Christmas Scavenger Hunt Round-Robin: The Old Fool

Joyeux Noël!

Welcome to the blog tour stop for my Christmas novella The Old Fool. This story is the prequel to the Sully Parkway Series, and I’m delighted to share a pivotal moment in the life of one of its heroes.

Little Olivier’s parents couldn’t know they were saddling their son with an unpronounceable name, or that one day as real estate tycoon O. L. Feuille, his competitor would dub him an “old fool.”

As the Christmas season begins, O. L., known to his friends as Ollie, fends off overtures from his chief competitor in the world of retirement homes. Sleazy Hank Cochran is determined to acquire Ollie’s beloved flagship home, the somewhat dilapidated Queen Anne in Manassas.

The Old Fool front final

Ollie rallies his associates in a last-ditch effort to prevent Cochran’s takeover, but he’s distracted by the appearance of down-and-outer Art Dink, who has a different agenda in mind.

Stressed and financially stretched,  Ollie has a disturbing—and possibly prophetic—nightmare and finds himself at a crossroads.

Will he be wise or foolish?

It’s time to continue the scavenger hunt! Go to the book on Amazon at this link. When you read the book blurb, you’ll be able to answer the question: What is the name of Hank Cochran’s retirement home chain? When you have the answer, fill out this form and head on to the next blog!

Thank you so much for visiting! The next author on the tour is Sally Bayless, who is telling us all about her Christmas book Christmas in Abundance. You can find it at this link:

http://www.sallybayless.com/christmas-scavenger-hunt-round-robin-christmas-in-abundance/ 

Remember that the round robin will end on December 16th at 11:59 PM EST!

Preaching to Myself: 99 Sheep Syndrome

sheepI memorized Psalm 23 in Vacation Bible School when I was seven. In the King James Version, of course–that’s all we knew. I earned a plaque of the psalm, but the gift I appreciated the most at the time was a Barbie doll! In high school, our choir learned an anthem called The New 23rd. It was based on the Living Bible version, and it’s beautiful. So is the classic Scottish hymn I discovered later.

My point? I’ve known this beautiful psalm most of my life–almost too well.

Psalm 23 was paired with Luke 15:3-7 in a reading this morning, and I almost opted for another passage because of their familiarity.

I’m glad I didn’t. The two passages stewed in my heart along with yesterday’s sermon.

I don’t know if I’m sheep number twelve, or number ninety-nine. But in the story in Luke reference is made to The Ninety and Nine, I’ve called the syndrome I suffer from “the 99th Sheep Syndrome.”

A not-too-recent Sunday sermon was a rousing reminder of our primary mission as Christians: seeking the lost sheep, aka number one hundred. The pastor admitted that the destiny of those who don’t know Christ is a hard truth to swallow, and he even reminded us of ways we cope with the truth that those without Christ will be separated from God eternally, in hell: we ignore the truth, we try to rewrite it, we believe it but do nothing–or we do something about it.

I wander between the do-nothing believers and the doers. I think part of the problem is the fact that I sometimes suffer from 99th Sheep Syndrome! Much of the herd is right there with me, scampering and bleating around the shepherd’s feet. “Baa! Baa! Look at me! Feed me! Listen to me! Hold me!”

Maybe we 99 Sheep Syndrome sufferers forget that we’re supposedly seasoned, mature believers. We like to ride on the shepherd’s shoulders and be coddled and celebrated. (Here’s where the sheep analogy breaks down a bit. Hopefully, we’re not quite as dumb as sheep are reputed to be.) The reality is, though, that we really (should?!) know how to feed and care for ourselves. We shouldn’t require the constant care of our leaders and our Shepherd. We have work to do.

The wonderful news is this: because of Who our Shepherd is, He doesn’t need to look at us, attend to us, or know us more. He already knows us fully, inside and out. Attending to the 100th sheep doesn’t diminish His attention to us one iota! He never fails to provide banquets, streams, fresh green grass, and healing oil.

Assured of his completely adequate protection, we can stop our bleating and look at Him, attend to Him, and learn to know Him more!

He’s chosen us to help search for the lost sheep! When we do bleat, may it be, “Baa! Use me!” 

Preaching to myself today!