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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Creepy Little House by the River

When Bruce and I were first married, we rented a cottage by the Fox River in Illinois.
That place was creepy.
It was an old story and a half structure that --the locals say--had once been a speak-easy during prohibition days.
Legend has it that Al Capone used to boat his bootleg up the Fox River from Chicago and cache the stuff in various houses along the way.
This little cottage may well have been one of those places.
The lower level of the cottage still sported smoky windows. Now, only ancient bar stools and cobwebs populated the once thriving speak-easy. 
When I returned from work each evening, I had to park on one side of the house, then walk around the old saloon and go up some dark, creaky steps onto a deck that led to the "front" door.
I didn't like doing that at night. . . and alone.
Anyone could have been lurking, just waiting to pounce. Or so I imagined.
The upper floor, where we actually lived, had been updated with plush carpet, two bedrooms, a nice bath and a modern kitchen.
 But for me, just knowing about the place's history gave me the creeps.
On top of that, a deep, swift-moving canal skirted the front yard like a castle moat, and dark woods surrounded the remainder of the property.
On nights when Bruce was away on business and I was all alone in the cottage, my mind concocted all sorts of suspenseful scenarios involving escaped convicts, bad-intentioned aliens, or flesh-eating zombies clawing at the outside walls with rotting fingers.
Those were the nights when I cursed the fact that, as a child, I'd filled my mind with too much horror TV.
One particularly scary night I called an older, wiser Christian friend. (I was a baby believer then.) She encouraged me to replace my negative thoughts with  wonderful thoughts from scripture.
Here are a few that have helped me banish the old thoughts:

"Never will I leave you;
Never will I forsake you." (Heb. 13: 5)

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy --think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)

"He will cover you with His feathers,and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day. . . " (Psalm 91: 4-5 NIV Bible)

The faithful presence of God is much, much more real than the stirrings of an over-active imagination!


  1. Now I know why you're such a good suspense writer. You've had a lot of inspiration. I don't like to be in any house alone at night. So glad God is always with me.

  2. With three older siblings to continually jump out and scare us little twins, I'm am now hot-wired for "what's around that dark corner?"