Journal Entry 2 – Finding PEACE During the Covid-19 Pandemic 2020

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Journal Entry 2 – April 20th, 2020 6th week of social distancing & self-isolating

Philippians 4:6-8
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

PEACE??!

How can I possibly have PEACE with everything that’s going on in the world right now??

Just “let go and let God,” as the saying goes… but, how do I do that?

I’ve discovered it’s a choice – one that I have to make over and over again. I’ve meditated over Philippians 4: 6-8 for quite some time now. Years infact. Whenever my heart gets anxious, this is the verse that comes to mind.

As I conciously bring my anxious thoughts into the light, I find they start to lose their power. The battle, I find, is truely in my mind.

Taking thoughts captive and redirecting them, or reframing them in a way that creates a healthy thought, takes concious effort. I have to choose to do this over and over again. Yes, even today.

I’ve planted the seed, now comes the watering and nurturing. The fruit of PEACE is worth the fight.

As I bring my troubling concerns to God, we have a conversation.

  • I intentionally pass all my cares on to Him.
  • I make a point of choosing to trust Him to take care of my every need.
  • I hear His voice in the Words of the scriptures.

I remind myself to be patient – to not waver in my resolve to believe that God’s Word will do what He says it will do – that I will see the fruits of my intentionally choosing to walk in God’s PEACE.

Being at PEACE does not mean I do not care, am compacent, or am off in loo loo land hiding my head in the sand. NO… Just the opposite. Peace brings clarity, is energizing, and heals divisions.

As the verse in Phillipians instructs, I take the time to be thankful. What can I be thankful for right now? I find it’s not hard to find a whole list of things to be thankful for, yes, even during this pandemic. Again, thankfulness from the heart brings PEACE to my soul. Sharing with others what I am thankful for helps solidify my resolve to stay in PEACE.

(You can see “My thankful list for today” at the end of this post.)

I find comfort in the promise that God’s PEACE guards my heart and my mind – through Christ Jesus. It is a well-known fact that anxiety contributes to heart health and mental issues. PEACE is my antidote – my prescription – How practical is that?

In peace will I lie down and sleep…

The Scriptures are filled with verses that address both anxiety and peace. God wants to free us from our fears. He wants to see us experience PEACE in the midst of our circumstances.

1. Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2. Psalm 94:19
When anxiety was great within me,
 your consolation brought me joy.    
 

3. 2 Timothy 1:7
God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power love and a sound mind.

4. Proverbs 12:25
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”  (A good reason why we need each other.)

5. Psalm 4:8
In PEACE I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (A great verse to meditate on while lying awake at night.)

Psalm 119:165
Those who love the Word have great PEACE, and nothing offends them.

Isaiah 26:3
Thou will keep him in perfect PEACE whose mind is stayed on thee.

Numbers 6:24
May the Lord bless you and keep you
May the Lord smile on you
Shine his light upon you
May the Lord lift you
Turn His face towards you
Give you His PEACE

My RESOLVE:
Today I resolve to keep watch for any anxious thoughts that might wanter across my mind, to address them quickly, and to choose to trust God to turn those thoughts into thoughts that produce peace. Today I choose PEACE.


My THANKFUL List:

  • I am thankful I live in Canada in beautiful British Columbia.
  • I am thankful for being able to connect and talk with family and friends.
  • for my family and friends.
  • For the opportunity to ZOOM with a small group of women; Bible study hosted by Rushia Klassen, women’s pastor at Central Heights church – a great experience creating new brain cells.
  • for the opportunity to reach out to others – neighbors helping neighbors.
  • for the opportunity to spend more time talking to God.
  • For our silly bunny, Cocoa, who helps us keep a perspective on things.
  • for more time to reflect.
  • for more time to tend to my garden and to enjoy every flower and herb.
  • for more time to learn new things.
  • for more time to paint and create.
  • for more time to blog and work on filling in the chapters of those novels I’ve got in the works.
  • for a warm home, food on the table, fresh water. Things never to be taken for granted.
  • for all God’s promises.
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Journal Entry 2 – Finding PEACE During the Covid-19 Pandemic 2020

Journal Entry 1- Finding HOPE During the Covid-19 Pandemic 2020

April 7th, 2020 4th week of social distancing & self-isolating

Romans 15:13 (NIV)
13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. “

“HOPE” can be identified by it’s own chemical response in the body! When you feel hopeful, the body releases this chemical, rushing it through your veins, bringing life, healing and energy.

HOPE is very powerful and without it we cannot survive. (Dr. Caroline Leaf – Who Switched off my Brain?”)

Today everybody in the world is trying to process this new life we are forced to live. People are trying to stay calm, trying to make sense of it all, while using as little toilet paper as possible. I’ve caught myself counting the squares. Don’t tell me you haven’t done the same.

Having said that, I’ve been “privy” to using Sears or Eaton’s catalog pages in an outhouse – I most certainly am not too concerned about a little lack of TP.

pencil sketch – Carrie Wachsmann ©
Outhouse Memories

…HOPE…

Hope spreads as readily as any virus. If bad can spread, so can good.

Let’s get those HOPE chemicals flowing today by thinking the right thoughts; thoughts that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report … thoughts that encourage.

So…how does this painting relate to HOPE?

Oil on Canvas –  Carrie Wachsmann © 2020

I started working on this oil-painting in February. Initially I painted simply for the satisfaction of it all; painting with friends at the Abbotsford STREAMS Ministry led by Mike and AnnaMarie Bakker, and enjoying the therapeutic side-affects of creativity. (Note to all you Streamer artists: I miss our Monday paint-day – simply can’t wait till we can get back at it.)

At the time I started this piece, I had in mind a title that reflected
light in the darkness.

Little did I know, that in a few weeks our world would literally come to a standstill.

Now, several weeks later, having come to grips with the fact that we are all fighting a dark, evil enemy, and we might be doing this social distancing and self-isolating for some time, I settled into finishing the painting with purpose.

Title: Bringing Light to the Darkness
Inspired by: Deuteronomy 33:26   

Deuteronomy 33:26
26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
    who rides across the heavens to help you
    and on the clouds in his majesty.”

This Bible verse, Deuteronomy 33:26 was the inspiration behind the novel, The RYDER – a fantasy adventure. Here is a quote from The RYDER that brings this message of HOPE to David and Jessica; brother and sister who have been transported into another world, the world of Antoch, where they too come face to face with a dark and evil enemy.


“When lost in the mysterious forest
Through enemy land he rides
Call for Him and He will be
The Light where darkness hides”

I place my HOPE in Jesus
He is our Light in the darkness
Our salvation. Our healer and protector

Imagine…
“He rides across the heavens to help you!”   


A Christmas Story-‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

by Dr. Carrie Wachsmann

(inspired by a true event) Originally posted December, 2015. Some stories are simply worth repeating.

“It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old,

From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.

‘Peace on the earth, good will toward men’,

from heaven’s all gracious King!

The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.” 

Christmas music gently filled the little coffee-house. Unlike the carol heralding a ‘midnight clear’, this night was everything but. Snow fell fast and thick.

In the corner, a young man sat alone.


The young man © 

He looked out the window and watched as the last patron of the night plowed their way out of the parking lot.

“Young man, we’re closing.”

He nodded, put on his coat and made his way to the exit. He looked to be about fourteen, fifteen at the most.

As the door closed behind him, the cold quickly bit into his face and hands.  He pulled his collar up close to his face.

“Do you have a ride?” a voice called to him.

The young man turned to see someone standing in the shadows of the building.

”No, I’m good,” he answered firmly.

The man persisted. “I’m not so sure about that. It’s Christmas eve. Shouldn’t you be home with your family, sitting by the fire and enjoying hot chocolate, or something?”

The lad shrugged his shoulders as if to say… yah, so what. Who cares anyway.

The man stepped out of the shadows.


The old man © 

“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 2 – Carrie  ©] 

The young man saw that he was an old man. Old enough to make him wonder what someone this old was doing out in a snow storm at this hour of the night.

The old man continued. “Where you’re headed… it is not worth it… You do have options you know.”

The young man was beginning to feel somewhat uncomfortable. He stared at the old man not sure what to make of the encounter.

“How do you know where I’m headed?” he finally asked.

“I know that place, under the bridge.” The old man continued.  “You won’t find what you’re really looking for out there. Running away isn’t the answer.”

Now the young man paused.

How did this old man know that he was going to that “homeless place” where he might make it through the night?

Maybe if he was lucky someone would share their Christmas “spirits” with him.

And how did this old man know that he was running away?

The old man smiled knowingly and said. “I’ve been young and now I am old…but I have never seen God’s children forsaken”… The old man talked so strange…and yet he was most compelling.

“I know a place.  A place where you can get a hot bowl of homemade soup, and a good night’s sleep.”

“Follow me,” the old man continued.


The mysterious old man leads the way © 

“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 3 – Carrie  ©

The old man began to make his way through the deep drifts of snow. The young man hesitated but only for a second or two. “Man…what do I have to lose,” he mumbled.

He began to follow in the old man’s footsteps.

After some time, the old man stopped at a building with a sign that read, “The Welcome Home Centre”.  He turned to the young man. “They will take care of you.  You can stay as long as you wish.” Then he paused, looked the boy in the eyes and added, “God loves you, you know. He’s got plans for you”.

The young man did not know what to think. No one had ever talked to him like this before.

They stood in silence and waited.

Eventually a pleasant sort of man answered the knock on the door. The young man’s last bit of resistance melted away as he breathed in a blast of warm fragrant air. He smelled something wonderful.

“Come in… welcome,” the man said sincerely.

“I…ah..need a place to hang till this storm’s over,” the young man said, hesitantly.

“You’ve come to the right place then,” came the reassuring answer.

The young man sighed.

He turned and started to thank the old man but no one was there.

“That old man, who was here with me. He brought me here. He was just here,” the bewildered young man exclaimed .

“I didn’t see anybody but you, lad,” came the answer.

“But he was here, I followed him here. He told me about you…he knew stuff about me…he…”

Bewildered, the young man took one last look out into the white night. He saw only lonely, empty  streets and a fast disappearing single set of footprints that lead to The Welcome Home’s front porch.

footprints in the snow

Putting a kind hand on the young man’s shoulder the man at the door said, “It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened son. “I do believe you.  Come…I want to hear all about it.”

It’s now midnight and that brings our 2015 Christmas eve story to an end.

Yes, this young man’s life was changed forever that Christmas eve.

What will this Christmas bring you?

Will you let God’s love bring you a miracle this Christmas?

I wish for you, a life-changing kind of Christmas.

One that you will remember forever because it was…well…life changing.

You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book

Fireside Reads for Book Lovers

When it comes to Christmas, books and gift-giving go together like a cozy fire and a cup of hot chocolate.

Being a book lover/storyteller/writer, I’ve got a few fireside book suggestions.

Like me, you probably have a bookworm or two in your life. You can’t go wrong with the gift of a good book.

Beware… you are about to enter the world of mystery, adventure and fantasy. You’ll find books for the young and books for the not-so-young; mostly books for the young at heart.

Good Read suggestion #1 – Finding Christmas – A Mouse in Search of Christmas

Finding Christmas - A Mouse in Search of Christmas
Casey, a brave and handsome country mouse embarks
on a wild, winter adventure to find Christmas.
You are bound to be captivated by this charming little warrior mouse

and his best friend Bella.
Available on Amazon – in Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/2qZRTLh
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com


Good Read Suggestion #2 – Newfies to the Rescue

Newfies to the Rescue is filled with intriguing stories of the Newfoundland dog –
both tales of yesteryear and tales of today.
Did you know the course of world history may have been changed had it not been for the lifesaving instinct of the Newfie?
You’ll find many extraordinary events recorded in history involving the Newfoundland dog in this little book.
Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/35F45Qu
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com




Good Read Suggestion #3 – The RYDER – A Fantasy adventure for the young at heart

What does one teacher have to say about The RYDER?
“My class read The RYDER and no one wanted the adventure to end.
It’s a captivating novel with a fast-paced plot and dramatic action which teaches life-changing lessons that only he (The Ryder)
can teach to the story’s three-dimensional characters.”
April P.
Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/2rCATuM
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com


Good Read Suggestion #4 – Treasure Trap – a sequel to The RYDER

What started out as a sunny afternoon horseback ride for Jessica and David
turned into the search for a young boy they spot in the distance,
beckoning them to follow him.
As they attempt to keep up with him, they end up in an ice-cold, winter field

thousands of miles and a hundred twenty years from Grandpa’s farm.

This time-traveling adventure takes Jessica and David to the village of Skrytyy, where wicked, foreign-language speaking strangers have cast a spell over an entire valley; all for the love of a hidden and priceless treasure.

Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/2OV4yHz
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com


Good Read Suggestion #5 – Roadblocks to Hell

Fiction based on a true story.
How Walther Colt survives the cruel, callous and cold-blooded convicts of a Federal Pen,
with the help of an unlikely ally.

A must-read redemptive, true crime story.
Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/35XhIe7
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com



Good Read Suggestion #6 – KickStart to a Healthier You

Kickstart to a Healthier You – Body, Soul, and Spirit
P
erhaps you’ve already been working at improving your health,

or perhaps this is your first real introduction to a healthier way of life.
Either way, this book will help you gain valuable knowledge and practical advice.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is well worth the effort, so why not start today.

Easy healthy recipes included.
Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/35H3EoG
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com



Good Read Suggestion #7 – Chuzzle’s Incredible Journey

Chuzzle, a young, adventurous porcupine, with many endearing qualities,
embarks on a dangerous journey to find his dear friend Whuzzle.
He must travel past the Little Stream, through the Deep Forest,

beyond the Blue Pond, and up the giant Big Hill.
He will encounter many kinds of dangers along the way.
Chuzzle invites you to join him on his incredible journey as he bravely leaves the safety of his home and enters the mysterious unknown.

Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/2OyYMMU
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin

An “In Light of Eternity” Story

His name was John

 

We first met one afternoon when my husband and I stopped to shop for fresh vegetables at our local Fruiticana. He was slouched on the sidewalk, wearing a dark hoodie covering most of his eyes, a small bag beside him and his back to the wall. He waved as we entered the parking lot; I waved back, noting his tattered clothing and dirty hand.

 

As we left the parking lot, my husband felt compelled to stop. I was glad when he pulled out his wallet and called the man over. A single front tooth stood out as the man, who identified himself as John, smiled a big, broad smile. He thanked us for our “kindness” and then told us that Jesus was the reason he was here today and if it weren’t for Jesus, he would still be trapped by his addiction to alcohol. He added, “It’s been years since I’ve been free.”

 

That was the beginning of a rather unusual and rewarding relationship.

 

After that day, each time we visited Fruiticana, and John was sitting in his usual spot, my husband or I would stop to chat and leave him with a little something we prayed would make his life just a little easier.

 

On one occasion, I noticed a neighboring shop clerk stop to chat with John as she took her “coffee/smoke” break. On another occasion, I noted a bread truck driver hand John a soft loaf of freshly baked bread. He also took the time for a short chat. It appeared to me John had found community. In some small way, I determined I would be part of John’s unusual but caring community.

 

Once, in conversation with John, we talked about that no matter what happens, one day we will see each other in heaven. This journey on earth is for a time, but our forever lives are still to come.

 

2017 was one of the coldest and longest winters Abbotsford had experienced in many years. The weeks came and went, and I didn’t see John. I wondered, “Was he warm? Was he safe? Was he well? Was he still with us? Until one day while driving down Gladwin Road, I saw him walking down the street. Yes, John was still with us, and he seemed to be doing ok.

 

Finally, spring arrived. It was a wet and chilly April day, and this time Superstore was our grocery shopping destination. My heart did a little skip when I spotted John, sitting on a cement block in the underground parking lot, away from the bone-chilling, freezing rain.

 

I walked over to him, and he greeted me with his usual bright and cheerful, toothless smile. I shared some of what I had with him, and this time John shared back. He handed me a bunch of organic bananas. He asked if I would like to have them. He said he had too many bananas right now and they would just go bad. “Everybody gives me bananas,” he said.

 

I hesitated, but only for a moment. With a broad smile of my own, I took his bananas and thanked him. I told him I needed bananas and that he had just made my day. After all, I was part of his community, and that’s what you do in community. You share. I felt deeply honored to be officially accepted into John’s little community.

 

That was the last time I saw John.

 

Today, June 7, we stopped at Fruiticana to replenish our fruits and vegetables. When I saw the neighboring shop clerk taking her smoke break, sitting near where John usually sat, but this time alone, I walked over to her and asked her, “Have you seen John lately?”

 

“No,” she replied, “he passed away not long ago.”

 

I have to say my moment of sadness was but a moment, for you see, John is in heaven and most surely having the time of his forever life.

 

 

A Christmas Story – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

by Dr. Carrie Wachsmann

(inspired by a true event)

“It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old.

From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.

‘Peace on the earth, good will toward men’,

from heaven’s all gracious King!

The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.”

 

 
 
“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 1  Carrie ©
 

Christmas music gently filled the little coffee-house. Unlike the carol heralding a ‘midnight clear’, this night was everything but. Snow fell fast and thick.

In the corner, a young man sat alone. He looked out the window and watched as the last patron of the night plowed their way out of the parking lot.

“Young man, we’re closing.”

He nodded, put on his coat and made his way to the exit. He looked to be about fourteen, fifteen at the most.

As the door closed behind him, the cold quickly bit into his face and hands.  He pulled his collar up close to his face.

“Do you have a ride?” a voice called to him.

The young man turned to see someone standing in the shadows of the building.

”No, I’m good,” he answered firmly.

The man persisted. “I’m not so sure about that. It’s Christmas eve. Shouldn’t you be home with your family, sitting by the fire and enjoying hot chocolate, or something?”

The lad shrugged his shoulders as if to say… yah, so what. Who cares anyway.

The man stepped out of the shadows.

Twas the night before Christmas 2a image

 

“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 2 – Carrie  ©]
 

The young man saw that he was an old man. Old enough to make him wonder what someone this old was doing out in a snow storm at this hour of the night.

The old man continued. “Where you’re headed… it is not worth it… You do have options you know.”

The young man was beginning to feel somewhat uncomfortable. He stared at the old man not sure what to make of the encounter.

“How do you know where I’m headed?” he finally asked.

“I know that place, under the bridge.” The old man continued.  “You won’t find what you’re really looking for out there. Running away isn’t the answer.”

Now the young man paused.

How did this old man know that he was going to that “homeless place” where he might make it through the night?

Maybe if he was lucky someone would share their Christmas “spirits” with him.

And how did this old man know that he was running away?

The old man smiled knowingly and said. “I’ve been young and now I am old…but I have never seen God’s children forsaken”… The old man talked so strange…and yet he was most compelling.

“I know a place.  A place where you can get a hot bowl of homemade soup, and a good night’s sleep.”

“Follow me,” the old man continued.

 

Twas the night before Christmas 1a image

 

“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 3 – Carrie  ©

 

The old man began to make his way through the deep drifts of snow. The young man hesitated but only for a second or two. “Man…what do I have to lose,” he mumbled.

He began to follow in the old man’s footsteps.

After some time, the old man stopped at a building with a sign that read, “The Welcome Home Centre”.  He turned to the young man. “They will take care of you.  You can stay as long as you wish.” Then he paused, looked the boy in the eyes and added, “God loves you, you know. He’s got plans for you”.

The young man did not know what to think. No one had ever talked to him like this before.

They stood in silence and waited.

Eventually a pleasant sort of man answered the knock on the door. The young man’s last bit of resistance melted away as he breathed in a blast of warm fragrant air. He smelled something wonderful.

“Come in… welcome,” the man said sincerely.

“I…ah..need a place to hang till this storm’s over,” the young man said, hesitantly.

“You’ve come to the right place then,” came the reassuring answer.

The young man sighed.

He turned and started to thank the old man but no one was there.

“That old man, who was here with me. He brought me here. He was just here,” the bewildered young man exclaimed .

“I didn’t see anybody but you, lad,” came the answer.

“But he was here, I followed him here. He told me about you…he knew stuff about me…he…”

Bewildered, the young man took one last look out into the white night. He saw only lonely, empty  streets and a fast disappearing single set of footprints that lead to The Welcome Home’s front porch.

Putting a kind hand on the young man’s shoulder the man at the door said, “It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened son. “I do believe you.  Come…I want to hear all about it.”

It’s now midnight and that brings our 2015 Christmas eve story to an end.

Yes, this young man’s life was changed forever that Christmas eve.

What will this Christmas bring you?

Will you let God’s love bring you a miracle this Christmas?

I wish for you, a life-changing kind of Christmas.

One that you will remember forever because it was…well…life changing.

 

You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book

A Horse Whisperer Who Rescues Percherons

 

 

Horse whisperer, Mel and his wife Irene, live on a farm near Steinbach, Manitoba.

This is the story of the Percheron draft horses they rescue. 

 

The Rush’s farm is a sanctuary for these large magnificent draft horses. There is little use for these horses in our day and age, and so they are often left unattended in the farmers’ fields. Lack of care and attention results in a very powerful, wild and unmanageable animal.

Mel is a true horse whisperer. He rescues Percherons and takes on the challenge of taming these powerful beasts. With both patience and love they become useful and gentle creatures.

On several occasions over the Christmas holiday season, I’ve had opportunity to visit the farm. Each time I am treated to a old fashioned sleigh ride drawn by two powerful draft horses. The first time it was Silver and Dollar who were hitched to the sleigh.

Rescued Percherons - Carrie ©
Oh what fun it is to ride, in a two-horse open sleigh… – Carrie ©

That day Mel told me of the latest acquired two-year-old Percheron named Diamond.

Diamond had spent his entire life out in some farmer’s field. He was wild and tough and full of fire. No one could touch him. Without attention his life would be a short one. With great difficulty they were able to catch him and have him transported to the Rush’s farm.

When I first saw Diamond, he was running free and wild in the fields at his new home. Mel stated that at this time, all attempts at getting near the horse were futile. The horse had been with them for several months.

A year passed and I once again visit the farm.

Mel hitches up two beautiful black Percherons to the sleigh and we are ready for another ride through the acres of fresh snow and bush land.

He hands ME the reigns!

I take them… and feel the thrill of the ride in a whole new way.

Mel tells me that the horse on the left is Diamond.

 

Diamond & Silver - Carrie ©
Diamond & Silver – Carrie ©

Diamond!

I am astonished. This horse was gentle and intelligent, attentive and eager to work – and loving every minute of pulling the load behind him. Diamond was transformed.

“How did you do it?” I ask.

Mel tells me how they had finally lassoed Diamond and then wrapped the end of the rope around a large tree trunk. Seemingly effortlessly, Diamond pulled the tree and dragged it around the field until he was exhausted.

The battle of the wills had been won. Now they were able to bridle him and lead him quietly to the barn. Soon Diamond’s natural gentle nature and love of companionship rose to the surface under the kind and expert hand of the horse whisperer, Mel.

 

Come along for the ride …

This is Sedra.

 Rush’s beautiful 6 month old Bernard. She was a delight to have on the ride with us. She’d race ahead, then sit patiently for our sleigh to catch up.

Waiting for the sleigh - Carrie ©
Waiting for the sleigh – Carrie ©

 

Sedra rescuing someone who fell off the wagon…

Sedra rescuing one who fell off the wagon - Carrie ©
Sedra rescuing one who “fell off the wagon” – Carrie ©

 

Do you know what this is called or what it was used for?

Antique in the snow - Carrie ©
Antique in the snow – Carrie ©

I think it’s a manure spreader.

 

Looks like a Chevy under that blanket of snow…

Antique car snow bound - Carrie ©
Antique car – snow bound – Carrie ©

 

Back at the farm…

Looking for sugar cubes - Carrie ©
Looking for sugar cubes – Carrie ©

 

For more inspiring stories of hope, check out my author’s Storyteller site.

 

You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book

Background Story to ROADBLOCKS to HELL

 

WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?

Good question. I’m glad you asked. Here’s the story…

Pertinent Information (Documented 40 Years Ago) Discovered Days Before Roadblocks to Hell was to Hit the Presses!

February 27, 2008, Walt’s funeral – the day I realized I was to write Walt’s story. 

Five years later, one fine day in January, 2013, I woke up  with the absolute conviction the time had come. I began to write  Roadblocks to Hell.

I researched online and off. I dug through boxes for pictures, cards and letters, postcards, newspaper articles –  anything I could find. I set up interviews with key individuals and jotted down my outline.

4 Months and 185 Pages Later – “The Story is Finished!” – I Thought…

By the end of April, 2013, I proudly announced I had finished the first draft.  I started looking for and working on the images/illustrations, and proudly announced that the book should be available in a few months. But God had other things in mind. Over the next 27 months I would revisit, revise and rewrite many more times.

Just when I thought I was finished, I’d have another crucial bit of important information come to mind. More often than not, this would happen in the morning upon waking. I had the strong conviction that I was to also weave this into the story.

The second last time I stopped the press, was when one of my brothers mentioned something I hadn’t addressed; something he thought might be important to the overall richness/completeness of the story. I agreed and jumped in to research his suggestions. This story was becoming less fictional and more factual with each edition and rewrite.

As I did my online research, even more NEW information surfaced, due to a recent rewrite of an archived newspaper article by a journalist living in California. One of his buddies, a retired RCMP member living in Burnaby, BC, was the officer critically wounded in a major incident recorded in my book.

Now I had insight into some of the victim’s thoughts and feelings at the time of the shootout, as well as thoughts and feelings 30+ years later.

More additions and rewriting.

The story jumped from 185 to 244 pages.

 Trouble Getting Set Up on CreateSpace!  as a Canadian

Once again, I thought this must be it; I must be finished.

Where and how to print the book. Research indicated Print On Demand was the way to go. We decided to use CreateSpace, a company connected with Amazon. I was excited, thinking this was the day – but we were having trouble getting important information onto the Create Space application forms.

It seemed we needed a certain US Tax number specific to Canadians in order to be listed with CreateSpace. Several years back we had applied for this number when registering with Amazon. We looked high and low for the folder where we had stored the information. Nowhere to be found. So I prayed, asking God to help us find that very important folder.

Where in the World is that IRS Folder?

After hours over several days of trying to solve the problem with no success, Win finally decided it was time to resort to giving the IRS a call. To our relief they were able to give us the number over the phone.

This had to be the solution. But, once again we hit a problem. CreateSpace forms would not accept the number. Several days later, still no success. No one at CreateSpace seemed to be able to help us. Why the delay? Were we to go elsewhere?

Then something very interesting happened. A day or so later, I was pulling out an empty file folder from a box where we store the “still useable” empty folders, and what fell out of the folder I grabbed? The misplaced tax information from IRS. The number given by the IRS representative and the number in the folder were ever so slightly different. I was jumping for joy now. I would never have thought to look in the empties. A God thing for sure.

Note: the letter from the IRS read – “This is your one and only notice from us. Keep this information and number in a safe place.”

Back to CreateSpace…this had to be it. But their system still would not accept our number!!. Now what? God, what are you saying?

(BTW – The IRS changed the process recently … now all we need is our Canadian SIN to register!)

More Lost Information Suddenly Appears!

I was soon to find out there was yet another reason why this book was not ready to be called “complete.”

My husband was rummaging in the storage shed when he discovered something I had long given up as tossed or lost.

While searching for some of his own important misplaced items, Win found an old box, slightly damaged, musty smelling – probably due for the garbage can papers, he thought. As he flipped through the dusty contents, a red duo-tang binder caught his attention.

Inside was a Psychology research paper – Random Impressions of the Prison System – a research essay presented to Jay McGilvery, Douglas College and submitted by Carrie Wachsmann.

Win put it in my hand and said, “You might want to have a look at this.”

Indeed I did. The document included a series of interviews I had done with the main character, Walther Colt, while he was incarcerated in Matsqui Institution in 1975. 40 years ago!!

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My Lightening Fast Mind was Beginning to Understand the Roadblocks!

I was shocked, grateful and elated – all at the same time.

I took the week to read and mull over the research paper. The find was oh so timely!

First, the contents confirmed many of my memories I had used in telling the story.

Secondly, I now had additional detailed information, as well as several conversations which would add significantly to the authenticity and overall impact of the story.

You can only imagine how grateful I was for all the “roadblocks” I had encountered while writing this book. If I had found that research paper anytime after it was published, – well I think every storyteller out there knows how that would make one feel.

Are We There Yet?

264 pages.

3 extra chapters and 20 more pages later, I hesitantly asked the Lord… “are we finished yet?”

As for CreateSpace… we thought we’d try one more time before going elsewhere. This time we got someone on the line who did know what we should do. It worked! – and now we could publish on CreateSpace as Canadians.

So – are we there yet?

“Not quite”, came the answer. We still had several proofs to work through with CreateSpace. When the 1st proof came back with a washed-out look throughout the book, I wasn’t satisfied. (The cover was great) CreateSpace made some suggestions. A few days later the second proof arrived. I admit I was disappointed – nothing had changed!

We contacted CreateSpace again and they checked the latest PDF submission once again, but this time it was sent to a specialized department.  A couple of days later the report came  back. I needed to go through the book to ensure all of the text and images were:

In gray mode and 100% black.

Some text was showing up without color specification and I had left some of the images and all the news articles in color mode.

For the next few days, I made all the corrections as per their specifications. I also re-proofed the book several more times and…wouldn’t you know it,  found more minor errors.

Once again I was thankful for the delays.

We notified CreateSpace that changes had been made and ordered a third proof copy.

A week later it arrived. It looks great!

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If you click on the picture or this link here, you can order it from Amazon.com

(BTW, due to the complications, CreateSpace only charged for the first proof copy. Overall our experience with CreateSpace has been excellent.) 

And the Moral of The Story is…?

When I’m running into roadblocks and I just can’t seem to get that writing project signed, sealed and delivered…maybe there’s a reason. If I believe God put this on my heart to do, then He’ll let me in on what’s going on. My job is to trust Him, to ask Him to show me, guide me and give me insight.

Wisdom is ours for the asking. Expect an answer. Wait patiently, and the answer will come.

Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait on the Lord.”

To order your copy, click on the title here:

Roadblocks to Hell 

About ROADBLOCKS to HELL

My latest published work, Roadblocks to Hell is now available on Amazon.com and on CreateSpace.

 

Fiction, based on a true story,

Roadblocks to Hell is an arresting, drama filled, and redemptive narrative

 

Author’s Notes

Roadblocks to Hell is based on a true story.

Convicted of trying to kill the police chief at 15, Walt faces years in adult prison.

This is the compelling story of Walther Colt, headed down the dark and dangerous road of life in prison –  without parole.

Cali, a young Mennonite girl from a strict religious background remains his only friend.

Can she help? How will she help?

Follow Cali, and her family, as they spend decades investing in his life – in and out of prison.

Follow them as they  learn to love and appreciate Walt as a friend, true and loyal to the end.

Some elements have been fictionalized. The author follows the characters’ lives and activities as documented or remembered. Dialogue and thoughts are created to depict each individual character’s nature, their belief systems and their reactions to the events depicted in the story.

Names have been changed but the stories are based on actual events.

In some cases, dialogue (quotes sometimes used) is from notes taken during interviews with individuals portrayed in the story. The prison interviews and the funeral service, for example, are mainly verbatim.

Some scenes are reconstructed from newspaper articles.

One of my goals was to help the reader understand why a Mennonite girl from a strict religious background would connect and stay connected with this angry, rebellious man whose life was so antithetical to that of her own.

Born into poverty and heading down a dangerous and tragic road, how will this young man’s life end?

The purpose of this book?

Carrie Writes:

“I wanted to offer hope to those who have loved ones traveling down a similar, self-destructive road.

I wanted to offer encouragement to those already on that road; that your life has a purpose, can change and can become meaningful.

I wanted to help the reader understand why a Mennonite girl from a strict religious background would connect and stay connected with this angry, rebellious man whose life was so antithetical to that of her own.”

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A Peek Inside?

 

Here’s an EXCERPT from ROADBLOCKS to HELL

Chapter 19

Walt’s Travels

September 1971

The September Sun was still high in the sky as the young man ran. He ran like the wind, swift and sure footed across the grassy fields and through the muddy ditches. He ran like his very life depended on it.

Chest heaving, Walt stopped for a moment to catch his breath. Seeing a culvert he ducked into it, thankful for the protection it provided. From here he could survey the landscape quite nicely. He would head for the farm house about a half mile or so up the road. Beyond that he could see a cluster of trees. Taking a deep breath he did one more, check – check – check, triple check, before resuming his run.

Ahh, he had made a good choice. He could use that shirt hanging on the line. From behind the protection of several alders, he carefully scanned the yard and its contents. The place was quiet. He spotted one vehicle, but no movement, no one looking out the kitchen window. So far no dog. Luck was on his side it seemed.

He ran to the clothes line and grabbed the shirt. With no time to spare, he whipped it on and rolled up the sleeves.

A little big, but it would do.

Every moment of freedom was worth the price he would pay should he be captured. The things he had experienced at the hands of sick and hardened criminals was more than his wounded heart could endure. Today had been the last straw. Today he had done something about it. And that was why he had to break out.

He would have to keep going. Time was precious. Any moment now, the Stony Mountain head counters would know he was missing.

Highway traffic hummed in the distance. All he needed was a ride to the big city – mere miles away. The likelihood of being recognized in Winnipeg was almost nil. He’d keep a low profile and if people would just leave him alone…

A warm fall breeze rustled through the tall grasses around him. The smell of freedom had never been more inviting. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He would savor this moment, planting it deep inside the April 11 72 escape 5 300dpi 2recesses of his mind. He might need it some day.

His thoughts turned toward home. The familiar stomping grounds were relentless in their calling and he must answer, but first he would need a piece of hardware, and he would need ammunition.

Walt managed to hitchhike his way to Winnipeg where he eluded police long enough to acquire a dangerous weapon (a shotgun), steal a car and hold a man hostage.

Although at the time Walt would have strongly disagreed, someone upstairs was looking out for him that day. His hostage was cool, calculating and calm, something Walt did not expect. eventually, Walt let down his guard and that’s when his captive overpowered him.

Walt’s brief break for freedom cost him dearly; a further two long years tacked onto his already lengthy sentence.

Back in the “safety” of solitary confinement, an unremorseful Walt stewed in his thoughts for revenge. Once again he resolved that one day he would get even, and one day he would live in a world without bars.

 

About the author:

Born into a Mennonite family, Carrie spent her childhood in a small farming community in southern Manitoba. With only a few remaining inhabitants, Horndean was once a thriving little community. At one time Main Street boasted two grocery/general stores, two auto mechanic garages, grandfather’s feed mill, grain elevator, egg grading station, post office, church and school. Grandpa’s barn and homestead still stands, now owned and cared for by strangers.

At the age of fifteen, Carrie’s family moved to Steinbach, Manitoba. After she married, she and her husband moved to British Columbia, where they still make their home in charming Abbotsford.

Carrie’s interest in the arts began as a young girl. An imaginative child, she loved to draw, read, write and listen to stories. Their school library consisted of a mere three short shelves of books, not nearly enough to satisfy her need for creative reading and story-telling.

After school Carrie would often run home to sit down beside their old fashioned, console radio and listen to Aunt Ollie – a half hour program where Aunt Ollie read fables, mysteries and other delightful tales.

Carrie’s passion for storytelling and desire to create continued after marriage and children. She took several writing courses as well as pursuing painting, drawing and film making.

Her love and passion for Jesus is evident in all her artistic endeavors. She writes for both adults and children, fantasy and adventure being her favorite.

The story of Walt was a story she had on her heart to write since his death in 2008. It is her hope and belief that this redemptive story will be an encouragement and give hope to the reader.

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