Honoring the Past, Present, and Future
A Letter from the Publisher
May is a month of celebration. We take a day to celebrate women of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life as we show the love our Mothers deserve. We then transition to the end of the month to remember and honor all military personnel who have died while performing their military duties in the United States Armed Forces on Memorial Day. Then, as May ends and we head into June, many students are completing their studies for the year and moving into the summer break. I feel that each of these celebrations deserves to be not only mentioned but also highlighted with a work of literature. And so, this month I have decided to choose various titles for each celebration.
Mothers work so hard each and every day supporting, caring for, and raising their children to the best of their ability. One mother, in particular, has gone above the call of duty and has risen above many hardships and obstacles that have sought to bring her down. Author Vanna Nguyen has recently published her novel, The Life She Once Knew, which chronicles the deeply spiritual and emotionally powerful journey of her own escape from Vietnam and her daughters fight for survival after a brutal attack outside of a library which led to a traumatic brain injury.
Vanna shares her story about being a mother to her girls and how her journey of motherhood changed so drastically. She went from being the average, American, working mom to becoming (as she says in her own words), the “fierce defender of my daughter’s quality of life. After she was brutally attacked one night, Queena suffered a severe traumatic brain injury causing her to need continual care. Decades earlier, I had survived my own trauma, escaping to America to raise my family. I worked hard to make a home for my girls that was safe and secure. Before the attack, the daily routine of our family life felt normal – rhythmic. I focused my time and energy on my business in order to support my two girls. As a single mother, my desire was to set my two daughters on a healthy path in life and protect them from danger. I encouraged them to be responsible, independent girls. As they grew, I felt as though my hopes and expectations for them – which I’d focused on since their births – were coming to fruition. My daughters had become young adults. Ordinary life felt fabulous.”
This is the ultimate desire for most mothers, to protect their children and see them grow up into young, independent, and strong adults. For Vanna, this wonderful course of life for her and both of her daughters changed forever the night Queena was attacked. This was a devastating night that created many obstacles Vanna and her family had to overcome. For any mothers or families striving to make it through hardship, Vanna offers the following advice from one mother to another, “Through the past decade, my family has learned many lessons. One of which is to focus on making the best of each day rather than allowing fear to guide our thoughts about the present or the future. With God so close to us in our heartache, we learned that the impossible is truly possible. To other people who may be traveling with me on a similar path, I humbly offer the following words of wisdom: To parents: I can’t help but think that if Queena’s attacker had experienced understanding and love in his own life, this tragedy could have been avoided. Listen to your children, not just with your ears but with your hearts. Tell them they are loved and wanted and that there is a special place for them. If your child has a friend who is not receiving this at home, show them the same love. Show love to everyone, even the ones who are difficult to love. We must all reach for the fruit that hangs on our collective tree of victory.”
What an encouragement for mothers to continue on in their work of loving and caring for their children. Even if you are not a mother, you can learn from Vanna’s words and be a mother figure by showing love to someone in your life who may be struggling.
As we celebrate our mothers this month, offering encouragement, we also celebrate and honor those who have served our country giving the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure we continue to have our freedom. In Nuggets of Truth by Dr. John Mannion, we see that we can have peace each day as we spend time studying God’s Word. Although we may experience pain, suffering, and the sorrow that accompanies the loss of loved ones, we do not have to mourn as those with no hope.
In Nuggets of Truth, Dr. Mannion explores the Bible on a deeper level in a day-to-day format. This work examines scriptures and how we can apply them in our daily lives. On Memorial Day it is important for us to look back and appreciate the sacrifice so many gave in the service of our nation and give honor as one nation… to be at peace. Our religious freedom is one of the greatest freedoms we can appreciate as we celebrate the lives of those who have died. “The people of God are described metaphorically as ‘God’s household’ (Eph. 2:19). It is ‘household’ (singular) and not ‘households’ (plural). Division can only exist amid plurality. You cannot divide ‘one.’ There must be at least two tribes for ‘tribalism’ (division, discrimination, and prejudice) to exist. One tribe cannot discriminate against itself!
In Ephesians 2:14, Paul writes about making ‘both groups one’ by breaking ‘down the barrier of the dividing wall.’ In the early church, they needed to realize that Christ came to break down the wall between them. We, too, must allow Christ to break down any walls that divide us. Those walls might include denominational walls, racial walls, ethnic walls, and social class walls. These walls, and any other ‘tribal barriers’ that stand as walls, must be broken.” Dr. Mannion is addressing Christians in this passage; however, I believe we can apply this in our everyday life as a nation as well. As we move into Memorial Day, we should strive to remember that just as the church is to be united as one so we should also seek to be united as a nation being thankful and honoring the sacrifice given for our freedoms.
After giving so much love, support, encouragement, honor, etc. many students look forward to the opportunity to take some time off from studying, take some time for themselves to unwind, and move into their summer break. A good book can be the best escape from everyday life and can offer the ultimate adventure. D. K. Doulos offers a thrilling ride in his latest novel, WoE is Us. It follows the story of Lyrian Wallace. She “was only ten years old when the Malevolence struck on October 10, 2056. She thought the next decade had numbed her to the grief, the death, the bots, and the daily struggle for survival. She lost her parents when they became Sleepers, but like everyone else, she had pieced together a new family. Lyrian was almost content when the Alliance began taking them… The world always took things away from her. She could only live for today and never dared to hope for any heaven. But when her circumstances change, Lyrian must choose how she might live for both this life and the next.” WoE is Us offers an exciting look at what could be with many adventures.
However, if Science Fiction is not your cup of tea, Jasmine Fischer paints an entirely different picture in her novel, The Sword in His Hand. Jasmine decided, while writing her literary work, that she wanted it to be written as “a testimony of [her] own faith journey and would be written with the primary purpose of glorifying God.” The Sword in His Hand is “the result of that firm conviction.” Her hope is that “you can see this humble story as part of a much greater one: a Story which has been and is being lovingly and skillfully authored since well before we were breathed into existence, and by an Author with far finer penmanship than mine.” Her story follows the lives of Torsten and El: two individuals from vastly different worlds. Yet, they may have more in common than they think.
“For hundreds of years, strange things have been washing up on the shores of Darcentaria. But when a young foreign woman named El is found unconscious on the beach amidst the burning wreckage of a strange metal craft, the villagers of Odessa are immediately suspicious—is she an agent of the Dalriadan Empire, their cruel oppressors for as long as they can remember? Or does she come from the Outside, the vast and legendary lands beyond their borders from which no man or woman alive has ever returned?
Torsten Eiselher, a talented young swordsman, has spent the last nine years of his life wrongfully imprisoned by his uncle, the Empire’s ruler. Betrayed and deceived at every turn, Torsten has survived by keeping a firm grip on his sword—and by staying well away from anything to do with the Outside. But when his young sister is murdered, Torsten finds himself irrevocably drawn to El despite her Outsider heritage—and he begins to question everything he has been told about her world.
Intrigued by the existence of a powerful and dangerously advanced world within his reach, the Empire’s ruler, Jurien Arminius, launches a hunt for El and the two Outsiders that arrived with her—the ones who could help him win his war against Torsten and the rebellion that threatens to topple his Empire.
Suddenly, Torsten is forced to choose between defeating his long-term enemy or saving the woman he has come to love . . .”
Whether you are looking for an escape into a different world or encouragement from day to day, these works of literature have a unique way of changing our perspective of our current circumstances and helping us look outside of ourselves. As we continue to celebrate our mothers, as we honor the memory of those who have given their lives by living united, and as we look towards the upcoming summer with excitement and determination, let us strive to remember that the piece of truth which unites these titles is the message of love. Let us strive to live a life of love for others.
“Jesus replied: `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’”