He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. - Colossians 1:15-16

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Useful Reporter



He calls himself a journalist
Confident that he’s a crack reporter
Truth be told he’s nothing but a shill

A useful, pliable tool
In the hands of the left
An attack dog released at their command

Unquestionably believes everything he’s told
Long ago he gave up aspirations
To be a serious and well respected journalist

Stories of substance go untold
For they take too much time and effort
Followed by unrelenting criticism if he goes against PC storyline

So what if a high ranking political leader
Gets away with lying criminal actions
With nary a slap on the wrist

So what if the door is held open wide
No attempt to seriously vet those who may have hateful intentions
Stand by with shock and horror when murderous plans are unleashed

So what if our military is abandoned despite pleas for help
Only to be left to fend for themselves
When overrun by well-coordinated radical Islamic jihadists

So what if our borders are like a sieve
After all, US sanctuary cities
Stand ready to embrace illegal immigrants, no matter their crime

When race relations are at a new low
He adds fuel to the fire
Joining the popular political narrative

A thorough investigation will take too much time
Headlines will be missed
What if the facts don’t match the story at hand

Long ago, his quest to be a great journalist was forgotten
No longer known for truth, honesty, integrity and digging into a story
Instead he’s settled for being just another useful reporter


by Susan Wachtel
July 19, 2016


This poem was inspired by the ridiculous irrelevant stories the press is running with following the first day of the Republican National Convention.  If reporters and journalists were to actually focus on real stories of substance, we might have a chance for real dialogue on important issues of our day. 

#RNC2016
#MelaniaTrump

Monday, July 04, 2016

Trust God in the Darkness


T - Trust God in the darkness
      When the future is unknown
      When silence pierces
      My heart, mind and soul

R - Remember God is faithful
      As He has revealed Himself
      In His Word
      In prayers answered in His perfect timing

U - Understand God is good
      Even when circumstances are not good
      Utter His praises all day long
      He is able to do far more than I can imagine

S - Salvation and deliverance
      Grace and mercy from His hand
      Discipline and encouragement
      Strengthen my weary heart, mind and soul

T - Thank the Lord
      For His past faithfulness
      His ever present goodness
      His never changing perfect character


Cracked to Death by Cheryl Hollon – So-so

I enjoy reading a good mystery book, especially during the summer.  That’s why I selected Cheryl Hollon’s newest book Cracked to Death.  This was the first book I’ve read by this author and I had some mixed feelings about it. 

On the positive side, I liked the character Savannah Webb and her boyfriend Edward Morris.  Both characters seemed likable and cared about others.  I found the premise of a mystery involving the art of glasswork interesting.  A few of the characters had disabilities and Savannah was quite caring towards them.  Homicide detective David Parker was interesting, but not fully developed.

What I didn’t like:  Some of the characters (Rachel and Faith, SueAnn, Officer Boulli to name a few) seemed like caricatures not real people.  There were a lot of politically correct, edgy things included in the book, to the point of distraction.  It took away from the storyline.  For example, when a homeless person urinates on the side of an art studio, Edward suggests that America needs to build more public toilets.  I don’t read mystery books to have PC views shoved in my face.  There was one curse word but it was unnecessary. 

Previously I mentioned that the story included characters with disabilities.  The one I didn’t understand was Arthur who had Crohn’s disease.  He was not a major character and he goes into a detailed explanation about the disease.  Since his character was a minor part of the story it wasn’t value added to the story.

I thought it was interesting that the two overweight characters where portrayed negatively.  An emphasis was made on their physical appearance and one is incompetent and the other is rather stupid.    

One of the most obnoxious characters was Amanda.  There is a reference to her sexting.  Thankfully the book didn’t go in to detail.  But it was not a good or necessary part of the story.  I felt like it was thrown in to be edgy.  This character makes some ridiculous choices and it gets tiring after a while.  Bad choice after bad choice and of course she’s “sorry”, weepy and didn’t mean it.  She felt like people where judging her.  Perhaps they were just astonished at her bad nonsensical judgment. 

I didn’t care for Savannah “smiling down at these two absurd looking elders.”  Really?  That was uncalled for. 

Later when Amanda is telling about her relationship with Martin, she is assured by Edward and Savannah that her friends wouldn’t judge her.  Perhaps instead, Amanda needed friends to lovingly speak up when they see her exercising lack of wisdom and discernment. 

Another edgy reference:  “You know how liberal this community is.  It’s not quite as diverse as deliberately quirky Gulfport.”

Amanda wasn’t the only person using poor judgment.  Savannah had her fair share of bad choices, most of which revolved around her acting as a “consultant” for the police.  There were times when she should have called the police and given them information and not talked to a witnesses or suspects.  This wasn’t very realistic. 

All this adds up to the story not being really believable.  Many people and references seemed like they were thrown in just to make the story edgy or politically correct.  The character of Amada was irritating rather than interesting.  Savannah overstepping her bounds as a consultant about glass seemed to go too far to be believable.  

There may have been a few errors in the book.  Location 625 - screenedin should have been screened in.  Location 1049 – references a third bottle that was found that was an original Bristol blue bottle, like the first one.  A little later, in location 1111, the third bottle is referenced again, “Jacob noticed was also a copy.”  Location 1155:  the word should have been “frequented” instead of frequent. 

All in all, I found the story in Cracked to Death, by Cheryl Hollon, so-so.  Some of the storyline and characters were not believable or they were downright annoying.  At the same time, there were some characters that were likeable and the setting in a glass art studio was interesting. 

I would like to thank NetGalley and Kensington Publishing Corp for the opportunity to read Cracked to Death by Cheryl Hollon in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review. 


Together at the Table – by Hillary Manton Lodge – Lovely and Insightful

Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge is the first book I’ve read by this author.  What a treasure I’ve found.  I love it when I find a new author whose writing and characters I connect with. 

Together at the Table is the third book in the “Two Blue Doors” series.  The book continues the story of Juliette D’Alisa and her big family, including the mystery about her ancestors to whom she feels connected.  Sometimes it’s hard to come into the middle of a series when you haven’t read the earlier books.  To some degree I didn’t feel the connection with the characters right away.  But Hillary does a good job in giving enough background so new readers have insight into the characters and storyline. 

It was about page 70 that I started to connect with the characters.  I found Together at the Table and Hillary’s writing to be thought provoking, insightful, wise, real, tender, good perspective, thoughtful, honest and healthy.  The characters were not afraid to say painful things, but in a loving, kind and caring way.  I especially liked the insights on love.  There were a number of thoughts and feelings expressed by the characters that I highlighted because I found them to be insightful or perfectly capturing the emotion. 

I would like to also note the Christian faith and the Gospel message are not really a part of this book or storyline.  I do appreciate that there was no profanity or inappropriate sexual scenes in this book. 

Something I did object to was on page 258.  Character Letizia is talking about her grandmother and says, “When I was sixteen I thought she should have gone through with the affair.  But we should not be surprised.  After all, we came from somewhere, no?”  Obviously that doesn’t line up with Scripture's view of adultery.  But like I mentioned earlier, there’s not a lot in this book that speaks of the Christian faith. 

Something fun about this book is quotes at the beginning of each chapter and the recipes that are included at the end of some chapter.  I’d like to try some of the recipes.  Reading this book made me want to cook. 

I found Hillary to be a safe writer.  By that I mean she doesn’t manipulate the characters or put them in precarious situations just to keep the reader in suspense. 

Hillary Manton Lodge is a gifted wordsmith and paints beautiful pictures with her words.  She unveils her characters with insight and depth.  I really liked Together at the Table and look forward to going back and reading Hillary Manton Lodge’s earlier and future books. 

I would like to thank Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Press for the opportunity to read Together at the Table by Hillary Manton Lodge in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.