Category Archives: Rest



   “And why did you write that story?”
     Authors hear the question everyday. What’s hidden within the folds of the story? What secrets created the tale I’m telling. When the book is non-fiction,
the riddle may even be more intriguing. During the decades that I wrote my 32 published books, these are the back pages behind the headline episodes.
Here are the fascinating scenes behind the big picture!


            People often ask where I get the ideas for my books with a range from near-death experiences (Non-fiction, Crossing the Threshold of Eternity) to World War II adventures (Fiction, The Narrow Door at Colditz). I imagine different authors have very different approaches to the question. One of my dearest friends is a romance writer who dreams (literally) her plots. That’s a fascinating one for you! I find her angle truly intriguing.

In my case, there are a number of factors at work. In the first place, I never intended to be a writer. One of my college degrees is in art and ceremics. Painting the great watercolor attracted me. I got into writing when a publisher heard a series of tapes I produced on amalgamating psychology and theology. Hesitantly, I ended up producing a little book called, Your Churning Place and that started the typewriter clicking. With time, I got so deeply into writing, I didn’t have time for my art work anymore. (That’s changed lately)

As a reluctant author, my fiction books, like The Assassins, have grown out of a number of factors. Certainly, travel created a unique context. As I noted in earlier blogs, my time in Russia filled in many of the blank spaces in my thinking. Somewhere along the way, I lost count of how many countries I have visited. I know it’s over 60 and touches every continent except Australia. Travel always confronts one with the unexpected and that provides material for writing. My time spent in Rome and the Vatican offered surprises and exciting twists for novels. During the days of Apartheid, I traveled to Sourth Africa and even stayed in a black township (which was then illegal). For me, travel has turned out to be significant.source of information in writing books.

I find information in newspapers peakes my curosity. Before I wrote The Assassins, I began gathering data on the internet attack on Iranian computers that halted their nuclear program. The more I read about the Strunex virus, the more I pondered how such an attack might have occurred. From those stories began to evolve the plot that turned into a book. One of my favorite writers is Daniel Silva with his stories of international intrigue. In an unexpected way, Daniel Silva’s influence contributed to my own story.

Actually, reading is one of the most important activites any writer can do. I find many people who want to write never read. Sorry. It won’t work. Reading takes one into worlds that can never be visited but can be experienced through words. Books indirectly help stimulate one’s ability to use words. Perusing through books helps you come to grips with your own style and voice. Writing a book may sound like a fascinating idea, but if you don’t want to read all the time, put that idea in the closet with Santa Claus.

Where’s all this going? Well, the bottom line on what makes an author (in my opinion) is imagination. You can learn the technics of grammar and and style, but no one can teach you imagination. E.B. White wrote the classic on writing simply, but he can’t tell you how to go to the moon in a rocket ship called magic thinking. Visonary thinking keeps the world spinning and the plot thickening. It’s the greatest fun in the world. And makes books happen!

So, let your mind roll on and what comes out may really surprise you.!

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Filed under Christians, Crossing the Threshold of Eternity, Faith, History, Nature, Near Death Experiences, Prayer, Redemption, Rest, Shrouded in Silence, Stories, Syria, World


With the observance of 9-11 behind us, I can’t stop thinking about the number of people who died in the tragedy. At the same time, I am reminded of the Moslem world in the Middle East who rejoiced in the deaths of all of those innocent people. In that part of the world, they value existence in difference terms. It is a sharp contrast in recognizing the value of human life. One of the reminders we receive from “near-death” experiences is that every life is of supreme worth.

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Filed under Crossing the Threshold of Eternity, Faith, Introductions, Near Death Experiences, Peace, Prayer, Rest, Uncategorized

Crossing the Threshold of Eternity… about the book.

In many instances, people avoid the hospital or home once they learn that someone is on his or her deathbed, and they may go to great lengths to avoid a conversation or encounter with the dying person.  Others develop assumptions that the terminally ill change and no longer need or want the relationships they have enjoyed all their lives.  While it is true that death takes us to a different place, in our final lap around the track, everyone still needs warmth and caring.  My intention is to offer you assurance that you extended hand will still be deeply appreciated by those preparing to leave this world.

Many, many people are unsure of how to talk with a person standing on the threshold of death.  The thought of having a conversation with someone who has one foot over the line can feel foreboding or threatening.  Consequently, people pretend that the person will not die or try to ignore the situation altogether.  They look the other way and the dying pay the price of loneliness.  I believe that we can change that picture.  By the time you’ve finished this book, I hope you’ll no longer have such feelings.  You’ll discover that we can easily talk to the dying and discover their feelings and perceptions.

Our job is to learn how to ask the right questions that will allow the dying to share their inner experiences.  You might be surprised to discover what a person will tell you about how it feels to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  I will explore how to appropriately ask those questions.

In order to find the courage to explore these issues, we must be able to think about our own deaths constructively and become comfortable with the idea of our own death.  I hope that by the time you finish this book, you will have made peace with the fact of your own demise.

Most of all, I want to offer you a promise that has motivated Christians for centuries.  Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the Church has always proclaimed victory over death.  This promise shows us that we do not have to be afraid.  Each of us should not only be comfortable with our own demise, but we should also eagerly await this coming transition.  Does this sound strange? It shouldn’t.  The apostles wrote large chunks of the New Testament to explain how this promise can be ours.  Their clues can help you find peace in this subject.

My hope is that this book will help you accomplish that purpose once and for all.

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Filed under Crossing the Threshold of Eternity, Near Death Experiences, Peace, Prayer, Rest, Uncategorized

Maybe Love Doesn’t Always Win?

Across the country a debate is raging over Rob Bell’s LOVE WINS.
Bell advocates universal salvation while being an evangelical, this is very controversial. Usually those two positions are mutually exclusive! Certainly, biblically oriented conservatives won’t be, and are not happy with his position.
What did my research reveal? (Sorry, Rob Bell.) The evidence of near-death experiences is not on your side. I found that a significant number of people had experiences on the dark side. Chapter Eight in CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF ETERNITY details these stories. Cardiologists Mauric Rawlings discovered that half the people he interviewed reported a frightening place they had descend to.
The evidence is challenging!

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Filed under Crossing the Threshold of Eternity, Faith, Meditation, Near Death Experiences, Peace, Prayer, Rest, Uncategorized

Sitting on Top of the World

One of my annual summer pilgrimages is a hike up Deer Creek Valley and on to the top of Mt. Rosalie. The trail winds through the forest primeval and ends up on top of a 13,000 foot mountain. Inspiration drips off the trees. Your soul flies and you end up literally sitting on top of the world! I’ve never found the equilavent of that trip.

I’ve been doing this walk since I was ten years old and more than a few decades have now passed. However, there is a facet of this climb that still amazes me. Nothing every changes! The climb looks exactly like it always has. In a world that is spinning from one changing scene to another, this valley hasn’t changed a notch. So, when I walk along it feels like time has stopped. The hands on the face on my clock have taken a lunch break. Is that refreshing or what?
Let me encourage you to have a similar space, perhaps seek it in nature while the summer lasts. Sit down. Breath deep. Let it work on your soul.

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Filed under Nature, Rest, Travels

Long Weekends: Relaxation? Or More Work?

We’re headed into a long weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July. As we look forward to time spent sweating at neighborhood barbecues and late evening fireworks shows, I have found myself wondering if we understand what it means to relax, to take time away, to slow down and not be busy.

This is something that has been on my mind before this weekend as well. In my book The Son Rises I offered a new source of meditation on The Stations of the Cross. This arose out of my discovery of the power of meditating. Our imaginations are quickened and we can allow ourselves literally to journey back to an important time in the past. Unfortunately, learning to do this process well takes time. You have to set apart uninterrupted periods for contemplation. The results, however, are amazing.

This is true for people of faith and those who would consider themselves non-religious. We would do well to learn to take time away from our busy schedules–whether that  business is related to our social or professional lives–and slow down enough to contemplate what is really important.

This weekend will turn out to be stressful and hectic for many of us. For some, it will almost be a relief to return to work on Tuesday–at least there we know the routine and the expectations.

But I would encourage you to take some time away this weekend for solitude and contemplation. You will find the time restful as you are given a chance to clear out the chaos that often plagues us in every day life. As a person of faith, you may find new insights in your relationship with God. Not only that, but you might be so surprised by your enjoyment of the discipline that you may even put effort into to pursuing such a practice on a regular basis.

I would thoroughly enjoy hearing about your experiences with this challenge, whether in an email, facebook message or a simple comment on this post. I myself am looking forward to some good family time in Colorado where I will be sure to enjoy a long walk by myself in the crisp mountain air–much more to my liking than the sweltering flat lands!

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Filed under Faith, Meditation, Rest, The Son Rises