When I was a little boy, I had no idea what the term, Soul Confessions, meant. I enjoyed my life; it was as good as any boy could ever hope to have. My parents doted on me, but they didn't spoil me. When we went into a store, I didn't get everything I asked for, but I was rich in the time they spent with me, in the values they instilled in me from an early age.
Mom spent more time with me than Dad, though, because she stayed home to look after me and, a few years later, my brother. Dad was a judge and it kept him busy, but his love for us was absolute no matter how much time he spent away from his family.
I remember Dad and I going on fishing trips with one of his friends. My brother didn't come because he was too young so I got Dad to myself during those occasions. I was also the one helping Dad cook when we would have barbecues. I helped him drag the Christmas tree into the house and went to the garage with him when the car needed to be repaired. Sometimes it would be the two of us who went grocery shopping just to give Mom a break.
Dad would be the one to sit me on his knee and read the Children's Bible, whereas Mom read me nursery rhymes. Dad was the one who taught me to talk to God, said I could tell Him about anything. He said I could share happy feelings with God as well as feelings and thoughts that made me sad. I still didn't know what Soul Confessions were, at this point in my life, but I knew what love in action was; I saw it every day in the relationship between my parents.
I loved my dad. In my mind, he was the perfect example of what a father should be. He was my hero. Imagine how I felt when we were at the park one morning and he was shot and killed in front of me from a sniper's bullet. I still remember the scream that rose from me, still remember the blood. It was the last image I had of my father and, sadly, the image remains with me no matter how hard I try to remember how he looked before that fatal moment.
I know Mom was grieving from her heart, even her soul. I must confess it was made more difficult because she was worried about me. She took me to many counsellors but it was pointless. Nothing could penetrate the sorrow I felt, could eradicate the horrific memory of the last morning spent with my father. I'd wake from nightmares each night, without exception. I blamed God; He shouldn't have let me see my dad get killed and, because I did, it was something that scarred me forever.
As I grew, Mom tried her hardest to convince me not to let anger control my life, but it didn't matter. I swore I would find the man who killed my father, who robbed me of my childhood. I didn't know what I would do when I found him, but I was determined that even God wouldn't stand in my way. I knew what Soul Confessions were, at this point, but rest assured none would arise from me. I didn't even feel I had a soul left for a confession to come from because I had grown so bitter and angry. Knowing Dad would be so disappointed in the way my attitude toward God had shifted, that I had forsaken everything he tried to teach me as I sat upon his knee, didn't even penetrate the hardness which had settled inside of me.
Yeah, you could say I had a chip on my shoulder - as big a chip as anyone could have, I suppose. The strangest thing happened to me, though - something I didn't expect and it changed my life forever. I'd like to think Dad might be prouder of me now.
If you would like to learn the rest of my story, come over to Soul Confessions' page on Amazon; it's the third book of Norma Budden's Freedom in Love series, but I'd be remiss in not inviting you to check out the preceding titles, An Affair to Remember and When Love Abides.
Anyway, thanks for listening as I shared a little with you about my life. Who knows? I may be back to share a little more with you at a later date.
All the best!
Who is that mystery man?
What elements make for an intriguing story? That answer differs for every reader but, for me, I love a story with a lot of mystery and intrigue that keeps me guessing about ‘who dun it’ until the very end. Norma Budden’s novel, An Affair to Remember, fit the bill for me.
“Affair” opens with information about a man who has lived in the shadows and his mission to protect Monica Townsend, the book’s main character. We learn that this man of mystery would die before breaking this pact that he had made many years ago.
This information, revealed in the first paragraph, had me hooked. Who was this man? Why did he live in the shadows? How does he know Monica and why does he feel compelled to protect her? What pact did he make years ago; why did he make it and why is he willing to die for it? All of these questions made it very hard to put this book down. I think this was an excellent example of an opening paragraph for a novel since it gripped my attention and made me want to keep reading.
As I continued reading, I couldn’t help but wonder about the identity of the mystery man. Norma offered up plenty of clues with various characters to keep me guessing through the first half of the novel. So who was the mystery man? You’ll have to read the book to find out! But here are some of my guesses before I learned his identity.
When you first read about Monica’s father, you learn that he’s dead. Or is he? I surmised that maybe he faked his death. Or maybe he had done something so sinister that Monica’s mother thought it better that she grew up believing her father was dead but he really wasn’t. In chapter 3, Monica’s mother recalls her husband’s funeral, but I still couldn’t help but wonder if it was all a ruse especially after learning about his bad guy skills.
A Friend of Monica’s Father
If Monica’s father was dead, maybe Mystery Man was a friend of her father who had vowed to watch over a young Monica. If this was the case, why would he vow to do this in silence or do this in the first place? What was Monica’s father tangled up in? Is Mystery Man tangled up in the same affair and is this the reason he has to keep his distance from Monica in order to ensure her safety?
A Secret Admirer
Could the mystery man be Monica’s secret admirer, someone who was just as shy as Monica, and who - like her - had not gotten close to anyone in his life? Could this admirer have been someone that lived near Monica and had kept a watchful eye over her?
Early on in "Affair" you meet Chase, the handsomely rugged cop that takes on Monica’s case. In chapters 1 and 2, I had a fleeting thought that Chase could possibly be Mystery Man, but I struck that theory once Chase arrived at the warehouse scene. At this point, it seemed Mystery Man and Chase were different people - unless Chase had a split personality!
If you enjoy reading books packed with mystery, suspense and a little romance, then I highly recommend you pick up An Affair to Remember and be prepared to not be able to easily put the book down! If that’s not enough to hook you, you won’t believe the ending! I didn’t. In fact, I had to read it twice because I couldn’t believe it!
You can read the review I posted on Amazon by clicking here.
I hope you enjoy this story and discovering the identity of the mystery man as much as I did. I look forward to reading the sequel in this series!
About the author of this blog post
If you're anything like me, there are some memories you'll hold onto for the rest of your life. You'll carry people and treasured moments with you - memories of another time and place, another set of circumstances. Sometimes you'll take them out, as you would a favorite photo from a shoe box and, for a few moments, allow yourself to simply remember.
A smile will light your face and eyes as you reminisce and feel the pressures of the moment fade into the background - until a sudden movement or interruption steals your attention. The memory is shelved for another time and place, though you don't have full control over when it will draw your attention again.
We all have bad memories and carry regret about one thing or another but, if you're anything like me, some of the good memories you made are those which should never have taken place, according to many people. However, I fail to see how an encouraging word, a hug and pair of listening ears should be something to frown upon, especially during periods of desperation. If a person seeks to understand another, it should count for something. If a person tries to help lift another from a dark and painful place, it shouldn't be considered wrong.
Granted, depending upon the situations of the people involved, things can evolve. Priorities can get mixed up quickly and relationships can be destroyed in the process, which is easy for an outsider to see. However, if you're anything like me, during the moment when you're feeling your lowest, you don't think about the spouse/family waiting for someone at home. Every thought you have is concerned with trying to survive the nightmare you've been dealt. The person trying to help you through the situation is considered a gift from Heaven itself.
When trying to help someone walk through the lowest valley of their lives, if you're anything like me, your first instinct it to help the person come through the ordeal without going through an increased level of anxiety and suffering. Everything in life becomes secondary as you're trying to encourage the person in front of you to choose life instead of committing suicide, to take a small step in faith instead of falling into the depths of despair. You say what needs to be said. You provide a listening ear. You try your best to understand, and reach, the person in front of you. In short, you do what needs to be done to ensure the person you're trying to help comes out a survivor.
Admittedly, my soul carries some battle scars - scars I would hope others never have to endure, yet I know many people do. They live with regret in so many areas - things they wish they could have done differently, said differently or not done at all. Yet, if you're anything like me, you've stopped berating yourself. You've said "Goodbye" to continually putting yourself down because you feel others think you should be doing so. Instead, you embrace the future, accepting your past for what it is - something which can't be altered or reversed - something you can learn from as you continue to take those baby steps forward each day you awaken and start another day anew.
If you're anything like me, you'll find yourself revisiting those memories, especially when times are tough. Your smile will light your face and eyes as you remember a time and place when, in your soul, you knew that someone cared enough to listen, regardless of what time would bring.
Norma Budden is an avid reader who finds passion in creating emotionally driven stories to share with her readers.