Vicki Hinze's Blog, page 3

October 13, 2017

Penny Thoughts, Battles worth fighting, Vicki Hinze


We don’t have to fight every battle that crosses our path.  We don’t have to react to every statement made, every comment, or everything thrown at us. Where and on what we lavish our attention, share our thoughts, give our time and our attention, is our choice.

People use bullying tactics, shame, belligerence to attempt to force us into seeing things their way, doing things there way, acting the way they want us to act.  But all of that requires us to agree and follow. All of that requires us to condone or to acquiesce.  And whether or not we do is our choice.

Think for yourself. Don’t be goaded or manipulated into taking a position or a stand on something you don’t is right.  You have a good mind. You have good judgment. You have an internal moral compass to guide you.

Trust it, and yourself. Trust what you know as fact. Trust your own truth.

Fight the battles in your life–physical, emotional and spiritual–that you deem worth fighting, recognizing that every battle is not your battle to fight.




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Published on October 13, 2017 06:37 • 1 view

October 12, 2017

Limited Time Only. The Marked Star is on sale at Amazon for $1.99.  Kindle Edition.


Vicki Hinze, The Marked Star


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Published on October 12, 2017 10:18 • 15 views

October 5, 2017

Fog of War: Las Vegas
Vicki Hinze


Like most, I’ve never been in a war zone. I have had loved ones—at times, two members of my immediate family—in a war zone. The things the mind does to you during that time is merciless. The constant fear for your loved ones, the edgy nerves that cause you to jump every time the phone or doorbell rings. The inability to focus on other things… it never stops.

During the Las Vegas Massacre, through video and personal accounts, many of us glimpsed what it’s like to actually be in a war zone. And while we never want to be there or glimpse such an atrocity again, the experience does grant us an opportunity to gain some insights that offer us clarity. With it comes empathy and compassion and, yes, outrage at the horror inflicted and lives torn apart and forever altered. We witness man’s inhumanity to man.

We also witnessed the worst and best in us. A person on Twitter condensed the video of the real-time discussion between command and the officers on the ground wearing bodycams. The footage was up-close, in your face, and horrific. People running, screaming, diving for cover, unsure of where to go that was safe, tripping over bodies and people stooped and bent, trying to save the lives of those fallen. Pandemonium reigned chaos. Terror and shock: a war zone.

I watched the video three times. Not because I’m fond of seeing terrorized people in crisis, but because I had to work beyond my own emotional reaction to  witness the fog of war. Events were unfolding at such a rapid pace it was impossible to digest and absorb so much sensory input at once.

Repetition permitted emotional distance, and it became more and more evident to me why the fog cannot be avoided, and why it is the birthplace of conspiracy theories.

An officer gets to a specific gate and sees bloody people. He radios in an active shooter. It’s logical. Reasonable. But there was no active shooter at that location. The officer didn’t lie. He reported an educationed, logical deduction based on his perception and experience. Wounded and bleeding people means someone had to shoot them. Those listening to his report made deductions based on their experience and perception of his report. If the officer radioed in an active shooter, then there was an active shooter present, evidenced by blood-soaked victims. Literally. Again. No one lied. They just perceived their observations based on their experience and knowledge and natural deductions. That birthed the multiple shooters theory.

Victims scattered.  Similar reports occurred in a variety of locations both inside and outside the hotel. All people were acting in good faith and deducing the reality of events they were encountering by engaging their own perceptions—what they were seeing, hearing, thinking, and feeling. We all process our perceptions differently but in ways normal to us. And when we do, our perceptions stick firmly in our minds. That forms our perception, and our perception is our truth.

It’s been a few days now since the terrorist attack occurred. Some conspiracy theories born that night in the fog of war have been examined, explained and put to rest. One that persists is that there was a second shooter firing from the 4th floor, below the known shooter on the 32nd floor.

Why has it persisted? Let’s take a closer look…

The first video I viewed connected to this theory showed huge plumes of roiling smoke at the windows on both the 32nd and the 4th floors. But there were differences. The smoke above lingered. The 32nd floor window was shattered. The smoke on the 4th floor did not linger and the window was not broken. That dispelled a second shooter on the 4th floor firing upon the crowd, yet word that the 2nd shooter had been proven beyond doubt continued to spread. People witnessed, perceived and believed there was a second shooter there.

Then came word that the fire alarm had gone off on the 32nd floor. The smoke generated from all the firing triggered it. And that fire alarm resulted in strobe lights going off in guest rooms—a safety feature to warn hearing-impaired guests. With open draperies in the room on the 4th floor, the strobe lights could be seen from the ground. A guy who worked across the street said he’d seen this strobe light occurrence happen before. When the strobe-light factor was later reported, for many, it solved the mystery of the 4th floor.

But it didn’t resolve the perceptions for all. For some people, the 2nd shooter theory on the 4th floor persisted. Eventually, the media noted that two buildings across the street had mirror-type facades. Some deemed the 4th floor smoke and firing perceived from the ground and on video a reflection of the 32nd floor firings. The image on the 32nd floor had reflected off the mirrored façade of the building across the street and shone back onto the 4th floor. No broken windows on the 4th floor supported that deduction, and the reflection explanation sufficed for some—yet not fully for others.

Yet another speculative theory surfaced. Camera distortion. The lense of the camera taking the photographs, making the video, distorted the image and made the 32nd floor firing also appear below on the 4th floor.

And so, when assured by authorities there was but one shooter and no evidence of a second shooter on the 4th floor, the theory of the 4th floor, second shooter lost steam. As of now, a few holdouts remain who believe there was one. They’re clinging to their own perceptions and deductions—their truth.

The 4th floor 2nd shooter was a microcosm of a single event experienced by many people who witnessed it and drew different conclusions. All earnestly seeking the truth, all acting in good faith. All seeking a logical explanation for the discrepancies between what they perceived and deduced and what they were being told by others.

In 1928, Arthur Ponsonby’s wrote: ‘When war is declared, truth is the first casualty’. That quote came to mind and stayed. Yet these untruths were not intentional deceptions or misdirections or manipulations. The truth casualties were a direct result of conflicts in perceptions and deductions. Knowing that made it easy to understand why eye-witness accounts aren’t always accurate or reliable or absolute.

This one segment of the larger event showed us how, say, five people can witness the exact same thing at the exact same time and see totally different things. Each person, in his or her own mind, deems specific details of all available details important. And those selected details deemed important claim his or her focus. It is on those specific and important details that the individual makes his or her deductions and perceives the whole segment that becomes his or her truth.

This event made clear the reason it takes time to sort through and study evidence. The reason why we cannot immediately get firm answers and know what happened. Why it’s imperative that hard evidence and logic be applied to every single assertion and be reasoned through and proven or disproven. Distance from high anxiety and heated emotion is essential. Taking the time necessary to appropriately process is wise and critical. Only with this reasoned process in place can one have confidence that what is presented as fact is fact.

If an authority asserts a fact, it must be accurate. If not, then every assertion made is riddled with doubt. Avoiding the creation of doubt—getting it right—is vital. That, bluntly put, takes time and multiple reviews by many sets of knowledgable eyes.

Long ago, I was warned: In a crisis, doubt all news for the first forty-eight hours. Now, I know why—in ways that before this event I could have been told but never would have fully grasped. Experience teaches.

In ways, this event both proved and cleared the fog of war.



c2017,Vicki Hinze.

My Kitchen Table, Vicki Hinze, My Kitchen Table Blog

Note:  The latest Shadow Watcher novel, The Marked Star, typically $4.99 is on sale for $1.99 at, Kindle edition. Limited time only. 

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Published on October 05, 2017 08:20 • 2 views

October 2, 2017

Last night, 59 people died and over 515 were injured in a terrorist attack in Las Vegas. Hospitals are overwhelmed, first responders are overwhelmed and people there and distant observers are overwhelmed.


Bodies are still being removed, and some are already engaging in political comments. Calls for gun control. Speculation that this attack was against country music so likely Trump supporters, and the poster hoped only “Trumpatards” were shot. Even people who wanted to be leaders like Hillary Clinton, chimed in not with condolences but with talk of imagining the result if the shooter had used a silencer. She meant a suppressor, but everyone knew what she meant. That’s not the point.


My reaction was that the first poster, about the ones shot, who incidentally is a teacher, has lost her humanity. My reaction to Mrs. Clinton’s post was that just once I wish she wouldn’t engage politically but as a human being.


There’ll be a time and place for political discussions. This isn’t it. Loved ones are trying to get in touch with family and friends to see if they’re safe. Others at a distance are phoning 800 numbers talking to coroners, praying their family members aren’t in the morgue. Phoning hospitals, hoping to find to that any injuries to their family and friends are minor and they’ll recover.


This is the time to come together as Americans and support these victims, their families and friends, and the survivors, many of whom crawled and ran for their lives. The shock is deep. The pain fresh. The wounds inside raw.


No one is foolish enough to think random shooting into a crowd of thousands was aimed at people of this or that political persuasion. Bullets don’t think. When shot, they kill, wound, maim whatever and whomever they hit. We’ll find out why this happened later, after the investigations are done. We’ll examine events and act accordingly.


But for today, keep political nonsense out of it. No matter how well-intentioned, it is an unwelcome intruder. Today, we are focused on shattered lives and shattered hearts. We’re focused on comforting and consoling, on compassion. On prayer for those lost and for those who remain.


And if you can’t do that, if you must discuss politics today, then be prepared for a ferocious backlash. Because our collective outrage is strong, our fuses short, and our patience shot.


Today, there is only the emotional tidal wave that surges and swamps us when a vile and violent wrong has been committed against anyone. Today, we are acutely aware of the worst and the best in us. We’ve witnessed merciless acts against our people. Merciful acts in the heroes, professional and everyday people, rising to respond to the needs of others before them. And all we have witnessed is the one thing that unites us and supercedes all else. It is in control today.


That one thing is, our humanity.


May God bless, comfort and console, granting us and our nation the wisdom and strength required to heal.

Vicki Hinze

My Kitchen Table, Vicki Hinze, My Kitchen Table Blog

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Published on October 02, 2017 12:17 • 2 views

September 4, 2017

The publisher has put Forget Me Not on Sale for a limited time only (I don’t know for how long) for $1.99.

It typically ranges from $13.99 to $9.99.  This is the ebook edition, so it’s a great time to get a copy if you haven’t already.

You can read more about it HERE



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Published on September 04, 2017 07:45 • 12 views

August 24, 2017

Penny Thoughts
Vicki HInze



Years ago, “a penny for your thoughts” was a common expression often heard when someone was deep in thought and another person wanted to know what they were thinking. It’s not a phrase I hear much anymore, but it is one I think of often.


Since technology has simplified our lives, which means we are busier than ever, I’ve been using the term “Penny Thoughts” regularly. I take a single quote to focus on for the day. It might be philosophical, spiritual, emotional, or a thought that relates to something weighing on my mind. The thing is, it’s a thought—a bite. Just a snippet. So it doesn’t require a lot of time, energy or effort. At least not at one time, but the thought can be brought to mind several times during the day.


When I started doing this, I didn’t realize how beneficial those bite-sized thoughts could be. I also didn’t realize the good that would come from thinking about one little snippet over and over during the day. It seems the thought starts simple, but as the day wears on, my thoughts about it go deeper… and deeper.


It’s important to know what we think. Not just about one thing but about a lot of things. Yet in our busy lives, the task of figuring out what we think can seem daunting. But if we break the task down into bite-size pieces, all of that thinking doesn’t overwhelm us.


The beauty in that is, we actually do think about things. You see, normally when we get overwhelmed, we shut down. If a task seems too big or too hard we tend to avoid it.


In this case, we avoid thinking. Which means we avoid finding out where we really stand and what we really believe. The bottom-line is, we don’t know what we think.


That’s one of the worst things we can do to ourselves. Because when we avoid coming face-to-face with who we are and what we believe, we don’t know who we are or what we believe. We lose our identity.


If we lose our identity, we lose ourselves. Being lost, we should expect significant challenges in our relationships with others, and substantial issues within.


We need penny thoughts for that purpose: to avoid challenges and to gain confidence in ourselves and our judgments. We need to know who we are and why we are who we are.


A penny thought can be anything on any topic you choose. It’s just a thought for you to ponder for a day. Let me share a couple of examples:


I pondered on battles. The ones worth fighting and the ones not, and how to decide the difference. This is where, at the end of the day, my penny thoughts wound up:


vicki hinze, penny thoughts


Another day, I overheard an argument and saw the hurt in both people’s eyes.  Words have power became my penny thought for the day.  I considered the good and bad that comes from what we speak, the way we speak, when we speak. Here was that days, Penny Thought:


vicki hinze, penny thoughts


Someone wronged me.  Falsely accused me, actually. And I had to decide how to respond.  I knew how I wanted to respond, but I also knew where that would lead and it wasn’t to a good place.  Post Penny Thought, I ended up here:

vicki hinze, penny thoughts


Putting things off. Procrastination. Talking ourselves into letting “little things” work their way out of kinks. Sometimes they do. The problem resolves itself. But more often, little problems become big problems. Then they’re a mess and take a lot more effort to fix than little problems take. So that Penny Thought came down to this:


vicki hinze, penny thoughts


As you can see, these Penny Thoughts are short and to the point. There’s no fluff but plenty of stuff that can provoke you or tickle your mind and offer deep insights to you, about you, and for you.

And I hope they do. A penny for your thoughts…


Note:  Sorry to have been AWOL.  About 2 months ago, I injured my shoulder and have been tied up with medical stuff since then. Believe me, I’ll take writing over physical therapy, docs and scans, etc. any day!  I’m back an hour a day now and grateful for it!

* * * * * * *

Vicki Hinze, free book© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!z




Check the book page for more information, bookseller links. Should be available at all your usual booksellers.



ICE, Vicki Hinze





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Published on August 24, 2017 15:08 • 5 views

August 16, 2017

Nearly 5 weeks ago, I sat at my desk as I usually do, and the phone rang. Now the phone is behind me when I am at my desk, so I turned around for it, had a short conversation, and then rather than swiveling in my seat to put the phone back on its charger, I just stretched back. Something in my shoulder pulled. Pain surged through the shoulder and rolled down my arm in waves. The pain was excruciating. Within seconds, I was in a cold sweat and I dropped the phone. So began this little, seemingly insignificant incident that forced a step back.


With that small motion during a routine task, I set off a chain of events that has impacted my life in ways large and small—and apparently will continue to impact it for at least the next three weeks.


At the time, I knew I was hurt. Three days later, I realized something was seriously wrong. My shoulder and right arm throbbed continuiously and I couldn’t lift even a coffee cup. I saw my regular doctor, who sent me to get x-rays and scans and referred me to an orthopedic specialist. After a healthy shot in the shoulder, the orthopedist referred me to physical therapy.


When you have a heavy schedule and a high-octane life, and you are suddenly sidelined and incapable of doing anything you normally do, it impacts you physically and also your mood. I tried to keep a positive attitude and my grouchiness at bay by reading inspiring quotes, and essays that focused on the beautiful things in the world. That did help, but as the pain persisted and the weeks wore on, the attitude challenge became more demanding. And then I received an email…


The instructions were to look closely at one photograph. (I give full credit to whoever took it; that wasn’t disclosed to me, but to grasp the lesson I learned in this I must include it.) This is the first photograph:


  The story goes, that the white truck was traveling from left to right on the road. It broke through the guard rail, flipped and kept flipping, right over the culvert and came to rest where you see it parked.


What a blessing it seemed that the truck had flipped and landed as it did so that the driver was safe. Likely rattled to the core—who wouldn’t be?—but uninjured.


Then the email instructed me to look at a second photograph. (Again, full credit to the undisclosed photographer.) Here is the second photograph:

I took one look at it and gasped. That driver hadn’t just experienced a blessing but a blessing and a miracle!


And then I read the words below the second photograph:


“If God isn’t done with you, then God isn’t done with you.”


Now flipping a truck and escaping certain death is a lot more dramatic than stretching to put a phone on its charger, but the lesson can be the same.


My whole attitude about being sidelined changed. And that’s made all the difference.


I’ve looked at these two photos often in the last few weeks, and will I’m sure in the next few weeks. And when I do, I think of all of the things I did routinely and took for granted. I think of all the therapy and work by the therapists, and the things I am able to do today I was unable to do right after the injury. And I think about how grateful I am healing is possible.


It’s easy to get discouraged when sidelined, or when things don’t go the way we want them to go. We don’t always know why they happen, though sometimes the reason becomes clear later. And the point, I guess, is that whether or not we ever understand why isn’t important. What is important is to not take the routine for granted. To be grateful and count your blessings.


In every life there are many cliffs, and many close calls. Some we see and recognize, but some escape our notice or are beyond our notice. Just as one can’t know the number of lives saved by taking a preventative measure, one can’t know what didn’t happen because something we perceive as being a bad thing did happen. It just might be that that bad thing was a very good thing—like the truck flipping over the culvert and not down that cliff.


And that brings us to the bottom line. The lesson isn’t just if God isn’t done with you, then God isn’t done with you, though that’s one offered. The lesson is also if you’re on the wrong path, or the “less than stellar path” that God has planned for you, He can and will sideline you to give you time to reflect and realize you’re on the wrong path or that “less than stellar” path.


Which sums up nicely an encouraging, mood elevating “secret weapon” that helps keep perspective balanced. It’s waiting for us in the simple verse:


“Be still, and know that I am God.” –Psalm 46:10


While the next few weeks will have their challenges, I will focus not on what I can’t do, on impatience or frustration, but on the gems being shown to me.


The gifts in those gems are doubtless ones I can carry with me not just during the trials but for the rest of my life. I’m going to seek them. Embrace them. And implement them.


And when I forget, I’m going to reread this article and be reminded. I think there might just be another lesson or two hiding, waiting for me to find them.






My Faith Zone, Vicki Hinze


New Release!

“The ICE workbook is something we all should have ready for our families! The author has included everything you might possibly need to have ready in an emergency. When I was paging through it, I realized how little I know of what goes on in our home. It certainly is time to change that and be prepared – just In Case of Emergency.”   ~Betti Mace


Read More 









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Published on August 16, 2017 23:00 • 6 views

July 31, 2017

I’m down with inflamed nerves on the right side of my chest and back. Physical therapy is helping but it’s slow going (and painful).  As a result, I haven’t been on the keyboard.  But I received a note from my publisher, Multnomah (Random House) that they have a special sale on NOT THIS TIME, one of my Crossroads Crisis Center books.


NOT THIS TIME typically sells for $13.99 and is on sale for $1.99!

I wanted to pass that news along to you. Here’s a bit more about the book:

“Tense, breathless, multi-layered – and highly recommended.”   ~Lee Child

“Vicki Hinze’s new thriller, NOT THIS TIME, hones suspense to a razored edge.  Riveting, relentless, and fraught with betrayals, here is a novel that cuts both to the bone and to the heart. Not This Time should be retitled Not to be Missed.”  ~James Rollins



Sara and Beth built a multi-million dollar business and act as anti-terrorism consultants. Now their business and friendship are strained because Beth is leery of Sara’s husband. When he goes missing and is verified kidnapped, authorities consider Beth their prime suspect.

Then their hometown, Seagrove Village, Florida, is rocked by an act of terrorism, and Beth doesn’t know who to trust. Someone close to her is connected to the attack, but who? Is there a connection to Crossroads Crisis Center? In the midst of the confusion and fear, Beth finds herself attracted to a man from her past, the former Shadow Watcher, Joe. She knows she shouldn’t fall in love with him–she can’t resist or even explain their bond. And as her world unravels around her, she wonders…

Will the truth set her free or ruin her life? Is it possible to be pushed beyond redemption?

“Vicki Hinze has… talent for transforming the unlikely into something beautiful.” –Publishers Weekly

Amazon     BN Nook     Google     Kobo     iBooks

Enjoy the reading–and the savings!






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Published on July 31, 2017 13:48 • 5 views

July 13, 2017

Moments of Clarity
Vicki Hinze

Moments of clarity. Sometimes we ignore them, often we misunderstand them, and sometimes we completely fail to recognize them.

That creates challenges for us because without those moments of clarity, we live in a cesspool of chaos and corruption swamped by challenges we have no idea how to resolve. Forget content or happy. When mired in a muddle of conflict, there is no content or happy. We’re angry and lost in smoky fog, struggling to make sense of things that just don’t make sense. Condemned to tiptoeing through hot coals trying our best just to not get burned.

The problem is easy to identify. We know that chaotic discord is a miserable way to live. So we ask ourselves, what’s the solution? How do we not live this way?

The answer is simple—and complex. We notice, recognize and understand these moments of clarity then seize the wisdom and insights that offers.

Notice. Recognize. Understand. Okay, great. But how?  If we knew that answer from the beginning, we would notice, recognize and understand these moments of clarity. We don’t and haven’t. So what solves the problem?

When you’re a writer, you come to realize that everything in life relates to every other thing in life. Every single incident, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, proves important and has value.

Eventually, these little, seemingly insignificant incidents combine, piggybacking on each other to form a bigger picture. When they occur, because they seem little, we just don’t notice them or grasp that they’re taking shape in something bigger. Typically, we experience little things and then dismiss or ignore them all together because we’re busy with the mundane details in life. These mundane details, often responsibilities, have our immediate attention.

It’s prudent to add that sometimes we deliberately ignore these little insignificant incidents. We choose not to see them as signs because to notice them requires us to step outside our comfort zones and actually do something we don’t want to do. It’s much easier on us to pretend not to notice them at all so we don’t have to do anything to address the problem being revealed much less to do the work to fix the problem.

Regardless, the problems persist, often looming larger and growing more complex until the inevitable time comes when we can no longer avoid them. We collide with the force of a car slamming into a brick wall. Choice is the fatality. Pandora’s box is open, the problem is front and center, and we must deal with it. Now.

I’m talking about those times, welcome or not, when we are graced (or body-slammed) with a clarity so stark it shines like a floodlight on something in our lives. Our minds reveal crystal clear insights that flow over us like heated silk and, like the butterfly, we emerge from the the clarity cocoon transformed.

And transformed, we again have a choice.

We eigther accept the wisdom revealed and solve the problem or we emerge from the cocoon and talk ourselves out of believing our clear insight is truly wise. We rebuff the wisdom.

When we rebuff, more often than not, we turn our backs on the wise revelations because a multitude of things have conspired to encourage us to refute it.  Fear. Doubt. Guilt. Shame. We cave and we suffer the consequences: regret.

Yet we shouldn’t be sorry, and that’s the message in this—at least, for me. We get what we need when we get it and when we need it.

Sometimes we have to wait for events and insights to line up like the proverbial ducks, so that we have the foundation we need to be able to grasp and interpret accurately the insight and wisdom coming to us.

Perhaps, if we grasped the wisdom too soon, we would misinterpret it. Then, in following and giving that inaccurately perceived wisdom, we would do more harm than good.

It’s like giving a five-year-old a copy of The Art of War and expecting the child to understand that there’s more text between the lines than on the page. No foundation means no understanding, no recognition, no contexg, and the subtleties float right over the child’s head.

These are the reasons why things happen as they do. You can give a kid a book he can read but if he doesn’t comprehend what he’s read, it’s a futile exercise. Just as you can share a loaf of bread with someone but only what that person chooses to eat and is capable of eating at that time will be eaten.

Many of us worry about comprehending true meanings. I’m no different. I have worried about these types of things since early on in life. When you have a brother who’s left a vegetable at five months old and he lives for eighteen years, you think about true meanings and the why of things a great deal.

I remember as a six-year-old child being at Sunday school and asking a pastor about hell. I couldn’t understand why, if God loves us as much as they say and He is perfect, then why would He condemn us to hell forever. My parents were not perfect, but they would never do that to me. So did that mean my parents loved their children more than God loved His children? The pastor was furious, and kicked me out of Sunday school.

I walked the half-block home terrified. How would I ever tell my parents I’d been kicked out of Sunday school? They’d be so angry. But you know, I was angry, too. Until that time, I thought that pastor spoke for God. Kind of translated so the rest of us could understand what God wanted and what He had to say.

I realized that morning that this particular pastor did not, because even my little six-year-old mind knew God wouldn’t throw out or throw away one of His kids.

I went into the house, certain I’d be busted until I died of old age. Of course, I went to Mom, because she was the soft touch. Dad was heavy-duty discipline. Much to my surprise, my mom thought I’d asked a reasonable question. And she explained that God doesn’t condemn His children. He kind of puts them on restriction so they learn not to hurt themselves that same way again.

Her response made sense then, and makes sense now. That was a moment of clarity for me, and a moment when I believe God spoke through my mother to my child’s heart.

As I mentioned earlier, everything is fodder for writers. It must be for us to create credible characters. Characters emulate real people. And real people have all kinds of experiences that help shape them into the individuals they become.

It isn’t one incident that makes a person. It shouldn’t be one incident that destroys them. The best characters are more complex. More real. They’ve known sadness and joy, they’ve feasted and hungered, they’ve lived. They’ve been kicked out for crossing proverbial lines. And they’ve been blessed with unexpected moments of grace. Moments where they’ve been forgiven for a wrong done. Been treated kindly when they could have been scorned. Been loved, respected, admired, honored. They’ve experienced moments of clarity and gained wisdom and insight that they’ve taken in and moved forward in life, carrying the wisdom from those moments with them.

Can a single incident have a significant impact on a person?  Absolutely.  Can a single incident change the course of a person’s life?  Absolutely.  Provided you include all the experiences and beliefs that shaped that person into the person they are at the time of the incident.

It isn’t a part of us or a single aspect of us that this major, significant incident impacts.  It’s all of us—and that includes the sum of our experiences.  Good and bad times, ups and downs—all of it. Because all is what’s shaped our world view.  All of us is the result of all we know, all we experience, all we believe and all we don’t. And it’s from that perspective we view the incident and then react to it.

I’m still working through these things with Amanda Blake, the lead character in a book I’m writing. She’s so smart in so many ways. In some, she’s amazing and remarkably flawed, which is what first made me want to write about her. Amanda’s mom died in childbirth with her and her dad can’t bear to look at her because of it.  Amanda has grown up, spent her whole life trying to create a bond with him, trying to gain his respect. She gave up on him ever loving her a long time ago.

That was a moment of clarity for me that made me want to learn her story. Every little girl first falls in love with her dad. He’s her hero. The man against whom every other man in her life is measured. She’s his princess, his angel, the twinkle in his eye. And Amanda had never had any of that. She’d never had the security of her father’s love, the confidence of his protection, or even his guidance. And she’d had no mother there to soften those blows or to help her navigate life without any of it.  How did she do that? How did she make it? How did it impact her? Of course, I wanted to know.

I knew the impact would be significant. Profound. Heart-wrenching. I had to write her story to see how she survived it.  Intact? Deeply wounded? Scarred forever? Who knew? Could be any of those ways, some combination of them, or none of them. I had to write her story to find out.

Well, I started writing and right off the bat Amanda had a brilliant moment of clarity—an opportunity to embrace a moment of grace. Yet she didn’t do it. She wanted to, she was inspired to, she wasn’t just motivated to seize it, she yearned to embrace the moment and claim it as her own. But a lifetime of her father’s rejection created a deep-seated, bitter fear that battled her for that moment, and fear won. Her heart just couldn’t take one more break.

I was sorely disappointed, but I couldn’t give up on her. I wracked my brain for ways to get her from where she was to where she needed to be to become strong enough (or willing to risk being devastated again) to plant her stake on a balanced life.  Everything that came to me got shot down. Nothing felt right. Nothing worked. Nothing resolved her challenges in light of all her experiences.

It became clear, I wasn’t going to mentally shape events for Amanda. I’d have to write her whole story her way to see if she ultimately won her battle or if fear did. So I kept writing, hoping she’d not blown her chance—sometimes opportunity only knocks once, right?

At that dark, fearful-for-her moment, a memory popped into my mind of a woman who in her old age was asked why she never married. She responded she always had wanted go be married, but she hadn’t because the last time she’d been asked, she hadn’t known it was going to be the last time she was asked.

That woman coming to mind right then worried me. Had that rejected momeng been Amanda’s last shot?  I really, really wanted her to have some happiness in her life. Some contentment. The woman hadn’t had any in her first twenty-eight years. That’s for sure.

I wrote and wrote. Bad things happened. Hard things. Little and big things, but nothing that would bring Amanda solace or comfort or make her life more content.

In fact, things got worse and then worse, and I was nearly to the end of the story. Almost there, just pages away. And, I admit it, I was freaking out. The knots in my stomach had knots because poor Amanda had survived a living hell and there was no sign of any second chance on her horizon.

I prayed, pleaded, begged, but it just wasn’t happening. And honestly, the writer in me had no idea what to do. The woman in the writer was in a full-out rebellion, and mutiny was a keystroke away. I would not, would not, condemn Amanda to less than she could have. She would have someone on her side, who believed in her. I would not leave her isolated and alone and emty. No way. If I had to delete the whole book out of existence to prevent it, I would do it. I’d start over at page one, but I wouldn’t abandon Amanda in this struggle. Not happening.

At that moment, all these years later, I felt a lot like an imperfect parent, wanting the best for her child. I felt a little of how God must feel, wanting the best for His children. And right then, I experienced the answer through the same emotions I had connected to the question I asked at six. And in that moment of clarity I knew the answer to that question. God, a perfect parent, never gives up. Never. And I, an imperfect one, might be hanging onto hope by a hangnail, but I would hang on forever if that’s what it took. I would not give up on Amanda.

Clear-minded and determined, I wrote on. Then, scant pages later, there it was. That moment of grace. That second chance. A new opportunity.  And Amanda took it.

I couldn’t believe it. I never saw it coming. And I realized she hadn’t either. She’d wished and hoped and desired a better, more content life, and heaven knew she suffered for it. She tried making things better. But when that moment actually came, I was as shocked as she. Yet when I looked back through what I’d written, I saw the building blocks. The little things. The seemingly insignificant things that served as the vehicle to take her from where she was to where she wanted to be. It wasn’t a single, explosive event but a series of little events experienced in everyday life—and how she reacted to them—that reshaped her mind and her world.

I sat back and thought about that. Long and hard. I saw the little events in my own life, too. The series of second chances I’d missed. And I discovered something huge in them:

It isn’t the lack of opportunities that plants us in bad positions. It’s that we stop seeking opportunities so they come and pass because we don’t recognize them as they present themselves. We don’t seize them. We convince ourselves our chance has come and gone and it’s over. We missed the proverbial boat.  Man, was I wrong!

I’m not saying someone steps in with a magic wand and our troubles disappear. I am saying when we tackle those problems and chip away at them, we view them differently. We don’t miss them. We see them as vehicles.

I’m saying that when we shift our perspective, we become aware. We notice those wise and insightful opportunities and recognize them. I’m saying that then we experience what we seek in profound and insignificant moments we expect will somehow in some way piggyback into something of significance and become moments of clarity.


On Writing, Vicki Hinze


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Vicki Hinze, free book© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!




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Published on July 13, 2017 07:41 • 9 views

July 6, 2017

How-To Calm Your Inner Savage Beast
Vicki Hinze


We all have an inner savage beast.  Normally, we keep the beast leashed, our civility intact, our humanity in control, ruling our actions and reactions.  But there are times when life yanks at the leash. Tumultuous times that suppress civility and unleash bitterness and anger.


If you’ve been awake and not comatose, you’re well aware we’re in one of those uncivil times and you don’t need a news alert or a primer to be advised of it. We’re all seeing a lot of things more clearly, and we’re running into brick walls on sharing and discussing many of them due to crackdowns on such fundamental rights as free speech. We are learning a lot too, about things we need to know but wish we weren’t learning and didn’t need to know. Things about subjects like spirit cooking and human trafficking and corruption on a scale we can scarcely imagine. All of which have been hashtags on social media that are now being suppressed and redacted heavily across a multitude of platforms.


In times such as these, times that try the soul, it’s important to exercise discipline and retain focus to keep the inner beast leashed. No one can keep up with everything. Everyone has their pets and their peeves, and there are many who, to further their own objectives, rely heavily on blurring the lines for earnest seekers. Fortunately, these fakers and manipulators are easy to spot, particularly if one recognizes the patterns.


But this article isn’t about those things, though each does deserve a litany of articles on its own. This article is about what we notice, see, become aware of that is unsettling, troubling, worrisome, and downright devastating or frightening—all of which feeds our inner beast—and how-to be aware, informed, and yet remain peaceful, keeping the beast from smothering the good and unleashing the dark.


In recent years, I’ve discovered that shining light into dark places and retaining peace requires one thing.  Only one thing makes the difference.  That one thing is faith. In self, in others and, for me, in God. That’s been key. Others tag that one key requirement as truth. Not truth relative to something, but simple truth. When all the clutter is cleared, when motives and objectives and agendas are tossed out, the simple truth remains.


This season produced an avalanche of challenges that try the mind and spirit. It has revealed the worst in us, but it has also revealed the best in us. Those everyday and ordinary people who stepped up and out, willing to risk their lives and all they have for truth, to protect the least and most vulnerable of us. To be messengers, delivering that which is needed to be known to defend and preserve humanity, but also to preserve the humanity inside us. To remove the scales from our eyes and permit us to see that the battle we’re embroiled in is a classic clash of good and evil.


That truth annoys our inner beast. Why? Because the truth isn’t always easy to hear or see. It isn’t always easy to accept. We are by nature drawn to seeing the best in people, to believing the best. But we have been coerced, manipulated, even directed into seeing the worst, believing the worst—even if it must be manufactured. So much of all that has been and continues to be revealed resides so far outside our normal sphere, we have challenges accepting it as possible.  Yet we discover what we believed was impossible to occur in a civil society is happening. Illusions are shattered. Reality bites us hard. The inner beast is outraged and its roar shakes the foundation upon which we’ve based our lives. Shakes it so hard, it cracks.


This upset naturally creates anxiety, triggers depression and fear. In some, it ignites a dark void of hopelessness. In observing, we see all those reactions and rage. A deep, irrational but valid rage born and raised in deception and manipulation. But just as experience has taught us in other situations, people of faith have the weapons required to face the truth of what is (versus what we wish it to be) and to react accordingly.  The most powerful weapon in their arsenal is faith. We embrace it and rely on it. We hold tight to it. Because we know that ultimately God remains in control. That He is with us always. We remember His promises, His assertion that His ways are not our ways and that trials and challenges and bad things, he turns and uses for good. Crooked places are made straight.  We hold fast to faith, to truth… and we trust.


That faith/truth enables us to recall that there is good and bad in each of us, and it is up to each of us to exercise our faith in ourselves and in each other. To face adversity and remain civil. To agree to disagree without rancor. To grant others the grace we will need when we step over the proverbial line. To treat others with respect and to conduct ourselves in a way that warrants and earns respect.


Even in the best of times, when our inner beast slumbers, there are situations we can’t control. Actions of others we can’t control. But we can control ourselves. We can respect, we can behave with integrity, we can grant those who offend us with the grace we hope to receive when we offend others. We set the tone, the attitude, the proverbial bar. We choose, and we act on our choices.


And that is how, regardless of what is going on in our world, we claim peace and soothe the inner beast. Faith in ourselves and others, self-respect and respect for others, is the master key to all doors.


When things are going well, he inner beast is quiet and we focus elsewhere. We believe but take faith for granted. We’ve seen the results of that.  But when times get tough and life gets hard, when our faith in our fellow man, in ourselves, is challenged and what we have believed is cast into doubt, then we draw close and faith becomes the rope that keeps us tethered. Faith sustains us. Faith restores us. It calms the savage beast inside us so that we perceive trials with calm clarity. We seek solutions. We remember that little is perfect, and flaws can be assets. We exercise discipline, faith in others and in ourselves. For in faith, truth, rests our hope, our civility, and our humanity.


And that truth embraced helps us retain peace and endure tumultuous times. That truth enables us to reclaim our civility and humanity and calms our inner savage beast.


My Kitchen Table, Vicki Hinze, My Kitchen Table Blog


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Vicki Hinze, free book© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!



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Published on July 06, 2017 07:06 • 4 views