Home             About Me             My Blog             My Books             Contact Me                                                              

Review of MORNING'S PROMISE: Poetic Moments in His Presence

Morning’s Promise,  by Jennifer Anne Messing, is a beautifully written and elegantly designed devotional book for women. Scripture verses, quotes and original poems are shared from the heart of a poet who has a special connection with the Lord.  They fall into five categories:  God’s Call and Guidance; Faith and Trust; God’s Care and Provision; Loving God; Serving God at Home.  In blank verse, each poem is thoughtfully written to focus the poet’s mind on God and helps the reader speak to God what she feels in her heart but has not enough words to express.

I haven’t yet finished reading Morning’s Promise.  It’s a book one doesn’t want to rush through; the kind one will dip into daily, take along on a journey and recommend to friends.  Morning’s Promise is a book to cherish.

MORNING'S PROMISE will debut in the winter of 2012.

Mavis Duke Hinton -- today's guest

Mavis Duke Hinton is our guest today.  Welcome, Mavis.

Thank you for having me, Sylvia.

Give us a short bio (Who are you, hobbies, where do you live, etc.).

In my 21-year career as an English teacher, I have taught AP British literature,
creative writing, speech, journalism, and English for grades 7 – 12. Currently, I teach
English online with Sycamore Online Academy in California to students across the
USA and several foreign countries, but I live in North Carolina—such is technology!
Although born in North Carolina, I grew up in a military family and lived abroad in
Europe during my childhood. I’ve also called several U.S. states home, but my favorite
was Alaska.

I have had several careers, most of which had something to do with teaching and/or
writing and editing: I have been an editor for Christian and secular organizations,
—but in my twenties, I spent a year as a police officer, since at that time, my husband and brother-in-law were in law enforcement. Over the years, I’ve jokingly told students that my stint in
law enforcement gave me additional training for the classroom (laughs).

I enjoy traveling, reading, writing, cooking, spending time with my family, and
laughing. Oh yes—I love to laugh and share it with others—it makes life enjoyable!
My hubby Clark and I have been married for forty-one years and we have two
wonderful married daughters and sons-in-law. We are also blessed with three
grandchildren, one granddawg Shadow (upon whom the Sarge in my books is based),
four grandkitties, and our own dachshund, Duke.

I have two published novels now: I AM SARGE, Book 1, and I AM DACHSHUND,
Book 2. DACHSHUNDS FOREVER, the final book of the trilogy, is currently a work
in progress—the operative word here is “progress,” since I am about two-thirds of the
way through the story at this time.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

Why do I write from the dachshund’s viewpoint? Oh, I've been asked that question
countless times . . . and I always give the same answer, basically something like this:
It is a running joke in our family that we just know what a dachshund is thinking
by its facial expression and body language. My late father used to tell us what our
dachshunds were thinking, and I believe I have inherited that “gene” for doing so. All
of this is tongue in cheek, of course—and it makes for many a laugh around our house.
When I decided to walk away from full-time teaching and write my books, my family
encouraged me to use the dog’s viewpoint in the books. Voila—Sarge the author!

My other reasons (besides the “gene” thing) for writing from the dog's viewpoint are:
1) I enjoy imagining how day-to-day happenings must appear to the family dog;
2) I can shift reality to share with readers what dogs think about life situations;
3) I have a zany sense of humor (my family can attest to that), and can use such humor
when incorporating it into the dog’s viewpoint;
4) I love and appreciate dogs as man's best friend. They show us unconditional love,
like God has for us. One of the characters in THE DACHSHUND ESCAPADES series,
Papa Duke, so aptly states my feelings about dogs:  "A dawg loves you no matter what. You can be ugly, old, even dumb--but a dawg don't care. All he wants is your love and some food now and then. I think dawgs represent the unconditional love God has for us--maybe that's why He created them, to show that to us."

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

With my Southern roots, one can never go wrong with GONE WITH THE WIND. I
cannot tell you how many times I’ve read it or seen the movie—and a rarity, the movie
is true to the book. Love it. There are hundreds of others, but I’ll leave it at that.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Oh my. At present, I suppose my shenanigans in playing Barbies with the
granddaughters, who are six and seven. We all adopt our own “voices,” and act
out a story, but we often end in giggles! I usually attempt some sort of foreign
accent with my Barbie character as well. I’ve also done puppet shows for them with
various stuffed toys as the characters, and I get behind a table or couch and do all the
characters myself. I’m zany with the grandchildren.

With our little grandson who is two, we look at his books together. I’ll point to various
pictures and say the wrong thing; for example, I’ll point to a dog and say, “Look at
that nice cow.” He laughs and loves to correct me: “No, Gamma, DOGGIE.” He knows
I’m joking, but he loves setting me straight.

Please tell us about the featured book.

My books of THE DACHSHUND ESCAPADES series are written from the family dog’s
viewpoint. Sarge is humorous and quite insightful regarding humans.  I AM SARGE is Book 1.  Sometimes a dachshund’s “lowdown from the ground” perspective is just what human beings need.

"I was only eight weeks old when I was adopted into my new human family
who knew immediately I was a super dog. They proudly gave me the name
Sarge—after my Papa Duke, who was a sergeant in the Army. Quite a
fitting name for a good-looking dachshund too, I might add. I just know
someday I’ll do great and mighty things, befitting a super dog.
But in the meanwhile, I’ll just steal your heart and make you laugh out
loud with the antics of this 'chow hound.' And maybe, if you come over,
Papa and I—two food lovers—might just share a snack or two with you,

Fall in love with Sarge, the quintessential dachshund,
and laugh along with his foibles and humorous escapades.

Where can readers find you on the Internet?

My website: www.MavisDukeHinton.com
My blog: www.blog.MavisDukeHinton.com
My Facebook page: Mavis Duke Hinton’s Books
Twitter: @writer4dawg

Thank you for sharing with us, Mavis.  I look forward to reading your books.

This has truly been a pleasure, and I thank you once again.

Readers' Realm interview

Tommie Lyn interviewed me on Readers' Realm today.  Perhaps you'd like to find out how KONDI'S QUEST came into being:



          “I will lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in the heaven.  As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy.”  (Psalm 123: 1&2 NIV )

          Shortly after we began our ministry in Malawi, East Africa, a happy man came to work for us.  Everyone called him Bambo (Mr.) Whiskes.  He was about my age, but before Malawi’s Independence Bambo Whiskes had worked for the Governor General of Malawi, an Englishman. 

           “We were required to shine the brass buttons on our uniforms every day,” he told me.  “When we served in the dining room, our uniforms were to be buttoned, the tassels on our hats were to hang on the correct side and our hands were to be at our sides.

           “I was to look only at the Governor General.  When he saw that someone’s glass needed to be refilled or a dish of food was running low, he didn’t ask.  We were trained to watch him so carefully that it took only a glance from him or a movement of his hand for us to understand what was needed.  We had to focus our eyes on our master and our thoughts on what he needed and wanted.”

           Bambo Whiskes’ comments made me wonder, “How closely am I paying attention to God?  Does a gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit or a suggestion to pray for someone communicate to me the need He sees or the action He requires of me?”

           “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . .” (Heb. 12:2 NIV) the writer to the Hebrews adjures.

           “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right,” (Phil. 4:8 Living Bible).  Jesus is true and good and right.  He will indicate to me His will and His desire for my participation in increasing His Kingdom.

           Persevering prayer, persistent patience and progressive practice will keep our focus on Him.  Our enemy knows it doesn’t take much to distract our inner vision from being fixed on Him.


“Honey, stir your coffee silently -- like this,” Daddy admonished with a gentle, loving smile.  He swirled his spoon in the very center of the cup two or three times, then placed the spoon in the saucer.  No clattering nor clanking!

I grew up in Africa where sugar granules were very large and stirring one’s coffee or tea was either a vigourous or a prolonged business.  I preferred to hurry things up.  However, Daddy wanted me appear to be a lady instead of a girl who came from an end-of-the-road mission -- a from-the-jungle girl who didn’t understand the demands of “polite society.”  He wanted me to conform to actions approved by those I presently lived among.

Although learning to stir my coffee without a clatter hasn’t helped me rise very far on the social scale, a certain amount of conformity is good.  Jesus conformed to ceremonial washing before a meal.  He also attended the synagogue even though He acknowledged that some of the Jewish religious leaders were like “whited sepulchers,” (Matt 23:27) appealingly clean on the outside, but filled with decay and rot.

God asked a lot of people in the Bible to act in non-conforming ways:

Abraham – to go to an unknown destination.  He could have replied, “A place You will show me, Lord?  I have no idea where I’m going!”

Moses – to speak to a rock to find water in the desert.  He could have said, “Speak to a rock, Lord?  The people will think I’m crazy!”

Noah – to build an ark on dry land.  He could have said, “Lord, there is no sea – not even close to here!  And rain?  I’ve never heard of it before!”

Jocabed – to put her baby in a basket in the river.  “God, put my baby in the river?  There are crocodiles in there!”

Ruth – to stay with her mother-in-law rather than return to her own home.  “I don’t know anyone in Israel!”

Rahab – to hide spies when it would have been more politically correct to expose them.  “Hide them?  I could be killed for doing this!”

Hosea – to marry Gomer.  “But Lord, she’s a harlot and I’m set apart to be your man of God.”

The penniless widow of a prophet – to gather many pots in which to pour her dram of oil.  “Yeah, right!  How far will this little bit of oil go?  And then I’ll look ridiculous to all my neighbors when I have to return these pots – empty.”

Radical non-conformity, if God has requires it of us, is right—providing, of course, that we’re sure it comes from God.  Here’s an example:  When we taught in Bible College in Ethiopia, a student came to our school with lumps and scabs on his head.  He had constant headaches because he had been beaten and stoned by his village.  Even members of his own family participated.  His offense? -- preaching the Gospel.  Toward the end of his first year, he stood in chapel and requested prayer for his ministry during the vacation.  “God is telling me to go back to my village and preach.  I know it could mean I will die.”

When we respond in faith, we will be blessed.  It requires a leap of faith.  I read recently, “Both fear and faith believe what the mind envisions will happen.”  Will I cower or consent?

Perhaps I do stir my coffee more silently these days.  However, if God requires us to do something unusual for Him, something no one else has done, let’s respond with a leap of faith.  And a step of obedience.