Fighting Deceit

Do you hate being deceived?

I think everyone does. I think even deceivers hate being deceived.

So how do you get rid of deceit? You need a powerful weapon. You need a weapon that is able to do more than make deceivers’ eyes pop out of their heads as they run away. You need a weapon that will vaporize deceit. Love is able to do that.

You may think, “Don’t you need truth to fight against deceit?”

You do. Truth is in love. But love encompasses so much more than just truth. Therefore, it is a weapon powerful enough to not just fight against deceit, but obliterate it. Truth makes deceit stop fighting, but love eradicates it.

Read more at my devotional blog, Seek God With Me, about winning the battle against deceit and other evils we encounter.

Awesome Concert

This past weekend, I was privileged to be in the audience at a Third Day concert. Never having been to their concert before, I was going on the recommendation of someone I once worked with. I also loved their song Revelation when I heard it on the radio.

The first time we saw Mac Powell on stage, he introduced a video. Fans love a cool behind-the-scenes video. After the video, we watched the amazing performance of Glory Revealed and listened to scripture taking flight on the wings of tender, upbeat, emotional music.

Then after Mac Powell led the band that opened for Mac Powell, Third Day band members took the stage and were introduced to the roar of fans’ applause. He admitted he wasn’t feeling 100%, but if Mac hadn’t said anything, no one would’ve noticed. His voice was powerful.

The funniest thing that happened was when the band finished a Charlie Daniels Band song and said, “Good night, everybody.” I think most of the audience saw through that tiny bit of deceit. Acting like they were going home after that song. Right. Revelation is their big hit and they hadn’t sung it yet. Kind of obvious, ya know.

So after a few encore songs, they finally gave me what I wanted. Believe me, it was well worth the wait.

I’m glad I went to the concert because I enjoyed the satisfying, soul-nourishing, heart-filling music, but I think my husband and kids enjoyed it as much as I did. Third Day can ROCK!

Charade, 1963

This compelling suspense film, directed by Stanley Donen, is filled with big name actors like Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy. It’s hard to determine who is telling the truth when everyone wants the same thing and no one has been able to find it. Is the hero really the hero, or is it all just a charade?

Audrey Hepburn plays Regina Lampert, who finds out that getting a divorce is the least of her worries. One suspenseful, yet funny, line of dialogue after another, and soon Regina is surrounded by men who knew her husband. She doesn’t know anyone’s name and doesn’t know if she can trust them to tell her the truth. Towards the end when the suspense and the romance heats up, one must pay close attention in order to figure out who’s who.

Cary Grant, uncomfortable with the 26-year age difference between him and Audrey Hepburn, was pleased that the script made it clear that his character wasn’t pursuing Audrey’s character, but rather Regina was interested in Peter Joshua. Cary Grant was quoted after the film, saying, “All I want for Christmas is to make another movie with Audrey Hepburn.” Instead, he made two more films (with Leslie Caron and Samantha Eggar) and then retired.

Cary Grant was in four Alfred Hitchcock movies. The fact that Cary Grant was in this suspenseful movie made viewers think it was a Hitchcock film. Thus the confusing tagline: "the best Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never made.”

Dispelling Deceit

What would happen if everyone in the country went on vacation at the same time? For a month?

No mail would come to your house. No milk would be sold in grocery stores. No garbage would be picked up. We would live in a bigger mess than you could imagine.

Now think about how many Christians have been on vacation from their God-given works of service. Have we been avoiding all of the preparation that goes into those good works? The preparation is as necessary as the jobs we have. If we stop doing those works of service, it affects more than just the one on vacation. If enough Christians go on vacation from service, it affects everyone.

Join me at Seek God With Me for a look at the hope and encouragement we get from nine Bible verses. If everyone does their part, we could live in unity and dispel deceit. If everyone does their part, we could actually change the world.

Writing the Heroines

My post yesterday about heroes was all about guys. After I finished writing it, I felt like the heroines were all tapping their feet with hands on hips, staring at me, waiting. I knew I needed to let them have their say too.

So let’s hear it for the heroines!

Ladies are made to be different from men. Heroines approach a problem with a different style than heroes. But just like guys, girls have strengths and weaknesses too.

Often, a girl’s weakness is related to romance. Many a handsome face has distracted the heroine and has carried her into a dangerous situation. But the strengths of the heroine are her tenacity and her ability to see the options in front of her. Heroines are not satisfied being damsels in distress. Although sometimes, they act like they can’t get out of a situation just to let a guy come to their rescue. Girls like guys to rescue them sometimes. But if a guy isn’t there for them or the wrong guy comes to lend a hand, they can untie themselves and get off the train track if they want to.

However, if a writer finds the heroine staying too close to the shadows, it’s a good idea to see what the girl is up to. Is she planning a surprise attack? Is she trying to fool the enemy into thinking she can’t fight back? Or is she about to get herself deeper into trouble? If she keeps getting deeper into trouble, let her. She’ll find a way out of it, and the reward will be oh so sweet.

Trouble doesn’t frighten a heroine. Maybe spiders do, but trouble? No way. A true heroine can throw knives and shoot guns to defend herself, even with freshly painted fingernails.

A Man or a Mouse

The ladies at Seekerville have given writers a cool reminder about making sure male characters are allowed to be male. I took notes when I read their blog post about writing “Guy”, the language which shows that a character is male. Their post has links to movie trailers which show who men are and how they react. I watched a few of the trailers. Correction, I enjoyed the few trailers I watched. Again, I took notes.

This post is a summary of what I learned that day mixed with comments from my own experiences with males.

Are focused on one thing
Are a little arrogant or cocky at times because it comes with having confidence
Speak in as few syllables as possible
Get in the enemy’s face
Don’t let a fight rob them of their sense of humor
Feel the heaviness of responsibility
Want their Dad or male mentor to be proud of them
Know what they’re fighting for
Take risks
Make sacrifices
Get the job done

Many times I’ll read comments from an author who says their characters dictate how the story will turn out. They interview their characters to find out what kind of people they are. So when my male characters begin to tell me their story, I’ll ask them, “Are you a man or a mouse?” That may rile the man a little, but he’ll give me examples of how he doesn’t back down from a fight or how he risks his own life to save the lives of people who can’t defend themselves.

Men are fun to write. Mice are not as memorable as Men. Men will confront trouble, but Mice will flee. Mice are easy to scare, but Men exude a powerful confidence.

Men are handsome no matter what they look like. They’re handsome because they care about the people they’re trying to protect. You can tell they’re handsome because they come out into the open where they can be seen, usually dodging bullets and drawing attention to themselves, not for the glory, but so the people they’re trying to protect can escape.

Mice lurk in the shadows because of their fears.

Men are heroes, and heroes live life to the fullest. Heroes know when to laugh, when to love, and when to stop everything else and get the job done.

Laura, 1944

A police detective falls for the woman whose murder he’s investigating. Before he’s finished investigating, strange happenings make him rethink his findings.

Laura’s only Academy Award was won by Joseph LaShelle in the category of Best Cinematography, Black and White. He must have been thrilled to win the first Oscar he was nominated for. Oscar nominations went to Otto Preminger for Best Director and Clifton Webb for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. It was also the first Oscar nomination for both of those men. Additional Oscar nominations were received for Best Writing in a Screenplay and Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration in a Black and White.

The trench coat and fedora at the beginning of the film put me in the mood for a classic film noir. The shadowy lighting as well as the attitude of the detective was perfect. There were many twists and opportunities to guess who killed Laura, but I never guessed correctly.

Gene Tierney played the title role with her own special flair. She appeared in five movies with Dana Andrews from 1941 to 1950. He added a lot to this film as Det. Lt. Mark McPherson.

I hadn’t realized Vincent Price was in the movie when I started watching it. He was great in his role as Shelby Carpenter, who seemed a little slimy.

Lies Destroy

Lies ruin many things. Lies destroy trust. They close down great opportunities. And they suck the life out of relationships.

If you’re like me and want to speak the truth rather than flattering lies, you know it takes courage to stand up for what is right. When there is pressure to lie because it seems so much easier, we know that we must carry the truth with us no matter how heavy the weight becomes.

On my devotional blog, Seek God With Me, I’m examining the pressure to follow the crowd of liars. I’d love for you to join me there.

Thread of Deceit by Catherine Palmer

Anamaria Burns is intent on making something of herself in her chosen career, newspaper reporting. Having won accolades in her former hometown in Texas, she now wants to produce front page articles in her new hometown in Missouri. When her editor gives her miniscule assignments, she repeats to him that she can do bigger stories. But he’s got a paper to run, so she’s stuck with a series of reports on lead paint plus whatever other stories he puts on her desk.

Sam Hawke runs Haven with military precision, just the way he learned to run things when he was in the Marines. There are rules for the benefit and safety of everyone. When Ana Burns shows up looking for a story about their lead paint problem, he’d like to kick her out on the street, but gently so the kids don’t get scared. The kids are everything. The kids are why he started Haven. They don’t have anywhere else to go to get the attention, safety, and training for success in life.

What Ana sees inside the secure compound known as Haven bothers her. A little girl stares at the wall all day. She doesn’t speak to anyone, but she comes back day after day. Who brings her here? Why won’t she let anyone talk to her?

Catherine Palmer sends chills down a reader’s spine with this suspenseful tale about what bonds a girl and a woman together. The romance that winds through the pages helps the characters see hope in this traumatic and painful story.

I found it hard to read because of the subject, but I highly recommend the book to anyone who has a passion to help abused children. Palmer’s skill in portraying evil doesn’t cross the line; she keeps the villain’s pages readable. At the same time, she draws out both compassion for the abused and strong emotion for the villain’s capture.

Sam Hawke is a valiant hero because of his desire and ability to protect women and children. He makes Haven a safe place because of the rules everyone obeys, and he makes Ana safe with his presence. He is a defender of the weak and a strong witness for God’s love.

Deceit and Honor

Have you ever had anything stolen from you. I have. It felt horrible to know that something I treasured had been removed without permission.

I wondered about the person who did it. I wondered if they felt bad about it and did it anyway because of greed. I wondered how anyone could do that. I thought people wanted to walk in honor.

I know there are a lot of really nice people around – and yet one bad apple can ruin a happy moment with a deceitful act. Read more about deceit and honor on my devotional blog Seek God With Me.

Romantic Roses: Agatha Christie

The Agatha Christie rose was named to honor the author of the popular Miss Marple and Hercule Poriot books. The rose was introduced in 1990 by Kordes from Germany.

This vigorous grower can climb up twelve to fifteen feet. The moderately fragrant, light pink flowers decorate this disease-resistant climber.

Beautiful pink Hybrid Tea shaped blooms show up well against the dark-green glossy foliage.

Libeled Lady, 1936

Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow team up with William Powell and Spencer Tracy for this romp to the altar and back again. Jean Harlow, as Gladys, has marriage on her mind. Spencer Tracy, as Haggerty, is thinking of everything else. He is the conniving Managing Editor of the New York Evening Star, the paper that printed a scoop that never was. The Allenburys will sue the newspaper for their mistake unless Haggerty can find a way to make them change their minds. Myrna Loy, as Connie Allenbury, is quite bored with men until she meets William Powell, as Bill Chandler. Of course, she won’t give him the time of day until she gets to know him. And he makes sure she gets to know him. A beautiful performance by all four actors.

When Connie Allenbury sues Haggerty’s paper for five million dollars because they printed a false accusation that she was a marriage-wrecker, his goal is to get a good picture of her with a married man so the false accusation will become true and the suit cancelled.

The four big names in this romantic comedy deliver the entanglements and conflicts audiences love. I usually try to figure out what’s going to happen next, but the twists kept me pleasantly surprised.

William Powell is indispensable as Bill Chandler, the ladies man who can talk anyone into anything. He had already started working with Myrna Loy in their Thin Man movies. The Loy/Powell pairing produced many fine films.

Jean Harlow, the platinum blonde to whom all other bombshells had to measure up, died at age 26 less than a year after this movie’s release. She was buried in the gown she wore in this film.