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

Trust God in the Darkness

Ps 91-2

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

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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

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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.

 

Applauding United Kingdom of Great Britain

Keep Calm

Hat’s off to the citizens of United Kingdom of Great Britain for having the courage to say “Hasta La Vista!” to the EU

Here’s to sovereignty!  Here’s to not tying your nation to folks in the European Union who are making very unwise decisions.  Here’s to being able to protect your citizens.  Here’s to retaining your independence and identity as a sovereign nation.

Prime Minister David Cameron made a respectable decision to step down and allow someone else to lead Great Britain in this new direction.  Not a lot of men would have had the courage to do that.

 

The Lord Rebuke You

John 13-35

When there is silence from Muslims in the wake of terror committed by Islamic extremists I am angry and puzzled.  How can they see the horror that has been committed in the name of their religion and not speak up?

That’s why today, I need to speak up loud and clear against the so called “Christian pastors” who have said ugly, vile, disgusting things about the Orlando mass murderer and the victims.

Sacramento pastor Roger Jimenez said, “Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?  No … I think that’s great.  I think that helps society.  I think Orlando, Florida’s a little safer tonight.”  That’s bad enough, but he went on to say, “The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die.”

I wish I could say that the Jimenez was alone in the vile things he said.  But unfortunately he wasn’t.

Fort Worth pastor Donnie Romero from Steadfast Baptist Church said, “These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, and they’re the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now.”

The Lord rebuke you pastors Jimenez and Romero.  What you have said is beyond the pale.  It’s vile and disgusting.  It drives sinners away from Christ and repentance.

Is practicing homosexuality a sin as declared in the Bible?  Yes, absolutely it is.  So is adultery, fornication (sex outside of marriage), pornography, gossip, slander, pride, stirring up dissension, haughty eyes, not honoring your father and mother, lying, stealing and coveting to name a few sins.

Why is your heart not broken over these people?  God had mercy on the people who survived and you wish they had died?  What’s wrong with you?  Do your words reflect a hardened heart?

Why is your heart not burdened for these men and women created in God’s image?  Are you in prayer for the people who survived, that they will repent and come to faith in Christ?  Do you desire to go to them and share the Gospel message that salvation is found in Jesus Christ?  Is your heart breaking over that which breaks God’s heart?

The angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents.  You however wish they had died and their fate was sealed in hell for eternity.

Please remember that some of Jesus harshest words were for the religious leaders.  What do you think Christ Jesus would say to you?  Before you go to help take a speck out of your brother’s eye remove the log that is in your own eye.

My sin, though different from the people murdered in Orlando, is every bit as sinful and wrong and would have resulted in me spending eternity in hell apart from God’s grace and mercy towards me.  I’m not saved because of any good thing in me.  I’m saved solely by the perfect atoning work of Christ on the cross.  I’m saved because the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to help me see my sin and caused me to repent.  The only thing I did to participate in my salvation was to sin and make it necessary that Christ die on the cross bearing my sin.

God calls us to love our enemies.  Who are you to know if perchance some of these survivors are people whom God has sealed from before the foundations of the earth to be saved.  To be forgiven of their sins.  To be part of the brethren of whom it will be said, “And such were some of you.”

When you said these hateful ugly words, every member of your congregation should have walked out.

Do you think that there are families at your church that have family members or friends that struggle with homosexuality?  Do you think there may be a member or attender at your church that is struggling with this sin?  How do you think they felt when they heard your ugly hateful words?  Do you think that will encourage a person who is sinning to come to you and ask how they can repent?  How they can be saved?

What you said is hateful, prideful, ugly and wrong.  You have besmirched the name Christ and Christianity.  You have driven sinners away from repentance.  You have given Christianity a black eye.

I call upon to pastors Jimenez and Romero to examine your heart and see if you are in the faith.  Do you need to think about stepping down from pastorate?

I hope and pray that I hear other Christians and Christian leaders speak out against you.  I hope that instead they will reach out with the soul saving Gospel message of Jesus Christ and not words of hatred and condemnation.

 

Medical Judgment by Richard L. Mabry – Mixed Emotions

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I’ve read several of Richard Mabry’s novels and looked forward to reading his newest book Medical Judgment.  I like suspense and books where Christian writers include faith as part of the character’s development.  Richard Mabry includes the element of medicine which is drawn from his years of experience as a medical doctor.  Unfortunately, I have some mixed feeling on this book.

I liked and appreciated faith of not only the main character, Dr. Sarah Gordon, but also the several other characters including Detective Bill Larson who was investigating the threats against Sarah, her friend Kyle Andrews and Pastor Steve Farber.  I liked the character Connie, a nurse in the ER.  She seemed like solid Christian who truly cared about people.  She was honest and open with her faith.

The narrative at the end the chapters, from the perspective of the stalker, was effective in creating a suspense.  I also appreciate that the author doesn’t resort to filthy language or sexually inappropriate scenes.  Also, I really liked the character towards the end of the book veterinarian, Dr. Brad Selleck, he seemed like the most well-adjusted and healthy of the bunch.

Now to some of the things that I didn’t care for.

The main character Dr. Sarah Gordon got a little irritating after a while.  She seemed slow to admit she had a serious problem and that she needed to take steps to protect herself.  She whined about setting her security system just about every time she set it.  Enough already!  It was a little repetitive.  It surprised me that the security system did not include cameras.  At times Sarah seems scatterbrained which doesn’t really seem in sync with someone who is an emergency room physician.  It didn’t ring true to me that Sarah could have had a dog at home for less than a day and she misses him so much when he’s being treated at the vet’s office.

I struggled with the character Kyle Andrews who seemed very presumptuous, obsessive and bordered on creepy at times.  He talked about his faith, but not until the end did he seem to recognize that perhaps his actions were not done with the purest motives.  At times I wondered if Kyle was really a true Christian.  When he is obviously sinning he didn’t have the Holy Spirit reining him in.

Theologically, there were a couple things that were off.  On page 181, Kyle is recalling what Pastor Steve told him about grief and when bad things happen.  Specifically, I take issue with this sentence, “He’d assured Kyle that God didn’t cause bad things to happen, but after they did, God would provide the help needed to get through them.”  This doesn’t quite square with the sovereignty of God.  Also, on page 184, Detective Bill Larson prayed for someone who was dead.

I think this book could have been a little shorter and left off some of the repetitive actions and thinking of the characters.  The ending seemed to occur really quickly after a longtime getting there.  There were a lot of potential suspects and I couldn’t figure out who done it.  I would like to have seen the Pastor not included in the list of suspects, and instead just been a stable and good solid influence.

Medical Judgment by Richard Mabry is not great and not horrible, it’s okay.  While this book wasn’t his best, I still look forward to reading future books by author Richard Mabry.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Abingdon Press for the opportunity to read Medical Judgement by Richard Mabry in exchange for an honest review.