Thursday, March 31, 2011

Feasts and Puzzles

Holy smokes! I just went on a little treasure hunt and decoded several things I had been oblivious to for decades. I thought this stuff was ancient, boring and irrelevant, but it is definitely not. What am I talking about? Well, I was thinking about Easter but puzzling out the Old Testament book of Leviticus. Chapter 23 of Leviticus starts with what I think is a pleasant contrast to all the previous negative prohibitions and sacrifices. The Lord appoints some feasts: The Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the Feast of Tabernacles. These are wonderful “parties” and have special significance to Israel, but even more significance to Christians. Why? Because they are or will be fulfilled in Christ!

First of all Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits fall on the 14th, 15th and 17th of the Jewish calendar month of Nisan. These are spring feasts. Pentecost is 50 days later on the 6th of Sivan, a summer month. The last three feasts are all autumn festivals falling on the 1st, 10th and 15th of Tishri.

The Passover supper (the Seder meal) was what Jesus and the disciples were having the night before His crucifixion – The Last Supper! For the Jew, Passover celebrates liberation from slavery to Egypt; for the Christian, Christ’s crucifixion signifies liberation from slavery to sin and death.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the day Christ was crucified – Good Friday! Leaven, or yeast, is symbolic of sin. Jews eat unleavened bread, bread made without yeast called matzah during the seven days of this feast. Matzah is striped and pierced, an obvious (to a Christian) link to Christ’s pre-crucifixion beating and the sword piercing that He received on the cross.

The Feast of First Fruits took place on the day Christ rose from the dead! This feast was to present the first fruits of the harvest to God. The priest would wave the first sheaf of grain and it was accepted by God on the people’s behalf – just as Jesus now is the “first fruit” accepted on our behalf.

The Feast of Pentecost was the day the Holy Spirit was poured out onto the disciples, but the first Pentecost was 7 weeks after the death of the Passover lambs. On that day Moses received the Law on the stone tablets and when he returned to camp 3000 men died because of their sin. Seven weeks after Christ, the Lamb of God, was crucified the disciples received the Holy Spirit and 3000 believed that day. I love it when God works the numbers angle.

The next three feasts will be fulfilled as prophesied in the Holy Scriptures. The Feast of Trumpets was a day of rest for Israel on which they should “sound the trumpets”. This is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. At some future date the trumpets will sound Christ’s return, now THAT will really be a new year.

The Day of Atonement is the day that the priests made atonement for Israel. The people fasted and prayed. On some future Day of Atonement Jesus will be revealed as King and return to this earth.

The Feast of Tabernacles was a feast of joy when the harvest was brought in. Someday it will be the harvest of saved souls and a day that Christ will begin His rule.

These seven feasts, given and explained THOUSANDS of years ago, show us right where we are on God’s calendar.
Here are two good websites to visit if you want to read more:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Letter, part 2

Sharon slipped the letter into her husband’s travel bag hoping he would read her deepest confessions while he was away on his hunting trip. If it upset him he would have hours of peaceful contemplation in the woods to calm down and think. She hoped he would return ready to work with her on their mess of a marriage.

But he found it before he left.

“What the hell is this?” Matt demanded in a whispery shout, trying not to wake the children. He waved the sheaf of hand-written pages in her face as he confronted her by the dresser.

Sharon grabbed a fall sweater and turned toward the bathroom.

“I thought you could read it . . . something to think about in the woods . . .”

“You’re my wife!” His voice hissed. “And you have to talk to me through a letter?”

“Just read it.” Sharon started to tremble. Matt grabbed her shoulder and forced her to face him.

“I read the first page. That was enough. This is garbage. I can’t believe you would blind-side me like this.” He crumpled the pages and tossed them at her feet. “Throw that away. I don’t want the kids to find it and read that shit.”

Matt grabbed his gear and stomped out of the bedroom. “Bitch,” he mumbled under his breath.

Sharon picked up the pages of the letter and stood at the window to watch her husband drive away. He had been her best friend, she thought, her soul-mate, and now all she wanted was for him to disappear, have a hunting accident, never come back.

She smoothed out the pages and hid them under her jewelry box.

Copyright 2011 by Debra Chapoton

Sunday, March 27, 2011

To Err is Human

I love mistakes. I always told my students that mistakes are good; we always learn more from our errors, faults, and slip-ups than from being right. I tried not to come down hard on anyone who gave a wrong answer. Any confusion, mix-up, misinterpretation or inaccuracy was just another teaching tool. Better to make a goof now than on the test. Don’t we all learn best from our blunders, gaffes and misinterpretations? Remember that embarrassing moment? That time you were humiliated? I’ll bet you learned not to repeat that faux pas.

There’s a reason we have so many words for being wrong, words like imprecision, inexactness, erroneousness, incorrectness, oversight, slip, misunderstanding, misconstruction, fallacy, misapprehension, and miscalculation, not to mention the thirteen synonyms I used before I got to this sentence. The reason is . . . we’re not perfect. You’ll find far fewer synonyms for right.

But wait, there’s more. I particularly like blunder, bungle and boo-boo. But my new favorite word for stupid mistake is “howler”.

(Please let me know if you found anything that I messed up in this post. I really didn’t want to botch it up.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Letter

Sharon sat at the kitchen table and stared blankly at the two pages she had written so far. Matt was gone, off again supporting his selfish interests. There was always money for new hunting gear, sports equipment or a gym membership, but what did she have? She gave up extras for herself when their first child was born. He had sacrificed nothing.

It was all there in this letter. Her anger, disappointment and dissatisfaction kept filling the pages like an overflowing toilet. Like the plumbing problems she had to fix herself, the housework and chores he never helped with, the life she seemed to be living alone with the kids . . . this too, she knew, she would have to fix alone. Writing it all down was cathartic but she was afraid she wouldn’t have the courage to give it to him.

“Thirteen years” it began. “Thirteen years and no orgasm” was what she wanted to write. What a selfish lover he had turned out to be, claiming she was frigid. Everything was her fault. There was nothing she could do right.
Sharon began to list her inferiorities. According to Matt she didn’t dress well enough, didn’t smell good enough, couldn’t cook right, didn’t keep the house clean enough, didn’t discipline the kids properly, wasn’t smart enough. She paused and thought about that one. She was the one with two college degrees, the one who wrote his papers for the classes he never finished. She was plenty smart. Hadn’t she read that book on chess after he bought that onyx chess set? He had bragged about his childhood expertise at the game so she hoped they could share some fun. Naturally he won the first game. Then she won two in a row. They hadn’t played since.

Why wasn’t he proud of her? Why did he have to belittle her? She was a different person at work, happy, cheerful, well-liked, but at home, from the moment Matt’s car, the new one, pulled into the garage, the clouds hung low and dark over her life. Just last night she had panicked when she heard the garage door opener. Dinner was almost ready, but should she have made corn instead of peas? How angry would he be?

She finished the third page with a subtle request that they go to marriage counseling. Sharon folded the pages and wondered how Matt would react to her desperation. He was unpredictable if nothing else. Perhaps she would share the letter first with her friend at work and get his opinion. She smiled to herself.

copyright 2011 by Debra Chapoton

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Abduction

Rebecca walked down the concrete corridor without suspicion. The sudden bulk of pressure that surrounded her and the hand over her mouth were as much of a jolt to her system as the drug fumes she inhaled. Her panicked thoughts raced like three marathon runners at the finish line: this was a joke; this was real; this felt nice. Then she dropped.

How much time had passed, she didn’t know. She felt someone’s strong arms cradling her, but she couldn’t pull her eyelids up to look. Her cheek was snug against a buttoned pocket and she could hear a rapid beat through the course fabric. Rebecca’s foggy thoughts fixed on the heartbeat, imagining a brave hero rescuing her. She relaxed into the safety of her supposed champion’s arms just as one thought pushed through – that she needed rescuing. A tiny drop of adrenalin discharged and she managed to force a groan through her lips.

Movement stopped. Her ears did not sense the enclosed tunnel-like hallway where she had just been, the echo was gone. Sounds fled in the open expanse. She felt her body being shifted. A car door opened. A sensation of falling filled her, as if she were a ragdoll tossed onto a child’s crib. Then that strange wet smell again. Then nothing.
Extra scene from Edge of Escape
Copyright 2011 by Debra Chapoton

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lucky Leprechaun Hop Contest Winner is . . .

Wow, what a busy 4 days. This hop was huge and I thank Kathy at I'm a Reader not a Writer for the chance to participate. The winner from the Lucky Leprechaun Hop contest on my blog wins a copy of A TICK IN TIME and that winner is Books4Learning at
I've sent her an email. Thanks to all who participated.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Tick in Time, excerpt from chapter 3

A TICK IN TIME is a fantasy adventure for kids ages 8 - 12. Here is an excerpt from chapter 3. Tommy has run past the clock, which ticked when it should have tocked, and he was thrown into another dimension. At this point he has been in the strange land for quite a while.


Tommy awoke with a start from the hard ground.

“What did you do?” Angrily a woman scolded him. “Get off the marns! They’re almost dead! Why, they’re flatter than a Doldale coin. What were you thinking? Step lightly, now.” She was fat and sweaty, with her face all scrunched up and puckered like a prune and she was stomping the ground with a thick walking stick.

Tommy rolled off the flattened marns onto his hands and knees and the coin he had in his pocket fell at his fingertips.

The old woman’s eyes fixed on the pink coin and her face changed into a near approximation of a smile. “A pink. You have a pink, I see. Are you a visiTOR?” She pronounced it just like Zerd.

Tommy got up and nodded.

“Are you hungry? I’ll give you a whole dinner for that pink coin. A whole dinner and two blue coins in change.”

Tommy had no idea what a pink or a blue coin was worth, but he sure was hungry and dinner sounded great. He passed over the pink coin and the old woman gave him two blue coins from her pocket. Then she cracked off the rounded top of the walking stick and bit into it as she shoved the rest of the stick in Tommy face. “There you go, boy. Enjoy and step lightly,” she said as she chewed noisily, crunching on another bit of the piece. She mumbled under her breath, “Can’t have a visiTOR eating the best part.”

“Wait a minute,” Tommy began, but the old woman was fast. She jumped over a marn at the side of the trail, bent down and grabbed a handful of the blue grass, then disappeared behind a humongous tree trunk.

Tommy was stunned. He had just bought a walking stick for dinner. He looked at it. It appeared to be a giant pretzel. The top part where she had broken off the rounded head was flaky and warm. He smelled the top. Hot pretzel. He bit off a tiny portion and rolled it around on his tongue before chewing it up. Yum. He broke off a bigger piece and stuffed it into his watering mouth. Delicious. This wasn’t a bad deal after all. And he had two blue coins left. Perhaps Zerd and the old woman were nice, generous citizens of Doldale.

copyright 2010 A Tick in Time by Debra Chapoton

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Secret in the Hidden Cave, chpt. 6 excerpt

Kevin smiled to himself as he remembered some of the things he and Missy had talked about up in the tree fort. What if your arms and legs bent the other way? What if there were never any dinosaurs? What if all the insects disappeared? Can dogs spit? Missy was fun and easy to talk to. He liked having a friend around since there weren’t any kids his age in Starkville. He rode the bus to a larger town thirty minutes away and went to school there but ever since he was little his main friends were his mom and dad and Mr. Stark. He had spent the spring thinking of special things he could show Missy around here: the stone house, the caves, the Indian graves, the settlers’ root cellar, all the horse trails, and of course the tree elevator and the other devices that he and Mr. Stark, and sometimes his dad, had worked on.

Kevin opened the counter window of the Snack Shack and set out the potato chip display. Instantly two little kids ran up with coins clutched in their fists ready to buy an ice cream bar. It was a steady little business for Kevin. This was the first week that all of the cabins were rented and the lodge was full. There were probably a hundred and fifty guests including the children and most of them wanted a sugar or salt fix by mid-afternoon. Kevin was good at making change and had proven himself to be a competent worker the previous summer when he had helped run the Snack Shack with one of the college girls. He had taken over for her when she had left two weeks early for a family wedding and Mr. Stark had promised him that he could run it himself this summer if he wanted to. Kevin was excited to be able to earn enough money for the mountain bike that he wanted.

He was thinking about that bike later that afternoon when an older boy with dirty long hair and a sour expression on his face came up to the window and demanded a soft drink and some pretzels. Kevin didn’t sell pretzels and he pointed to the sign he had made showing the products and their prices. The boy put a dollar on the counter, took the drink and swore at Kevin.

“This is what I think of your selection,” he said. He smashed the closest bag of chips with his fist and turned away.

“Hey!” Kevin yelled. But the kid just ignored him and walked toward the water’s edge and some overturned canoes. He sat down on one and just stared out at the lake.

The Secret in the Hidden Cave is book 1 in the Big Pine Lodge series (for kids ages 8 - 12)
copyright 2010 by Debra Chapoton

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Pre-existence of Jesus, part 2

In the last post I looked at how the New Testament book of John begins with the pre-existence of Jesus. Here’s chapter 1, verses 1 – 5 again:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

“The light shines in the darkness.” This is the start of multiple passages referring to the light. The curious thing about matching up the order of the 66 books in the Bible is that you get 3 columns of 22 books each matching a corresponding Hebrew letter. That puts Ecclesiastes and Jude on either side of John and puts all three next to the 21st letter “shin”. A key word that starts with this letter is “sun”. I found more instances of the word sun in Ecclesiastes (a decidedly pessimistic book) than in any other Bible book. As a contrast there is not one mention of the word sun in John (or Jude).

There is no reason for such an absence other than to show God’s precision in His design of the Bible. It’s almost as though John is linked to Ecclesiastes by this singular contrast. However, despite the absence of the sun, look how the light shines in John.

John 1:4: In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:5: And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:7: The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
John 1:8: He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
John 1:9: That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
John 3:19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20: For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
John 3:21: But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
John 5:35: He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
John 8:12: Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 9:5: As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
John 11:9: Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
John 11:10: But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
John 12:35: Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
John 12:36: While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
John 12:46: I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

See? We don’t need the light of the sun, we need the Light of the Son.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Pre-existence of Jesus

I was amazed at the intricacies of a book I had read many times over. It seems like there's more to learn every time I study it. Hurray for easy research on the internet.

The book of John can be divided into several major parts. It begins with the pre-existence of Jesus. Let’s look at chapter 1, verses 1 – 5:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

“In the beginning” is an allusion to Genesis 1:1. Now the interesting thing here is that 1st century Christians with a Jewish background would get this right away but the Gentile Christians would focus on the next phrase “was the Word”. The Greek word used in the original is “logos”. Both Hebrews and Greeks responded to using “the Word” as a reference to deity. In the Old Testament God spoke and things happened. There are thousands of references to his word, his voice, what he said. As for the Greeks, their philosophers had long called God’s mind the Logos, the word.

This whole first verse is quoted so often that you may not have considered the depth of this complex sentence. There are three clauses. “In the beginning was the Word” claims the eternal quality of and existence of Jesus. The second clause, “and the Word was with God”, shows Jesus’ communion with God, the Father. The third clause, “and the Word was God”, reveals Jesus’ divinity. This is a point that cannot be denied. Jesus is God. Anyone who denies that is a false teacher, an antichrist. When people say, oh, He was a great teacher or a good prophet, they deny His divinity and are blaspheming. Do you believe that Jesus was and is God? He said He was God so either He was a liar, a crazy person or . . . God. You can’t say someone was a great teacher or a good prophet if he lied or was crazy.

Verse 2 restates the first clause in case John’s readers didn’t get it – He, Jesus, was with God in the beginning. Verse 3 states the same fact first as a positive and then as a negative so you won’t miss it – Jesus created everything, there’s nothing he didn’t create. This again alludes to his eternal existence. Verse 4 says that in him was life. This Greek word, "zoe", is used here in the sense of existence in an absolute sense and without end. That makes the rest of the passage scream with hope for us: that life is in us and shines, but . . . those in the dark do not understand.

I’m saving the fifth verse, about the light of the world, for my next post.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Spanish Kiss

This time Amanda hopped on the bus and didn’t look back. She went to an empty set of seats near the back and took the window seat, ready to wave to Miguel. But he had already left. Her disappointed sigh couldn’t be heard over the rumble of the noisy bus.

She thought about the strange date. The language barrier had quickly given way with broken English on his part, halting Spanish on hers and an excited mix of gestures, facial expressions and laughter. Miguel Santibañez, Miguel Santibañez, she thought, liking the way his name rolled her lips together twice, glad there was no double r to trill.

She pulled out her phone and sent a quick text to her best friend. Cara would want to know how the evening went so she gave the shortest of summaries and a promise to talk tomorrow – Amanda didn’t want to break the warm enchantment she felt by hearing her friend repeat her admonition and warning about dating a total stranger.

The long bus ride seemed short as she reviewed every moment of the evening. Her stop almost surprised her. She hurried to the front and ignored the driver and the dark-haired passenger behind him as she grabbed the railing and bounced down the steps. As she turned right she caught a movement in her peripheral vision and knew that someone else was getting off here. She hurried along, waving the exhaust fumes away and straining to hear footsteps over the start-up of the bus. She walked faster and dug through her purse for her pepper spray.

When she made her turn at the corner she swung her head around to check for a pursuer.


He smiled that charming grin. “I follow,” he said. “Te sigo.”

“But that was the last bus. Why did you follow me?” Amanda spoke fast and dropped the pepper spray back into her purse.

“Soy tu ángel. Te guardo.” He gestured, but she understood. He was making sure she got home safely. How gallant. How gentlemanly. He moved in closer and she realized how dark the corner was, how alone they were. Her heart began to race.

Miguel looked into her eyes and shook his head. “No safe alone.” He kept his gaze locked on her eyes and she stood perfectly still as he came closer yet. The world was suddenly surreally quiet. Amanda looked into his eyes and knew that she would never be alone again. She was safe with Miguel Santibañez. He leaned down and she gave up her heart in a simple kiss.

copyright 2011 by Debra Chapoton

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's "Read an Ebook" Week

Read an Ebook week kicks off TODAY, Sunday, March 6. Smashwords is giving huge discounts when you check out. My books are either 50% off or FREE! Many, many authors are participating in this promotion. Check it out. If you don’t have a Nook, Kindle, Sony or other ereader you can download to your computer.
To get to Smashwords fast just click on the Edge of Escape cover that's in my left hand tool bar under my "about me" paragraph.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Little Snippet, part 6

Does that look like a pitchfork? What is that? A similar symbol is glowing yellow on the dashboard of my car, telling me the air in my spare tire is low. I love a mystery, puzzles, codes. This symbol is actually a letter and, no, it’s not some fancy “E” lying on its back, legs up.

Shin is the 21st Hebrew letter and symbolically means tooth since the Hebrew word for tooth is shen. Its ancient script form looked more like the jagged teeth of a grinning pumpkin. At first I thought that tooth was a strange word to be linked to a Hebrew letter, but as I did a search I was astonished to find “tooth” or “teeth” appearing 51 times in the Old and New Testaments combined. Teeth appear as symbols of things that bite or crush or consume.

In the acrostic (or alphabetic) verses where each line or verse starts with the next consecutive Hebrew letter we can expect to find the symbolic meaning popping up in at least one of them. Here is verse 10 of Psalm 112 where the last three Hebrew letters – resh, shin, tav – start each line, shin is the middle one:

10 The wicked will see and be vexed,
they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

Of course, in English the line doesn’t start with teeth. You can’t even see the beauty of the original – how it flows from r to s to t.

In the longest acrostic chapter, Psalm 119, we get groupings of 8 verses in a row, each starting with the next Hebrew letter. The symbolic meaning of each letter often appears one or more times, but not always. We discover other key words that God has woven into His masterpiece and that link to other scriptures. In an examination of the shin verses in Psalm 119 I didn’t find any teeth, but there was definitely some bite. Each verse started with an amazing word which begins with the letter shin: prince (sarim), peace (shalom), rejoice (soos) and hope (sabar). Interesting. It’s almost like a little story for us, isn’t it? Prince. Peace. Rejoice. Hope.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Little Snippet, part 5

From Pessimism to Optimism

Don’t worry, be happy. No, really. Why do you worry? You can’t get prettier, wear nicer clothes, have better meals by worrying. You can’t add a single hour to your life by worrying.

In the last snippet I looked at the pessimism of Ecclesiastes. As soon as I had posted that (an hour before church) I looked at the verses I knew were this Sunday’s Scripture lesson: Matthew 6: 25 – 34. Since I had never been the kind of kid in school that went above and beyond I try to be that student now in regards to church. I hone up on the Scripture so I’ll get more out of the sermon. It works, too, and God always gives me an amazing coincidence.

I went from the pessimism of Ecclesiastes to the optimism of Jesus’ words in Matthew: Don’t worry. Don’t worry about your life. Don’t worry about what you will eat or drink. Don’t worry about your body (and I had just started a diet). Don’t worry about what you will wear (which I had just been doing).

This lovely passage goes on to make comparisons with birds and flowers and even Solomon (who wrote Ecclesiastes).

Bottom line – don’t worry. God will take care of you and me. But . . . yes, there’s a but, but it’s a good but: seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness first. I’m trying to do that. I hope you will, too.