With out reading any further, how many of you know what this is?
I would have had no clue until last December when I won one at our office Dirty Santa party.
This is an Asian Durian fruit. Yes, I said fruit. Allow me to describe this item in a bit more detail. The one I received weighed in somewhere between 8 and 10 pounds. It was roughly the size of a soccer ball with needle sharp spikes all around. If you're familiar with medieval combat weapons, think of a mace, minus the chain, and you'd come pretty close to my Christmas gift.
The instructions that came with the fruit were sparse, but they were kind enough to caution me not to cut it open in my house since the durian is known to emit an odor so strong and disagreeable that they are banned from some hotels and airlines. (Thanks?)
Once I got the thing home I sat it on the porch, wondering what I was supposed to do with it. The skin...rind...hull(?) was so tough I didn't have a knife that would cut it and if I had such a knife, I'd end up tearing my hands apart on the spikes. My husband's power saw came to mind, but he was at work. I ended up hacking into it with a meat cleaver. After about a dozen whacks I managed to get deep enough to get into the meat of the fruit. A meat that was best described as mushy.
So far I was unimpressed with this smelly, DANGEROUS, fruit. Then I tasted it. Who knew that beneath the prickly, pungent skin lay pods filled with a creamy pulp with the delicately sweet flavor of cream cheese flavored custard? I instantly regretted destroying the thing trying to get into it.
God hid this wonderful treat in the most unlikely place I could ever imagine.
If this isn't proof enough of God's delightful sense of humor, let me share a few more things I learned about this fruit over the next couple of days.
It grows in trees, very tall trees, so when they fall to the ground, they come in heavy and fast, but not to worry...they are rumored to fall only during the night. I don't think I'll be strolling through any durian groves, regardless of the time of day.
What piece of creation do you find God's humor displayed in?
When I was growing up, books were my favorite things and the library was my favorite place. Once I was older with my own money to spend, I found another favorite place. The used book store.
Wonder of wonders...these were books that I could keep! And it didn't take all of my allowance to buy enough gently treated books to entertain me for weeks at a time. I became a collector of series and/or favored authors.
I wanted to own one of these stores when I grew up. Seriously, I could sit on a stool behind a counter and people would bring books to me and I would have first shot at reading them before they went on the shelf, or I could keep them. I could go there and lock the door and read all day if that was my desire. Could it possible get any better than that? As you can see...this dream was all about the books and not so much about making money.
Now I write, more than I read, and, most of the time when I read, it's on my Kindle. I had not been to my favorite used book store in years, but somewhere, in the back of my mind, the thought of ownership was still there.
Last week we redid the floors in our house. This job had me packing up boxes of books that hadn't been touched since I moved into the house 18 years ago. Most of them made the cut to go back on the shelves, but I had one good sized box of paperbacks that needed a home. After work on Monday I headed to my favorite used book store to donate this box of books. While I was there I planned to look for two sets of old books that I really wanted to re-read. I mean, I have empty shelf space now...
Words can't describe my surprise when I couldn't find the store. Oh, I know where it used to be, but it's not there anymore. Gone, vanished, closed, kaput.
Not to fear, I knew the location of two more, less frequented, stores...Also gone!
What is this world coming to when book stores are replaced by tattoo parlors, nail salons, and Chinese fast food?
I've outlived my dream!
Did you dream of owning a business when you "grew up"? Did you succeed?
Widowed school teacher Diana Kensington lost everything she held dear the day her husband’s plane fell out of the sky. Four hundred and thirty nine days later she still has no answer to her daily prayer. “What now, God?”
Can trust be built between these two lost women? Can they work together to fill the void in each other's lives, for Mercie' s sake?
BARNES AND NOBLE
Praise for FOR MERCIE'S SAKE
"I think fans of Karen Kingsbury should definitely read Sharon Srock (tissues optional)!"
"...totally amazing! Phenomenal. Priceless."
"I need a sequel to follow up on how the two main characters are doing now!"
"If you've got an hour and a few tissues handy, read it. You'll enjoy it."
"It gave me goosebumps..."
"Sharon Srock's characters are real and true-to-life!"
"...an exceptional story that will give you pause."
I am so incredibly blessed!! I want to give credit where credit is due. I did not assemble this project on my own.
Much thanks to a number of fellow OCFW authors:
Terri Weldon for a great critique.
Robin Patchen for her awesome editing skills.
Lacy Williams for instilling the idea to begin with, for designing such an amazing cover, and for help formatting the finished manuscript.
Do us all a favor, go get your copy, and once you've read it, PLEASE leave a review.
I can always rate how much I enjoy a book by how deeply it touches me. The black moment of a character, the point in which the hero has lost everything that matters to him, affects me like nothing else. In an inspirational book, this is the point of surrender, when the hero empties himself. He accepts help and relies on faith to change the course of his life. But just as literature is a reflection of life, so is the hero’s arch a reflection of the believer’s walk with Christ.
In a My Book Therapy chat the other night, Reba Hoffman mentioned how we don’t get as close to the Lord during the good times as we do during our rough patches. It’s in the pit that we find our strength in the Lord. And scripture bears that out.
At the times when we are at our lowest, the Lord comes close.
It’s easy to rejoice when the sun shines and the details fall into place. But joy also comes through with the knowledge that the God who gives peace carries us through hard times, too. The verses and promises tend to sound trite in the midst of the storm, but looking back on some of our lowest times, the Lord reveals His tenderness.
His strength is made perfect in our weakness, so that even in the worst trials of our lives, we can have assurance of comfort and peace.
Your Turn: How has the Lord strengthened you through your brokenness?
This theme of Brokenness is reflected in the character of a new collaboration novella, A Dozen Apologies. When the main character, Mara, fell from her pedestal, she fell hard. With nothing left, she looked to the Lord and found a faith she never knew existed. But with that faith came a conviction to right all of the MANY wrongs she’d done to people. To read her story, find the posts on Write Integrity Press and today, you can vote for your favorite hero at the same site! A Dozen Apologies is free on Valentine’s Day at Amazon.com.
Marji is a homeschooling mom of 4 with the oldest working in the mission field in Africa. She spends her days transporting to and from volleyball, teaching writing classes at a local coop, and directing the children’s music program at her church.
With decades of leading worship, directing and performing in theater productions, and script-writing, Marji took the plunge to creating scintillating Christian romance and romantic suspense novels with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.
(Links, in order of preference. Use only those you want to use.)