Mrs. Corn, kneeling in front of me.

“I think I’m going crazy!” I blurted out between sobs. “I don’t know what to do.” I told her about my out of body experience and was sure she would agree with me.

“You’re not going crazy.” She said the words firmly. Her calm tone and manner cut through the haze and I clung to that statement. I wanted to believe that she was right.

“I’m not?”

“No. You’re not going crazy. You’ll be fine. It’s normal to be upset. God is going to take care of you and your brother and your family.” She smiled at me and I did believe her. Once the hysterics had fled I could see the truth in her words. It gave me the courage to face my life again.

The trial began and every night I would sneak into my friend’s little brother’s room to watch the news. I wasn’t supposed to watch the newscasts, but it was all I had. I couldn’t be there and I had to know what was happening. The reporters would give a brief recap of the days events and I would grieve over the lies that were being told. It hadn’t taken long for us to realize that he was being framed. There was evidence and testimony that could have been used in his defense, but they were knocked down at every turn.

After each newscast I would get sick to my stomach and sleep very little. The trial lasted a week. On Saturday, Mom and Dad agreed to let me go and hear the closing statements with them. Again I was scared, but the relief was greater.

Saturday dawned a cold December morning. The temperature hovered somewhere around twenty-five degrees, but my nerves made it feel like it was twenty-five below. My stomach fluttered with a hundred butterflies. We entered the courthouse through a back entrance and rode the freight elevator to avoid the news media. It was an old elevator, the kind with an operator that rides up and down with it all day. As the elevator lurched upward, my stomach dropped out the bottom and it didn’t catch up with me until I stepped off the lift.

The courthouse was old. Every surface was hard and cold and unbending. My footsteps echoed as we walked down the hall to the waiting room. The echoes grew louder with each step until the sound came rushing back to pound in my brain, mimicking my heartbeat.

We joined a small group of our closest friends and supporters in a tiny waiting room with one window. The door had a frosted glass window to offer privacy and there was an old metal table and chairs in the center of the room. At the appointed time, we all filed quietly into the courtroom. Defendant’s families on one side, victim’s on the other, like a wedding gone horribly wrong. Observers entered the room and quickly chose the side they would stand with. The benches in the gallery were hard and narrow and polished so slick I had a hard time staying in my seat. The Jurors entered quietly and took their appointed chairs. Some looked at my brother with anger; some with sadness and some wouldn’t look at him at all. The air felt thick and heavy, like a weight pushing me down into my slick bench.

Then it began. First the Defense attorney and then the Prosecutor. Each argued, pled, demanded and cajoled in behalf of their case. The Prosecutor stood before the jury and listed every grievance she could think of, then turned and pointed her sharp, manicured claw at my older brother.
“This man is guilty, and you must punish him with the strongest degree of the law possible.” Her face looked pinched and twisted. I saw a bitter, hateful woman and I hated her back. She didn’t know him. She had lied and presented tampered evidence and now she was asking the jury to join her in her attack.

Like a flash, memories and emotions rushed through my brain. Him picking on me, the two of us arguing over nothing, fighting, scratching and teasing. Then images of laughter and fun came close behind. I knew my brother. I knew the things our family had gone through because of him. Drug and alcohol had plagued him due to his birth mother’s use of the same when she was pregnant. He’d runaway more times than we could count and generally been a most difficult child, but our family loved him just the same.

There is no accounting for why you love someone. You just open your heart and accept. Despite all we had been through we still loved. In the end it was a two edged sword. Defending us from the attacks of others and giving us the strength to stand together; yet wounding us deep within our souls. Scars that still stand today, though faded they may be.

It was what we clung to. God is love, love is faith and faith in God is what kept us alive. We waited for over six hours for the jury to return with their verdict. Six hours of butterflies beating my insides until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Again we filed into the courtroom and sat waiting for the bomb to drop.

“Jurors, have you reached a verdict?” The judge’s voice sounded raspy and hollow.

“We have your honor.” Juror number one stood slowly and unfolded the sheet of paper. “We the Jury find the defendant guilty of Second Degree Murder and Armed Criminal Action. We ask you to sentence him to life imprisonment for Second Degree murder plus fifty years and one day for Armed Criminal Action.”

I sat stunned. They had asked for the highest penalty allowed for his supposed crimes. It wasn’t fair. They were wrong, he didn’t kill anyone. The room spun and I couldn’t breathe very well. My throat was tight and I tried so hard to hold in the tears that were pressing against my throat, begging to be released. I shook and trembled and fought the emotions that were threatening to pull me under.

Guards hauled him to his feet and turned him to face the crowd as they shackled his feet and hands.

“I hate you.” The mother of the deceased stood in front of him. “I wish you were dead! I hope every day you think of what you did to my son.”

The dam broke. Dad wrapped his arm around my shoulder and my defenses crumbled. Like a violent storm, tears rushed and my heart shook and trembled. I looked into my now shackled brother's eyes and didn’t know what to say.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be okay. I love you.” He said it for me. Chained and facing the scariest chapter of his life, yet he was the one comforting me.

We both grew up that day.

Dad led our family out of the courtroom and people who cared immediately swarmed us. The courtroom had been packed, but the halls were just as crowded with people who came to support the two families. The hall no longer echoed and beat at my brain, now it was a stream of tears rushing and pulling at our hearts. It was a blur, a face here and there. What I remember is the hugs. The love that poured out so strong that I knew I could float in it and not drown.

Eventually I found myself tucked back into our car and heading home. I don’t remember how I got there. In fact, I remember very little of what happened in the weeks that followed. What I do remember through the haze is that I wasn’t alone. I didn’t need to be. Suffering was easier as a group than alone. It wasn’t a burden to any of us to share our grief - it was a strength. It’s what bound us as a family, strengthened our faith in God and helped us find hope in the impossible. Never alone and never without love.

Eighteen years have passed since then. With time come questions, acceptance, forgiveness and then more questions. Life is a never-ending cycle. Sometimes its heartache, sometimes its joy; but it’s accepting the first that allows the second to be appreciated. With each trial we face, if we look hard enough, we can find blessings in disguise.

For our family the blessings came in a variety of ways. My brother and I became friends. We never were before the trial. As a family we learned to depend on one another. We’re closer now than we could ever have been previously. And he's alive. That alone is a big blessing. Although he didn’t commit murder, he was struggling with alcohol and drug dependency. Now he’s drug and alcohol free. He never believed he’d live to see his thirtieth birthday, but he’s recently celebrated his thirty-fifth. He’s a different man, a better one for his experiences.

The biggest blessing we have found, though, is the one of seeing God’s hand move in our lives. We hurt, we suffered and we healed. They say that vision is always twenty-twenty when looking at your past, and that’s true. I find that I see more clearly today the blessings that were there for all to see then. Hidden to my eyes only for a short time, disguised as pain, but revealed as blessing.

(c) April Erwin
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dum Dum Da Dum, Da Dum Dum Dum Dum DUM....

I have had a melody stuck in my head ALL DAY LONG. Which really isn't all that new, but I don't know what the melody is from - and neither did anyone else I work with. My co-workers sang annoying songs to me in an effort to change my tune, but it didn't work. I played music - even Christmas music- in hopes something, anything else would stick. No deal. So I'm STILL humming this and I figure I will until I figure out what it is. It kind of makes me think of a TV theme song or background music, but I can't place it. I'm blaming it on my LF Syndrome. Weird stuff is always falling out and getting stuck on repeat.

Here's a little recording of me singing it. Ignore the vocal quality and tell me - Do you know what the heck I've been singing?


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Monday, September 25, 2006

Joining the Linguists

I was surfing the writer's info highway and came across this awesome e-book by Holly Lisle. It's the Create A Language Clinic. It shows you in really simple steps how to build your own language and even creat the alphabet.

I've always been really impressed by people like George Lucas, J.R.R. Tolkien and Gene Roddenberry, because they not only came up with ONE functioning language, but several. Fans can still learn Klingon, Elvish (multiple tribes) and, well take your pick with Star Wars. I mean, how do you even start? I've wanted to create a secret language that only me and my friends could understand ever since I was a kid.

Now I get to do it!

I'm so excited. I bought the clinic under the auspices of 'writing research', because honestly ANYTHING can be writer's research. I do have a SciFi novel in the works, so this language building will be helpful. But if I'm really honest, I'm just psyched to make up a secret language.

I told Angel about it and she's just as psyched, so I don't feel too nerdy. I set up my workbook tonight and it really doesn't look like it's going to be complicated. Well, a little effort will be involved, but it's not brain surgery. It's probably not even splinter removal surgery.

So, if you are interested in creating YOUR own language, whether you term it "writer's research" or not. Go check out Holly Lisles's Language Clinic.

Holly Lisle's Create A Language Clinic

Namarie (That's Farewell in Sindarin Elvish),


P.S. If you want to learn some Elvish and other fictional languages, check out these links.

Tolkein's Elvish

Star Trek's Klingon

Star Wars' Ewokese

Poorer than I thought

What a relief!!! I'm not as rich as I thought. Turns out the dern thing doesn't read decimal places, and persnickety bookkeeper that I am, I put a .00 on the end of my yearly income. Imagine that! I'm relieved to see that I'm really as poor as I feel and I'm not just imagining things. :) Thanks, Amy for pointing that out.

I'm loaded.
It's official.
I'm the 207,826,087 richest person on earth!

How rich are you? >>

Speaking of feeling poor... I'm a movie junkie. I usually hit the theater at least once a week, sometimes twice. But I'm really trying to be good and cut back on my spending so I can pay off my bills and actually have a savings account. (wow, that would be nice.) So, in an effort to save money, I've spent the last month and a half avoiding the theater, and shopping and pretty much any other activity on the weekend. I don't mind actually. I like my alone time.

However, Angel hates this.

Friday night she told me I was "just a boring, old fuddy-duddy stick in the mudd that likes to stay home all the time".

I was incensed! I am not boring, nor am I old, Ms. Big Sister. I also object to the terms 'fuddy-duddy' and 'stick in the mudd'. Really, how rude!

So despite the inner voice that told me not to, I let Angel and my nephew guilt me into going to the movies on Saturday. They were choosing between The Illusionist, Crank and Gridiron Gang. My vote was for the Illusionist. They voted for Crank.

I'm thinking, "Well, they're inviting me so I shouldn't be a pain. Plus, I liked Jason Statham in the Transporter movies and the Italian Job." I gave in and we went to see Crank.

Let me tell you now. That is the biggest waste of $6.50 I have ever spent.

First, all the previews were for horror films. I HATE horror films, so I sat in the theater with my eyes closed. Then the movie was the lamest excuse for a plot I've ever seen. Jason plays a hitman who get hit himself. He's injected with a poison that will kill him if he can't keep his adrenaline pumping. He wants revenge of course on the killer, so he goes from one trick to another to keep his adrenaline pumping until he can get his revenge. The action was terrible, the language was worse and after he and his girlfriend 'get it on' on a newsrack in front of about a hundred people (to keep his adrenaline up of course), I walked out. Ben and Angel were right behind me.

I've never walked out of a film before. Not even the ones I didn't like very much. I always figure it's going to get better. There was no way this one was going to get any better after an hour of crap. I figured it was a bigger waste to sit in there bored and disgusted than it was to just lose out on my ticket money.

I'm so disgusted. I finally give in and go to the movies and it's a horrible experience. I should have just said NO!

I'm going back to pinching my pennies now.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I'm How Wealthy???

I found this link through another blog. Unfortunately, I can't pass on their site because I was passing through it as quickly as possible... with the windows up, doors locked and pedal to the floor if you know what I mean. However, this little tidbit did catch my eye, so I decided to try it out. How fun would it be to know where I fall in the world's richest list?

Yeah, I don't think there's any possible way that this can be right. If it is, then we're all in a whole LOT of trouble. I'm not saying I don't make a decent living, but wealthy I am not, so what does this mean for all the other poor blokes in this world? I'm pinching pennies so hard right now, I may never get Lincoln off my thumbs and they're telling me I'm loaded.

Go figure.

I'm loaded.
It's official.
I'm the 107,565 richest person on earth!

How rich are you? >>

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday's Top Ten

Song Stuck on the Brain: True Colors by Phil Collins

Yay!!! It's Friday!!!

Here are my Top Ten Reasons why I'm glad it's Finally Friday:

10. It's SciFi Friday!
9. It's Payday.
8. It's the begining of a weekend, I have two whole days off ahead of me.
7. Stargate Atlantis is on tonight.
6. I'm no longer broke.
5. I can stay up all night if I want because I don't have to use an alarm in the morning.
4. Stargate: SG-1 is on tonight.
3. The Moth in my wallet isn't starving anymore
2. Numb3rs season premier is on tonight.
1. Did I mention STARGATE!?!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Real-Life Fairy Tale

Song Stuck on the Brain: Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder. I'm channeling an Aussie vibe at the moment.

Sleeping Beauty, Anastasia, The Princess Diary... what's not to love about a story like that? Who wouldn't love to find out they're really a princess? What I find amazing is that this story is as much a 'Joseph in Egypt' as it is a fairy tale. A princess, spared the cruel and violent life of her biological family, is raised in a privledged western country with a good education and lots of opportunities. Just as Joseph was able to save his family during the drought by providing food from Egypt's storehouse, this young woman seems to have been placed in just the right way to help save her family too. It's so cool. There's no way I can call that fate or coincedence. It's just so much more.


Real-Life Fairy Tale
A West Virginia woman discovers she’s an African princess.
By Elise Soukup

Sept. 25, 2006 issue - It’s something that every little girl fantasizes about ... that the phone will ring and the voice on the other end of the line will tell her she’s not the lonely, gawky girl that she thought she was. That she is, in fact, a princess.

And that’s exactly what happened to Sarah Culberson. In 2004, 28-year old Culberson, a biracial woman who had been adopted by a white family in West Virginia as a baby—hired a private investigator to find her biological father. (Her mother, she had been informed a few years earlier, had died of breast cancer.) The investigator called back within three hours; the information he yielded was a shocker: her father was a member of the ruling family of the Mende tribe in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone. She was, by birthright, a princess. “I just about fell off my seat,” says Culberson, an aspiring actress who had trained in San Francisco. “I mean, a princess. To be totally honest, it was really cool.”

If a bit frightening. Culberson was able to contact her father’s brother, who promised to pass on her contact information to her dad. Two weeks went by, time Culberson spent wondering if she’d be welcome in her father’s life—or his world. When he called, the first words he spoke to her were comforting: “He told me, ‘Please forgive me. I didn’t know how to find you,’” she says. “And then he said, ‘When can I meet you? I want you to come.’” In December, Culberson flew to his village, Bumpe. She brought along a filmmaker friend to record the reunion.

Culberson received a royal welcome. As she drove into the city, hundreds of villagers swarmed the car to welcome her. The women of the village, dressed identically in long, green dresses, sang and danced. And then she met her father, who—to her delight—had eyes similar to her own. “To look like some one is amazing,” says Culberson. “Most people take it for granted, but I grew up in a family where my sisters had blonde hair with green eyes. I stood out. For the first time to look like someone… it was the most beautiful gift in the whole world.”

But Culberson quickly discovered that being a princess wasn’t all diamonds, castles and princes. Bumpe had been nearly decimated by the country’s 11-year civil war. One of her aunts had been killed by rebels; another bore scars from being slashed in the neck with a machete. Her father had hidden in a small room outside of the village for four years while many of his friends were hunted—and slaughtered. Most people lived in poverty and the village’s school, where her father was headmaster, was in ruins.Even still, the villagers were unbelievably generous. Before Culberson arrived, her father asked what kind of food she liked. She told him that she loved rice and chicken—not knowing that chicken is a delicacy in Bumpe. Most families have only one chicken, which they raise throughout the year and then save for a special occasion. But when news spread about her preference, people showed up every day—some traveling from nearby villages—to leave her a live chicken at her door. “I was so overwhelmed,” she says. “They have so little. I never would have asked for so much.”

Now Culberson is making it her mission to return the favor. When she returned to the United States, she established a foundation to raise funds to save her dad’s school; her goal is to have it completely rebuilt by fall, 2007. Her filmmaker friend has turned her quest into a feature-length documentary, “Bumpenya.” The film is still in production and Culberson hopes it will raise awareness for her cause. “My life and my priorities have completely changed,” says Culberson. “I don’t get upset at silly things anymore. My purpose now is to rebuild the school and bring peace to the people of Sierra Leone.” Or, in other words, to allow them to live happily ever after.

For more information about Bumpe, visit

© 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Little Piraty Fun

Song Stuck on the Brain: Indian Outlaw by Tim McGraw

My pirate name is:

Red Anne Rackham

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Little Hands - Big Hearts Part 4

Song Stuck on the Brain: 'No Sleep 2Nite' by The Faders. It's the intro song on the movie She's the Man. I love that movie.
And now.... the final installment of the Little Hands - Big Hearts series. I hope you've enjoyed the stories. I'll have to work on prepping more... really, these kids have enough stories to keep me writing forever. :)
The Faith of a Child

"Do you know where God lives?" Chloe looked at me expectantly.

"He lives in Heaven." The answer rolled off my tongue rather absently. I was picking up dirty clothes before bedtime and wasn't really paying a lot of attention to the conversation she had begun.

"No. He lives here."

I looked up and saw her tapping her chest.

"God lives in my heart, but He's sleeping right now."

"The Bible says God never sleeps, instead He watches over us always." Again the answer came without thought, but as her comment penetrated my mind I started to listen more closely. "Why do you think God is sleeping?" I said out of curiosity.

"Because it's quiet in there." She again pointed to her heart. "But I know that He lives there because I feel him."

The conversation ended as abruptly as it began. She crawled under her covers and that was that. I finished putting them to bed, but the conversation stayed with me. It never fails that I find their comments humorous at the time, but then I see the bigger message.

I've heard people say that God must have been sleeping because he allowed a tragedy to occur. In fact, when the times are tough, I've wondered myself why God seemed so quiet. What Chloe taught me was so simple. God is always there. Not in some distant place, but in our hearts. When we covenant with Him, we ask Him to take residence in our hearts and in our lives. Life can cause us to wonder if He's sleeping, but if you stop and really pay attention, you'll feel Him inside. Always there, always caring, always in charge. What I need is faith.

Faith is a thing hoped for but not seen. I've heard that all my life. I believe it, too. I also believe that as a Covenant child of God we must take it one step further. We must trust God. Trust is your faith in action. No one can demonstrate this better than a child. Didn't Jesus say we were to be like children? They place their trust in those that care for them without question and we, as God's children must do the same. It's not always easy, but when I see our children put their faith and trust into action, I see my own faith and trust grow too.

My sister, Angel, was shopping for a new car. She had found the one she wanted and she called our parents and asked them to come and look at it with her. Nana and Papa loaded three-year-old Aaron into the car and met Angel at the car lot. Nana and Aaron waited in the car while Angel took Papa on a test drive.

While they were waiting, Nana let Aaron out of his car seat so he could sit in the front and play with her. Not long after they had arrived, a thunderstorm blew up. It came up suddenly, with the sky turning dark and thunder rolling. Rain began to pelt the car. Aaron, a little frightened, began to cry.

"Aaron, let's pray and ask Jesus to help us, okay?" Nana held him in her arms to reassure him of his safety. Aaron nodded his little head.

"Dear Jesus, please make the storm go away." He prayed in his baby voice.

As soon as the words were spoken, the storm broke. Instantly the sky began to clear and the sun shone down onto the car. Aaron smiled and went back to playing. Was he surprised that God answered his prayer? No. He trusted that Jesus would take care of him. And why shouldn't he trust Jesus? As far as Aaron's concerned, Jesus has never let him down.

When Aaron was four months old, he went with me to stay the night at Angel's house. Aaron suffered terrible colic and sometimes spent half the night crying over his tummy-ache. That night Angel and I took turns rocking him and rubbing his tight little tummy. None of the store bought or home remedies helped. All we could do was pray. Finally, around one o'clock in the morning, Aaron went to sleep. We tucked him in to the cradle at the end of Angel's king size bed and then crawled in to bed ourselves. We were exhausted, but we had prayed that God would send His angel's to be with Aaron. We began drifting into sleep with out worry. As I lay there half asleep, I heard Aaron began to whimper, but before I could get up, I heard his music box wind. It began to play and Aaron went back to sleep. I was surprised that I hadn't heard Angel get up, but I was also relieved that Aaron was quiet. I went to sleep.

The next morning, Angel asked me if I had gotten up with Aaron.

"No, I thought you did."

"No. I heard a woman's voice whispering to him and I thought you had gotten up, but when I looked over at your side of the bed, you were still there."

"Well, then who turned the music box on?" I asked in surprise.

"I heard that too. I also heard it click when the spring had unwound, but the music didn't stop playing. It must have been the angel we prayed for last night. She came and comforted him and wound his music box."

Wow. That gave us both goose bumps, but in a good way. It's a testimony we've gladly shared with many, including Aaron as he's grown. I believe that it's from that seed his faith grew. It certainly strengthened mine.

(c)April Erwin
All Rights Reserved

Little Hands - Big Hearts Part 3

Song Stuck on the Brain: Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
You would think that means I've been in a Sunshiny Disney kinda mood. Not. It's been a total Monday. But no more whining. On with the series... .
Bedtime and Prayers

Bedtime has been an ever-evolving routine. As a baby, Aaron had to be rocked to sleep. Only Nana could do it right. He was most definitely Nana’s boy. I can’t say that was easy for me. I enjoyed the bonding time that came with rocking and singing him to sleep and it was sad to find that time a rare occurrence. Since I worked during the day and Nana stayed home, he naturally became attached to Nana. Maybe he knew I was just a greenhorn and Nana was an old pro, but whatever the reason, I had to get used to it. No matter who put the children to bed, though, prayer was always a priority.

Both my parent’s and I made a great effort to teach the children how to pray from an early age. Not just memorized prayers, although they know those too, but to pray what was on their hearts. We began by saying them for them and as they grew they could repeat back what we said. Once they learned to “do it myself”, the joy came in just listening.

Our bedtime routine now includes all the regulars: a trip to the bathroom, hugs and kisses good night for everyone, a drink and story and finally prayers. The children go first and I say the last prayer. It’s always amazed me just how closely kids pay attention; even when you’re sure they’re not. Every night I would pray for their families and for ours, for the sick and injured, and for good dreams all around. I’d thank God for various things and pray that the angel’s would surround their beds. I even prayed that Zion would come soon. Aaron found that very intriguing and we had a short conversation where I explained that Zion is God’s city and someday it will come back to earth and we will be able to live with God and Jesus.

He must have liked that, because the next night he added that to his prayers. I was very pleased that his prayer life and thirst for knowledge was growing. Several nights later as I sat listening to their prayers, Aaron prayed “…and God please make Zion come soon, and God, make it ‘nappy!”

My first reaction was to laugh; I quickly fought that urge and waited for him to complete his prayers. We then talked about how God has his own timing. He understood, but what I learned was that whether we like to admit it or not, our prayers sometimes sound that way too. We want something so bad, and we don’t understand why God isn’t making it happen as soon as we’d like. We certainly do tend to ask God to make it snappy. As I open my mouth to teach Aaron about patiently waiting for God’s timing, I feel as if I’m reminding myself, too. That patience is a virtue; a lesson we must learn over and over, all of our lives.

Another night, as the kids had just finished their prayers and I had started mine, Aaron tapped me on the shoulder. “April, I forgot to tell you, I love you.” I thanked him and then before I could start praying again he jumped in with “and tell God I’m sorry I interrupted.” I paused and then did just that.

With every prayer I listen too, I learn more about what my prayer life should be. The scriptures tell us to pray without ceasing, I think that Aaron has showed me just how that should be, an open conversation with God. As we get older our prayers become rehearsed sometimes, rushed even at times. And how often have we gotten interrupted by some minute, daily task and we forget where we were in our prayers, only remembering later that we didn’t finish our conversation. How rude can we get? How many of us would think it was a big deal, and how many would remember to tell God they were sorry they interrupted. We forget that with an open conversation there are two people talking. Do we interrupt God before He’s finished speaking to our hearts? Or do we even give Him the chance to speak? I’d love to say I do every time now, but I don’t. I do however try to remember to apologize. Manners aren’t just for us earth dwellers. Who deserves our respect and manners more than God does?

“Dear God, bless Mommy, bless Daddy and bless Jesus…” as Aaron’s sweet childlike voice continues, I have to blink back tears. Once again he has shown me with childlike innocence that prayer is about a relationship. We spend hours praying for everyone we know. In turn, Jesus as our intercessor takes those prayers before the throne of God. It’s because of His love for creation and His gift of salvation, that we have the right to ask for His intercession. Yet, it had never occurred to me to “bless Jesus”. Thank Him certainly, praise Him definitely, but bless Him? Aaron in his innocent heart had struck upon a lesson that the psalmist David had learned centuries ago, to bless his holy name. It certainly puts a whole new perspective on your prayer life, when you ask God to bless Jesus.


Every night the kids choose a story to read before bedtime. On this particular night, Aaron chose the story of creation. We read about each day and what was created, and that on the seventh day God rested. I didn’t think much of it. We had read this book many times before, but it must have struck Aaron in a new way.

He closed his eyes and began his bedtime prayers. He completed his “bless Mommy, bless Daddy,” and moved on into his thank-yous. He spent a good portion of time here. He thanked God for the sun and the flowers and many other things, than with much earnestness he said, “ and thanks God for the leaves on the trees. Because if they didn’t have leaves, people would look at them and say ‘look at those naked trees, they sure do look funny!’ So thanks God for the leaves.” Meanwhile, Chloe is sitting on her bed and emphatically agreeing. “Yeah, God.”

Yes, it was funny. Once out of the bedroom, I admit I laughed. But despite the humor, I was once again reminded how much our view of things changes as we get older. We tend to forget the simple things that aren’t really so simple. What would our world be like if there were no leaves? I know I would miss the bright green buds in spring, the cool shade in the summer and the beautiful colors of fall. How sad would it be to never jump in a pile of leaves or smell the earthy scent of them on the cool breeze? How could we forget so quickly our science classes in years gone by about photosynthesis and the complexities of nature? Thanking God for the leaves seems so simple as to be not worth our time, but thanking Him for the complexities of creation is not. What else have we overlooked or simply taken for granted? What seems simple to us is often the greatest of miracles in the eyes of a child.
(c) April Erwin
All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 15, 2006

Little Hands - Big Hearts Part 2

“God Made Me Bumpy”

“Look, Nana.” gushed three-year-old Aaron. “I have bumps on my fingers.” Running his fingertips over his nails to feel the bumps and ridges, he said, “God made me bumpy!” He smiles and giggles as if it’s the greatest discovery in the world.

How like a child it is to find what we as adults would either ignore or obsess about, and in turn think it’s wonderful. I look at my fingernails and wish they looked nicer and didn’t break so easily. Aaron sees bumpy fingernails and can only think how wonderful God is to make them that way.

I’ve found that there are many instances just like this where the children I’m supposed to be training up, are actually teaching me. Who else can help me remember the child like joy of making chains of white clover, blowing dandelion puffs or the sheer magic of the ever elusive bubble? I have to say that I’ve never enjoyed being a kid more than I do right now as an adult.
Aaron, Hollie, Chloe and Alexis, names that may mean very little to the outside world, but mean all of the world to me. They are my teachers, the instigators of mischief and the adorable angels that sleep peacefully in the room next to mine. I’ve always wanted children, but I assumed it would come in the natural progression of things. I’d fall in love, get married, get pregnant and eventually have a house full of wonderfully, noisy children with a husband to help. Instead God looked into my future and saw that I needed practice first. So, without even a boyfriend on the side, God brought me a beautiful baby boy with red hair and blue eyes. At three months old I held him and knew he was part of my family. I’ve held plenty of babies, but never have I felt the connection with a child like I have with the ones God brought into my home. My parents and my sister felt the same way.

Aaron lived with us off and on while his mother got back on her feet. When Aaron was two his biological father introduced us to his current girlfriend who was also pregnant. Soon came Hollie. We started out just babysitting, but eventually Hollie and sometimes her mother took turns living with us. Not but about a year later Aaron’s mother gave birth to Chloe, and now we had three; each one completely unique and different, each one absolutely wonderful. The final addition came when Aaron was almost four and his mother gave birth to Alexis. Now with a house full, God continued to teach me.

That’s why I’m writing this down. It’s why I’m hoping you will read it. Children are a gift in every way. When I think of all the children who are homeless or, worse, aborted. My heart breaks. I know that the young mother’s of these children we’re helping to raise, struggled a great deal. They could have chosen the easy way out, but instead they chose life. I am so thankful that they did. I hope that as you read about the lessons I’ve learned, that you’re heart will also be touched.

I’m thankful that God has given me the opportunity to care for these children. Not only so I can be a blessing in their lives, but because I could never fully express how much they have blessed me.

(c) April Erwin
All Rights Reserved

Little Hands – Big Hearts Part 1

Song Stuck on the Brain: Piano Man

Well, you asked for it, so here it is. :) The following is a series of essays I wrote a few years back. I had thought I would turn it into a book, but so far I don't have enough completed for a book format. Plus, I've got a couple of other works in progress that are demanding more time. I thought I'd share them here.


Little Hands – Big Hearts
The Things I’ve Learned as a Surrogate Mother


“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
There is not a better quote that expresses how I feel. Children are a joy, a trial and a barrel full of fun. They have taught me to see the world through not only the eyes of a child, but through the eyes of those around them. Their cynicism and sense of humor are taught by our examples, and they are quick learners. It didn’t take long for me to see that children are actually chameleons. Their imitations are cute until you realize that the bossy attitude, the wacky laugh and the nervous habits are actually reflections of you.

I live with my aging parents, who are known as Nana and Papa, and together the three of us do our best to care for the now going on 5 children. Both of my parents use canes and have arthritis. My mother’s is the worst. One afternoon, Chloe, who was two at the time, walked through the living room of our home, hobbling and grunting.

“Look,” she said in an angelic voice, “I’m Nana!” I laughed because I knew there was no malice in her actions and because she had been very observant in her study. She’d nailed the Nana impersonation.

My goal in writing this, is to not only preserve all of the humorous and wonderful stories of their childhood for them, but to share with other parents, aunts and uncles and any other “surrogate” parent, the joys, the trials and all that I’ve learned.

More than anything though, I want to share that it was worth it.
(c) April Erwin
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The crossed legs strike

Song Stuck on the Brain: "Good-night Ladies" Don't ask. I really don't know why.

I found this article on MSN and about fell out of my chair laughing. What a great idea. Sex is the Achilles heel of all men, what better way to make them bend? This should be a call to arms... er, legs... for all women.


The "crossed legs" strike
Wives of Colombia gang members call sex strike against crime

Updated: 4:25 a.m. CT Sept 14, 2006

BOGOTA, Colombia - They are calling it the "crossed legs" strike.

Fretting over crime and violence, girlfriends and wives of gang members in the Colombian city of Pereira have called a ban on sex to persuade their menfolk to give up the gun.

After meeting with the mayor's office to discuss a disarmament program, a group of women decided to deny their partners their conjugal rights and recorded a song for local radio to urge others to follow their example.

"We met with the wives and girlfriends of gang members and they were worried some were not handing over their guns and that is where they came up with the idea of a vigil or a sex strike," mayor's office representative Julio Cesar Gomez said.

"The message they are giving them is disarm or if not then they will decide how, when, where and at what time,"he told Reuters by telephone.

Gomez said the city, in Colombia's coffee-growing region, reported 480 killings last year.

Crime and violence have dropped in Colombia since 2002 when President Alvaro Uribe was first elected promising to crackdown on left-wing rebels fighting a four-decade insurgency and the illegal militia groups who formed to counter them.

But cocaine-trafficking gangs and armed groups still roam parts of Colombia and murder and kidnappings remain a problem despite the fall in crime statistics.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

Sad News

I received some sad news this morning. The six year old daughter of some old friends has come out of remission. Lauren has leukemia. She fought so hard to overcome it last time and I know by the grace of God, she can fight it off again.

Lauren's family has struggled a lot over the last couple of years with several major medical events, but they're strong and they have a lot faith to get them through. They also have a strong family. Lauren's Aunt Kara maintains a website to solicit prayers and financial help for Lauren and her family. She posts regular updates and even the occasional picture.

Please visit Lauren's website at If you can help, it would be much appreciated. If you can spread the word, that's great too.

I've added a link for Lauren on the sidebar so you can easily find it in the future.

Thanks so much,

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Friday Night Fright

Song Stuck on the Brain: I Just Called To Say I Love You... Gag!!! This is one of those songs that I would like to delete permanently from my brain.

Well, Fridays are usually my favorite day of the week. It's payday, the last day I have to work and I have a whole weekend ahead of me. Plus, I get new Stargate most Fridays.

But last Friday, the world conspired against me. Mold counts ballooned to a magnificent size and so did my sinuses. I was miserable all weekend. To top it off, I got my first ticket on the way home from my nephew's birthday party Friday evening.

It was one of those stupid things. The policeman was just blocking my lane with his car and a few flares. Traffic was passing him in the oncoming lane. I waited for traffic to clear, then VERRRRRY slowly went around him. He didn't try to stop me until I was almost past his car, then he kicked my tire. Scared the crap out of me. I looked to see what I'd run over, and didn't see anything, so I went on. Once I was past his car and back in my lane, I saw a police car maneuvering his car to block off the other end of the road. I was trapped with no way to turn around because of the huge drop offs on either side of the road. I waited patiently until the cop I past came walking down the road to me. I asked how to get out, he blasted me for passing him. Claimed I'd ran a road block and nearly mowed him down. (My sister was in the car behind me and said I was no where near him and that he didn't try to wave me down until I'd passed him.) Long story short, I got screamed at and then waited another 2o minutes for the officer in charge to come back and write me a ticket. I'm supposed to appear in court for it.

Needless to say, I've called a lawyer. I've got a clean record with no citations, plus the officer clearly didn't try to stop me, so hopefully I'll not have to pay a huge fine.

I was really surprised by the venom in the officer when he approached me. I've dealt with officers in other situations and when in a car with other drivers, and I've never been treated so horribly before. Sure, cops tend to be a little stern and they start out on the defensive, but this was just really outrageous. Thank goodness most cops aren't like that.

In truth, I really respect them for the job they do. They deal with a lot of danger and crap every day. Who knows, maybe this officer was just having a rotten day too.

Here's hoping he fails to show for court and the whole thing gets thrown out. :)


Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday Fun

Song Stuck on the Brain: What's a Guy Gotta Do? - Joe Nichols

Here's a little Friday fun for everyone. (Can you guess what I've been doing today? Working? Umm... .)

You Are From Saturn

You're steady, organizes, and determined to achieve your dreams.

You tend to play it conservative, going by the rules (at least the practical ones).

You'll likely reach the top. And when you do, you'll be honorable and responsible.

Focus on happiness. Don't let your goals distract you from fun!

Don't be too set in your ways, and you'll be more of a success than you ever dreamed of.

Some days - like days when chocolate is the only food group worth eating - this feels very true...

You Are Cookie Monster

Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking

How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"

Wow, how scary! Then again, any Brady would be scary.

You Are Jan Brady

Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.

And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.

All I can say about this one is ...


You are Bettie Page

Girl next door with a wild streak

You're a famous beauty - with unique look

And the people like you are cultish about it

This one pretty much goes without saying, but it's nice to know I'm not deluding myself.

You Go For Brains!

You want a guy with a big... brain.

And of course it would be nice if he were a total hottie, but you're not counting on it.

What's on the inside is what counts for you. (Besides, you can always change the outside later!)

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Third grade failure

Song Stuck on the Brain: Kia Jingle. I can see ya, in a Kia... I HATE that song. It gets stuck on my brain forever and I want to go out and smash every Kia I see.

My nephew sent me this link. It's a third grade geography test. You're supposed to drop the names of each state on their correct location within a certain time frame to pass. I did great until I got to the North East. That one little limb that sticks out and has way too many tiny states for one area, took me five tries to get. I nailed every other state without fail until I got to the last 6, then it was blind guessing to remember where Delaware, Massachussets, NJ, etc went.

I used to pride myself on my geography. I may be directionally challenged with out a map, but WITH a map, I'm very good. I always tested high in map reading on my state tests. Geography was a snap, both foreign and home. So what the heck? I can't believe I couldn't nail them. It's just disgraceful.

Can you do any better?

Friday, September 01, 2006

If I were a Superhero

Song Stuck on the Brain: Dirty Little Secret by All American Rejects

No, I'm not going to tell you any dirty little secrets. I don't have any....... that I'm willing to share. Besides you already got my Geek Love confession. Isn't that enough for one week?

I was reading my SciFi magazine and the editor was commenting on that fact that Superman's powers weren't useful to an everyday person. You don't need to be faster than a speeding bullet or leap tall buildings. Instead he had a list of powers he would find helpful.

I thought that was a pretty interesting idea and since there's a new series starting soon called Heroes that follows everyday people that are developing powers, I decided to make my own list. Although I do find Superman's power's very cool, I'd settle for these instead.

1. Invisibility. However, I would like to stipulate that this ability be a type of force field that surrounds my clothes as well. I don't want to have to strip constantly like the chick in Fantastic Four.

2. Superhearing. I'm incredibly nosy. I would love to be able to hear things. Terrible, aren't I?

3. Phasing. You know, being able to shift my molecules so that I can walk through solid objects. Imagine how useful that could be. Hands full of groceries and mail? Forget unlocking your door, just walk through it.

4. Time sifting. Run out of time to finish a project? Oversleep? Have no free time? Just finagle the sands in the hourglass and voila, time to spare. I would like to stipulate on this one that all that time finagling would not affect my looks. No premature aging please.

5. Super Metabolism. I don't want to be Ultra Thin Rail Girl, but to have a metabolism that allowed you to eat whatever you want and never workout (or break out) yet still stay a healthy size would be super. Sorry, no pun intended.

6. Who am I kidding. I do want to be able to fly. I'm totally into the idea of traveling the world without ever having to spend hours in airport security or breaking the bank on gas.

7. Alchemy. I want to be able to turn whatever I chose into gold. Note the stipulation of 'whatever I want'. I don't want the Midas Touch from hell.

8. Musical Genius. Yes, I think that in many ways that's a super power. I want to be able to pick up any instrument and be able to play it and sound amazing. That would make song writing SOOO much easier.

9. Stretchy-ness. It just looked like so much fun on the Incredibles.

10. Super Word Power. The ability to punch out best selling books in no time with nary a writer's block or hand cramp to be seen.

Well, there they are in no specific order. I thought about adding Samantha Stephens nose twitching, but that's really more magic than super power. Plus, I can't twitch my nose like her. I'd have to pull a Tabitha and use my finger. Cute at 3 - not so cute when your 28.

So what powers would you choose?