Taking Up Serpents by Ian Sutherland *****

I first read an Advanced Review Copy of Sutherland’s new book, Taking Up Serpents,a thriller featuring his cyber expert, Brody Taylor. Brody’s life is in danger and his choices put also at risk his significant other, a detective who helps him through the thrilling dangers. I am not doing credit to this extremely well-written thriller. I halfheartedly expected to be bored or confused because I am only a step beyond computer novice. Neither adjective applies, however.
The author does an excellent job with the technical explanations. While I could not explain his actions or replicate them, at least I understood what Brody was doing because his actions were brilliantly, i.e.simply presented. The pacing of the story was fast, and the characters were realistic.
Yes, snakes do figure into the novel, and yes, Brody has the opportunity to avert world-wide disaster.
‘Nuff said, I hope,to pique your interest. I do encourage you to buy this book when it becomes available on Amazon the 27th. Ranked review, it is a definite 5 stars.
I then read his short story, Social Engineer, his first work presenting this character. It is a good introduction to his character and the situations he encounters. The love interest is not the same and I can see a growth in some of the relationships Brody has from this first one to the latest one. Brody has the potential to be a Jack Reacher or John Puller though his cyber world is quite different. I do hope to see this character in films.

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4 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself


Loving And Caring– 4 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself


Four Greek Words for Love

Let me tell you about the four Greek words for love that are within the marriage vows–most of them you may know. Agape, phileo, eros, and storge. Storge is in our vows with the words “in sickness and in health.” As one ages and the body deteriorates, this part of love can supersede the other three if the caregiver does not tend to self. The parents of small children have all of these kinds of love as well.



Agape Love

Agape is an unconditional love that is applied with some sacrifice. it is a serving sacrifice, a recognition of the Christ in the spirit of each person. Each human is a carrier of the God-sized hole that only Christ can fill. Your agape actions serve the Christ within; if the beloved is not a Christian, he may see you as a doormat or do-gooder, not a giver of the most precious love of all. Love, anyway. Apply this love to yourself as well. Parents begin this love when taking care so that the best physical health can be passed to their unborn children.



Eros is a worshipping kind of love. We think of erotic love as sexual, but actually when I worship my Savior and regard Him in his true nature, I fall in love–that is eros. We need some of this–a “cherishing” love, forsaking all others, and seeing the beloved as special and set apart. We experience this eros love when we look at our newborn child and fall in love. Every smile, every coo, every “first” is special because of eros.



Phileo–apply liberally to the body of Christ–the brotherly love that sees equality and friendship. This implies in the marriage that the two will be forever friends, best friends. Love that is good-natured, seeking joy in togetherness and in joint purposes is phileo. This love counsels the child and grows him or her to be a grown-up friend.



Storge–caregiving love. I will take care of you when you are well to keep you well; I will take care of you in illness because of storge love. Do you remember the story of the college president who gave up his career to provide personal care for his wife in her later days? Storge–apply to yourself so that you can love others. As a parent, I consider what is in the child’s best interests. What do I want for my child that he or she would want for himself? I want my child to be educated, socialized, able to be independent; I structure in those behaviors that work toward these purposes. I want my child to love Jesus; I model my love; I pray for and with them, take them to church.


Please consider

How can I agape love if I am worn out physically, spiritually?

My eros love must be reserved for others, not for myself. When someone eroses (totally made up word) you, receive the love as a gift of the highest order, and phileo him or her. If that is your special one, agape in return.


Storge is shown in many acts of service and may be confused with agape, but it requires the lover to be in the best shape, meeting own needs to provide care for others.


My husband is my care-giver/care-partner. I am still strong and independent enough to do many things for myself and do help him with some things. Dressing is easier with his help, and I try not to depend on him in this area unless we are rushed. Putting on shoes is his domain. If I make too many demands on him or his time, I stress him. As his partner, I have to remind him to take care of himself.


I gave my granddaughter my golf clubs. Unfortunately, he might as well give his away because he wants to stay close beside me. He does not leave to pIay; I want him to take the time off, not because I want to be rid of his attention. He needs to laugh more and escape more.


As a caregiver, part of taking care of one’s self may mean being a little selfish and carving out the ‘me’ time that nourishes the spirit. Take care to care for yourself.



Can the mother love the child when overwhelmed with financial needs, spiritual wounds, and physical exhaustion? She may “feel” the love, the eros, but is she in such a state that she cannot serve others in love? Does she lack the resources to phileo or storge?

Call To Action

As I am on a soapbox preaching today, look around at the single parents who need your help. Love them. Love Jesus first, always; then love self and others equally. Help others cast their burdens on Jesus.

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Do you remember Charlie Brown’s typical comment?  “Good Grief!”

Often there is nothing good in the cause for our grief.  But we do need to grieve  well.

In the past few days two young men whose lives touched or were touched by Copiah Academy, AKA Copiah Educational Foundation lost their lives.

These are reminders for those who teach and guide young people in  coping with critical incidents.

These are ideas are taken from my background as a licensed marriage and family counselor in debriefing critical incidents at the workplace.

Many young people do not know how to cope with the death of someone young .  Some will have experience the loss of a grandparent or other relative.  Somehow, the death of another young person shocks  or causes  one to realize his or her own mortality;  he loses for a while his false sense of invincibility.

As you give opportunity to students to process the grief as a group, notice those who lack words or emotions.  Their processing skills may be undeveloped, and they look to you to coach them into this hurtful incident.

Key questions to ask :

  1.  Do  you need to talk about________________(Note:  Every teacher  is not necessarily equipped to handle the emotions associated with sudden loss.  If the students do not respond, you may model your responses by answering these questions for you.  You may prime the pump by asking mature students to answer questions.  Females may be the best choice as many of them are more comfortable with emotional depth.) If there is no participation, tell about the effect on you.
  2. How did you hear about________?  or When did you first become aware of ________?Each young person should be able to answer this because it is safe, objective, and not inquiring about an emotion.For the next part, tell them:  Don’t share if you are not comfortable.
  3. Have you ever had similar times of sudden loss?  If so, please tell us about it/them. (If no one acknowledges this,  attempt to share your experience.)
  4.  What or who helped you to get through this experience? How did you cope in the past?  (Suggest those in your community of helpers that are sources–pastors, youth leaders, parents. professional counselors)

All reactions to loss are normal; “An abnormal response to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”

Some reactions include

  • depressed mood;
  • denial of feelings; fatigue and tiredness;
  • an insistence that things return to normal;
  • a questioning of God’s role in the incident; difficulty concentrating;
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt–even a feeling that it would be better if he or she had experienced this;
  • thoughts of their own death/loss;
  • anger against the young victim;
  • blaming of those responsible for any contrary condition that played a part in the loss;
  • disruption of sleeping and eating patterns; nightmares.
  • The important part to note is that while these reactions are normal in the present, it is not healthy for these reactions to continue to recur.

Behaviors to avoid:

  • Hurting others or self in your anger.
  • Use of unhealthful behaviors, including food, alcohol,or other drugs

Practices that promote healing

  • Talking with others and expressing how you feel
  • Do not withdraw form others
  • Do things that help you feel good and allow you to have a sense of self-control
  • Eat properly and regularly
  • Exercise and get good nutrition
  • Give your mind “vacations” from the overwhelming shock and processing–do enjoyable activities or participate in healthful hobbies that allow you to take your mind off the incident
  • Limit caffeine
  • If you have sleeping difficulty, get up and write out your thoughts or get up and do something constructive
  • Write letters to victim, to family members or ones very close to victim, to self
  • Use spiritual resources
  • Participate in rituals (Set up a table or bulletin board, if appropriate, to allow creation of a memorial)–this includes the visitation wake and the funeral
  • Do not make rash or impulsive decisions–if you have a good idea, include others, particularly level-headed ones
  • Be patient with yourself as you work through grieving process
  • Know that the news of similar incidents can stimulate your own feelings of loss
  • Avoid personalizing or taking responsibility for how others respond to this incident–each person’s response is unique and personal
  • Ask for support
  • It’s okay to cry!!!!!!
  • Support others as you are able.
  • Work toward accepting the event and coming to a sense of peace about the consequences

You may call me if you need or want additional help

Dot Day 601 892-3614      

Pathways Christian Counseling 601 894 2024

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DESCRIPTION:   Emma died at a young age during the Depression years in Mississippi, shortly after her miscarriage with her third child, leaving behind one son and one daughter, less than three years old.  her husband Houston remarried, and his second wife died within one and one-half years of Emma’s death;  Etta left one child.  Fast forward 20 years to the death of their granddaughter and the attempted murder of a second child.  It turned out that poison had been given to each of these.

Title Possibilities

  1.  Murdered: The Sharecropper’s daughter

2.  Death Comes to the Farmer’s Daughter    3.  Till murder do us part

4.  Of death and retribution                               5. Selected for Murder

6.  Family secrets                                                  7.   Secrets unearthed

8.  Grave Unmarked                                              9.  Necessary evil

10  entitled to happiness                                       11  Murder for success

12  Family disrupted                                               13  Family interrupted

14  Sweet revenge                                                   15   A taste for murder

16  Fits and ends                                                     17  Mississippi Mayhem

18.  Mississippi murder                                         19.  Murder, Sweet Murder

20, Family murderer                                               21.    death insurance

22.  other______________

Declare your choice in the comment section, and send your email address to   dotday@bellsouth.net to receive a copy of a short story “That’s What Friends Are For.”

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Worth thinking!

The Falling Thoughts

From the moment we take our first breath, to the moment we take our last and all the time in between is called LIFE. Everyone has a different and unique prospect about life according to their experience and the way they were brought up. It’s fast, short and unstoppable for some and yet others live a slow, simple and steady life. A thought ponders in my mind; do we really live our lives to the fullest of its capability? Real answer in my opinion is No. Breathing is not a determining factor of living life. Being rich doesn’t mean you are happy or being poor doesn’t mean that you are not enjoying your life. This reminds me of a joke I recently heard. It seems to be fitting for what we are discussing here. “An old guy asked a young lady to go out .she said umm… you are old…

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Most of the time most of us are able to handle our own stresses quite sensibly, but sometimes we need some reminders.

Step One: Consider The Challenges In Front Of You.
Healthier relationships begin with your consideration of the current life challenges set before you. “ Keep in mind the adage: If God brings you to do it, He will bring you through it. We may be in a set of conditions not of our own making, but we can think our way to change the way we look at our circumstances. Sometimes we can take action to change the circumstances.

Victor Frankl survived a prison camp during the Holocaust when he allowed the influence of a ray of sunshine to instruct him. He made the decision that while he had little control of his personal situation, the German guards who decided his current life affairs could not control his mind. The joy of that sunbeam stretched him to look for those situations where he had control.

Also note that we are only now considering that which is in front of us and can be discerned. There will be others as we accumulate decisions and consequences.

Step Two: Analyze Courses Of Action And Evaluate Their Possible Effects On The Parties Involved.
What are your choices? Are there other possibilities? Gather as much information as is practical. Consider carefully the source of information when trying to make decisions that are life impacting for you and/or others.
The more you push yourself when you’re stressed, the less you’re likely to achieve. Trying harder increases the pressure and the inefficiency. Keep in mind the things you tell yourself. Change the words ”I have to ”to the words “I choose to.”
Taking the time to take stock of the demands you think and feel are on your life helps you to put things in perspective and plan your next moves. Others have said and perhaps counted that God states, “Fear not,” 365 times in the Bible. I don’t know the number of times His promise to be with me has sustained me, but this admonition speaks volumes to an anxious heart choosing to decide.

Make sure that the solutions you use will be helpful in the long run as well as in the short run.
This involves your overall goals for your life and for the lives of those whom you directly influence. Do you know what you’re working toward? Do you already have a ten-year or a five-year plan? Where do you want to be in the next 5 to 10 years?

Do your choices reflect your values?

If I’m a Christian, I can do something for expediency’s sake that is not in the best interest of my children. I can clean really well and really fast if the kids will just go into the family room and stay out of my way. However, I want them to grow up to be productive and helpful, able to contribute to the family’s well being. If I want them to learn to be independent, I need to give up doing things for them so that they can learn to do things for themselves. My clear choice is to allow them to learn how to clean by working along with me and showing them the methods I use to be fast and productive.

Consider also whether you’re letting society dictate your actions. For instance, in the small town where I live there is a societal expectation for some parents that all little girls take dancing lessons and all little boys play sports. That seems to be the unspoken norm; yet when the parent considers this norm, he or she realizes this expectation does not fit his children’s wants or needs or household budget. If it is a choice worth pursuing, consider what each of you can do to make the choice possible. If your son shows great skill as a football player in his elementary days, does the family need to sacrifice family vacations in the middle school years so he can participate in specialized sports camps? What sacrifices are needed for us to fit the unspoken demands of a materialistic society?

Step Three: Decide On Your Course Of Action And Put The Play In Motion. An Unmade Decision Is A Decision. Failure To Decide Weakens Future Choices And Your Ability To Act. Plus, I Have Failed To Lead.

Sometimes, as a Christian, I do get the message to wait to act. Seek and expect God to answer when we ask. However, we may not discern God’s telling us to move either way. We trust that He has equipped us to analyze the set of circumstances, consider the pros and the cons, evaluate the possible results of our choice, and take a step into the unknown, setting into play whatever the outcome may be.

Will we mess up? Will there be disastrous consequences? Quite possibly! But we are taking faith steps. God will stop us if we head into a wrong direction. But we need to seek His face and ask for his direction. We must expect an answer. If He reveals something that causes you to second-guess your almost-decided-upon course of action, that is often the reminder to go in a different direction.
Too frequently, I have not counted the cost, considered whether the outcome justifies the sacrifice of time and effort, have not asked God to direct me. Without God’s direction, we might as well as get a two-headed coin and do what we want to do.

Step Four: Affirm Yourself as a Leader.

Not everyone is stressed in making decisions. Many have been allowed to share opinions and make decisions as they were parented and have learned to be at ease in trusting their decision-making abilities. As a leader in your family, take note of how you can provide opportunity for your children to learn to make responsible choices and decisions, to evaluate the outcome of the results they have made. Take note of your process in making this decision, and apply similar steps to make future decisions.

STEP FIVE: Make Other Decisions Impacting This Choice And Any Others Set Into Motion With Your Action. Trust The Results To God. His Hand Is At Work, Redeeming Your Actions.

Do you stop to think of Biblical characters as real, living human beings who made life decisions and then faced the outcome of those choices? One of the best real-life examples is the Genesis story of Joseph. His brothers chose to look at a set of circumstances with ungodly eyes. They did not trust God’s commandments enough to obey them.

Acting from jealousy, they decided to kill Joseph who seemed to be their father’s favorite son. They worked out the story they would use, but changed their minds and sold Joseph into slavery. Joseph could have chosen from several negative attitudes, but worked hard as a slave, remained true to his master, and rose to a level of prominence in the government of Egypt as a leader and decision-maker.

Outcome was that years later his brothers were compelled by circumstances to trek to Egypt to face Joseph in the buying of grain during a time of famine. He identified himself to them, and they expected retribution. Joseph had other plans: he blessed them and pointed out that what man had meant for evil, God had intended for good. God had given him the big picture.
We do not have the ability to see beyond this present moment, but God does. Choose Him as your leader and director; trust Him that in decisions He will redeem what seem to be your worst mistakes.

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JUST thinking

JUST thinking

One man’s creativity is another man’s brain damage. (thinking of yourself in the face of doubt)

Judge people by what they do, not by what they say.

“I only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” Dorothy Day, social activist

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Weekend Edition – When a Writer Moves …

Source: Weekend Edition – When a Writer Moves …

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