Audiobook Chapters 24, 25, 26 of Book 3 here!

(Hurricane Ian was gentle with us. Let us keep power but took away our internet for a time. Now I’m able to process and upload what I recorded during the long weekend.)

Chapter 26, “Snakes, cats–I know you hate them all,” is another one of my favorite chapters because it’s one I didn’t “write” as much as I “transcribed”.

This part of the story appeared in my head, as quickly as I could type it. About 85% of the chapter was a surprise to me, and why I realized early on I couldn’t really make a full outline of the books because I didn’t know what was coming until suddenly I was tapping out the words. This chapter helped me realize there was a LOT more story that would take place later, which I hadn’t even begun to imagine.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to. When it came to those chapters, they, too, were downloaded straight into my mind for me to copy. I’m just not this smart or insightful.

Audiobook Book 3, Chapter 3 here!

I’m so sorry it’s taken so long to get another chapter up. The past two months I’ve been in transition, leaving our rental house in one state, couch surfing with family and friends for six weeks, until my daughter and I could move 3,000 to our new rental house deep in the south of the US. (Last cross country move was 3,100 miles, from Maine to Utah, so this one was slightly shorter.)
I’m now “settled” and have a walk-in closet again, so I’m finally recording.

Heavy on my mind, as it likely is on yours, is the fact that our country–and world, really–is facing crises unlike any we’ve faced before, and a lot of people just aren’t noticing. Crops are failing, fertilizer is non-existent, droughts are rampant, even locusts have made a comeback.

We are dealing with future issues on biblical proportions, because the God of the Bible is trying to wake us up and get us to notice. These problems aren’t a result of global climate change (the climate has been changing for thousands of years), but because society has forgotten God. He’s trying to remind us before it’s all too late.

There are signs. Are we paying attention? Are we comparing to The Writings which we have? We need to. We can’t change the world, but we can each be ready for what the world is about to face.

Audiobook Chapter 2, Book 3–“The Mansions of Idumea” (yep, I’m finally recording again)

Ah-HA! I can record in my car with my laptop! Took me only months to discover that. (Gee, does anyone else sit in their cars and make recordings?) However, the sound is slightly different, and I accidentally muffled my microphone a few times–sorry. I’ll try to do better next time I hide out in a remote part of a parking lot, hoping motorcycles won’t keep riding by.

Mahrree says one of my all-time favorite lines in this chapter which, over the years since I’ve written it, has disturbingly become even more accurate:

When I see how often people have ignored the reality of a situation before them, and instead trust the media and the government for all the answers, I feel like sitting next to Mahrree to pound my head against a tree.

AUDIOBOOK 3: “The Mansions of Idumea” Chapter 1 is here!

I had a few delays getting this next book started, but here we are!

I have a special love for this book, because it was while I was drafting it that suddenly I realize it wasn’t going to be just two or three books.

It was supposed to be an entire series.

To my astonishment characters jumped up, storylines I didn’t recognize manifested on the page, and I was stunned to realize there was a lot, lot more going on.

Relf Shin had a dream, and I didn’t even know what it was until I typed it. Everything then changed in the direction of this series.

Drafting this was the most amazing and breath-taking part of writing. I’d wake up early in the morning to see what else would happen, and at night I’d edit to understand all that I had typed. I was fascinated how the words would download a sentence at a time, straight into my mind and to my fingers, then abruptly stop at 4pm, when I realized I was still a mom and had a family to make dinner for.

The flow would begin again after they kids were in bed, and usually shut off by 10pm (or I’d fall asleep at the computer). This book made me rewrite the first books and continue on for many more.

Optimism, Gratitude, and Grit can together defeat fear

One of my favorite writings assignments I give my 10th graders is the “Optimism, Gratitude, and Grit” write-up. We’re reading a holocaust memoir, and we talk about the qualities the survivors had in common:
1) the ability to maintain hope and optimism;
2) a feeling of gratitude, no matter the circumstances; and
3) grit and perseverance to never give up.
I then read out loud the chapters in All But My Life detailing the Death March to Volary, Czechoslovakia, and have my students mark the novel with sticky notes whenever they encounter someone demonstrating those traits. Then they type up the lines and label each with what trait it demonstrates.

I tell them later that this was practice for their upcoming research papers, reading a text for specific details.

But I really hope it’s practice for life. They can endure nearly any trial and succeed in nearly any endeavor if they’re hopeful, grateful, and gritty. I have them take online quizzes evaluating their current levels, and explain that each of these traits can be learned and improved.

I love hearing the quiet rustles of paper as they mark another part of the text as I read, love seeing their lists and their labels, and I silently pray, “Let this leak into their brains! They’re going to need it all!”

In many parts of the country, teenagers and college students are becoming fearful snowflakes who melt at the slightest breath of trouble.

Most of my downeast Mainer kids, however, I think are a little tougher. They’re more like snowballs–packed firm and ready to fly.

Some of my students have shrugged at the book, claiming they can’t get into it because they “can’t relate.” I sincerely hope that they never do, but I worry that someday they will, too much.

And it’s then that I pray they’ll remember to always have hope, always be grateful, and never, ever give up. (That’s a much better lesson to remember than how to write a research paper.)

fear and success

Get the Forest at the Edge series here.

You can’t manipulate the educated, which is why they don’t want us educated

The entire reason for my attending a class as a grad student was to argue with the professor. She was on one side politically, I was on the other. I respected the woman immensely, but daggum, did she know how to push my buttons every week! It was like she was TRYING to make me angry!

Realizing that I was monopolizing each class by pointing out how she was wrong and debating with her for the next hour,  I shut up after the third meeting. Someone else needed to take her on, but strangely no one did.

She pulled me aside after that class and said, “What are you doing to me?! Look at the other students–they’re terrified and complacent. None of them  will ever make a peep. Don’t you realize that I pick subjects I know will rile you up? Come on! Show the rest of the class how it’s done! It’s you and me carrying this class!” Once I realized she was intentionally setting me up, the class was VERY entertaining. I remember thinking, “This is what universities are supposed to be about: an informed debate of ideas.” We rarely came to a consensus, but always realized just how close we were on so many issues.

That was 25 years ago. Ancient history. The world’s not like that anymore, sadly. Debate is stifled and opposing ideas are quashed in the name of “safety” for our fragile feelings. (

I told my college experience to my high school students this week. We’ve been talking about propaganda and logical fallacies, and I presented the quote from the most famous propagandist, Joseph Goebbels:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it . . . It thus becomes vitally important . . . to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie.”

I was pleased to see that my students were intrigued that people could debate issues and still be friends without agreeing. My professor years ago wrote me glowing letters of recommendation when I graduated, even though we disagreed on nearly everything. We respected each other and I am still grateful to her for making me analyze everything I believed.

But today there’s no more debate, no more respect for different ideas, no more desire to discover knowledge for ourselves. If someone disagrees with us, we cut off all discourse and cry “oppression!”

We’ve stopped thinking and asking and debating, which makes us very vulnerable to those who want to do the thinking for us.  In the end, the elite will repress us. It’s happened too many times before.cant manipulate the educated

Get Book 3, The Mansions of Idumea, downloaded for free.


Socialism and the greed of citizens: what happens when they want more?

The biggest problem with socialism that no one seems to be addressing is the insatiability of people who believe they deserve freebies–free income, housing, food, health care, education, etc. The problem is greed knows no bounds. Those who espouse “free everything” are underestimating the selfishness of millions.

And then what happens when the freebies run out, which they always will?

buying loyalty

Download the entire “Forest at the Edge” book series for less than $4 here.