Whose Opinion Matters?

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I spent a miserable year in the eighth grade (see reflections911.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/as-we-forgive-those-who-trespass-against-us)

At the end of it, my parents asked me which high school I preferred to attend: our local Catholic school or the public school. They really talked up the Catholic school—it was a wonderful school with a great reputation. On the other hand, they downplayed the public one—it was in a “blue collar” neighborhood and wasn’t known for its academic prowess.

Hmmmmmmm. The girls in my class who had bullied me all through grade school planned to attend the Catholic one. Should I spend another four years with my tormentors? I wasn’t stupid. So, to my parents’ great surprise, I opted for the public school.

I thought it would end the bullying.

I was wrong.  Continue reading

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Free on Kindle

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In celebration of Mercy Sunday, my Christian novel about God’s mercy, Rain from Heaven, will be free on Amazon Kindle April 6-10.

https://www.amazon.com/Rain-Heaven-J-Avila-ebo…/…/B00DPO6A3E

About the story: What would you sacrifice to save the eternal soul of your enemy?

Dellan Whitcom has every reason to hate Eliat Rebysh, the man who has unleashed a deadly virus on the world. It has not only killed Dellan’s parents and friends but threatens all of mankind. Rebysh also controls the only vaccine that can save everyone from certain death.

God chooses Dellan to destroy this nefarious evil, and the young man is delighted with the opportunity to exact revenge. But the more he strays from God’s path of love, the more Dellan becomes like Rebysh, the object of his hatred. Before it is over, the life of the woman both men love hangs in the balance.

Only by making an extraordinary sacrifice will Dellan be able to destroy Rebysh’s evil and free the world from a heinous plot that enslaves the entire population.

For ages 13 and up.

During this promotional offer, my other Christian novels—Nearer the Dawn, Amaranth, and Cherish—will also be just 99¢ each on Kindle with all net profits going to charity.

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Sins and Pink Elephants

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There’s something universal about kids: how they try to manipulate their parents.

Take, for example, an incident with my younger daughter when she was about three. My husband had taken her with him to the swap meet one Sunday. She happened to see a vendor with a lot of stuffed animals, including a couple of quite desirable pink elephants.

Of course she wanted one.

Now, normally you’d think she would have asked her Daddy if he would please buy it for her. Nope. That’s not the way kids go about something like this.

Instead she informed him, “I don’t have a pink elephant.”

What, exactly, did she think her father would do? Drop to his knees, raise his hands to heaven, and cry out in utter agony, “Oh no! She doesn’t have a pink elephant! Whatever can we do?”

Well, my husband took the hint and bought her one.

When they arrived home, I took one glance at this new acquisition of hers, folded my arms across my chest, and stared my husband in the eye. “Sucker,” I told him. “You sucker.”

He merely shrugged. “What could I do? She didn’t have a pink elephant!”

What neither of us realized was that this stuffed animal was going to cause our daughter untold mental anguish.  Continue reading

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Infallibility

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Once I got a letter from my bank telling me I was overdrawn on my checking account. According to the letter, the bank had covered me, but I was being charged for overdraft protection.

I frowned in confusion. I was sure I still had a few hundred dollars in that account.

Of course I got the letter on a Friday, and it was already too late to call the bank to find out what had happened. This was in the day before the internet, so there was no way to check my account online.

Fortunately, the next day’s mail brought my statement and cancelled checks. When I reviewed them, I knew immediately what was wrong.  Continue reading

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Witnessing

Cherish Original

I know a person who actually was in a witness protection program.

He worked for a financial institution, and apparently some swindling was going on in the background. It showed up in an audit, and my friend was served with a subpoena to testify in court.

That’s when, in the middle of the night, a couple of guys kicked in his apartment door, shoved the business end of a gun between his eyes, and told him that if he testified, they would come back and pull the trigger.  Continue reading

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Weird Gifts

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Ever get a gift from someone and wonder what on earth that person was thinking?

Or if that person was thinking at all?

During my life, I have received gifts that went straight into the trash, like stale chocolates long past the expiration date. I suppose we all get something like that once in a while.

Personally, I try very hard to find gifts people will like. For example, once while my husband and I were at a local amusement park with our kids, we bought a couple of wild animal hand puppets for the children of some friends of ours. I bundled them up and dropped them into the mail.

About a year later, our friends flew all the way from California to Florida to visit Disney World. After arriving home, they called to say that while they were on vacation, they had gotten some gifts for our kids.

I thought that was very sweet. Unnecessary, but sweet.

So we made the two hour drive to their house to pick up these gifts.

You’ll never guess what our friends had gotten our kids.  Continue reading

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Amaranth Free on Kindle

 

From February 15-19, my Christian novel Amaranth will be free on Amazon Kindle.

About the story: Would you take an elixir that made you perpetually young and physically immortal?

What if the price for it was your eternal soul?

Billionaire Desmond Sceller acquires such a wonder drug. But when eighty-year-old Marie Long is rejuvenated by it against her will, she quickly discovers unending beauty and youth is not the paradise it seems. Sceller, however, intends on using the elixir to entice all mankind into submitting to his tyrannical control. When Marie and her grandson Peter unearth this evil scheme, they soon discover that only an extraordinary sacrifice on their part can free humanity from Sceller’s nefarious plan.

For ages 13 and up.

During this promotional offer, my other Christian novels—Rain from Heaven, Nearer the Dawn, and Cherish—will also be just 99¢ each on Kindle with all net profits going to charity.

 

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A Dozen People I Should Pray For

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  1. Someone who takes one step off the escalator, then just stands there, blocking the exit, while he tries to decide where he wants to go.
  2. Someone who calls your phone as a wrong number and then curses at you for not being the person he intended to call.
  3. Same person as above who hits re-dial and of course gets your number again—and curses at you some more for still not being the person he intended to call.
  4. Someone who gets mad at you for calling when he’s busy—as if you could know he’s busy while you were dialing.
  5. Someone who, in an internet debate, expects you to produce the research and evidence that backs up his position instead of your own—and claims you’re unreasonable when you refuse.
  6. A telemarketer who, when you inform him you’re on the “Do Not Call” list, tells you that’s the best list to use to call people.
  7. A store cashier who, when you’re honest about being undercharged, gets mad at you for bringing it up because now he must re-do the transaction.
  8. Someone with a cartload of merchandise who cuts right in front of you into the “15 Items or Fewer” line.
  9. Someone who thinks the music he’s playing is so good he should crank up his stereo so he can share it with the entire neighborhood.
  10. Someone who brings a boom box blasting rap “music” full of obscenities into a public park where children are playing.
  11. A friend who, after you’ve done him numerous favors that cost you a lot of time and effort, refuses to do you the slightest favor, even though it will cost him nothing.
  12. Someone who, although he could easily accomplish a task himself, pesters you into doing it for him–then not only never thanks you but complains that you didn’t do things to his satisfaction.

Okay, since numbers 2 and 3 are the same person, I guess that’s only 11. But I’m also sure it won’t take me long to find a twelfth one.

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What’s Really Important?

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When I was pregnant with my first child, I was given a standard Alpha Fetoprotein test. It’s a blood test administered to the mother, designed to detect the possibility of certain birth defects. A high score, I was told, indicated a possible spina bifida, whereas a low score indicated the possibility of Down’s Syndrome.

A few days after the test, I got a call from my HMO. The woman on the other end of the line told me my score was unusually low. The odds, she said, that my baby had Down’s Syndrome was 1 in 90. That didn’t sound so bad until I found out that the usual odds are 1 in 10,000. She would, she said, schedule me for an amniocentesis that would determine if my baby did indeed have Down’s.  Continue reading

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Doubling Up on Prayer

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There are so many causes to pray for. Go to any Christian forum, and you’ll see an abundance of prayer requests like begging for the miraculous healing of a dying child to asking that a dog come through surgery okay. With so much to pray for, how does one choose?

I found myself in a bit of a personal dilemma when trying to decide whom to pray for. Two of my siblings left the Church decades ago, and I do want to pray for their return.

On the other hand, I read a book about how greatly the souls in Purgatory suffer. If you saw someone on fire, and you could alleviate his suffering just by praying, wouldn’t you?

Well, wouldn’t you?

I was caught between these two needs. Which should take priority? Or should I perhaps split my prayer and give 50% to each?

Then I came up with a solution that covers both. Continue reading

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