Here’s How Fiction Can Make a Difference in People’s Lives

My last post is long-winded and deals with a subject that seems kind of trivial, when I think about it. This group or that “demographic” (what a dehumanizing word that is) feels underrepresented in fictional stories, and rather than writing tales to their own liking, the warriors of social justice shame authors and assassinate their character, basically saying fiction is empty unless you meet a politically correct quota.

What if fiction could make a difference in other people’s lives? I don’t mean them feeling more connected to a character because that character is more like them in a superficial way. I’m talking about people halfway across the world running for their lives. What if you could do some small part to help give people comfort after they’ve been forced out of their homes?

That’s what has happened thanks to ISIS kicking Christians out of Iraqi cities, even killing them. For religious differences. But an organization called Voice of the Martyrs is providing those Christians with material aid. (Here’s their page on financial accountability)

I was asked to join an event on Facebook called Authors in Solidarity, where authors are donating royalties from the month of September to Voice of the Martyrs to help these Christians fleeing for their lives in Iraq. You just buy our books, and we’ll take care of the rest. Head over to the group’s page and see what books are being offered! It’s a month-long event.

All of my Kindle stories on Amazon are being turned toward this effort. And when it’s published (SOON), the fourth entry in the Arrivers serial will also be part of this fundraising. From today until September 30, 100% of my royalties will be donated to this cause. You don’t have to buy any of my books, but please consider helping out these other authors, if any of their stories strike your interest.

Thank you for your time, and God bless.

Painting Auction: “Colorado Moonlight” for Hope Home

UPDATE: 12/16: The auction is closed, with a total of $25.00 raised for the Hope Home. In the future, I would enjoy putting up other paintings for auction. Thanks for your time.

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The Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend is somewhat ironic in America, a time people can be grateful for what they have, yet ravenous for what they think they need. This is hardly a novel observation. It’s worth remembering, but do we spend our time wisely by bemoaning how people aren’t thankful enough? Not usually, no.

Not all of us have the blessings of enough money and time to join the Black Friday mob, or a dining table creaking under the bulk of a Godzilla-sized turkey while friends and family join us. I thank God for what I have been provided with. But that same God instructs us to care for others in need, which can be done in innumerable ways. It can be money (which I don’t have a lot of), a hug, cooking a meal, words of encouragement, and thousands of other ways. In this case, I decided to paint.

"Colorado Moonlight." Acrylics on watercolor paper. 5 x 7 inches. This is roughly 4 hours of work.

“Colorado Moonlight.” Acrylics on watercolor paper. 5 x 7 inches. This is roughly 4 hours of work.

I’ll explain. Dev Sarkar, a missionary friend of mine, has been running a small home for children in need in Calcutta, India called Hope Home. He’s been working at it for years, against many setbacks and struggles, from government bureaucracy to flooding. And though I don’t have a lot of finances, I have been learning to paint. So why not auction off a work and get some help for Hope Home that way?

If you or someone you know would like to have this painting and send some money to a good cause, then would you consider placing a bid? You can email me (under my profile picture to the right) or go to my author/artist page on Facebook and send me a private message to let me know if you’re interested.

AUCTION RULES

1. Bidding starts now and will close on December 12 at 11:59 pm. The starting bid will be $15. I will update on my Twitter feed (to the right of this text) if/when higher bids come in.

2. If you would like to bid, send me a private message with your dollar amount, phone number, and home address. If you win the auction and are outside the Black Forest/Colorado Springs area, I will ship it to you at my own cost. If you win and you’re local, I can just meet up with you.

3. Again, your entire bid will go to Hope Home. 100%. All of it. And the donation is tax deductible!

4. Checks or online donations only, please. Paying your bid online can be done at vvcc.net. If you’re writing a check, clearly designate it for “Hope Home Calcutta” and send it to this address:

Verde Valley Christian Church 

406 South 6th Street

Cottonwood, AZ 86326

When I receive confirmation that the bid has gone to Hope Home, I’ll send or deliver the painting, and it’s all yours!

Thanks for your time, everyone. I hope your weekend goes well, and have a Merry Christmas, too!

The Small Things

I learned today that March 20th will be the 85th birthday of Fred Rogers. As I have said already, he is one of my inspirations and role models. No matter how dark things can become, no matter how strong evil seems to be, Rogers helped remind us all that there’s no reason to give up or give in. He showed us what “the faith of a child” looked like, and reflected the patience and goodwill of the God he served. If I can one day become half as genuine and kindhearted as he was, I’ll count myself blessed.

To make the coming week even sweeter, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be out on DVD the day before. I love just about everything about that film, including its sweeping scope and exciting battles and marvelous creatures…but the quieter, more poignant moments (like the one below) brought tears to my eyes. And they still do, no matter how many times I watch them.

It shouldn’t matter that it’s not in the book. That scene feels very much like something Tolkien would write, doesn’t it?

Today I finally realized another reason this scene might hit so close to home for me: Gandalf seems to echo not only Tolkien, but Rogers as well. It shows the best of Rogers’s faith and philosophy, the kindness and empathy that I give up on all too easily.

The greatest heroes among men are not necessarily those who command massive armies or wield the loudest voices. Often they are the people who excel at the small things, the “simple acts of kindness and love” that every person can mirror and pay forward.

Happy early birthday, Fred. Thank you for reminding me and millions of others and showing us what unconditional love looks like. Thank you for being a leader in quiet humility. Thank you for being exactly who you seemed to be.