Spirit of Springhill: Miners, Wives, Widows, Rescuers & Their Children Tell True Stories of Springhill’s Coal Mining Disasters

Check out my blog about the miraculous rescues from the Springhill Mine Disasters:

Spirit of Springhill: Miners, Wives, Widows, Rescuers & Their Children Tell True Stories of Springhill’s Coal Mining Disasters.

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Greetings from the Flipside

Cheryl McKay (Screenwriter/Book Author)

Greeting Cover

SYNOPSIS

Hope Landon has been rewriting other people’s greeting cards since she was six years old — there’s always a funnier caption. She’s all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can’t write a song for her. That may give her something to write about.

Hope disappears alone on what was supposed to be the couple’s month-long honeymoon. Upon returning she learns of her funeral — everyone in her life concluded Hope must have killed herself after being jilted. Needing a fresh start more than ever, she heads for the Big Apple only to discover it’s not that easy to rent a place when you’ve been declared dead.

Taking shelter at the YMCA, Hope soon lands a job at a Christian inspirational greeting card company as…

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Is How You Think Causing Fear?

Think GraphicDo you have anxiety disorder or struggle with fear? Have you ever paid attention to those words that stream through your mind before, during, or after a panic attack? I’m willing to bet a lot of those are lies. Are you willing to look up, to God, for His truth instead?

When we experience fear, why do we tell ourselves we’re weak, worthless, and abnormal? Can we possibly find some new adjectives? (There are dictionaries full of them!)

Do all of those defeatist words build up your self-image? Do they help you? Of course not! Most importantly, they are lies. If I don’t put up with listening to lies from other people, why on earth would I put up with them from myself? And why should you?

When I was in the heat of battling my anxiety disorder, as fear would overtake me, I’d listen to lies. It became such a habit that I believed every word.

How can we rise above anxiety and fear when we don’t believe we can?

Are you a victim of the lies your mind feeds you? Does your fear grow because of the thoughts you are dwelling on? Our minds need to be retrained so we won’t fall victim to the power of our thoughts. This is an important skill to master. It was key to my recovery.

ASSIGNMENT:

Make a list of all the lies you tell yourself when you are experiencing fear or panic. 

Refute the Lies with God’s Word.

Now take the time to look at the lies that stream through your mind, and search the Bible for the truth about the situation. It’s best to rewrite these lies while you are NOT in the middle of an anxiety attack. You can put them on note cards and have them on hand to use in the heat of a battle with fear instead.

I will show you two examples below; I have many more in my book Finally Fearless.

 LIE: Everything I tell myself, in my mind, is truth.

TRUTH: Many lies that stream through our minds are from the devil himself, who wants us to be defeated. He is the author of lies.

John 8:44b: “[The devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

***

LIE: Anxiety lives in me, and I can’t get rid of it.

TRUTH: We may feel like anxiety lives in us because it takes over our whole body. But it doesn’t need to stay there. If we’ve asked Him to, we have a Savior who has taken up residence in our hearts.

Galatians 2:20a (kjv): “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (kjv): “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

***

If you or someone you know battles panic, anxiety or fear, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Paperback)

Finally Fearless Workbook: Journey from Panic to Peace (Accompanying Workbook)

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Kindle Version)

Finally Fearless Workbook Ebook:

http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/finally-fearless-workbook-journey-from-panic-to-peace/13694632

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Now available as a two book set:

Finally the Bride & Finally Fearless (Two Book Set): Overcoming Obstacles to Finding True Love (Kindle)

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Watch the Finally Fearless Video:

Fear or Faith?

Fear in Bible

Considering the volume of material in the Bible devoted to such commands as “fear not” and “trust God,” this must have been something people struggled with a lot. We are not a unique generation. Clearly, God knew this would be an ongoing issue for generations. Recognize that you are not alone. People in the Bible panicked or allowed fears or a lack of faith in God to drive their actions as well.

Think of Adam and Eve, who, as soon as they sinned for the first time, hid from God. That was the beginning of fear in the Bible (Genesis 3).

Think of Abraham and Sarah, who feared they would never have an heir. Their lack of trust in God drove them to take action into their own hands, which resulted in Ishmael’s conception (Genesis 16).

Think of Moses, who kept asking, “Who am I,” citing his many personal inadequacies to lead the Israelites. When God turned Moses’s rod into a snake, Moses ran in fear (Exodus 4:3). Moses feared public speaking (Exodus 4:10). Moses begged God to use someone else, letting his insecurities overpower him (Exodus 4:13). Doesn’t Moses sound like a man with an anxiety disorder?

Think of Gideon, who feared his limits and doubted his abilities. He questioned if God was going to help him. He was afraid God had abandoned him and the Israelites (Judges 6:13). God counseled Gideon with the words, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die” (Judges 6:23). Then Gideon built an altar and named it “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24). Gideon had the right reaction and became a man of faith. God’s counsel sunk into Gideon’s heart.

Think of David, who attempted to cover up his sin with Bathsheba by arranging the murder of her husband Uriah. David feared the consequences he’d have to face if his sin came to light. It drove him deeper into sinful behavior (2 Samuel 11).

Think of Elijah, who after working so closely with God to take down Baal and his prophets, ran, fearing for his life after Jezebel threatened him (1 Kings 18–19).

Think of Jeremiah, who cried out to God, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child” when God told him He’d appointed Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5–6). He was afraid of the work God had for him.

Think of Peter, when he stepped out of the boat; he was fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. Then, he saw the waves around him and panicked (Matthew 14:22–33). And let’s not forget when Peter feared for his life and denied Christ three times, running away from the courtyard (Matthew 26:69–75).

Some of these illustrations of people from the Bible were legitimate situations to feel fear or panic (unlike most anxiety disorder situations). However, they still illustrate that big reactions to fear have been around for a long time. Our loving God cared enough to leave us these stories about people we can relate to, along with hundreds of verses encouraging us to trust God, not to live in fear. Our fear must be replaced with faith.

And thankfully, many of those people represented here who experienced moments of fear also moved on to have some amazing moments of faith. Some are even listed in Hebrews in the look back at the “Faith Hall of Fame.”

***

The above was excerpted from my book Finally Fearless. If you or someone you know battles panic, anxiety or fear, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Paperback)

Finally Fearless Workbook: Journey from Panic to Peace (Accompanying Workbook)

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Kindle Version)

Finally Fearless Workbook Ebook:

http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/finally-fearless-workbook-journey-from-panic-to-peace/13694632

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Watch the Finally Fearless Video:

Breaking the Silence

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Have you ever had a problem and you didn’t know why or even what it was called? That’s what having a panic disorder was like for me. I found that people were so private about this problem that, even though I had people in my life with the same challenges, I didn’t know it. The problem was so embarrassing, none of us were sharing with each other what we were going through.

When I was twenty-one, almost ten years after my first anxiety attack, I still had never been diagnosed, still hadn’t seen a counselor. So, how did I finally find out I was having panic attacks?

When I was in grad school in 1993 at Regent University, I came across old episodes of a spin-off of The 700 Club. It was called Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh. Sheila had Christian music artist, Michael English, on her show. He was discussing his struggles with a panic disorder. When I heard him describe his struggles—the sudden nature of a flood of symptoms coming out of nowhere—I was fascinated with him. His experience sounded so familiar. I looked up articles on him at the library to get more information. I had never heard someone talk about panic before. I thought, Wow! I wonder if this is what I have. The more I read about Michael and his struggles, the more I became convinced that I had some kind of an anxiety disorder.

While I am glad someone like Michael English decided to come forward with his story, it still didn’t encourage me to talk to anyone about it. I finally had a name to my problem, yet I was still silent with most everyone I knew. That drastically slowed down my healing from panic and anxiety.

My encouragement to you, if you have a problem, is start talking about it. Talk to trustsed friends, family members, or a counselor.  If I hadn’t broken my two decades of silence about my challenges, I never would have healed.

***

If you or someone you know battles panic, anxiety or fear, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Paperback)

Finally Fearless Workbook: Journey from Panic to Peace (Accompanying Workbook)

Finally Fearless: Journey from Panic to Peace (Kindle Version)

Finally Fearless Workbook Ebook:

http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/finally-fearless-workbook-journey-from-panic-to-peace/13694632

FF Front             Front Cover Workbook

Watch the Finally Fearless Video:

Hope for Singles Waiting to Find Love

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Are you frustrated with being single? Have you been wondering where God is in the midst of your life and its seemingly missing “love story?” So was I. For almost 39 years of my life. I tried to pen what that love life should look like (with my purple pen, in my journals. Ten, twenty. Okay, maybe more like thirty journals worth?) But seriously what I penned was no where near my reality.

So I turned my pen over to another outlet. One in which I vent my frustrations, my questions, prayers, and cries out to God. I turned it into a book, Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting.  Now, it’s available in audio form.

One of my  most popular blogs has been:

16 Ways to Pray for Your Future Husband

So I know there are a lot of people out there waiting, searching, wondering what God is up to in this area of life. That blog is excerpted from a chapter of this book. The list is available in the link above.

FinallytheBrideAudio

I was very blessed to find such a delightful voiceover talent, to capture the heart of “me” and all my angst. Her name is Shawna M. Washabaugh. She can be just as snarky as me when moaning to God about “why is this taking so long?” She did a wonderful job, not only voicing the book but producing it as well.

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Shawna M. Washabaugh

(Narrator / Producer)

It’s a great alternative to the print book for those who would rather listen to audiobooks or for book clubs who want to go through the book together. You can listen to chapters during your meeting and then discuss them.

You can listen to a sample on any of the sites where it’s on sale at these following links:

Finally the Bride on Audible.com

Finally the Bride on Amazon (Under Format: Choose Audible Audio Edition):

Also available on Itunes. Search: Finally the Bride in Audiobooks or search by Cheryl McKay

*****

I pray that my story encourages you in your waiting, and that you will know you are not alone in what you feel. I also recently started a Pinterest board, hoping to collect various quotes, articles and such that could be of encouragement to singles:

Hope for Singles on Pinterest

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If you prefer to read print or kindle versions, visit these links:

Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Paperback):

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Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting (Kindle) :


How Precious is the Gift of a Day

gift of day

There are times when news stories truly captivate my attention and sometimes my heart in a way I can’t let go. I can’t stop reading about the people, their lives, their journeys. Lately, there are so many things happening in our world and even just in our country that have pierced many of our hearts. School massacres, marathon bombings, rescued kidnap victims, disaster tornadoes.

But then there’s this story of one man in Canada that has fueled many of my prayers, tears, and cries out to God on behalf of the family. And I don’t even know them.

When a friend in Canada posted about the kidnapping of Tim Bosma, asking for prayers for the family, for some reason that story got under my skin. She went to high school with one of Tim’s sisters. Another friend’s family went to church with Tim’s family. He disappeared from the same community where I celebrated my Canadian citizenship coming through in 2010, going up there in time for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Despite not knowing them personally, I found myself praying everyday for him, his family, the wife and daughter who were anxiously at home awaiting news about his well-being. I checked the web each day for news. Along with everyone else, I so wanted to hear that he’d been found alive.

What was so disturbing about this story was he was a man doing an everyday thing that many of us do: trying to sell a truck by listing it online. Innocent enough, isn’t it?

However, when two people responded to the ad and came over to test drive it, Tim went with them, telling his wife and daughter he’d be right back. Naturally, you don’t hand your keys over to total strangers and expect them to return. It seemed like a normal thing to do — To go with them, didn’t it?

Tim didn’t come back home that night. Or the next night. Or the next. The kidnapping was reported almost immediately. The police department got right on the task of looking for him. No 24-hour waiting period required in a disappearance of this nature.

I can’t imagine what the wait must have felt like for the Bosma family and friends. He disappeared on May 6th. Sadly, his body was found, burned beyond recognition, on May 14th. It was the morning of my second wedding anniversary. I cried as I texted my husband the news, aching on behalf of this new widow.

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(Sharlene Bosma, From CBC’s broadcast of Tim’s funeral)

Tim and his wife Sharlene got married a little over a year before my husband Chris and I got married. Their love story was cut entirely too short. The pain she must be enduring is unimaginable. It all seems so senseless: to take a man from his family over a truck. Those who did this to him didn’t think through what this would do to her, or the daughter who would grow up without her father. They acted selfishly. Or as they said at Tim’s funeral, “evil drove up our driveway.”

I have watched this family of strangers from afar and been very impressed with their courage, strength, and how they’re calling evil what it is and trying their best to not place blame on God for allowing it to happen even though they’ve had their weak moments as anyone would. Even I have uttered some prayers to ask God, “Why? Why was this allowed to happen?” They’ve kept their faith intact.

I watched the CBC’s live broadcast of his funeral. Everyone who spoke did so in a way that truly honored a man who was clearly a jokester, a prankster, loved to laugh, and obviously loved his family. They were real, honest, and yet not bitter. They held tightly to their faith in God and Jesus and knew that Tim was in Heaven.

Tim’s sister Michelle was very inspirational in her tribute. “Our family will not be ripped apart. Our family will not lose hope. I urge you today to get your act together. Spend more time with your family. Spend more time with your kids. Spend more time with your spouse.”

The last speaker at the funeral was his widow. I was amazed by Sharlene’s strength. I watched her laugh with people’s jokes and special tributes or cry when they shared something meaningful. And here she was, able to speak to the over 1000 people in attendance, words I will never forget. “What happened to him was not God’s doing. I know that if it wasn’t Tim, it could have been another man and another man’s family. What if they didn’t have the support that we have? Evil came to pass.”

But she didn’t stop there. Evil doesn’t get the last word. This tragedy had put her face-to-face with evil, but it also showed her the kindness, generosity, and goodness that exist in others. And it comes out stronger than evil. She said, “We have seen there is far more good on this earth. I believe, especially in this case, good will overcome evil.”

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That is the grace of God at work. She couldn’t have that strength otherwise. I remember being struck by the words author Sheila Walsh once wrote in a book as she watched a friend lose someone close to her. She pondered how she didn’t know how they were dealing with the pain, how they were making it through. But God whispered to Sheila’s spirit that she didn’t understand it because it wasn’t her trial. She didn’t have the grace to go through that person’s trial, but that God had given His grace to the one going through it. Those words have stuck with me for the decade since I read them. Watching Tim’s family talk so eloquently, in faith, is seeing this concept in action. God truly shows up to comfort the brokenhearted. (Ps. 34:18)

I think being a fellow “newlywed,” this has hit me especially close to the heart. Sharlene humorously talked of their disastrous first date, their long wait to find each other, which for them was about 30 years. Chris and I may have waited an extra 10 years to find each other, but waiting is waiting. Searching is searching. And when you finally find it, as I share my angsty search in my book for singles, Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting, you don’t want to have to let go of it so soon. Or ever. I feel for this woman. As a screenwriter/novelist, I often cry with my characters’ predicaments. But in this case, the person I am crying for is real with a real journey ahead that no longer involves sharing life with the love of her life.

I found it gut wrenching, through the generosity of the location, they returned to the site of their wedding reception for Tim’s funeral. I tear up just thinking about what that must have felt like for anyone in that room who attended their celebratory wedding just over three years ago.

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Tim had no idea that May 6th was his last day on earth. Those who loved him didn’t either. His story is such a harsh reminder to not waste time.

Just like we expressed in my film The Ultimate Gift, through James Garner and Abigail Breslin’s characters, life is precious. When I wrote that screenplay, of all the 12 gifts, The Gift of a Day was my favorite one. It highlights how precious life is. We shouldn’t waste any time because we never know how much time we have left.

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(Cheryl with Abigail Breslin, who played a cancer patient, Emily, in “The Ultimate Gift”)

Sharlene jokingly talked about what drove her crazy about Tim: he’d leave his socks on the end tables in the living room and dirty dishes just above the clearly available dishwasher. But now, she says she’d give anything to have back those dirty socks and dirty dishes.

To the Bosma family, know that there are many people around the world praying for you, inspired by you, praying for justice, and for good to overcome evil. You have touched the hearts of many.

If anyone is so inclined to help the family, they have website set up to donate toward a trust fund to help Tim’s wife and daughter. They also have a photo slide show to see a celebration of Tim’s life.

In Memory of Tim Bosma

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21 kjv)