Archive for the ‘Heroes’ Category


Today began like any other day; one where I’m surrounded by  things I ought to do on one side, and things I want to do on the other.  In the middle of my procrastination (actually I’m still procrastinating by typing this up but I wanted to share and I have most of the review done in my head) I was discussing Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart with Megan, and went to grab my copy. I was all set  to happily thumb through the story I  love while encouraging her to read it. To my horror, pages fell out of the book.

Okay, so I got my copy in an omnibus edition, so it’s over forty years old, so I only paid a dollar for it at a library book sale. It falling apart in my hands is not acceptable!  Thankfully, I know someone who knows about bookbinding.

My Dad worked in a book bindery as a young man.

The first thing he tells me, is that this is a perfect bound book, not a folio binding.  The good news for the book, is that we can fix it. Folio bindings are a little more complicated than perfect, they’re stronger and more expensive too.

Before I go any further in my adventure in book repair, let me say that this is an amateur fix on a book  with the sole goal  being that I can read the tome without it falling to pieces.

All right, onward for the step-by-step how to perform perfect bound spine surgery.

Step 1: Acquire the help of someone who has some experience in bookbinding

This is very important. Without the aid of someone who has some experience in this, you could wind up with a mess.  So as tempting as it is, don’t go this one alone.  If you don’t know anyone who has experience in bookbinding (and it’s becoming somewhat harder to find those with this skill) click here for some advice. He has a great video series on book binding, and this shows how perfect binding is done.  Also, don’t try this with any book you can’t throw away. Remember, I’ve only got $1 invested in my book.

Step 2.: Acquire tools.

It’s important to use the right kind of adhesive with a perfect bound book. It needs to be able to flex and hold at the same time.  Most of the book pages are still holding together with the original glue which make the work simpler for us.  I also dabble in folio hand book binding and have some adhesive in the basement.


To apply the adhesive, we use a foam brush, the kind that most craft stores sell. I use these for mod pod too, and wait until the craft store puts them on sale for $0.10 each  then buy as many as I’m allowed to, usually there’s a 50 brush limit or something like that. A paper cup to put the glue into, a set of adjustable clamps, two pieces of scrap wood, and a vice are also needed to do this.


Step 3: Prep the book

Dad aligns the sections of the book that are still holding to the glue and cloth of the spine, then clamps the loose pieces to the top of the pile. This gives him a block of paper to work with that is stable.  It’s important to make certain all the pieces are even, because ones the glue sets its going to stay like this.


The pages here are clamped to the back of book, not to the workbench.  It takes several tries to get everything lined up as it should be and careful adjustments are made until he’s satisfied that the pages are right, not necessarily ramrod straight, but aligned. After all, I’m going to be opening this book and closing it quite a bit.

Step 4.) Apply the adhesive


Dad applies the adhesive with the foam brush, carefully coating both the paper edges, and the membrane that has become disconnected from them. Originally, after the paper was treated and glued the cloth was rolled over the naked spine and allowed to dry. We could cut the paper spine away and do the same but then we’d have to re-attach it using the proper tapes and that’s more work that either of us are interested in doing for this book. Carefully, Dad matches up the upper portion of the book with the lower now-glued portion, and I stroke/press the spine through the cover, making several passes to make sure that the cloth and pages have met and any excess glue is squeezed out and wiped away.

Step 5.)  Position the book in the vice and allow the glue to dry for 24 hours

The end piece  that you see dangling here  is not really connected to the pages, it’s a different piece of cloth than what I smooth through the spine. See how our alignment isn’t perfect?  And also note the chunks of text that you can clearly see even now that it’s in the vice. It won’t win any book beauty pageants, but then again, that isn’t the goal.  The goal is to have a repaired, readable tome.  And that, I have.  I’ll update this tomorrow with the last picture and the book open to the repaired section so you can see how it turned out. Until then, if you have any questions, post them below and I’ll pester Dad with them.   Also, if YOU have any tips for repairing books, post them in the comments below.

Yep, I finally got the second post up at Tome Raider about meeting Timothy Zahn. Tomorrow, I’ll have some content here. But for now, head on over to the other blog and check out my moment of glory.

Timothy Zahn 077

Christmas 2012 020
Dear Book Buying  Customers;

Books are my passion, and I work very hard to know what’s current (what book is the latest release by your favorite authors), as well as  what would be a good read for your son, your daughter, your mother-in-law and your great-uncle. I love connecting readers with stories that are worth while. But this past week I’ve not only been helping you find the perfect read, you without knowing it, have been telling me stories. And those stories have taught me a something. Let me explain.

Christmas shopping is stressful. A ll those expectations  of finding the PERFECT gift for each person on my list UNDER my budget price and in the right COLOR  are enough to make me  break  into hives.  The media isn’t helping either telling me  that the world is in sorry shape and making me  second guess every cent I spend on myself or someone else. Unfortunately  I can’t change  the economy,  the  expectations others have of me , or the number of parking spots in  lot in front of the stores.

What I can change, and I’ve I know this because I’ve watched you do it, is how I  handle all this shopping stress.

To the dear lady who let the gentleman with just the card to buy cut in front of her while she sorted her purchases and coupons, thank you! You saw that he was upset and running late and gave up your right to go first even though you were there five minutes before him.

To the gentleman who gave up your coupon to the woman in line before you because  you were going to use it on a card  that was four dollars and she needed to get a  CD that was nearly twenty dollars,  you are my hero.  And her hero too.

To the mother who took her screaming, tantrum throwing  child out of the store even though it meant that you couldn’t buy your basket of goodies for your class, you are amazing. You spared the whole store a painful melt down AND set boundaries with your child that will last a life time. If I had enough money I would have bought the things for you and carried them out to the car.  I’ll be here when you come back, and you’d better believe I’ll give you a standing ovation and also help you find what you need.

To the woman whose friend used and the LOST her cell phone in the store, your grace and kindness to her and refusal to become flustered or critical,  made  grin. You were so like Jesus to her, I wanted to clap.  I didn’t, but I wanted to.

And to the grandfather who spent over an hour with your granddaughter looking at Bibles  enduring the squeals, indecision,  and the ‘I want the pink one’ to help her pick out  the Bible she loves even though it was over your budget  by ten dollars; you sir showed me how to buy a piece of eternity.

All of you  have reminded me that it isn’t about finding the perfect gift for the ones that I love, but about being like the Perfect Gift  the Lord has given to me.

So, from behind the counter, thank you for the lesson, even though you didn’t know you were teaching one.

Coriam Deo

Huttah! We got through DAY ONE of Operation Christmas Child Collection Week. *Whew* Now on to DAY TWO.  I won’t be there today, which guarantees that all the amazing things will happen today! Though I must admit yesterday is going to be hard to beat. We took in over 725 shoe boxes yesterday and if it wasn’t for our AMAZING and PHENOMENAL, and CHRIST LIKE volunteers, we’d be so swamped! Take a look.

It started, like this:

Just a few at first, brought in through the front door. No sweat, I had the people dropping off sign the log books and everything was smooth and easy.  It didn’t stay that way for long. Oh no.

And then a wave of boxes.
And another wave of boxes.

And another and another and another
And another and another and another

There was no end to the convoy of hope and joy that entered the building, though we were beginning to be swamped.

If it weren’t for our volunteers, we would be buried head and shoulders,

The blessings just piled up around our shelves, around our small cubbies and cubbie holes.

The only reason that we were able to do what we did,  is because of our . ..

Phenomenal and amazing volunteers that came in and were our utter heroes, and the prayers of all the saints who surrounded us on this day.

Your prayers, their hands and feet, our facility, and that is how  Jesus got  Day one DONE.

It’s the craziest time of the year! It’s  Operation Christmas Child Collection Week at work. Most of you know, I work in a bookstore.  What you might not know, is that it is a Collection Center for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes the week before Thanksgiving, in November.  That’s right, for one full week  work becomes a well-organized chaotic mess. See those boxes? They’re called  crates and each one of them is crammed as safely as possible with

Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.  If you don’t know what Operation Christmas Child is, click here and you’ll be redirected to their home page. It’s a part of Samaritan’s Purse, overseen by Franklin Graham.  Our part of  helping Operation Christmas Child is collecting the boxes others have packed in our area and then crating them, and putting them on the tractor-trailer truck which is parked out back. Each truck carries between 3,000 and 5,000 shoe boxes. Their destination is the processing center in North Carolina where they’ll be checked, sorted and designated
for countries all over the world.

Sounds easy, right?

It is, and it isn’t. The store doesn’t stop being a bookstore, we just add to our tasks by putting Operation Christmas Child on top of everything else that needs to be done. There are log books to be meticulously filled, boxes to be counted and re-counted and just physically finding a space for all the boxes in the stock room is a triumph of faith over mathematical certainties.  I’m pretty certain that we bend the physical proportions of the back room every year. Last year we took in over 10,000 shoe boxes (thankfully not all at once) and this year, with the push to the 100 millionth shoe box  we’re expecting even more.  But, with less of these very important people:

Hardly anyone has contacted the store to volunteer. Less of these heroes, means a steeper uphill climb for the rest of us this week.  Christ will make a way, it is true. He knows exactly how He’s going to get us through this time; but at this point, less than 24 hours from “go”, I haven’t got a clue how we are going to make it.  So if you are in an area where Operation Christmas Child will be collecting shoe boxes, PLEASE call the collection and relay centers in your area and PLEASE volunteer. I’m 100% certain, my store isn’t the only place that’s short handed.

You might see shoe boxes packed with a handful of things here but the reality is, they’re love bombs.

I’ve heard so many amazing stories from people this week, who can’t wait to bring in their shoe boxes. Some in the past have done ten or more but this year are only doing one or two. That doesn’t matter in the least. Every box matters.

Because every child receiving a box, matters. They are of infinite value, the little ones that get the shoe boxes. And no matter what the cost of the shoe box you put together, the value of it upon being handed to them, is priceless.

Have you worked with Operation Christmas Child? Is this your first year?  Have a story to tell or a tip to share? Write it in the comments below!

This is Zoe.  A lovely young lady who loves Jesus, her Mom and Dad, her Grandma, her Grandpa, all her aunts and uncles, and her friends.  She also loves horses.

Yesterday, something changed  for Zoe. She passed through death; from this side of eternity, to the other.

She had the best traveling companion though, Christ Himself.  Her family had walked as far as they could with her through the valley of the shadow of death. The One who conquered death, there was no such boundary for Him. He carried her the rest of the way, all the way home.

Now, not only does Zoe love Jesus, she sees Him face to face.

Some traveling music, for the rest of us, on the longer journey through the valley:

I Can Only Imagine~Mercy Me
When the Stars Burn Down~Philips, Craig, and Dean.

More thoughts on this, tomorrow.

Coram Deo Scribes.

I was driving home from work last night, tired, wanting home and wanting the day to be over when I heard what sounded like the rear tire blowing. Flinching as my heart leaped  into my throat I gripped the steering wheel hard and shifted my foot to the brake, beginning to slow down. I checked the rear view to see who was behind me, and saw what looked like rain all over the window. A glance in the side mirrors showed that whoever was behind me was a ways back. I’d just come out from underneath and over pass and wondered what in the world I’d run over, when the back window  began falling inward.  My heart seized, and my brain caught up with what had happened.

It wasn’t a  tire that had exploded, but the rear window. I could hear the air whistling, and then hissing, and then roaring through the open space as  “rain” crinkled and tinkled and fell inward and outward. The headlights of the cars behind me were suns in a sea of darkness and I began accelerating  again. Overhead, there were rumbles of thunder as lightning jumped from cloud to cloud.
Please Lord, just let me get home before the rain comes, and don’t let me kill myself or anyone else   I prayed.

I turned off the A/C and hit the “mute” button on the steering wheel so I could concentrate. All I could hear was the hissing of the wind, the drum-drum-drum of the tires over the highway road joints, and the crack of the glass falling either inside or outside. With a fleeting thought of  I really don’t need this, this week Lord.  Followed by  I hope that this is covered, I don’t need one more blow against my checking account I pulled off the high way, and onto some back roads.  I managed to get my phone out and called home, telling Mom what had happened and she promised she’d have the garage open and ready for me.

It started to rain as I turned onto the road running along the backside of my neighborhood and when I turned into the neighborhood proper all the mature trees were umbrellas for me.  A few more minutes and I was safely home, the rain having decided it wasn’t ready to gush down after all.

Mom helped me file a claim with  my insurance company last night and they  set me up with a glass replacement company who will be coming out today to replace the window, costing me nothing. I didn’t die, nor did I kill anyone on my way home. And, Mom & Dad dealt with the glass company this morning, letting me rest my weary self several hours longer just because they love me.

If that’s not a rescue on all sides, I don’t know what would be.
Thank you, everyone who has prayed for me this week, I’ve certainly had the Lord around me as a shield and buckler this week.
I’m definitely ready for a break from adventures, however, and if I’m not around for a bit, it’s because I’m off glutting on my favorite movies and writing.

What about you Scribes? Any adventures you’ve been enjoying (or not enjoying) this week?  Does  anyone have  prayer requests? I’ll tuck them into my own prayers in the evening if you leave them in the comments below. Don’t want people seeing them? E-mail me  at  and in the title line just write ‘prayer request’

Coram Deo.

One of the ways that I encourage myself when I’m down in the dumps, is I review my heroes. I have a mental hall of them, and I like to stroll through it from time to time to remind myself that I am; not alone in how I’m feeling, not alone in my failures, not alone in my journey, and definitely not alone in my times of doubt.  Today, I discovered a sub-wing of the hero hall  labelled “Imaginary Heroes” and  with my writer’s curiosity peaked ( I mean who knows what secrets I keep from myself) I slipped inside. Here is what happened, when I did.


“He Stoops!” Sandfly greeted me, and threw an arm companionably around my shoulders. I laughed in delight.
“He does indeed” I grinned into his dear features, so different from my own. He winked and led me further into the room.   Apparently there was a meal going on, or a party. The place was crowded with forms, and I could hear  the indistinct murmur of conversations,  the chuckle of fellows and  the merry  giggles of ladies.  Around a corner was a  thick sectional couch and several youths lounged on it. One of them had his boots on the back and his head down where his feet should be. I gave a yelp of joy, and held out my hands. He flip-tumbled backwards off the cushions, righted himself and  dusted off his regal outfit.

“Never Alone” he reminded me as he came over, taking both sets of fingers and giving them a smart shake”You’re Never Alone.”

Sandfly stepped back and folded his arms over his chest, his eyes bright.

I  jerked the youth  forward crushing him to myself, hugging him hard enough to make him grunt.

” Girl cooties, and also ribs, my ribs are not designed for this” he protested. I fought back tears.

“Oh Aidan, those words have helped me so often.” He flushed berry red, and scraffed the back of his hair, sheepish, as I let him go.

“Don’t I get a hullo?” murmured the youth who had been sitting beside him, right-way up.  I stared at him. Dark hair, freckles, a face that was both youthful and kingly.

“Edmund?” I whispered and the corner of his mouth hitched.

“King Edmund, the Just” he nodded as he closed the distance between us and folded me against himself for a long minute.”Remember, traitors become sons and daughters because of Him” he reminded me, and touched his forehead against mine. I nodded, my throat too full of my heart to speak.

“Leave it to the humans to be monopolizing her” came a smooth, small voice near my ankles.  I blinked and looked down, wiping the tears off my cheeks.

“Oh, Windgate” I dropped down to a crouch and held out trembling fingers. “Windgate! Oh, I want to be like you when I grow up” I whispered as the twitching velvet of his nose chased away the salt on my fingertips. “So strong and fearless, ready to do anything for the Lord.”

“Please, his ego is hard enough to manage,”

I sat down hard, as the great silver wolf padded over, a look of amusement on his features.  “Seriously, you have no idea how hard it is to keep him from thinking he’s the main character of the story.” Aramus  said, and then pricked his fine, handsome ears towards me.

“Hi” I whispered, staring into the silver mirror of his gaze. He swung his tail gently.

“Hi,” he returned “Remember, always, strength comes for the battle. Always, the Light Bringer strengthens us to stand against the darkness.” I nodded.  There were so many others  in the room, too many to name or see all at once. But I could hear their truths, their encouragements, ringing around and making the room full of His presence.

My favorite paper heroes, carrying the Truth. Reminding me of it. Of Him.

“You know” said Windgate, hopping up onto the couch. “You can come and visit as often as you like.  I mean, we’ll always be here. As long as there are noms.”  Aramus rolled his eyes and shook his great ruffed throat.

“Leave it to the rabbit to bring up the question of food .” He padded away. I got up and dusted myself off, and then offered a hand to Sandfly and to Edmund. Each took the hand offered.

“I’d like to stay a little longer.” Both grinned.

“We’d like that too.” Edmund squeezed my digits.  “Stay a while, and let us remind you of what you all ready know, of the goodness of the King.”

Characters are (if you didn’t recognize them) in order of appearance:

Sandfly from A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz
Aidan Thomas from The Door Within  by Wayne Thomas Batson
Edmund Pevensie  from The Chronicles of Narnia  by C.S. Lewis
Windgate and Aramus from  A Wolf Story by James Byron Higgs

Every Forth of July, I spend the day half in solemn thoughts, and half in  thankful  ones. The history of my country is an amazing one, though it is far from perfect.  There are those heroes, however, that I remember on this day. Men  like Nathan Hale.

Nathan is remembered for his last words “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” Whether these are his real last words, or not, is open for debate. All  of the scholars affiliated with Nathan Hale’s life and role in America’s War for Independence, I have found, agree that this summarizes his heart for the not-yet-formed nation.  Nathan Hale was hung as a traitor and a spy when he was just twenty-one years old.  That sobers me down to my bones. Here was a young man  at the very beginning of adulthood by today’s standards, willing to give his life for an idea. America wasn’t even a nation yet, it was a loose conglomeration of ideas and people both educated and uneducated who decided that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was worth fighting and dying for.

Nathan Hale did not get to see the outcome of the war; he never saw America rise to be a world power or  watch as freedom, intelligence and curiosity put a man on the moon. He only glimpsed the possibility of what might be, if the citizens in the New World were unfettered by a tyrannical set of taxes and rules imposed upon them by a ruling class of society out of touch with the average person. For that possibility he was willing to die.  Nathan did not undertake the role of spy without due consideration. He was well aware of what the penalty was for spies if  they were caught.

I met the mother of a young gentleman  named Jessie who also weighed the price of freedom for America, and decided it was worth paying for it with his life. He was a Captain in the Marines. His sister was serving in the Army. At thirty years old, Jessie was killed by a roadside IED. A strong Christian, he had agreed to switch out patrols with one of his officers, and so he was blown to bits instead of the man under his command.

Jessie, not being married and having no children, had privately confided to his Mom he’d rather be the one killed then a guy under his command with a wife and kids.  She shared that he said this to her before deploying for the last time. “I know I’ll go to Jesus and there’s nothing better than that. Some of these guys, I just don’t know where they’d end up. I’d much rather it be me.”  And, it was.

The gentleman he switched out with wasn’t a Christian, and  had a wife and young children.  His Mom, with tears standing in her eyes told me  that her son said that the reason he was willing to continue to serve where he was sent was two-fold: to glorify Jesus Christ when and where he could, and to keep the ‘war on terror from coming to our front door’.

Nathan and Jessie both exemplify in my eyes , selfless love and courage,. Both of these men  are very much like  the  final hero I will mention today.

Before time started, He took a long look at what would be needed for His family to be with Him, and free.  He saw my rebellion, He saw what would be needed to ransom me,  a person made in His image but who had no real affection for Him.  To set me right with Yahweh after my warmongering there would have to be a substitution. A perfect life had to be lived as a man here on earth, and offered up in exchange for my corrupt one.  But more than that, my rebellion against an infinite God both just and loving, created an infinite punishment that I needed to pay.

Only Someone infinite can pay an infinite debt. Someone finite would be consumed by such a thing. So not only did He have  to live a perfect life, He had to die an infinite death to satisfy my infinite debt.  What kind of Man does that? Dies such a death for a rebel who has no love or affection for Him? And not only dies, but raises again because in the coming back from the dead, He forever crushed its’ power. Death is no longer “the end” for my story. He took my debt, paid it in full, and secured an everlasting future for me in His presence.  Ransomed in full. Rescued in a way that I can never be lost.  Freed from my sin-debt, free to have life to the fullest, free to live with Him and be the most amazing me I can be.

Who did this?

Jesus of Nazareth, that is who did this, the Son of God, and Son of Man.

It cost Him everything to free me from my sin, my just sentence, and set me in life everlasting.

It will take me my whole life, here and in eternity to tell Him how thankful I am, that He used HIS freedom to purchase mine for me.

What are you guys thinking on this Forth of July? Who are YOUR freedom heroes? Let me know, in the comments.

Image So for those of you who don’t know (and really, you should count yourselves very blessed if this is the case) I have a character named Valentine Capp.  Vosh to the people who really like him, Capp to those that want his head on a pike, and VAL-in-TINE to the people who are working with him and also want his head on a pike.  He’s a “finder” which means he goes and locates both people and objects for an employer. He doesn’t retrieve them, he just locates them.

Think of him as a tracker/archeologist/researcher and you’ve pretty much got his job description.  This dovetails with his  storyline arc/quest he’s meshed in rather well. Ah, but for that, well you’ll have to buy the book or short story collection.  I’m leaning towards a bunch of short stories that feature him moving towards his goal.  Keep checking back for updates.

Anyway, Valentine Capp has gathered a handful of admirers. So many in fact,  that in my Scribes group, he was set up to answer questions from his fan base. Now, right there, that is a scary sentence. Valentine Capp has a fan base.

Right, moving on from that shiver-inducing thought, time to interview ole’ carrot top.


Valentine  leans and sprawls over my table.  Gears, wires,  needle nose pliers, delicate  thin awl like things, clamps, several ‘third hands’ and other pointed and finely calibrated tools litter the workspace. He is bent over his metal arm, which has the outter housing removed and his nimble, left hand fingers are gently prodding wires into the mesh all ready there. He’s pulling a filament through  the spaghetti of connection with a metal hook no thicker than an eyelash.   His hair, brilliantly red as always, is cut close to his skull. I can see his pale scalp between the individual soldier strands. Is that why several people have asked about his hair recently? Is he going bald?  Are the hairs there not as thick as they used to be?  He looked up at me, large hazel eyes snapping with copper-green fire.

“I’m not going bald” he says  “And Millard can keep such thoughts to himself.  Soon as I’m done with this, ole’ Mill and I are going to have a long talk.”  I blink and hedge around the table, so the span of it is between us.  It’s always a little disconcerting when he knows things that I thought had been kept from him.  I’m not worried about Millard though, he can take care of himself without breaking a sweat. Though sometimes he has to break heads.

 “You know, ” I say after watching him pull out a soldering tool that has a filamental tip  “There are others who had questions too.  Other Scribes had things to ask you. It’s not just Millard who is curious. And, you know, Millard likes you.”  There is a grunt from  Valentine and he pauses, the tip of the tool glowing faintly and casting shadows of light on the reflective surface of the table.  “I mean, there’s Hannah” I plow onward. “She wants to  know why you are always in trouble?” I hold my breath and as he  continues to  solder.

“I’m not always in trouble” he said quietly, his gaze on the spaghetti of his arm. “But I go and find things. People sometimes don’t want their secrets disturbed. Not that I blame them much, everyone’s got a right to privacy. I try hard not to take calls that are going to invade personal space of a person. ” His mouth twitches faintly, showing a new scar on the top lip running to the side on the right.  “Elves, of course, aren’t ‘people’. But some of them are mighty fine, and right hospitable. At least in Elenath they are. ”