The Crayon Bucket

Broken crayons make weak hands strong. Let that sink in. We are made for a purpose. We are important. We are loved. *I* am loved. Say that out loud.

My Story, My Song

In my classroom, we have this bucket. We call it the crayon bucket. It’s job is to hold two kinds of crayons: the broken ones and the forgotten ones.

When I started teaching it didn’t take me long to figure out that crayons are hard for five-year-olds to keep up with. Like… I found it out within thirty minutes!!! 🙂

We started out that first day and everyone had a brand new pack of shiny, beautiful, pointy crayons (by the way, I quickly learned that you don’t give a class full of kindergarteners an entire pack of crayons on day one…teaching 101). Now I do a crayon a day.As we learn each color,if wetreat our first crayon nicely, we get to keep it and eventuallyget more, but anyway, that’s another story!

So, after thirty minutes on that first day of school, I had a floor full of random crayons…

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Painkillers of the 1800s

If you need to administer pain relief to a fictional character here’s a great list of the different remedies available. You’re welcome!

Kate Bridges

“Give me somethin’ for the pain, Doc…” How many times have you heard this in a Western movie?

If you were to rate the knowledge about painkillers in the 1800s in North America, which one would you say:

  1. Doctors knew very little. Most of the time, they just gave whisky.
  2. They knew enough to help some people. Mostly with unknown herbs.
  3. They used the major painkiller that is still the major painkiller we use in hospitals today.

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She Wears Her Red Today

As a survivor of domestic violence I really love this poem. Such great imagery of triumph, hope, moving toward a future.
Something I try to portray with my characters. 🙂

Ellen Carr

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She wears her red today,
bias-cut and flouncy,
her hair let loose and wild,
a-tumbling and bouncy,
and scarlett lips,
bright fingertips.

She rides the train to town,
with chocolate bars for munching,
credit card at hand,
money spare for lunching,
meeting her friends,
for exuberant ends.

She stops to hear a busker
singing in the street,
empties coins into his hat,
and taps to his drum beat.
Her spirits are high;
she could virtually fly.

While waiting for her friends
her feet are almost dancing,
the rythmn of her heart,
her silent joy enhancing.
Life’s as it should be,
breezy, sweet and free.

The scars beneath her clothes,
clear but fading slowly,
are reminders of her days
of worry, feeling lowly.
Now that is the past;
she is free at last.

She celebrates her healing,
in food and wine and laughter,
rejoicing with her friends
for her happy ever…

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Free Christian downloadable ebooks

Free Christian romance ebooks. Free ebooks for Kindle. Free epub books.

Hi!

Love free Christian ebooks? Especially Christian fiction? Here are some tried and tested links that I’ve found for FREE BOOKS! 😀

Each link  opens the site with free books. Happy reading!

Christian Book Finds, here, and here.

Christianbook.com: every Friday they update their list of free books.

Amazon Top 100 free Christian romance: this link is Kindle’s top 100 best sellers in Christian fiction.

Smashwords.com: not all these books should be labelled as “Christian” so read the blurbs/reviews carefully. But who knows what gems you’ll find. They’re free so there’s nothing to lose.:)

Free-Online-Novels.com: takes a bit of sifting through, but I have found some good authors through this site.

inspiredreads.com: this is great, especially if you use the subscribe by email function. They email you a list every day of their pick of free or heavily discounted books by the top selling Christian authors. Bonus!

echristian.com: free classic Christian books. Authors such as A.W. Pink, Calvin, John Bunyan, Luther, Spurgeon etc.

That’s all I’ve got to share. How about you? Do you know of any good websites that have free ebooks? Post any links in the comments.:)

In other news, my book, “Mail Order Surprise” is available on Amazon. $3.99

Happy reading!

Clash of the Titles – Please vote for my book cover 😀

Morning everyone!

All of this week my book cover is featured (along with a few others) on Clash of the Titles. If you are so inclined, please pop over and vote for my cover by clicking here and voting.

Thanks so much!

 

Mail Order Surprise

My cover. I’m a bit biased, but I think it’s pretty. 🙂

I wish the other covers (and authors!) all the very best. 😀

Christian Author Scavenger Hunt!

Scavenger Hunt from Winged Publications Authors

Scavenger Hunt

INSTRUCTIONS:
Below, you will find a list of questions. One answer can be found at the author’s website or author page (link provided). The other can be found within the mentioned book. Spend some time browsing the pages to find your answers.

This hunt will run through the entire month of May.

When you have your answers, send them to cynthiahickey@outlook.com. A winner will be drawn on June 1, 2016. US ONLY!

First prize is a Kindle, generation 7 with WiFi and the listed eBooks.
The Nosy Neighbor series by Cynthia Hickey
Mainely Mysteries, by Susan Page Davis.
Murder Under the Mistletoe by Debby Mayne
Desert Duet by Debra E. Marvin
An Indian Paintbrush Summer by Julie Pollitt
Lamp in Darkness by Colleen L. Reece
Her Candy Cane Christmas by Bonnie Engstrom
Operation Scarlet Carnation by Jennifer AlLee
Women in Peril by Birdie L. Etchison
Garden of Love by Martha Rogers
Desert Desperate by Dana Mentink
The Seekers by The Cuffe sisters
Apple Blossom Daze by Gail Gaymer Martin
Montana Skies by Mary Alford
Orange Blossom Café by T.I. Lowe
Early Birds by Janetta Fudge-Messmer
The Case of the Bouncing Grandma by Alice K. Arenz
The Cross divider by Richard Thompson
Dressed for Death by Darlene Franklin
Bitterroot Bride by Angela Breidenbach
This Side of Heaven by Diane Dean White
Hawthorn Hope by Helen Gray

Second prize is an eBook of the boxed set of Cynthia Hickey’s Nosy Neighbor Series.

Third prize is Anything For a Mystery, the first book in the Nosy Neighbor series. For a tie, we will have a drawing.

Author Susan Page Davis:
Website: www.susanpagedavis.com
Question: What state was Susan born in?
Book: The Reliable Cowboy (in the Christmas Mail Order Angels collection) Question: What was Isabelle’s deceased husband’s first name?

Author Dana Mentink:
www. Danamentink.com
In what year did Dana win the Women on Writing Flash Fiction contest?
Book question: In the Up Finny’s Nose series, how did the town of Finny get its name?

From the Cuffe Sisters:
Website: http://cuffesisters.com/
Where do the Cuffe sisters live?
What’s the name of the young slave boy who keeps Lawrence Wainwright out of trouble in The Seekers?

Author Martha Rogers:
website: www.marthawrogers.com
Question: Who is with me in a picture sharing our books at ICRS?
From the book, Garden of Love: What advice did Mrs. Benson give Carrie regarding her love for Landon?

Author Anita Higman:
website link: www.anitahigman.com
Question from site: What is spanning across the top of my website?
Question from the novel, A Question of Destiny. What is the heroine given that changes her life?

Author: Cynthia Hickey:
www.cynthiahickey.com
How many children does Cynthia have?
What is Stormi Nelson’s occupation? (From Anything For A Mystery)

Author Alice K. Arenz:
www.akawriter.com
On Alice K. Arenz’s website, what does the “home” button look like?
Question on Alice K. Arenz’s novel An American Gothic: What’s the name of the book the lead character, Lyssie, is writing?

Author J. Carol Nemeth:
FB page link: http://www.facebook.com/J.CarolNemeth/…
A question that someone has to go to the site to find: What is the name of my debut novel?
A question from your book: What’s the name of Jessica Montgomery’s new friend and co-worker?

Author Colleen Reece:
Question: “What and when was Colleen L. Reece’s first writing success?”

Question: from Shepherd of Love Mystery Romance Book One, A Lamp in Darkness. “What are the names of the five nurse friends who
star in the series? Which departments do they work in?

Meet me at:
amazon.com/author/colleenreece_booksyoucantrust

Author Debby Mayne:
My website: http://www.debbymayne.com
Question from my website: What type of tips does Debby offer on her website?
Question from my Summer Walsh series: Where was Summer Walsh a police detective before she decided to get out of law enforcement?

Author Debra Marvin:
website: http://debraemarvin.com/
Question: What state do I love writing about?
Question: In what year does my novella Desert Duet take place?
Author Carrie Fancett Pagels:
www.CarrieFancettPagels.com is my website.
Q from website — How many covers does Carrie have on her Press Kit page and which one is your favorite?
Q from The Steeplechase — Where was this 1810 story set?
Author Jennifer Collins Johnson:
My website is www.jennifercollinsjohnson.com
Question: In the book Help Wanted: A Bluegrass Bride Cade was a young teen the first time he saw Emilie, who was just a child herself. What was she doing when he saw her?

Author Debra Ullrick:
www.DebraUllrick.com
Where is it posted on my website that “I’m Getting A Book Contract”?
Question from the book, Say it with Roses: Who is Lulu and what breed is she?

Author Lucy Thompson:
Website: https://lucythompsonauthor.com/
Question for the site:
What do lamingtons, pavlova, Vegemite, and Lucy Thompson all have in common?
Question from my book:
How many brothers does Beau, the hero from Mail Order Surprise, have?

Author: Janetta Messmer:
Website: janettafudgemessmer.com

Question from website: What was the name of Janetta’s Bed & Breakfast?

Question from book: What restaurant do the Early Birds frequent?

Author Julie Pollitt:
http://www.juliepollitt.com/
“What picture shows up next to ‘Welcome Friends?'”
In the book, An Indian Paintbrush Summer, what state did Millie and Buck grow up in?
Q. If you were going steady, what was the matching color yarn the girls thought would be cool to wear on his school ring, that matched their sweater?

Author Diane Dean White:
http://www.dianedeanwhite.com/dianes-stories.html
If you were going steady, what was the matching color yarn the girls thought would be cool to wear on his high school ring to match their sweater? From, Evening in Paris, Tangerine Lipstick and Sandra Dee.
Q. What kind of bird scolded and then serenaded his approval during Brett’s marriage proposal in Diane’s book, THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN?

Author Birdie Etchison:
https://www.facebook.com/BirdieEtchisonAuthor/
http://birdieetchison.wix.com/home
Birdie Etchison Writer is the website.
Look for: Laughter is the Sunbeam of the Soul
From Wind in the Pines Mountain Music, Book II
Question: Where is Snowy Lane and why is Audrye going there?
Author Debra Lynn Collins:
Website: http://www.debralynncollins.com/
Question one: On my website’s home page what drink is mentioned?
Question two: In Camellia’s Smile there are two dogs in the story. Moe is the name of one of the dogs. What is the name of the other one

Author Sherri Stewart:

My blog is http://blog.fraidycatfiction.com/ my author page is www.facebook.com/sherristewartauthor/
Book question from Stranded with Pearls: What’s the name of the Italian restaurant where Gracie enjoys a romantic meal with Trey?
Blog site or author page: What suspense novel is compared to a ride on a roller coaster?
Author Linda Johnson:
website: www.lindabatenjohnson.com
Question from website: Name one of the national tv shows where Linda appeared?
Question from Forget Me Not: What is the name of the fishing lodge Kate is hired to promote?

Author Trish Perry:
http://www.trishperry.com
At what profession was I horrible in my past?
From the book Under the Dogwood Tree: What crime does Bernadette discover at her boyfriend’s company gala?

Author Helen Brown Gray:

http://helenbrowngray.com/

A question from the website:
For what line did Helen write before becoming an independent author?

A question from a book:
River Town Romance contains what two novellas?
Author Candice Prentice:
www.candiceprentice.com
Question from my website:
What certification did I recently complete that has nothing to do with writing?
Question from Murder in the Milkcase:
What gift did Trish Cunningham receive from her husband in Murder in the Milkcase?

Author Niki Turner:
Website link: www.nikiturner.net
Question: What is the name of my blog?
Book Question: What kind of fancy German ski wax does Ruby need to order?

Author Anne Greene:
My website address: www.annegreeneauthor.com
A question from my website: What is the name of the second book on Anne’s home page?
A question from A Christmas Belle: Why did Amanda need a husband?

Author Mary Alford:
Your website link or blog: www.maryalford.net
A question from the website: How many books does Mary currently have published?
A question from your book: What town is Cara Stevens from?

Author Angela Breidenbach:
Your website link: http://AngelaBreidenbach.com
A question from the website: What year was my grandpa’s antique Bible published?
From a book, Bitterroot Bride, from American State Flower series:
What did Emmalee Warren need to learn to survive?

Author Anne Greene

Author Darlene Franklin
http://darlenefranklinwrites.com/
Question from website: How many states has Darlene lived in?
Gunfight at Grace Gulch: When was the town of Grace Gulch founded?

Author Jennifer AlLee
Website: www.jenniferallee.com

Website question: In what city was Jennifer born?
Book Question: In Operation Scarlet Carnation, what is Harold extremely allergic to?

Author T.I. Lowe
Website T. I. Lowe
Question for website.
While sipping a cup of coffee, you may discover a life lesson from who?

Orange Blossom question.
What prank ended up costing Aiden $500?

Author Gail Gaymer Martin
Website: http://www.gailgaymermartin.com/
Question: What two subscriptions are available on Gail’s home page?

Books: http://www.gailgaymermartin.com/product_category/novels/
Question; In Romance By Design: How many brothers does Morgan have?

Author Bonnie Engstrom
www.bonnieengstrom.com
Who was the teacher who said I could be a good writer if only I would learn how to spell?

Her Culinary Catch
What was Connie’s cat’s name?

Author Patty Smith Hall
www.pattysmithhall.com
Question–What book is listed second on the books page of her website?

Question from His Cherokee Rose–What item did Aunt Lucille take with her to the hospital?

 

How much fun are those questions?! Happy hunting! 🙂

Windows of Blessing (and more publishing news)

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” Malachi 3:10

When it rains it pours!

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Not sure who to credit for this pic. Not mine. I found it here….

 

God has been moving in my life lately. I mean, he ALWAYS is moving in my life, but in the last two weeks I’ve really seen his hand and felt his favour.

My first book is now published. Available here. 😃 So exciting!

Lots of love, fuzzy feelings, cyber hugs, digital high-fives, and assorted comments, shares, and most importantly–reading! happening over on my facebook author page. One lovely lady even made a meme with a quote from my book!! See? Blessings.

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Credit to Susan Snodgrass

 

Just when I think God is about to shut that window of blessing … cos I have doubts sometimes. In my humanness I put limits on His grace. Silly me.

We had a win in a personal matter. I won’t share the details, but it had me crying happy tears, feeling relieved, and smiling non-stop.

Ta-da! Another window of blessing opened by God.

And then…

I have to ask this question. It’s very serious, so bear with me. Practice your serious face.

🤓   🤔

Ready?

Question:

What’s better than ONE mail order bride story?

Answer:

NINE mail order bride stories!!

I’m now included in a fantabulous NINE book collection of mail order bride stories. *gasp* 

Mail Order Brides: Sometimes Love is only an Advertisement Away

Mail Order Brides- Sometimes Love is only an Advertisement Away (9 stories of mail order love)

Click here to buy. $3.99 for all nine! 😮

The other lovely authors in this collection are:

Janice Thompson      Jennifer AlLee      Cynthia Hickey      Debbie Mayne

Darlene Franklin      Teresa Ives Lilly      Martha Rogers      Julie Pollitt

Now that’s a huge window of blessing.

Wow. I’m amazed by God. Only he could orchestrate the events that happened in the last few weeks, few months, or indeed, anything life-changing in my life.

How about you? Have you noticed the windows of heaven opening in your life? Or is God silent?

I’ve had seasons of both in my life. All I can offer is this: Pray. Trust. Wait.

God bless. And keep reading. 😉

 

 

The Journey to Mail Order Surprise

Welcome!

So much to say….

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In early 2011, I sat at my computer and thought I’m going to write a book. Such a lofty idea. All I knew of the story was that there was a lady and she was on a train. Yup. All I knew about this story! So I wrote the first line and then the next and the next and… Well, you get the picture.

At first it was a secret. Just me and the words. The paper and I. Gradually, I introduced “Book Draft” to other people. At first, my sister, who I bugged  for feedback over the phone. Then to a few select friends (writers!). I joined ACFW and through them, Scribes the big critique loop.

I got feedback on my manuscript, still stubbornly called “Book Draft”. I learned a whole bunch of writerly stuff. Point-of-View. Character Arcs. Tension. Motivation. Add in some edits from the talented Helen Wakefield. I visited the US and attended a writers conference in 2012. There I learned a bunch more in workshops, met my critique partners, Lizzie and Susan in person, and met my agent, Chip MacGregor.

Life fast-forwarded along a busy road filled with family, church, and friends.

Contest finals came and went in 2013. “Book Draft” became “A Certain Woman of Worth” and then “Mail Order Surprise”. An Honorary Mention in the Maggie Awards. 2nd place in RWA Touched by Love competition.

Fast forward some more, blithely skipping over more writing, moving, getting married, a new baby, more writing, and much merry-making.

My agent submitted this book to one publishing house after another. All with varying responses, but the bottom line was no.

And then…

We tried (I say we, when it was really Chip. 😜 ) tried Forget Me Not Romances. Finally! A yes. Even better, a “I’d LOVE to contract this series”.

Series.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me introduce some old friends of mine, Beau and Lydia. You’ll find their story here.

Don’t mind me, I’m just going  to stare at the cover a li’l bit longer. Catch me on facebook. I’d love to chat. 😀

Mail Order Surprise

~*~

Buy it on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, etc.

P.S. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. This book started with one line over five years ago. Who knows where your dream will take you! 💜

No Way Out But Through – an honest interview with Graham Aitchison

Living with or being in close contact with someone who struggles with an addiction or depression can be, well, difficult. But is there light at the end if the tunnel? Today I’m interviewing Graham Aitchison about his book, “No Way Out But Through”. Seeing as both Graham and I are storytellers of one form or another, I decided to write out this interview in story form.

So as per Aussie tradition, I’ll invite you to pull up a stump, have a cuppa, and get comfortable. Tim Tam’s, ginger nut biccy’s (cookies), and lamingtons are on the large plate on the table in front of us. Help yourself! 🙂

“G’day Graham.” I settled back into my overstuffed lounge chair, lamington in hand. “Tell us, is there light at the end of the tunnel?”

Graham selected a ginger nut and contemplates it. “There is. But you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time in the dark to be able to get there. There are times when you think the light is getting closer but it turns out to be a freight train coming straight at you.”

I wince. “I know that feeling. Not very pleasant.”

He drums his fingers on the table, a quick riff from one of Metallica’s albums and nods. “Which can really hurt, but you’ve just got to pick yourself up and keep going. Walking through the blackest part of the darkness and coming into the light will gain you everything. But it will cost you everything at the same time.”

“That reminds me of Pilgrims Progress…walking through the valley of the Shadow of Death. A few Bible verses spring to mind as well that support that. Psalm 23, Luke 9:25, Psalm 56:13 etc,” I said.

I hand around the plate of goodies, and refill the coffee cups.

“You are a man of words, right? In 29 words or less, can you describe yourself?”

“Hermit, grumpy, insightful, musical, philosophical, ummm…” Graham stares out the window, tapping the rim of his cup with his biscuit. “Old beyond my years, nuts about football, spiritual, open, honest, cantankerous, senile, sarcastic, warm, funny.”

I smile. “Twenty words. Well done!”

He shrugs.

“So, why write a book such as No Way Out But Through? It’s a deeply personal book. What is the story behind the story?”

Graham drew in a deep breath. “I wrote it because there are others out there just like me who feel the same way that I do and have gone through similar things to what I have. A lot of these people are sad and hurting because nobody understands them. The purpose of my book is to share my deepest struggles to speak into the lives of those who need it. The stories that have impacted me the most in my life have been those told with brutal honesty about the darkness in people’s lives and their brave, sometimes desperate struggle to get better.”

“Agreed.” I brush crumbs from my fingers and nod. “Truth sticks out and stays in my mind long after the words fade. Thanks for being so brutally honest.”

“Mmm hmm. While other stories have washed over my head and been forgotten in minutes, the darkest and most personal stories are the ones that have remained ingrained into my thinking long after I have read them. I have shared my story in a similar manner in the hope of speaking into the lives of others in the same way that those with the courage and honesty to share their deepest struggles have spoken into my life.”

I frown, fingers interlaced beneath the table. “So did you find it uncomfortable exposing your struggles in such an open way to the world?”

“Yes and no.” Graham cocks his head to the side. “It’s definitely therapeutic, getting it all out there. But at the same time I look back on some of it now and feel quite embarrassed. However, as a good friend once told me, that’s a good thing as it shows how far I’ve come since then. It’s kind of weird sharing your whole life with the world as I am a very private person by nature. But I believe it’s what I was meant to do and I believe that the self sacrifice of my private struggles into this book has the power to change lives, which is what I want to be remembered for.”

“I do the same thing with my historical fiction. Turn my life lessons from pain into stories of hope for others.” I put my thumb tips together, index fingers pointing upward. “Picture this: You are stuck in an elevator and have three floors to give the central message of your book to a group of interested people…how would you describe it?”

“There are people like myself who struggle with emotional pain and suffering sometimes beyond belief. Society often writes these people off, and they often write themselves off. But there’s a way to get well. It involves hard work, feeling every inch of the pain within you and through close, honest and sometimes terrifying relationship with God where you must allow Him to take you through the darkest storms as they are the only ones that can help expose your wounds so that they can be cleaned. My journey to health and well being has taken me deeper than anyone I know and beyond the realms of conventional thinking into a spiritual universe I was operating out of, but didn’t really know existed.”

“Sounds good. Do you have a favourite line from your book?”

“More like a favorite few paragraphs.” He picks up a copy of No Way Out But Through from the table and thumbs through it. A smile lights his face as he runs a finger down a page. “This is probably my favorite section in the book – in the chapter Learning to Handle Trials and Tribulations.”

God gave me a vision of a man who had taken a bullet wound to the leg. However, instead of having the wound treated he had simply learned to live his life around the wound by only using one leg. God then put him in a place where he was forced to use his wounded leg, which of course brought incredible pain to the wounded man. Though having to put pressure on his wounded leg was extremely painful, it made him aware that there was a problem that needed to be resolved. Once he felt the pain he had three choices: to stop and honestly assess he wound, then take steps to heal it (keep walking on both legs, ignoring the pain screaming out at him- which would never bring him any peace and only make things worse), or start hopping around on one leg again and wait for the pain in the wounded leg to subside so that he could forget about it again. I realized that I had one of these choices to make whenever God brought up a painful emotional wound or spiritual tie in my life. I could honestly face and assess the wound in order to heal it, continue to charge forward with the pain screaming out at me and make things worse, or try to control the situation so that the pain would settle back down within me and not bother me again. Taking the third option seemed like the right choice, but in reality it was just causing me to stagnate, as I would just get stuck on the same issues over and over again. The second choice never worked for me and only ever made me feel worse. The first choice was the choice God wanted me to take—and the true path to peace and healing.

“A modern day parable. I like that. Great imagery.” I tap my copy of the book and glance up. “Life after book launch…is your  life much different after you wrote ‘The End’ and the book landed in your hands? Was there a line in the sand that you crossed at some point and thought ‘wow. I’m a published author, my life will never be the same’?”

“It still hasn’t really sunk in – I guess because the worldwide launch with Creation House isn’t till next month. I’m not really thinking about it to be honest. It’s been a huge amount of work to get this far. I feel like I’ve run a marathon and though I’ve arrived at the end and claimed the grand prize, I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. Don’t get me wrong – I am very proud and excited for the future. But for the time being I’m just focusing on getting a bit of normality back into life and recovering from achieving such a mammoth task.”

“Sounds like a great idea.” I smile. “So why the title: No Way Out But Through? What was the inspiration for that?”

“The title of the book is symbolic of the manner of the journey I had to go on in order to begin getting well. There was no way around, over or under the darkness in my life.” He twirls his fingers like drum sticks then points them straight ahead. “The only way to truly face it and heal it was to walk right through it.”

“What about Jesus…” I touch my cross necklace briefly. “What does Jesus mean to you, how does he fit into your life?”

“Jesus has been the central figure of spiritual guidance throughout this entire journey. He’s been orchestrating the whole thing, beginning from the end. Before some of the worst things happened to me He spent years training me mentally through counsel from wise people and insight from the Holy Spirit so that I would be equipped to face some of the horrendous trials I have faced in the last four years. Our relationship is strong but not always harmonious. I know that God has orchestrated some of the horrible experiences I’ve been through over the last four years simply because I had to go through them in order to face the darkness in myself and get through it. There has definitely been some tension in my relationship with God as a result. But as He’s said to me – “Would you rather none of this happened?” And the answer to that in all honesty is no, because if none of these awful experiences He has orchestrated had come to pass, I wouldn’t have been able to face myself and fully heal, and therefore wouldn’t be where I am today.”

“You’ve had quite a journey. Do you have a favourite Bible verse and why is it special?”

“Isaiah 43:19 – Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now that it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” He nods enthusiastically. “I especially like the second path as my life has definitely been a wasteland in many ways. Water symbolizes life and water must be constantly moving so that it doesn’t stagnate, so I appreciate the last part of that verse as it says that life is coming to me despite my wasteland experiences and I won’t be staying stagnant but always moving forward.”

“Forward movement is great. Even two-steps-foward-one-step-back is still progress. What does a day in you life look like now? I know I see you on facebook a bit, what do you do with yourself and where can readers typically find you hanging out?”

“I work as a part time cleaner at a local Christian Holiday Park. It’s active, physical work and I work with good people, so it’s good to be there. I also play guitar on the worship band at my church. I enjoy movies, playing and writing music (I play both guitar and drums), tinkering with computers, online gaming and military weaponry. I also enjoy bodysurfing in the summer months and being around nature.”

 “Sounds good.” I pull out my android phone and activate the web browser. “So, links to find you on the web…can we have them?”

“Sure.”

Blog:  http://giaitchison.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/graham.aitchison

Twitter: GrahamAitchison

I close my phone. “What is one special talent you have, and (trick question) where would you never use it?”

“I have a talent for burping. I am literally amazing at it. A friend in primary school taught me how to open my throat and swallow air then burp it back out, and it’s all gone downhill since then. Places I’d never use it include wedding receptions, funerals, church services and other such places. It’s not the most useful of gifts and probably doesn’t serve me too well in the social scene, but I am proud of it nonetheless.”

“Ha! I learnt to burp on command–self taught–when I was 14, and taught my younger sister too as well, much to mum’s disgust. I like the squirrel in the children’s movie: Over the Hedge, his best line “I can burp my A B C’s!”

We smile. A grin borne of mutual discovery of the International Burp Society. Always good to find new members. 🙂

“Tell me, what is on your heart for others, do you have passion or a burden for something in particular?”

“Yip. I have a huge heart for unborn children. I care very deeply for them and it pains me greatly to see some of the things that happen to them. If you read my book, especially the last chapter of the second section, you’ll understand why.”

“I do understand.” I smile. “I’ll let the others read it first to find out for themselves. Rightio…. Seeing as self worth is something that I have a particular passion for, what is your view on self worth, and do you touch on this subject in your book at all?”

“Self worth in my life has been something that has been built up gradually as I have become stronger and more healed as the years have gone on. When I was in my darkest days, my sense of self worth was very low and I would allow people to get away with treating me as badly as they pleased because I was scared of what would happen to me if I didn’t. As I have become stronger emotionally due to getting well, my sense of self worth has drastically improved and I am now far more confident than ever before. Learning to believe in yourself and value yourself has been a slow journey for me. But I have seen amazing progress. I believe it is touched on in the book as I speak about how I began to be more assertive and confident once I had faced my fears and therefore banished them.”

“Glad to see you have found progress. Even better to have found it to be amazing.” I glance out the window to the dusty brown wheat paddocks and sigh. “You live in New Zealand, right? Tell us about your country…what are the 5 best things about it, and give us the 3 best places to visit there, and one thing to never do…”

“NZ is great! It’s green pretty much all year round (except for the time being as there’s been a drought due to a very long and hot summer), it’s not too populated, you’re never too far from a beach, the people are pretty decent (most of the time) and your accent makes you famous for Lord Of The Rings and Flight of the Conchords when you go overseas.”

“Yes, the famous accent…. We Aussies have a bit of that as well. But we don’t have LOTR to commend us.”

“Great places to visit – Taupo, Queenstown, most of the South Island in general. One thing never to do – jump off the 60 foot high bridge over McLaren Falls in Tauranga, not far from where I live. I didn’t have the guts to do it but a friend did and he reckoned he felt like he was falling for about 15 minutes. He says he had constant sinus pain due to water being shoved up his nose and apparently if you don’t clench, it can also go other unwelcome places. Not to mention people have died jumping off that bridge due to not hitting the water correctly. So yeah, don’t do that.”

I try to keep a straight face…and fail. Miserably. Hysterically. “I think I’ll give bridge jumping a miss then.”

I wipe tears and clear my throat. “So, to recap: we’ve been chatting with Graham Aitchison and his book, “No Way Out But Through”.”

No Way Out But ThroughNo Way Out But Through is the written account of Graham Aitchison’s journey from mental illness to a true sense of clarity and peace. This book takes the reader through the darkest parts of Graham’s soul through the various tools and thinking methods he has used to help himself to heal and into a realm of insight that can only come through surviving the darkest parts of life itself.

“Rated at 4.7 Stars, it’s available from Amazon and christianbook.com for aprrox $7.07 paperback or $2.99 on Kindle … Or, we can buy it direct from you, is that correct?”

“Yip. At the moment I’m only selling my 125 copies to folks in New Zealand as I haven’t yet been able to figure out PayPal, so for the time being you can either order the $2.99 self pub ebook version on Amazon or wait until May 7th when Amazon and several other sites launch the book worldwide.”

“Cool. Thank you for your time, and sharing your journey and insights into what is like to travel through depression, and most importantly, how there is light waiting for us on the other side.”

For a bit of fun, Graham has a video on his facebook page of himself playing guitar (rather well I must admit!). Link is here if you are interested. All the best, Graham, as you continue to speak truth and deal honestly with yourself. I read your book and quite enjoyed it. Yes, it’s very honest. But the best books always are. 🙂