Locked In by M J Lau

I must confess, it took me quite a while to finish reading this book — not because it didn’t have a good story line, but because I don’t play video games and am not a part of that world. However, MJ Lau did a very good job of capturing my attention with the life of his main character, Everett, and the interesting plot line.

The title, Locked In, alludes to being locked into a video game, and that’s exactly what happens to this group of teens. They play the game with a virtual reality game system and get locked in — they can’t log out. But Everett has an escape (you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is), and he believes he is the only one who can save his friends. Things get really interesting when Everett finds out what has caused everyone to be locked in.

MJ Lau created interesting characters, and Everett’s life outside of the game has its own complications. MJ also writes in a way that I could picture scenes in my mind and even though I am not a “gamer”, I understood the scenes and plot of the video game.

If you have a teenage gamer in your life, or if you are a gamer, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Locked In by MJ Lau.

Tea and Poetry

Today’s Tea Tidbit:

A Loving Recipe for a Perfect Cup of Tea

I — willing friend who loves to sit and share

I — grateful heart to have a friend that cares

I — beautiful garden to show us God is near

 

Today’s poem is my own original free verse poem.

The Savior’s Entreaty
by Kelly F. Barr

My Beloved, why have you turned from me?
Why do you mock, disbelieve, and ignore my word?
Movies, youtube, social media, video games–
Worldly technology consumes your time.
You seek constant entertainment and your own selfish desires;
Rushing from one thing to another, no time to rest–
To rest in my loving embrace nor time to seek my face.

My heart aches for you and I shed tears for you.
I still speak to you, but you do not hear my still, small voice.
The blood I poured out for you means nothing to you;
Bu you still mean everything to me.
The battle raging inside you is real, don’t ignore it.
My stripes still heal, and someday soon I’m coming.
Until then my saints will continue to pray and reach out to you.

For my heart’s desire is that NONE SHOULD PERISH.

How One Town Thrives in the Midst of Big Change (Lititz, PA)

 

I took the above photos on October 6, 2018 when we attended “The Chocolate Walk” in a local town. This town has been known for it’s chocolate since before I was born (long before I was born), and it didn’t start in this local town. However, it’s been an icon in this town for over 100 years. The first picture above is what is left of the original Wilbur Chocolate Factory, which is now going to be turned into Luxury Condos. Wilbur still has a chocolate store in this town and still sells plenty of chocolate. However, the new store lacks the history of the original store which was housed in the building being reconstructed. The new store is modern and, in my opinion, has lost much of its original charm because of the loss of history.

The rest of the photos have a happier story. While my heart breaks at the change of such a long-standing icon, I applaud the town businesses of Lititz, PA for remaining strong and not running in fear — fear that because of the major change, the people may stop shopping, tourists may stop coming. No, this town’s businesses continue to thrive as they offer wonderful products and services. The town also continues to hold wonderful events that draw people in, like “The Chocolate Walk”. Despite traffic and parking issues, this town continues to draw crowds and its businesses continue to thrive.

I love visiting this town because it is rich in history — the majority of the buildings are historical and beautiful. The shops are beautiful and offer unique and useful, as well as beautiful and artistic products and creations. The town also offers a variety of wonderful eating establishments, whether it’s pizza or chocolate you’re craving or a more substantial meal from the historical General Sutter Inn and Bull’s Head Pub or something in between like an authentic Mexican restaurant, or the healthier fare of The Tomato Pie Cafe. There is something for everyone in this quaint town.

I did mention the rest of the photos but haven’t explained them all yet — “The Chocolate Walk” is an annual event where people purchase tickets for money that is donated to wonderful organizations that benefit children. These tickets give the ticket-holders the privilege of visiting many of the designated shops in town to taste delicious chocolate creations made by bakers, creameries, confectioners, chocolatiers, and more for six hours one Saturday a year. Photo #2 is an army of chocolate mice that were quite tasty with a maraschino cherry in their middle. Photo #3 is a pirate skeleton holding a rifle, sculpted from metal and standing guard outside one of the delightful shops. Photos #4 and #5 are some of the fall decorations — do you recognize the character in Photo #5?

Photo #6 was one of my favorite novelty clocks in a store that sells these wonderful clocks as well as some beautiful clocks, jewelry, and ceramics, which is exemplified in Photo #7.

You may wonder why I chose to show this town the way that I did, and I have to say, it is because my own town — where I was born and raised and still reside, died, to my chagrin, many years ago because Walmart got approval to build a store on the eastern outskirts of town and everyone panicked. There were protests and cries that Walmart would run all of the local businesses out of business. (We had a K-Mart on the southern outskirts of town before the Walmart, and it hadn’t affected the local businesses.) Sadly, many of the local businesses closed before Walmart was even built and open. Business owners tucked their tails and ran instead of staying and standing strong and waiting to see where customer loyalties lay.

I grew up in a town where we did all of our shopping and enjoyed it. But for many years, there are no stores to really shop in and no great eating establishments with the exception of one or two. It has become a sad town that has been fixed up to “look attractive”, but no one does anything to bring in businesses that would revive the town and make it a place people want to visit again. My heart is broken because my children will never know the kind of town I grew up in. If I knew how to do something about it, I would.

That is why I have such praise for Lititz and am thankful they are within driving distance. Stay strong Lititz!

Tea and Poetry

Today’s Tea Tidbit:

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.

–Author Unknown

Today I am sharing a poem by one of my favorite poets, Helen Steiner Rice:

On The Wings of Prayer

Just close your eyes and open your heart
And feel your worries and cares depart,
Just yield yourself to the Father above
And let Him hold you secure in His love …
For life on earth grows more involved
With endless problems that can’t be solved –
But God only asks us to do our best,
Then He will “take over” and finish the rest …
So when you are tired, discouraged and blue,
There’s always one door that is open to you –
And that is the door to “The House of Prayer
And you’ll find God waiting to meet you there …
And “The House of Prayer” is no farther away
Than the quiet spot where you kneel and pray –
For the heart is a temple when God is there
As we place ourselves in His loving care …
And He hears every prayer and answers each one
When we pray in His name “Thy Will Be Done” –
And the burdens that seemed too heavy to bear
Are lifted away on “The Wings of a Prayer“.

Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black

Cloak of the Light is the first book of the “Wars of the Realm” series by Chuck Black. Drew Carter is the main character in this book, and an accident in a physics lab leaves Drew blind. However, his sight miraculously returns, and Drew discovers the accident has given him skills and sight beyond that of a normal man.

Drew witnesses things normal humans cannot see — invaders, causing him to question his own sanity. Then he meets Sydney Carlyle, a girl he is attracted to, who offers encouragement through her faith. However, Drew wants nothing to do with that kind of faith in his own life.

Then he begins to notice the actions of the invaders as well as the actions of human beings. Is there a connection between the invaders and the humans?

Drew becomes involved in a battle as he simply tries to help people he sees in need. In so doing, he angers a tough street gang who want him dead. The dark invaders also seem to want to get rid of him. Will Drew find the truth of the invaders in time?

What a great read! I could NOT put this book down, and it ramped up my emotions as Drew faced danger in order to help others, and yet, Drew was missing something and I wanted him to find it which also ramped up some frustration. But I could not stop turning pages. I was too invested in these characters and the plot line. I had to see how it would all end.

By the end of the book, Drew is a little closer to finding the truth, but there’s still the problem of the invaders. Therefore, it didn’t take me long to pick up the next book in the War of the Realms series: Rise of the Fallen. There is one more after this: Light of the Last, and I’m sure I won’t be reading much of anything else until I get through this trilogy.

If you like books filled with danger, suspense, action, mystery, with a little sci-fi and romance tossed in, you’ll love Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black.