What Would You Do…?

by Carole Brown

…if someone wanted to kill your baby? 61VMxm17AQL

  • Mary and Joseph fled.
  • In the Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, Cara is mad with grief and anger at the death of her oldest daughter. A tough read? Yes, but well worth seeing what happens to this sorrowing mother.

 

…if you had to give up your business in a hurry? Or face destruction?sabataged-christmas1-front-cover3

  • Joseph did. He and Mary had to flee to Egypt to escape the wrath of the King and begin again in his carpentry business.
  • In Sabotaged Christmas, Toni DeLuca must find the person casting doubt on her beloved father before her business is ruined and Christmas won’t be coming to Appleton, WV for her employees.

 

…if you were told you were having a baby, but you had no idea (at first) how it’d happened?front-cover1-w-apple-blossom

  • Mary did. She heard the angel’s proclamation, but told no one and kept everything hidden in her heart, pondering.
  • Starli Cameron was always told she couldn’t have a baby, but was it the truth? Only time would tell…after the struggles from the past vanished.

 

…if valuable items were given to you by kings?front-cover

  • Baby Jesus was visited by the three Magi and given precious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
  • Caroline‘s friend, Andy, had valuable paintings, but Caroline disdained them. When one is stolen, she’s pushed into a mystery that proves how valuable paintings (and relationships) can be.  

 

…if you were suspicious of three foreign kings who visited you?WMITH Bk Cover small-Modified earrings

  • King Herod was, afraid that a new baby would take his place someday.
  • Tyrell Walker in With Music in Their Hearts had a reason to be suspicious of so many in the boarding house. After all, there was a foreign spy determined to wreck havoc to the U.S.

 

…if you were about to lose what you loved?A Flute In The Willows-2 Front cover

  • Mary and Joseph were. Baby Jesus was a precious gift from God. They were assigned a duty to raise him, and they would do anything to keep him safe.
  • Jerry and Josie thought they were losing each other, and both were determined to battle the war for their lives and their souls. 

 

Interest peaked?

Read St. Luke Chapter 2 to find the answers to the above questions.

Go here to find my books that hopefully will keep you reading and warm through the coming winter! 

Amazon Author Page

Merry Christmas!

christmas journey

 

Help for the Hurting Military Families at Christmas

by Carole Brown

pins stars patriotic free

 

 

Many military people dread Christmas due to various sadnesses, physical problems, financial setbacks, and loss of loved ones. It’s a struggle to move forward, to face each day let alone enjoy the season. PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a serious threat to returning home soldiers.

 

I wanted to share a bit today that is the real–the true meaning of overcoming and/or getting through each day.

Here’s a story example:

He started to scoot out onto the balcony when pain shot through his whole body, and he wanted to scream. He pulled himself from the window ledge and staggered forward two steps before falling on his face.

What had happened? Marshall’s screaming voice echoed outside his head, but the world had faded to mental darkness. His left leg had gone numb. He shook his head. He couldn’t lose consciousness. To do so might mean death. He hung over the rail and surveyed the climb he’d have to make. His stomach churned with nausea.

The pain and fear of facing the unknown, of knowing you’re injured…

What happened?”

Her gaze flicked to the bottom of the bed, then back. “You were shot.”

The memory of that night swarmed in. “How long—”

Must you talk? You’re still pretty weak.”

How long?”

She sighed. “Two weeks. You almost died.”

Facing the fact that you are injured. Learning what exactly that injury is. Knowing you’re at the mercy of the doctors, possibly your wife or family…

Jerry. Lie still. You’re too weak to get up.”

Squeezing his eyes shut, he gritted from between his teeth. “I have to. It’s too dangerous for you to be coming here.”

I don’t mind.”

I do. Help me, and I’ll try it again.”

I wasn’t able to get a doctor. Our family doctor is not to be trusted. You almost died. Medwin—my cousin—has a bit of medical training and he thinks a bone or bones was shattered in your leg. He did what he could but your leg still became dangerously infected. I thought—”

What?”

Vanda bit her lip. “I thought we’d lose your leg if not your life.”

The infection’s gone?”

Yes-s. But it still looks bad.” Her brow lined with another worried frown. Her gaze flicked to his legs and back. “I-I’m not sure you’ll ever completely recover from that wound.”

The reality of the truth: you won’t ever be the same as before. Through luck, carelessness and/or lack of training or funds or uncooperative military bureaucracy, life will never be the same.

Soldi

ers who’ve given their lives for their country and come back injured severely—and their families—face extreme difficulties. It takes strong and determined companions to get through, to accept the fact that this new life will be a life long endeavor. There are no magic wands to change the facts of war.

Besides the horrific injuries many face, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with its moodiness, verbal abuse, feelings of wanting to commit suicide, embarrassment, rejection, etc. takes its toll on soldiers.

During WWII

In A Flute in the Willows, I tried to show a bit of this in Jerry and the effect it had on Josie, his wife. Young and inexperienced, both of the Pattersons struggle to understand and deal with conflicting emotions. Josie’s father, experienced in war service, offers advice and encouragement.

“You’re going to have to be stronger than you’ve ever been in your life.” He warns Josie, and those words stay with his daughter over and over to strengthen and give her a boost to not give up on Jerry. In time her patience and love for Jerry win out.

 

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“I’m here if you ever need to talk.” Knowing what military service is like, and having lived long enough to know a few things, Captain Ossie, Josie’s father, offers, but never intrudes on Jerry’s emotions. In time he heads to his father-in-law’s office to seek guidance.

  • Families need to understand that their soldier is going through unspeakable damages. Love, offer help and listening ears, don’t talk when their loved one is moody, encourage and never, never give up.

 

 

  • Friends who are there, offering hope and encouragement. Accept any help given and be grateful you have those kinds of friends.

 

  • God.  He is truly the only source who can pull a person through. Whatever comes, God is the strength, the supreme encouragement, the one who understands all, and the one who loves you unconditionally. Lean on him. Trust. Believe.

Both Josie and Jerry come through their own personal, and shared, problems, with God’s help, and understanding from others, that pull them through.

That’s what it takes for servicemen/women to overcome the worst of the nightmare of PTSD and injuries during the Christmas season–or anytime throughout the year. God, understanding and love.

A Flute In The Willows-2 Front cover

Read about the Patterson’s struggles and how God helped them overcome

their troubles in the midst of danger and heartache.

Amazon

 

Why People Decorate with Christmas Villages

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Ever wonder what those villages people decorate Christmas with are called and what they have to do with Christmas? Wonder no more. They are called The Christmas Putz. I found this out when I was researching for my Christmas novella.

My novella, A Christmas Promise, is about a Moravian family celebrating Christmas in Schoenbrunn Village in Ohio around 1773. The Moravian children had a custom of making a Christmas Putz. Sometimes it would be simple with the Nativity scene made with pinecones. Other times, it was quite elaborate with more pieces being added every year.
The Putz is different than a basic Nativity scene because it is used as a teaching tool. The Nativity with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus is the central part of it, but it also includes animals and the wise men. Many Putz of that time would also include Moses delivering the children of Israel to remind the children that Passover was a symbol of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. They also included other Biblical scenes and sometimes would add Christmas villages.

Today, the Biblical scenes in most Putz are made up of elaborate Christmas villages. There are churches and houses, along with small shops. The Biblical scenes are a thing of the past. Whatever is included in the Putz, it isn’t really a Putz unless the manger scene with Jesus is the central theme since Christmas is all about Him.

AChristmasPromise_medA Christmas Promise

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

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The Story of the Real Santa Claus

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Santa Claus is a legend loved by millions of children throughout the centuries. While the story of Santa Claus is a myth told to illustrate the spirit of giving at Christmastime, there was a real man named Saint Nicholas.

Nicholas was born in the third century in the village of Patara. When he was born, Patara was a part of Greece. Now it’s located in Turkey. His parents were rich and raised him to be a Christian, but they died when he was young.

He used up his inheritance caring for the needy, the sick, and the suffering. When he was a little still a young man, he was appointed as bishop of Myra and became well known for his generosity to the needy, his love of children, and his care for sailors.

One story tells about three dowerless girls. In that time, girls whose fathers were too poor to provide dowries often had to be sold into slavery. On these three occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home providing enough for the dowries. People suspected Saint Nicholas of leaving the gifts. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas.

The Roman Emperor, Diocletian, persecuted the church. Nicholas was exiled and imprisoned in a prison that was so full of Christians, it didn’t have room for criminals. Eventually he was released and returned to Myra and attended the council of Nicaea in 625.

Nicholas died on December 6, 643. A substance grew on his grave called manna that was reported to heal people. Since then, December 6 has been known as Saint Nicholas Day.

Moravian Christmas Traditions We Still Have Today

img_1022By Tamera Lynn Kraft

In my novella, A Christmas Promise, I write about Moravian missionaries in Schoenbrunn Village, circa 1773. The Moravians brought many Christmas traditions to America that we use to celebrate Christ’s birth today. Here are a few of them.

red room with christmas-tree and colorful gift - rendering

The Christmas Tree: Moravians brought the idea of decorating Christmas trees in their homes in the early 1700s, long before it became a popular tradition in the United States.

 

Illustration of Christmas candle lighted with wreath isolated on white background done in retro style.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Services: Most churches have Christmas Eve services where they sing Christmas carols and light candles to show Jesus came to be the light of the world. The Moravian Church has been doing that for centuries. They call their services lovefeasts because they also have a part of the service where they serve sweetbuns and coffee – juice for the kids – and share Christ’s love with each other. For candles, Moravians use bleached beeswax with a red ribbon tied around them. The white symbolizes the purity of Christ and red symbolizes that His blood was shed for us.

The Moravian Star: In the 1840s at a Moravian school, students made 24 point stars out of triangles for their geometry lessons. Soon those Moravian stars started making their way on the tops of Christmas trees. The star as a Christmas tree topper is still popular today.

The Putz: The putz is a Christmas nativity scene surrounded by villages or other Biblical scenes. Moravian children in the 1700s would make a putz to put under their Christmas tree. Today, nativity scenes and Christmas villages are popular decorations.

achristmaspromise_medA Christmas Promise

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Julie Lessman

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Moravian Missionaries in Colonial Ohio

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Schoenbrunn Village

In the 1770s, Moravian missionaries moved to Ohio from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to settle a village called Schoenbrunn which means Beautiful Spring. Their goal was to bring the Gospel to the Delaware Indians. Delaware Native Americans who converted to Christianity moved into Schoenbrunn to be a part of the Christian community. Within a year, the village grew so large, they started another settlement called Gnadenhutten.

Schoenbrunn, in many ways, was ahead of its time. The settlers of the village, including the Delaware, created their own code of conduct and opened a school. The school taught both boys and girls when other colonial schools at the time only accepted boys. The students learned to read both English and Lenape out of a Bible that was translated in the Lenape language.

The Moravians built a church there with paintings on the walls depicting Biblical scenes. They used these painting to teach about the Bible. They had church every morning and twice on Sunday. On special occasions they would have Lovefeasts where they served coffee, juice, and sweet buns. The Christmas Eve Lovefeasts were the most special and became the forerunner of Christmas Eve candlelight services popular in the US.

The settlement only lasted a few years. When the Revolutionary War broke out, British troops suspected the Moravians of giving information to the colonial army. These charges against them were true. In 1781, Native Americans supporting the British forced the Moravians to relocate to the Sandusky area to protect themselves from reprisals. The British arrested the two leaders of the villages, took them to Detroit, and tried them for treason.

When a group of Christian Lenape went back to Gnadenhutten to harvest their crops, a company of Continental military from Pennsylvania accused them of raiding farms in Pennsylvania. and massacred them. The militia the militia murdered and scalped 28 men, 29 women, and 39 children and burned down the village.

Settlers were outraged by the massacre, but the men were never brought to trial. In 1810, Tecumseh reminded future President William Henry Harrison, “You recall the time when the Jesus Indians of the Delawares lived near the Americans, and had confidence in their promises of friendship, and thought they were secure, yet the Americans murdered all the men, women, and children, even as they prayed to Jesus?”

Schoenbrunn Village is still open today for visitors and tourists to learn about Christian Native Americans and some of the earliest missionaries in America. A Christmas Promise was set in Schoenbrunn Village.

 

PTSD Throughout the History of American Warfare

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

War is horrific. Those who choose to fight for the freedoms we share risk not only loosing their lives or suffering bodily harm, they face emotional turmoil of having their friends shot in front of them and dealing with the emotional scars that living in wartime condition create. In honor of the veterans who have served our country, here is how PTSD was handled throughout US history.

USA Betsy Ross Aged Flat FlagRevolutionary War: In the 1700s, PTSD was called nostalgia. A French surgeon described it as having three stages: 1) “heightened excitement and imagination,” 2) “period of fever and prominent gastrointestinal symptoms,” and 3) “frustration and depression” (Bentley, 2005).

Not much was written about the effects of the war on soldiers. But they had to have suffered emotionally. These men fought for the freedom of their country in conditions where they didn’t have the resources needed to keep them warm, dry, and fed. Many died from starvation and exposure. Yet after the war, when they returned to civilian life, they were forgotten. The new nation couldn’t even afford to pay them.

War of 1812: Again, not much was known about PTSD during this time, but the White House burning to the ground and British soldiers marching into America had to affect these soldiers.

Civil War: The Civil War is when the condition of PTSD first started to be recognized as Soldier’s Heart. Many soldiers returning from battle after the war suffered the effects of soldier’s heart.

World War I: In World War I, PTSD was called Shell Shock. Life in the muddy trenches caused desperation and emotional turmoil. Many soldiers suffering from shell shock were executed for cowardice instead of treated for an emotional condition. Others were institutionalized as insane and were taught skills like basket weaving to support themselves. After the war, many soldiers suffering from this were encouraged to keep it hidden because of the attitude toward it.

World War II: In World War II, Battle Fatigue was a recognized condition by psychiatrist. Over a million men who suffered from it during the war were pulled away from duty for treatment and rest. The attitudes toward it were still not favorable, and those suffering from the condition were considered weak. In one account, General Patton slapped a man suffering from battle fatigue and called him a coward.

Korea and Vietnam: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual I (DSM-I) by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 1952 included a diagnosis for “gross stress reaction,” which was thought to be related specifically to combat-related trauma. However, “Gross Stress Reaction” was dropped from the DSM-II in 1968, for reasons that remain unknown (Andreasen, 2004). Soldiers from Vietnam were treated for Gross Stress Reaction, but their systems became worse when they returned home and were disdained for their service. Vietnam vets with PTSD were diagnosed as having Vietnam Combat Reaction, a severe form of PTSD.

Desert Storm and the War on Terror: PTSD, Post Tramatic Stress Disorder, is understood better now than it used to be, not only by mental health personnel who treat the disorder, but by the public. Soldiers go through a lot and need to be supported through the physical and emotional damage combat causes.