When Time Stood Still

(A letter to my son, Christian)

It was Saturday, November 13, 2010. A typical winter’s day in Alaska, with a beautiful fresh snow blanketing the ground. What started out as a normal day quickly turned into the most horrific day of my life…the day I held your head in my hands and watched you die, helpless to do anything but pray.

Many times I had heard the phrase, “cry out to God”, but on that day, I literally screamed to Him, begging Him to save my baby. There are no human words to describe what I felt, but it seemed as if time had just suddenly stopped. It was as if I was in another world, watching, and waiting.

I don’t know why it occurred to me, or how it happened, but I was suddenly and utterly filled with an indescribable faith, somehow trusting and knowing that God was at work here, and that everything was going to be alright. As I let go and placed your soul into His mighty hands, for you were already dead, there was a surreal peacefulness that entered my spirit. For the first time in my life, I felt the presence of God in me and all around me. I had sensed His presence before, but this was different. This time it was physical!

The paramedics said you were dead for about an hour, but time did not exist for me. I remember everything I saw, heard, thought and felt. But it was like a flash, and yet eternal. It was as if the beginning of the world through to the end, was all rolled up into one breath.

When your heart began to beat again and life returned to your body, time began again, though it seemed painfully slow for several weeks.

It has been 5 years now, and there has not been one second that I have not felt a deep gratitude in my heart for the precious gift God has given us. There have been difficult moments as is the case in life, and there have been times when I have forgotten to say “thank you”. But I have never stopped feeling it.

The love I feel in my heart, for God, and for you, has grown with each day. I can’t imagine life without either of you, and I wouldn’t want to.

I’ve been allowed the privilege of watching you grow and blossom into the young man you are today, and I just want to tell you that I am proud of you! You may not always make good and right choices, you may be irritating at times, but I count it all as joy in seeing you live, in watching as you grow and walk with God.

As a mother, I will always be concerned about you, because I love you. But in the very depths of my soul, as long as you are in God’s hands, I know you will be okay. And so that is my prayer for you, that you live your life by God’s word, walking in His ways, and following His perfect plan for you. Live for God, and you will live well.

In honor of your (re)birthday today, I give God thanks for you, and I praise His mighty name for your life. It is a precious gift to be your mother, and it is an honor to call you my son.
I love you Christian…you forever hold my heart!


An Event Invitation to Christian Writers (and Readers)

For over a year now, I have had an idea for a story line in mind. It’s in regards to spiritual warfare and using the Armor of God. The trouble is that I have had little time to actually write these thoughts and ideas down. So during all this time, there have been so many different possibilities for characters and scenarios, each going in a different direction.

As a writer, this has caused a dilemma for me in that I now have so many paths to choose from for which story to write.

Last month, as I was finally winding down with finishing up a few mandatory projects, I began thinking about the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) event that begins each year in November. I have unofficially participated in the event for several years, but only reached the goal of 30,000 words once, which turned into a series of articles. But the practice and experience gained from the events was certainly worth the effect. It helped to sharpen both my thinking and writing skills.

As I considered participating this year, I was also thinking about isolated writers tend to be at times while busy working on their projects. I was also working at the time, helping a friend with a manuscript they were working on, and this sparked an idea that started keeping me awake at night and getting up 2 hours before the alarm clock went off.

What if a story outline was presented, and then readers and writers together created the details to tell the story? It would give the readers a say in what happens and what directions the characters take, while giving the writers the opportunity to hone their writing skills following the guidelines of the readers directions.

So I decided to create a website for the specific purpose of bringing readers and writers together, to participate in the creation of what I am calling a “Christian fantasy fiction” series, based on my outline. And I’m using the NaNoWriMo event as the model, with a goal of at least 50,000 words by the end of November. The website is simple and pretty easy to sign up for membership, and it’s absolutely free to join.

If you like to read or write fiction, I invite you to join me in this adventure of creating an outstanding series that will not only tell an amazing tale with lessons of enduring faith, but will also create bonds of friendship, and help and encouragement for writers of all levels.

For more information visit the website here.

I hope you join me on this journey, and please feel free to share. I look forward to getting to know you all better.

God bless,

Amber Lea

Jason’s Gift

Being a creative minded person for as long as I can remember, I have always felt a fondness for art. I find a beauty in paintings, songs, crafts and literature, that I could not explain for the longest time. But recently I began to discover some things about myself that has given me a new understanding of my life. Art in its various forms stirs emotions within me, and creates a connection between myself and the artist.

My journey into writing began a little over 13 years ago, when my son, Jason, died. On the outside, I put on the mask of strength, trying to show that I was okay. I did this for two reasons. The first being that I was 8 months pregnant and everyone around me was concerned that the stress would cause me to have a miscarriage. So I tried to relieve their concerns, not wanting to worry anyone. The second reason was that it has never been easy for me to share what I call my “darker” feelings. Laughter, joy, love and friendship, these things were easy. But pain and sadness were emotions that I did not know how to share. So I kept these things hidden. I was also very isolated at the time of Jason’s death. Even though there were a few that offered a shoulder to cry on, I could still sense the uncomfortableness around me, like people were walking on eggshells, not wanting to trigger an episode of sadness. Others simply avoided being around me altogether. So I felt as though I was walking this secret path inside myself, alone.

I had dabbled in poetry off and on over the years, and I found myself writing again in the form of short tributes to Jason. There were times when feelings just started pouring out of me and flowing onto the paper. It surprised me how it seemed to relieve some of the pressure that was swelling inside my heart. So I continued to write. But I never shared any of it.

After about a year, I found myself joining a website chat room. The internet was just really beginning to take off in gaining popularity, and I was mostly just curious. As I looked through the forums, I found a few that appealed to me and I began to post a few comments. There was some high tension at the time due to it being an election year, and a few of the people that I had made friends with were getting into some heated debates over politics. So I began a thread of jokes and funny stories, trying to soften the atmosphere.

The response I received took me by surprise, and I soon found that I was being encouraged to consider becoming a writer. There were 3 published authors in the group, all considerably older than I was, and I felt completely out of my league among them. But, nevertheless, they continued to push and encourage me to consider following through in my writing.

I’m not really sure why I did it, but I began to send some of the stories and poetry I had written to two of these authors. I shared some very personal feelings in these writings, and to be honest, I felt so strange in making myself open and vulnerable in such a way. I had never considered the possibility of becoming an author, and I did not believe that my writing had the quality to do it. I fully expected some harsh critiques of my work pointing out all the flaws. But to my amazement, instead I received such high praise that I was shocked!

At first I thought that perhaps they were just being kind. But then I found out that both of these authors were actually telling others about me, and it was even suggested that I submit my writing to a few magazines to be published! I felt honored, but confused as to why these people thought I should do so. Curiosity got the better of me, and I finally asked why they liked my writing. They both told me that it was because my writing came from the heart in a way that let them feel what I felt, and understand what I thought. Simply put, the writing touched their hearts.

I began working on compiling several of the stories and poems together, still unsure of myself and having no idea what to do next. I began with buying a copy of the current listing of agents and publishers. I studied and tried to learn as much as I could about the writing industry, trying to figure out all the steps I needed to take. I also began to take some writing classes, as I still did not have any confidence in my ability. I soon found that a lot of what I read didn’t make much sense to me. The information was more focused on picking apart and labeling the parts of writing, which I didn’t really care about. I had always viewed literature in terms of whether or not the work was entertaining, stirring my emotions, or informative of a certain point of view. I paid more attention to the ability to communicate effectively than to the points of proper grammar and sentence structure. In my own writings, I’m quite sure any English professor would have a blast with their red markers, crossing out all my mistakes. But as I tried to learn to write according to the book standards, the thoughts and feelings just did not flow right.

As life circumstances sometimes do, some unexpected changes occurred, and the writing was put aside for several years. After moving into our cabin in 2006, I began unpacking some boxes that had been in storage for a few years. I found the folders containing the work I had typed out. As I went through them, I found myself being stirred by the words in an unexpected way, at times crying, and other times laughing. Then I came across a folder that I had forgotten about. It contained stories that Jason had written when he was about 9 years old. I hadn’t realized it before, but Jason had a passion for writing. Though he was so young, his stories spoke about life and reality from his own heart, and this gave me a connection to him, an insight into his personal mind. Even though there were tears of sorrow from missing him, there was also a joy in having his stories, his way of sharing himself with me. These simple stories with their misspelled words and improper grammar became the most cherished writings in the world to me.

That was the day that I understood what those two authors were telling me about why they liked my writing, because it came from my heart. It was also the day that I knew that I had to keep writing, because just like Jason, it is how I share my heart. It didn’t matter to me whether or not anyone else ever saw the words, I just had to write them. In writing, I can say the words that my mouth cannot utter. I can show the pain and sorrow, or the joy and exhilaration. Writing became at first, like a form of therapy, to let things out that I couldn’t tell anyone face to face. I soon discovered that it also kept my head from exploding from all the thoughts and feelings whirling around inside. It gave a sense of freedom and healing to my heart and soul.

A few years later, after a horrific accident involving my youngest son, Christian, I began sharing online the details of the events that were occurring on a day to day basis. It started as a way to update the family and friends on what was happening. I was unconscious of the fact that I was also sharing myself, that I was exposing my thoughts and feelings along with the updates. I became aware of this from the responses that people were leaving on the posts. Total strangers were sharing thoughts and prayers, pouring out a kind of love and support that I found to give me strength and courage that I didn’t know I had. People were thanking me for sharing those posts, telling me of the impact on their hearts, and asking that I continue to keep sharing. I had a profound sense that not only did I need to do it, but that others were needing to receive it.

Over the next 2 years, I went through the posts and began compiling them, together with stories, thoughts and feelings, into what became my first published book, “Faith, Hope and Miracles”. I didn’t really know what direction the book would take, but I wrote it with the intention of letting out the joy, hope and encouragement that I felt, along with the pain and sorrow. The reaction of those that have read my book has reaffirmed what Jason’s stories taught me…that when we share from the heart, it becomes a part of the heart for those we share it with.

Jason gave me a precious gift, inspiring me to write, to share my heart. If in that sharing, it connects my heart to others in a way that brings a sense of unity, whether it be in joy, grief, hope, encouragement, sadness or laughter, then I have achieved my goal. If sharing my words causes others to feel that they are not alone, then I have succeeded.

Though I miss Jason terribly, I forever hold him dear in my heart, remembering the love and joy he brought into my life, and this gift he has given me, to expose my heart and let it bleed for all the world to see. Thank you Jason, I love you forever!

Interview with author R. Glenn Kelly

It is always a joy to share  a great book, and today I have the pleasure of introducing author R. Glenn Kelly and his book, “Sometimes I Cry in the Shower”. It is a story of a journey I promise you won’t soon forget. It is well written, informative, engaging, honest, and laced with tears, love, and laughter. Read some of the reviews here.

Ron Kelly Sometimes I Cry in the Shower

On to the interview…

Q: Give a little background of why you wrote your book.

A: After the tragic loss of my son Jonathan I refused to grieve, convinced that holding it back from others, and ultimately myself would allow me to survive the dark pain. However, the corrosive emotions enwrapped within grief soon began to take their toll emotionally until one morning the very spirit of Jonathan came to me in the shower. He wanted me to understand that I was not honoring him by living a life that carried on the legacy he left for me…to live, serve others and above all else, love unconditionally, something foreign to me before that hero came into my life for his short sixteen years. “Sometimes I Cry In The Shower” is my way of serving by targeting hope and healing towards men, who have so little in published materials targeted specifically at us.

Q: What direction do you want to take with your book?

A: Guided by the spirit of Jonathan, the book seems to be finding the path only he and I could hope for…serving grieving fathers. While I am using chapters and topics within the book to present at grief workshops and other venues, I am the most honored that an internationally renowned hospital specializing in pediatric cardiology has selected the book to be one item within their “Grief Basket”, which is delivered to parents six months after they have lost a child. If my publication continues down this path, it will serve the goal my late son and I have hoped for.

Q: Do you have any plans for more books in the future?

A: Yes. I am currently writing “Legacies I Left behind.” This book will be written from what I know and feel to be Jonathan’s perspective on how I should continue on with my life as a father recovering from grief. From the moments I held my son and experienced his last breath along with him, I felt an odd inner peace that would soon be overcome by the chaos and heartache that certainly came with the horrendous loss of my only child. Yet for a brief moment I felt as if the true Jon, his sprit, touched me and said “The journey begins now, Dad. I am right here and I love you.”

Q: What is the one thing that drives you more than anything else as an author?

A: Even after Jon came to me in the shower and told me to grieve, I had an inherent knowledge I would not seek professional help. I hope any man who goes through the unfortunate loss of a child or loved one will, it was certainly not in my manner to do so. I tried turning to publications meant for men who grieve and found almost nothing. Sometimes I Cry, and the following books are my way of taking the clinical research, as well as life experiences of myself and other typical males, and using them to serve others who may be sadly beginning the journey I am now on. Sometimes it takes the admonishments of a child’s spirit and legacies, and other times it takes a hand that silently reaches out to say “it is going to be okay”.

Q: What advice would you give to new authors, or those considering becoming one?

A: Do it. Write it. Regardless of the topic, fiction or non-fiction, let it out to the world if you feel it. One of my favorite, heartfelt quotes comes from Dr. Wayne Dyer who said, “Don’t die with your music still inside”.

Q: If you could share a particular message with your readers, what would it be?

A: We are all humans and we all feel emotions. Emotions are as much a part of our systemic needs as breathing air and drinking water. Those emotions flow through us like a river that must flow out to the ocean. Men have a tendency to dam up that river, usually at the heart, where we feel we might expose ourselves as weak and unmanly. This already causes the waters to flood backwards a bit and destroy a small amount of our natural flora and fauna. We might function well through normal life that way, but when the enormous emotions of grief from a loss flow towards the dam, the waters build and build, flooding out and destroying so much of who we are subconsciously, where our morality and self-worth reside. And when the dam finally breaks, and it will, those flood waters will burst forward and destroy so much life and love on the other side. Relationships, careers, friends and so much more. It has to be let out…It must be recognized and controlled! Do not continue to make the dam stronger when the grief comes. It cannot be held back forever.

Q: Any additional comments?

A: I have been absolutely humbled by the response and review of women who have read “Sometimes I Cry In The Shower”. While I initially intended the publications to be for men, I am finding female readers who say they too are finding hope and healing throughout the book. I could ask for no greater gift than to know all can use my discoveries to journey towards wholeness and healing. We will never be completely healed from the loss of a loved one, and personally there are parts of me I do not want healed. My son was woven into the very fabric of my life and to this day I have dark corners where I want to escape to, roll up in a fetal position and make the world just go away, if only for a short time. Yet, actively walking towards wholeness and healing soon brings the realization that those dark corners are getting fewer and farther apart.

Sometimes I Cry in the Shower is available on Amazon here .

Ron Kelly Sometimes I Cry in the Shower Ron Kelly Sometimes I Cry in the Shower back cover

About the author:

Ron Kelly author picR. Glenn Kelly, grieving and healing father of Jonathan Taylor Kelly, has written professionally throughout his adult life. He has composed many informative articles published within trade periodicals in various industries and authored numerous award-winning responses to federal government solicitations in the defense industry, as well. With graphic arts as another passion, R. Glenn has also designed attractive print media ads and marketing materials for numerous companies along the way. An avid public speaker, he is just as much at home talking to an audience as he is conversing with friends over dinner.

To find out more, or to contact R. Glenn directly, please visit grievingmen.com, where you are invited to share or join in discussions related to the journey of all men who have suffered loss. R. Glenn is available for speaking engagements or grief workshop participation.

Contact R. Glenn Kelly at:

email – rglennkelly@rglennkelly.com,
website – www.grievingmen.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/RGlennKelly/

Twitter – @RGlennKelly

**Mr. Kelly, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me! I wish you much success and joy in this and future endeavors. May God richly bless you always. – Amber

On Grief and Healing

It takes a warrior’s heart to persevere in the publishing world. Walk in the confidence that God has put a story in your heart and He will equip you to tell it. After all, it’s really His Story, isn’t it?” – Pamela Thorson, author of “Song in the Night” and “Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver“.

Writers are often said to be introverts, and that may be true for many. But they are also a brave sort of people, for it takes a tremendous amount of courage to put pen to paper and share dreams, thoughts and ideas with the world. There are often ideas created out of seeing a perspective or need that needs to be addressed. Perhaps the courage comes from an overwhelming need to share a personal message, maybe an experience that might benefit others.

Such is the case for a grieving father, who after losing his only son, Jonathan, began a journey into self-discovery and healing. In his search for guidance and self-help, he found that there was not much available on the topic of men’s grief. Through his own grief, he made a connection that was the beginning of his healing. This connection has taken on a mission of its own in the form of a legacy to his son.

Having a writer’s heart, he decided that it was time to share what he discovered for himself. His name is R. Glenn Kelly, and his book, “Sometimes I Cry in the Shower” is on the fast track to making a nationwide impact on the hearts of many, men and women alike.

I commend Mr. Kelly in his endeavor to share his raw, open honesty with others into a journey that no one wants to take. And I know his son would be very proud of him. I highly recommend “Sometimes I Cry in the Shower”.

Ron Kelly Sometimes I Cry in the Shower

For more info on R. Glenn Kelly, visit his Author page on Amazon.

Check back soon to read my upcoming interview with R. Glenn Kelly!

God bless! – Amber

A Thanksgiving Day Message

A Thanksgiving Day Message

There are so many reasons I have to be thankful for, I couldn’t possibly list them all here. But as I’ve been thinking about those reasons, I realized that I could summarize them all with this:

I am thankful for being loved, and for the ability to give love!

God’s love is the greatest gift of all. It is the beginning of and the reason for all the blessings we receive, including life itself. And because His love is so great, it cannot be contained in one heart alone. It grows, and then we can share it.

So I want to take the time to say THANK YOU to God, for the gift of love! And THANK YOU to all of my family, friends and neighbors, for sharing your love!

As we celebrate this Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, I pray that every heart on earth be filled with such love and joy, that the whole earth sings a song of praise and thanks.

Always remember, God loves you, and that is worth being thankful for.

10734112_738757919532732_3025219581875796871_nHappy Thanksgiving to all, and God bless! – Amber

Faith, Hope & Miracles: A Re-birthday Celebration

November 13, a “re-birthday”. That is the term my son Christian uses to describe the anniversary of his death and return from heaven. He says he was “re-born” on that day, and it is certainly worthy of a celebration.

After a horrible accident, Christian was dead for almost an hour. During that time, he was in heaven with Jesus, where he also met his older brother, Jason. The experiences Christian shared with us over the next few months were astounding to say the least. It changed our lives.

Birthday celebrations involve gifts, but instead of receiving, we want to give. Christian said that Jesus wants us to know that He loves us all, and He wants us to be encouraged with faith and hope. It is that faith and hope that inspired our book, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”, and it is our gift to you. We have made it available for free on November 13 and 14, and we’re asking everyone to share it. Join us in our celebration of Christian’s “re-birthday”, share a little encouragement and hope!


Final Book Cover Free for a limited time, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”at Amazon.com

“Delightful, awe-inspiring, miraculous journey of one boy and his family. Gut-wrenching terror turns into a beautiful story of redemption, 2nd chances, and miracles in this journal of death-to-life healing and glorious victory. WOW! Highly recommended to stir your faith and encourage you that God is real, He’s alive, and He worked a precious miracle in this Alaskan family. You should read it today!” (Mary E. Hanks, author of “Winter’s Past”)



DSC02714 (1)
May God bless you with abundant love, peace and joy.

– Amber & Christian

Greater Than God

Amber Lea:

This is wonderful! Thanks Kenny for sharing.

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert Vintage Dilbert
September 5, 1995

Here is a simple riddle.

Only 17% of College Seniors got the right answer when asked.

What is greater than God,
More evil than the Devil,
The poor have it,
The rich need it,
If you eat it, you will die?

By the way, Jacob (age 7) got the correct answer. No pressure though!

The answer to the riddle is “Nothing”

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
 so credit can be given

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Celebrating A New Birth

It has been a very busy summer here, and the past month has truly been crazy! In between all the day to day life stuff, home projects and errands, I’ve had little time to work on my writing. Hopefully, that will be changing soon, as the summer is quickly coming to an end.

Several months ago, a very dear friend asked for my help in editing her book and getting it published. This book has been a long journey for Twylla, and she said she never really thought about producing it as a published work until recently. Her reasons for writing were personal to begin with, but after sharing some of what she wrote with close family and friends, she was encouraged to continue and finish it.

I felt honored to be asked for help with this endeavor, knowing well the anticipation and anxiety one feels over exposing themselves to the possibility of rejection or being criticized. I shared an article a while back about how similar writing is to giving birth, and over the past few months, Twylla and I have joked about her “baby” being delivered.

Things went fairly smoothly in the editing process, except for when I accidentally deleted all the formatting changes, but I gained more knowledge and practice from the experience.

Finally the time came to begin the publishing process, the “birth”.

After self-publishing my own book through Kindle Direct Publishing & CreateSpace, I assured Twylla that the process was not very difficult. This too, became an adventure, and we had a few setbacks. But again, we gained knowledge and practice, learning several new skills along the way.

I am so pleased to announce that today, Twylla Carlson’s new book, “Butterfly Fields” is now available for sale on Amazon! Her “baby” has been delivered!

Twylla’s story is a work of Christian fiction, about a young woman overcoming trials and struggles through faith, and finding encouragement while helping others overcome their own circumstances. It is well written, drawing the reader into the lives of the colorful characters, and leaves the reader with a sense that there is hope in spite of circumstance.

Set in the days of the old west, this story has a slightly romantic twist, and showcases the strength and courage that faith and trust bring. I highly recommend this book, and ask for your help in sharing the news. I also ask that you consider writing a review for Twylla on Amazon. I know it would be greatly appreciated.

Butterfly Fields



To Love As Jesus Loved: “If I Have Not Charity, It Profiteth Me Nothing (2)”

Amber Lea:

How awesome the love of Jesus is!

Originally posted on Settled In Heaven Blog:

SIH TOTT ICON“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away…  

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

As we conclude our introduction to this series, I thought it would be good to look at a basic…

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