All Posts Tagged With: "religion"
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“I truly believe we are as sick as the secrets we keep,” shares Paul.
“It’s all about relationship, not religion”
Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant “The Shack” wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!
Some of Paul’s “future tripping” blog post ~ a term now part of my common vernacular among friends:
A couple of years ago, I decided to stop ‘future tripping’. ‘Future Tripping’ is ‘taking thought for tomorrow’, it is creating imaginations of what is going to happen and then actually take a mental and emotional trip to live there for a bit. It is ‘what am I going to do if _________ (fill in the blank), what am I going to say if __________, what would our family go through if _____________. I confess to you that I have experienced many un-realities and their attendant emotions this way.
I have repeatedly suffered huge financial losses, ended up living under one of the city bridges, been abandoned by my family, suffered the loss of each of my children, had my closest friends turn out to be villains, embarrassed myself in public, was put on the spot and said something stupid, been to my own funeral (more than once), unsuccessfully tried to stop something horrible from happening, failed repeatedly to live up to somebody’s expectations, been horribly maimed in every kind of imaginable accident known to man, lost all my teeth, lost every job I ever had, came down with every disease possible, regularly looked like an idiot, got my lights punched out for no reason, explained my driving to a police officer, lost my friends, went to school and found out I wasn’t wearing anything, got mugged, imagined the situation that I currently was in was permanent…that nothing could ever or would ever change…
…you get the idea. I have written volumes of imaginations in my own head, things that have no substance, no reality, and are empty, vain imaginations. But I treat them as if they are real. I feel all kinds of terrifying and horrible emotions, and scramble to control my life so that these imaginations won’t actually come to pass. THESE IMAGINATIONS ARE NOT REAL!!!! But I had spent most of my life in or around them. GOD DOES NOT DWELL IN ANYTHING THAT IS NOT REAL!!! In these imaginations, Papa is conspicuously absent. Why? Because Papa has no interest in living inside something that isn’t even real to begin with. So in my ‘vain’ empty imaginations, I am the only ‘god’ there is. I have to fix things, make sure things turn out right, try to get a handle on people and events…and frankly, I do a very poor job of it…this playing god thing. So, my life tended to be gripped by fear and I worked hard to get some ‘control’ to prevent these imaginations that I feared. I had a habit of treating something that had no reality or substance as if it were truly real.
A couple years ago I stopped this insanity. And here is what I discovered. JOY has a name (for more…visit Paul’s wonderful blog website).
Be sure to leave a comment below or call 206-309-7318 and leave a voice message to be entered to win a FREE copy of Matters of Faith and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes! (Please excuse the funky sound quality ~ for some reason we faded in & out ~ but worth it, just the same).
Chat with Kristy
Kristy: There were two inspirations for this book, the first coming as long ago as thirty years. When I was eight or nine I did a book report on a book I’d found about religions around the world. It was supposed to be two pages long, but I turned in something like fifteen pages. I realized that religion wasn’t a choice in most parts of the world, but simply a lottery of geographical and familial tradition, and a lifelong fascination was born. The second inspiration came in 2005, when a Canadian teenager was reported to have died after kissing her boyfriend, who had eaten peanut butter several hours earlier. My first thought was wondering how parents of a child with such sensitive allergies were able to ever let them leave the house and have a life, and I began researching severe food allergies. It was later discovered that the cause of death for the young woman was not an allergic reaction, but the writer’s brain had kicked into gear and I was too far involved. I put the two ideas together, and Matters of Faith was the result. Carrie: Tell us a bit about Matters of Faith.
Kristy: A young man’s search for faith causes tragedy in his family when he brings home a new girlfriend whose religious beliefs– including the evils of medical intervention– threaten his younger sister, who suffers from severe food allergies.
Carrie: What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from this book?
Kristy: Choice is a wonderful thing, when those choices are placed in context and guided appropriately. No matter how mature kids seem these days, they still need guidance and discussions about the big choices in life. We talk to kids about sex and drugs at such young ages, but I rarely hear about religion or faith being discussed in depth unless the family is already observant of their particular religion, and then the discussion revolves around the beliefs of that religion only. We live in a religious world, and religion has been the greatest cause of all of our world’s wars. Why aren’t we talking about it in a broader way? Matters of Faith is also about long term marriage and the hundreds of little things that can undermine it on a daily basis, and the choices (there’s that word again) men and women make to either strengthen their relationship or allow it to gradually disintegrate. And, of course, it would be incredibly gratifying if I could help people understand what families with allergic children have to go through on a daily basis just to keep their child alive.
Carrie: Tell us about your writing process.
Kristy: I tend to think about stories for a long time before I start them. Sometimes, as with Matters of Faith, for years. If I come up with a title I’ll usually write that down so I don’t lose it, but other than that I just let it marinate. Once I think I have enough (and don’t ask me for specifics on what “enough” is, I just know somehow), I start to make notes in a spiral notebook. As I get those initial ideas down on paper I start to devote even more time daydreaming about my story, and once the critical opening scene comes to me I sit down and begin to write.
Once that starts I write 2,000 words a day and don’t quit until I reach that goal. I write on a laptop and work anywhere in the house that makes me the most comfortable. One day it’s the bed, the next the sofa, and for my new book I’ve been out on the back patio a lot. And a lot of Diet Coke is generally involved.
Carrie: Who are your favorite authors and who influenced your writing?
Kristy: I could go on for days listing my favorite writers, but we’ll start with: Marianne Wiggins, Tasha Alexander, Lionel Shriver, Amy MacKinnon, T. Cooper, J.D. Rhoades, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Laurie Notaro, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichi, Janet Fitch, how much room do we have? As far as influences go, I’ve always loved the old southern saga writers, Pat Conroy, Anne Rivers Siddons and the like.
Carrie: What are you reading right now?
Kristy: Julia Glass’s new one, I See You Everywhere, House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III, and a non-fiction book on the subject of my next book, which I’m keeping private right now.
Carrie: Can you offer a glimpse into your “real life” and share with us a bit of your personal life—Outside of writing, what’s important to you?
Kristy: My “real life” has always revolved around reading. I have no other hobbies. Reading lets me learn about hobbies other people have, so I get to have hundreds of different hobbies but never have to pay for them! I’ve been with my husband for eighteen years and we have great fun together. We love going out to lunch, catching a movie once in a while, and hanging out at the beach. I was lucky enough to marry a reader, so we both have our nose in a book at any given time. We don’t have children, so our dog is definitely our substitute. Granted, she’s a hairy, slobbery substitute, but hey, at least we don’t have to buy her a car or put her through college, so we feel it’s a pretty fair trade.
Carrie: Tell us something surprising about you and/or something very few people know about you.
Kristy: I am terrified of sharks. And driving a car into water. And raw tomatoes absolutely horrify me, gaaah, all slimy and seedy. Also, contrary to popular belief, I think a lot of things I don’t say.
Carrie: Would you be willing to share your biggest challenge/failure and how it changed your life? How about your biggest success, personal and/or professional and how it affected your perspective?
Kristy: I constantly fail at everything I do. I can barely navigate my way around my own house without bumping into a wall. I’ve never succeeded at anything on my first try (except swimming, I was a good natural swimmer right off the bat, ha!), and the publishing industry has been the biggest, most heartbreaking and exhilarating challenge I’ve ever faced. I wrote three long novels before my fourth, Catching Genius, sold. During that time I slowly went broke and wound up selling my car in order to continue to write. My perspective never changed though, I’ve always just had to work and work and work to succeed, and publishing has been no different. I’m still working to succeed at it, to achieve my rather ambitious goals within it.
My biggest success was probably helping my grandparents in their final years. I can look back at those years and know I did the right things, made the right decisions. It changed my perspective on aging, on patience, on terminal illness, and on the ways frustrating obligations can turn into an honor.
Carrie: What’s next for you ~ Anything else you’d like to offer?
Kristy: I’m trying to finish my next book. Not an easy task with Matters of Faith just out, but I’m learning that if I want to make writing my career I have to fit it all in. Writing a book, while publishing another book, while figuring out what the next book will be, while promoting and marketing a book, while trying, desperately, to control e-mail (I fail at that, too!).
Book Excerpt: Matters of Faith is told from two points of view, the mother, Chloe, and the son, Marshall. This is an excerpt from Marshall:
[Ada] shifted up to fifth and tossed her head, trying to get a lock of dark hair blown by the wind out of the side of her mouth. He reached for it at the same time as she did, but she got there first, hooking her index finger over it and drawing it out, and had she drawn her shirt over her head it couldn’t have left him more breathless. He shifted in his seat and nearly groaned aloud.
His hands curled of their own accord, his fingers grasping the air beside his thighs the way they wanted to grab hold of her hair.
“So what else did your mom say?” she asked. “What should I call her?”
He shrugged, irritated to have the image of his mother sliding over Ada’s, but relieved too. “Chloe, I guess,” he said. His mother had always told his friends to call her Chloe. He didn’t figure it would be any different for Ada.
“Chloe,” Ada repeated, drawing it out, glancing at him sideways. “Chloe and Calvin. Cute. Chloe and Cal and Meghan. And joining them for the weekend, Marshall and Ada the vegetarian,” she sang, squeezing his knee playfully.
He laughed, his irritation and bordering-on-violent desire fading, pride at the thought of walking into his house with this beautiful girl lifting his spirits and filling his lungs with something lighter than air. He went with it, praising God for the sheer miracle going ninety miles an hour in the driver’s seat beside him.
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Thanks, to Natali Brown for You Gotta Believe from the Podsafe Music Network.
Queen of the Road, Doreen Orion ~ “absolutely hilarious,” according to Kristy