SuperGal vs. GOD – a modern day fairy tale come true.

SupergalvsGod_“I can bring home the bacon; fry it up in a pan…” starts a popular song of a few years ago. Many of us were raised to think we had to become this type of woman – one who could work at a career, manage her home, raise her kids, and satisfy her husband – if we were to be thought successful. Many of us opted out of the race for the glass ceiling and board room positions to instead, be the kind of wives and mothers who honored God first, family second, and career (if any) third. Unfortunately both systems left us out of the picture and many cried in despair, “What about me?”

SuperGal vs. GOD is a well-written story about that kind of woman. SuperGal could do anything and everything – run a huge charity event, run for and be elected to office, learn that she could sing and become proficient at it in her 40s. Predictably, her family was left in the dust. And besides, she never felt she could measure up to her husband’s expectations or survive his expanding disapproval. What was absent in this race was God.

SuperGal felt the emptiness inside and went church-shopping. After trying many, she finally ended up as one of the few whites in a black gospel church. She sang in the choir, got baptized, and joined it – it was a place of welcome and solace for her.

The marriage ended. SuperGal never intended to become involved with a man again – she was quite self-sufficient, thank you! But God had other plans for her. . .as God often does for all of us.

This is a true story delightfully told as if it were fiction. You’ll cheer and weep, smile and grimace at her antics. I guarantee you won’t put it down once you’ve begun to read it. As I interviewed the author, Lori Hynson, I was amazed when she told me the book actually happened just as she wrote it – the only fiction was the God and Satan pieces. She was married and pregnant as a teen – and stayed married for 31 years despite her passive-aggressive husband. She finally left to find herself amid the tatters of her memories.

God is good – she was 51 when she met Ben. She tells me she tried hard to make changes and is a recovering “SuperGal.” Last November she closed her account rep business of representing businesses that provided services to attorneys. Ben will retire the end of this year. They still attend that little church (moved after a flood) and are happy.

For those SuperGals who are desiring more, for those who thought they wanted to BE SuperGals, for those who just want a good read about God’s goodness and faithfulness – this book is for you.

I was given a copy of this book by Broken Shoe Press for my honest review.

Cec Murphey – an author’s author and really nice guy!

I first met Cec at the Mt. Hermon Writer’s conference in 2003. He was so kind to me after learning I was pitching a book proposal and looking for an agent that he sent me to his own agent with instructions to tell her “Cec Murphey sent me.” While his agent and I didn’t come to an arrangement, I’ve always remembered his kindness and willingness to help a “newbie.”

When I asked him why he wrote Making Sense, he replied, “Life doesn’t make sense: it’s not fair. If you think it does, you will always be disappointed when it doesn’t make sense and isn’t fair.” Cec believes that the difficulties in life many times lead to something better. “Life is full of lessons if you’re willing to learn.”

He believes there are many IBs in life (inevitable bumps) and that we will always hit ours. We can’t change that but we can learn from what is happening.

Cec says we need those difficult people or enemies or adversaries in our lives because they’re the ones who are honest with us. Our friends are usually too kind to tell us our faults, but these people make us face reality, make us honest, and we can learn from them. They tell us things we don’t want to hear but need to hear if we are to grow.

Something else Cec believes in are “empty spaces.” We are constantly going from one thing to another—sort of a stress-filled organized chaos. We want to hold on to the “old thing” while grasping the new. We have to be willing to let go of the old completely, spend time in an “empty space” where we can mourn what has been, and listen and pray about what is to come. Then, and only then, we’re ready for something new.

How many times does someone lose a spouse through death or divorce and then, within a short period of time marry again? They’ve not spent that time mourning their loss. They’re usually looking for a replacement, and at times the new spouse feels as if they are second fiddle to the old one.

Cec says he rarely gives advice. He feels that he would be very upset if he did and it was the wrong advice for that person. He says, “I know of myself only what I say of myself.”

Cec’ s rule in life is to give what he wants to receive. He likes hugs, so he gives them!

He’s a runner and used to run daily, about 40 miles a week. Now that he’s older, he manages only about 30!

Cec lost his wife last year, but they both used to read about 5-6 books a week and liked to watch the “heavy dramas” on T.V. In their younger years they were quite the ballroom dancers. He’s a very eclectic reader and reads in all genres, but mostly fiction and biographies. Cec likes books “that will stretch me and make me think or energize me.”

He turns off his computer between 4-5:30 on weekdays, noon on Saturdays, and often doesn’t turn it on on Sundays. He likes to spend time in his garden and outside. Cec says you need to “turn off” to grow.

After I spoke to Cec, I talked with his assistant and co-writer, Twila Belk. She says when Cec started writing he made a covenant with God to never stop learning and to always help new writers. All of his royalties from his books go into a foundation to help new writers. He gives numerous scholarships to various writer’s conferences so those who can’t afford the fees can go to learn.

Twila feels his legacy will be the lives he’s touched and the ripple effect of them touching others. He hugs people with his words.

She shared the story of a bookstore owner who came to a signing and related an incident that had happened. Cec had been passing by a booth where a friend was signing their book and they motioned to Cec to come and get one. Instead of going up to the author as everyone who saw expected, Cec went to the end of the very long line and waited his turn. The bookstore owner said that demonstrated to him that Cec really cared about folks and their feelings.

Twila says Cec has told her that when he dies he wants only two words on his tombstone: “He cared.” And he does!

To learn more about Cec or to contact him, visit Making Sense When Life Doesn’t and the other books he’s authored or co-authored are available online or at one of your favorite bookstores.

Castles of the Heart

CAstles of the HEart

The cover designer did Hale Meserow, the author of this exquisitely written story no favors. Because of this cover, I kept placing the book at the bottom of my “to be read” pile. What a treasure I’d been missing! I assumed from the cover that this was an “old south, Ku Klux Klan” type of story and that it would be teary beyond belief.

To quote the back cover blurb, “A Love story, a tale of immense personal courage, a gritty fight against entrenched racism, and a life lived in God’s care, all set in the beautiful back country of western North Carolina and the frenetic bustle of New York City…. ‘Castles of the Heart’ relates the life of Starlight O’Bannion, a bright girl growing up in the heart of the South in the years leading up to World War II. In the face of virulent redneck oppression Negroes, Starlight’s treasured companions are a black family living in the nearby forest.” What would you think?

Just goes to show you that covers are not necessarily the way to judge a book. I was given a copy of this book by Carpenter’s Son Publishing to review and must admit I was feeling guilty about not reading it, especially when “nudged” a couple of times by the publicist. I dreaded reading another Southern white-black story. Was I wrong!

Star O’Bannion did grow up in the South and her mama made ‘shine’ to support them. They barely got by, but Mama came from good Boston stock and valued education. Star was very bright and skipped several grades due to her mama’s tutelage when she was younger. She entered the University of North Carolina at not quite-sixteen and had a brilliant career there. She apprenticed to an attorney to earn money for her tuition. He was so impressed he asked her to get her law degree and come into the firm. That was the start of a career that would jump from North Carolina, to New York, to North Carolina with plenty of romance and adventure in between. I can promise you you will love every word – a book well worth buying and keeping to read again.