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Monday, May 22, 2017

See Your World

Roman aqueduct, Segovia, Spain

My brother and his wife recently visited us in our little part of the world (Spain). We traveled four and a half hours away. We saw Roman ruins, cathedrals, castles, and homes dating back to the 900s, medieval cities, and more “modern” cities. In some ways, it was as if we were in a shifting time warp: Roman and medieval in the same town, modern tourists standing under a Roman aqueduct taking pictures with selfie sticks, cute little “princesses” staring at armor from the 1600s, students taking in Moorish architecture . . . .

Why travel?

I believe there are many reasons, but my memory was refreshed these last few weeks.

Medieval house, Covarrubias, Burgos, Spain
Travel helps you:
  1. See the world in a different context. When you travel outside your country and your home, you get a fresh view of who you are and how you fit in. There are different customs, foods, and life experiences. The world around you is vast, and there’s a need for Christ everywhere.
  2. Use your language skills. Over those weeks, we were in both Spain and France, and it was helpful to know the languages, be able to read signs, and travel with ease.
  3. Appreciate “living history.” We went to castles, cathedrals, villages, and palaces. We wandered over countless cobblestoned streets. We saw the homes of the uber rich—kings and queens—and the normal folks. We touched Roman rocks, used in construction. We peeked down into ancient wells.
  4. Enjoy art. Through the centuries, artistic styles change and morph. From tapestries to modern sculptures, we saw a lot of art from across the ages. They say “art imitates life,” and indeed, it does!
  5. Breathe different air. A change of pace and surroundings refreshes the soul. Jesus said, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while (from Mark 6:31). Just a little rest and experiencing a different, interesting place renews the spirit.

Royal palace, San Idelfonso de la Granja, Segovia, Spain

I’m well aware that not everyone lives in Europe, but there are amazing things to see within a few hours of your house. Have you visited them . . . yet?

Take day trips. Enjoy! You’ll return home tired but refreshed.

I guarantee it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fiction Review: Fatal Transaction

Fatal Transaction, by W. Richard Lawrence is a Christian suspense novel.

Sara Beckwith is a computer programmer and hacker genius working for the bad guys. Her boss, Levy, has already made millions through a credit card scam, and he wants much more. Levy always gets his way. People who cross him quickly find themselves dead or worse—tortured slowly, until their brains turn to mush. Sara is aware that, when her job is over, he’ll do the same to her.

She plans to run—and to steal Levy’s money so she can live in style. Sara imbeds code deep, creates secret passwords, changes her identity, and moves Levy’s stolen money around and to her new accounts. She uses some of it to buy a ticket to Italy.

On the very day she’s going to leave, Levy's goons locate her. They rough her up, and Sara is miraculously rescued by Derry, an innocent young man who happens to be in the right place at the right time. He whisks her away in his car and takes her to his home, calling a friend who’s a nurse to attend to her injuries.

Meanwhile, Levy has everyone on his team looking for Sara.

What happens when Levy’s goons find Derry? Do they also get Sara? How does this end? You’ll have to read it for yourself!

This is a great book! It’s exciting and then some. It’s also clean with a Christian tone. I read the Kindle edition, which has a few subject-verb agreement problems (maybe four in the whole book). Otherwise, it’s well written. The author shows he really understands computers and computer crime. I found it fascinating. He effectively develops the characters of Sara and Derry, and some of the minor characters also have realistic depth to them. I really enjoyed Fatal Transaction. It’s the first I’ve read by W. Richard Lawrence. He’s written another novel, and I’ll be sure to check it out. 

Easily five stars.

Note: I wouldn’t recommend this book to younger teens. It covers some difficult subjects: rape, murder, and torture among them. It’s also fairly violent. It isn’t crudely written, though, and sexual sins, including rape, are stated but not explicit. If you’re very squeamish, you might want to skip this book. The torture is realistic.