Double Minds by Terri Blackstock

Bestselling suspense author Terri Blackstock’s book, Double Minds, is an interesting look at how people can show both compassion and greed. When Christians battle against the sin in their lives, they often feel weak.

Do we let the side of righteousness win, even though it’s a hard battle? Or do we succumb to the Beast (sin) that looks good but isn’t?

How is Christian songwriter Parker James going to move from obscurity to fame and fortune? Her journey gets more confusing when the desk where she works as a receptionist turns into a crime scene.

I thought I had figured out who the killer was in the middle of the book. My guess was wrong. I loved that there were enough twists and red herrings to keep me wondering. The ending was satisfying and logical.

I was hooked into the story about Parker, a songwriter who has exceptional talent, but little hope of becoming rich. She seemed like an underdog I could cheer for. The people in her life gave her encouragement about her talent, but they also made her realize that nobody’s perfect.

Parker’s brother, Gibson, is a homicide cop who wants Parker to stay out of the way while the police get answers and arrest the killer. He works to protect his sister, but he isn’t the hero of the story. Les Paul, Parker’s other brother isn’t the hero, and neither is her dad. Her dad’s an alcoholic who wants to prove to his family that he can stay sober.

Serene, who loves Parker like a sister, is the young Christian singer who wants bigger audiences so badly that she’ll starve herself to get there. Parker’s mom seems perfect, but even she has a weakness, albeit a minor one.

Does Parker have what it takes to succeed in the music industry? Not if the killer finds her first. Parker must push herself to make things happen for her career while keeping her eyes open for clues to who the killer is.


The beauty of snorkeling is seeing the colorful fish dancing around the rocks ten feet away from me or closer.

The beast of it is when you can’t seem to stay in one place because the waves push you toward the dangerous rocks or into the fishies’ personal space. Or when the waves stir up the sand and limit visibility.

Read more about my recent beach vacation on Seek God With Me, my devotional blog.

A Lady Takes A Chance, 1943

John Wayne is a beast, and Jean Arthur is a beauty. She’s adorable, smart, and determined. She knows how to get what she wants. And she learns about how to live by the rules of the west.

Almost like Star Wars, the beginning of A Lady Takes A Chance starts with words.

“Once upon a time…”

Then came the words. “It was so long ago that people drove sixty miles an hour.” It's funny, when you compare 1938 (when this story was set) driving speeds with 2009 driving speeds. I can remember, like it was yesterday, following someone going 60 mph down the 65 mph speed limit highway. And I wasn't around in 1938.

Molly (Jean Arthur) is on a bus tour that will cross the country all the way from New York to Puget Sound. Phil Silvers is outstanding as the bus tour director. She’s expecting to see The Waterfall of Seven Delights, but when she misses her bus halfway across the country (distracted by Duke, played by John Wayne), she would settle for “a waterfall with one delight.”

This is full of horse-lovin’, rodeo-watchin’, beer-drinkin’, western tough-guy action. Molly sits on the bar while the men throw fists, chairs, and each other. It just wouldn’t be a western without a barroom brawl.

After Molly meets Duke Hudkins (while she was taking a picture of him on a bucking bronco at a rodeo, and he fell off the horse and landed on her), she was immediately infatuated. And strangely, not hurt.

Later, Duke’s friend Waco tries to set things straight for Molly. “Love is the best thing there is, I guess, but you’re barking up the wrong cowboy.” She responds, “Any fella that can love a horse can love a girl.”

Molly finally gets back on the bus with the others and goes home disappointed and missing Duke. The men who kissed her farewell show up again and welcome her home, but she’s underwhelmed. How can this city girl find love after all she’s been through? Which man should she turn to for a life of joy and excitement?

According to, John Wayne got his nickname (Duke) after his dog. I’m going to assume his role in this movie was named for him and probably written for him since he was the leading actor in all but eleven of his films. A reasonable assumption since he played 142 leading roles.

Seeking the Provider of Beauty

There are those who love a good devotional. Every Wednesday on my devotional blog, Seek God With Me, I give a verse to feed your soul and an application or story to go with it.

This month, I'm strolling through Psalm 23. Many people have memorized this popular psalm. If you haven't and you'd like to, I'm going pretty slow so you'll have time to memorize the whole psalm by the time I move on to something else.

For instance, this week, I'm only using a part of verse two.

Psalm 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.

If I were a sheep (a real one, the four-legged type), sitting in a field of soft, sweet, green grass, I'd be pretty happy. I wouldn't have to get in the car and drive down to the store and make decision after decision about what to eat. The food's right there at my feet.

Of course, sheep don't usually have cars, but that's beside the point.

I'm an American female who owns a car. I do make decisions in the store about what to eat. And I happen to like vegetables. So when I read about The Good Shepherd giving me a green pasture to lie down in, I get happy.

I’m not your ordinary American. I actually LIKE vegetables.

My niece keeps telling me she likes my salads, possibly because she likes to cook and enjoys the variety of ingredients in my salads. I’m a little picky when I want a salad. I choose fresh, colorful ingredients. Having lots of different colors in the salad bowl keeps me from getting bored with food. Being bored at a meal is such a shame. I like exciting flavors or surprising food pairings. I like trying new things.

When it comes to the Lord’s supply of my daily food, his generosity is thrilling. I can feed on His words of life in the Bible and find unexpected moments of revelation. He also provides experiences with flavorful food for my body. He fills me with good things for my belly and for my soul.

Romantic Roses: Beauty of Rosemawr

Beauty of Rosemawr. Without having seen its picture, I can imagine an elegant, delicate flower just from the sound of its name.

The beauty of it is: This is a fragrant rose that blooms continually. Vigorous and showy, this easy to grow rose is a deep pink with white veining. It’s hardy in zones 9 to 7.

The beast of it is: No one can agree about it. Some say it was hybridized by Van Fleet and some say by Conrad & Jones in 1904. They also disagree over which category it should be in. Some say the roses are Chinas, and some say they’re teas.

I’d love to try one out. However, I’ll have to wait and see what the husband says. He’s in charge of the plants at our house. I don’t mind. He’s made great decisions in the past.

Taming of the Shrew, part 2

Katharina’s younger sister Bianca can find many suitors pining away for her, but their father has insisted that Bianca will not marry until after a husband has been found for Katharina. Not an easy task since Katharina is an untamable wild cat whose temper tantrums are well-known around town.

Petruchio is a poor man from Verona who has come to town to “thrive and wive”. His intention to find a rich young woman to marry is greeted with much pleasure by those who want Katharina married so Bianca can marry as well. After seeing Katharina’s wildness, Petruchio accepts the challenge to tame her.

Elizabeth Taylor gave a stunning performance as Katharina playing opposite Richard Burton’s heroic Petruchio. Their chemistry brought intensity and humor to the screen. Richard Burton’s voice was strong and rich in the moments he burst into song. Quite enjoyable.

Rollicking fun is the only way I can describe the scene where Katharina runs from Petruchio before he announces their engagement to her father.

I’ve seen it a few times and always enjoy Elizabeth Taylor’s acting. Richard Burton doesn’t play the traditional hero, but a great one nevertheless.

It was a lot of fun to see the changes that take place over time in Katharina. I saw her learn patient submission. When she treated the workers in her new home with kindness, there was a hope in her face that hadn’t been there before. She came from tearing down to building up, and she glowed with glamorous glee in the end.

Young Michael York was a starry-eyed lad in love with the golden-haired good sister, Bianca. His strategy to win fair Bianca and the conflict that followed was well-done and humorous.

This film, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, was nominated for ten national and international awards, and it won four.

In the list of credits on the back of the DVD box are the words “with acknowledgements to WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE without whom they would have been at a loss for words”.

Taming of the Shrew, part 1

One of the most famous movie stars is Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Known for her movies, her beauty, and her marriages, she also has made a name for herself as a most effective Aids activist. In 2001, she was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Clinton for giving hope to millions as an early crusader for Aids research.

For sixty years, Taylor has worked in films and has generated an enormous amount of publicity, mostly regarding her private life. Her famous face has graced over 200 magazine covers, including the cover of Life magazine about 10 or 11 times. She was in costume for Taming of the Shrew on the cover of Life magazine on Feb 24, 1967.

Elizabeth Taylor performed with Richard Burton for the first time in Cleopatra. Because of her star-power during that film, she was able to demand the first ever one million dollar salary for an actor. Her long love affair with Richard Burton began during the filming of Cleopatra and continued through two separate marriages to each other. During their first marriage, they filmed The Taming of the Shrew, which I will review tomorrow.

Bringing Out The Beauty In Us

On today’s Seek God With Me devotional blog, I’ve taken a look at the ways God shares his expertise with us. We aren’t created perfect, but God can bring us to perfection in his time and in his way.

We can’t see what the finished product is going to look like. All we can see is his hands working on us day by day, providing a glimpse here and there of the beauty he sees in us.

Carefree Beauty

An exceptional rose was discovered near Katy, Texas, and temporarily named the Katy Road Pink. It turned out to be the Griffin Buck rose introduced in 1977, called Carefree Beauty.

This moderately thorny, but very graceful bush can be a nice hedge. The large, semi-open pink flowers bloom continuously from spring to frost. It’s hardy in zones 4 to 9.

It was designated as an Earth Kind rose by a tough Texas A&M research program to find roses that are pest-resistant, drought-tolerant, and no-fuss repeat bloomers. These roses never need commercial fertilizers or pesticides. Organic mulches are encouraged.

King Kong, 1933

A film director who was famous for using exotic locations finds a girl, Ann Darrow, to put in his movie about the legendary Kong, a giant animal that no white man has ever seen. When the filmmaker and his crew reach the remote island, they interrupt the natives’ ceremonial sacrifice to the monster on the other side of the enormous wall. The filmmaker does whatever is necessary to get all of his people back to the ship intact. But once on the ship and feeling safe again, Ann is kidnapped by the natives who use her in their second try of their ceremony to the great Kong.

Some of the filmmaker’s crew go beyond the wall to find her and bring her back. Just before they leave the island, they see that Kong has come after Ann. They use weapons to subdue Kong so they can bring him back to New York.

Having chained the giant ape on a stage, they allow the reporters to take pictures. The flashes from the cameras enrage Kong and his chains easily break. Kong’s attachment to Ann causes him to search until he finds her, and then he takes her to what he sees as a safe place above the chaos below, the top of the Empire State Building.

The big ape with the tender heart for his little blonde woman shows that he will protect the woman he loves to the point of dying for her.

This classic was labeled a horror film, but there are many fans who have seen it multiple times because of the great writing. I loved that there was a little monkey on the ship at the beginning of the movie. I laughed at the woman in the theater who remarked about there being enough big apes in New York already.

According to IMDB.COM, producer Merian C. Cooper asked her in 1933 to perform in a movie with “the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood” and then showed her a sketch of King Kong on the side of the Empire State Building. Another source notes that Fay Wray’s screams were recorded separately from the filming. They used her recorded screams in films she wasn’t in.

Two days after Fay Wray’s death, the lights on the Empire State Building were dimmed for 15 minutes in memory of the actress whose role as Ann Darrow made her the Queen of Scream.

Leaders Who Follow

Are you a leader or a follower?

If you’re a follower, make sure you’re following the right leader. You can tell a good leader by which direction he looks. A leader is a beast if he leads by walking backwards in circles, spending his time trying to get others to follow. Follow the leader who is going where you want to be.

If you’re a leader, look behind you to see if you have any followers. Are they following you as you follow someone else?

If you’re a good leader, you’re probably also a good follower. Leaders have to learn from someone.

On my Seek God With Me devotional blog, I’m sharing about a man who is a good follower and a good leader. He’s a good shepherd, and I think we should listen to him.

Coming Up

What would you think of if I told you this month's theme was Beauty and the Beast?

A girl in a yellow dress? Dancing with a well-dressed hairy animal? A blue rose?

Not going there.

This month, I'm going to bring up the topic of the beauty in all of us as we battle the beast that tries to win over righteousness. There will be reviews of movies where the hero and heroine battle against each other, only to find that they're actually perfect for each other after all.

I will post my review of Terri Blackstock's Double Minds. How does that fit, you ask?

It fits perfectly. In that story, we see people who have a definite beauty inside, but also have an obvious beast trying to beat everything else down.

So come back and check out the posts of the various ways we see Beauty and The Beast.