About Me

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Blue Ridge Area of Virginia
Alicha McHugh is author of "Daughter of the Promise" first in her: Numbered Among the Stars series (available on Amazon.com). She is a homemaker to her husband of 15 years, homeschooler to their children. Writing, enjoying tea and creaming Raw Honey are three of her current pursuits. Grabbing time to read is always high on her list of priorities! If you'd like to contact her, she'd love to hear from you! Just email: alichamchugh@gmail.com

Monday, November 23, 2009

Clarification on May '09 post: "Can Christians Like Twilight"

Not at all, Indie Preacher! Thank you and I welcome the opportunity to clarify.

I'm not saying the book's author has a believer's view in mind (Christ's life, death and resurrection the basis of my eternal salvation and daily surrender.) In fact, I highly doubt it. The idea that he, Edward (they) is 'good' prevails throughout the series and thus he is redeemed/redeemable. Which is not truth: Eph. 2:8 "For by grace we are saved through faith, not of yourselves, it is a gift of God not of works lest anyone should boast."

I meant only to draw attention to what I, coming from a redeemed perspective, enjoyed being reminded of by the Holy Spirit. As in all "worthy" literature (and I use the word worthy loosely here~ Myers is no Austen) there must be defining elements of truth. Love, justice, mercy, right, wrong, good prevails, evil is subdued (at least, etc.) There is, in my opinion, a healthy balance of these in the story to make the series a worthy read.

Concerning the comparison between Edward and Christ, I fall back on the verse, "If you (Myers) being evil know how to give good gifts...how much more your Heavenly Father." Bare with me~ In Myer's words I caught a glimpse which, once I saw it, became more and more clear, of a love so perfect, so pure, so NOT LIKE ME that I immediately compared him to my only point of reference: the One who has loved me more than His own life! I can't help but stand amazed and say "Wow! And my God's love for me is ever so much more than I will ever fully know"

People are looking, searching for that kind of love. I saw it in that woman's eyes, I heard the longing in her voice. And no, in and of itself, the series does not point to Christ but WE can, as we have opportunity. Isn't that what parables are for? Taking what the unbeliever is familiar with and turn it so that they too catch a glimpse of the most perfect Hero ever and to be able to say, "He's real and he can be yours and you can be his FOREVER!"

I recently read a cute Christian novel. It was a silly book even though the plan of salvation was clearly written in the lines (though she was clearly writing to a Christian market). Understand me...God was more magnified TO ME in the Twilight series than in that bit of fluff.

I'll close with this. I know two people who read C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia as unbelievers. The first was my husband as a preteen, the second is a friend. BOTH had/have no idea that Aslan's sacrifice on behalf of Edmund was a parallel to Christ's sacrifice for us. My husband became a believer later and THEN connected the two. But with my friend I was able to tell her the significance and hopefully the Lord will use that as a seed in her heart. Lewis himself, in explaining his use of fiction said (and I'm paraphrasing from memory) when they (his readers) do hear the gospel there is something of the familiar (having read his stories) that resonates within that unredeemed heart to draw the person closer to accepting the truth they might otherwise have rejected. He uses his own conversion and a Christian author he esteemed prior to becoming a believer as his guideline~(George MacDonald??~although I thought there was a 'w' in his name...memory going) .

I know, in my own life, that goes the other way around too. An unbelieving author CAN, unknown to him/her, reveal something of the goodness/truth of God because the fact is they live and breath by His renewed mercies every morning. Whether they realize it or not is not relevant. There are several uses of secular literature in the book of Acts and Paul's writing but a perfect example is demonstrated by Christ himself as he stopped Saul on the way to Tarsus. Christ quoted a notable work still studied today (I know because I had to read it! LOL!) which Saul, being the cultured Jewish Roman, would have recognized "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for you to kick against the pricks." The phrase “kick against the pricks” is spoken by Aeschylus (525–456 b.c.; Agamemnon, line 1624) For more examples google: The Christian and Secular Literature | Miscellaneous Articles ...

Thanks for the thoughts...and again, the opportunity to clarify AND the gracious way you brought it up!

{BTW~ if you've only seen the movie...I'm sorry. It was AWFUL, overacted and they cut much of what was good and substituted things to move the script along. (Also if you are interested in reading the series, Myer's writing skills morphs between books 2 and 3 so 3 and 4 are much better/ a lot of the touchie/feelie teenager stuff falls away, making them better suited to young adults rather than teens...which is what her initial audience grew into by the time the last two books came out. As it happens, she turned out to be a good study for action and, for the most part, appropriate attraction tension between the hero/heroine on the written page, both of which I needed to mature as a writer}

Monday, November 16, 2009

One Of Those Days...

{I know the 'o' in 'of' from the title is supposed to be lowercase...but it looked a little sad, so I let it be big.}

Today was one of those days...the weather was so perfect, I didn't feel it. When I woke up, I was awake. Went to bible study and then played soccer and catch with Arowyn. Took a walk to get a rainbow icee with her. We came home and did a rainbow Carebear puzzle together. And all day, whenever I heard her laugh I wondered if my other daughter could hear it too and thought, "Lucky her" if she did.

Thanks, Lord...for one of those days.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Sister-in-Christ

I don't remember how we met. That's unusual for me because I like, or I need, to take mental pictures of meetings...well, more like short video clips. It must have been at church and I must not have thought too much about it, insecurities have tell-tale signs even in our memories. Either way, my misgivings must have inched down as I have clips thereafter. Sunday School outings, a Denny's lunch, my first camping trip...you and your husband brought the biggest tent I'd ever seen; my husband and I brought the smallest...Everyone poked fun at both.

I knew of your desire for a child, but I wanted one too, so we were on equal, neutral ground. My interest in your life began when you miscarried your first child. How sad I thought, to be given and to have taken away that which you so desired. I began to pray for you, unknown, just as I did my own heart's desires. But even though our Sunday School class seemed to be having a baby marathon, we remained childless.

And so it happened that two such dissimilar individuals spent a few quiet moments on a docked boat one sunny afternoon away from the baby talk and scurrying mothers up at the big house. Mainly talking and laughing about the freaks we had to work with, at different times, at Ethan Allen, about our husbands, about our futures...but not about children. You were laying down on the boat bench and your dark hair must have been pulled back, and my mouth dropped open as I said, "I never saw it before but you look exactly like Nichole Kidman!" It made you laugh and you said something about your husband thinking that too. It was one of the few times, maybe the only time, we talked.

I liked you, though. Finding, what many ~I too in the beginning~ thought was an aloof personality, you were a rarity among Americans. We are inundated by Disney with cartoon princesses...but when someone comes among us with a regal bearing...well, she must think she's better than us or other such nonsense. The times I was able to get to know you, I found you genuine and warm, garbed with a superior sense of style and dignity. When I let myself stop feeling inferior, you never made me feel anything other than that we were sisters in Christ. Our husbands, however, seem to have a love/hate relationship from the first, very similar and yet quite different. Competitive games were out of the question.

Though I don't remember the first time I met you, I took note of the last time. I think I knew it was the last time. We were standing in the middle of Wal-Mart parking lot putting away our carts. We each had a child in our own cars, separated by only a few months. You had a boy, I a girl. You positively glowed; I'm sure I did too. We loved being mothers. "What a gift!" There wasn't much more to say after that. Having each moved on to different churches, for similar reasons, we exchanged numbers with promises of us all getting together. I'm sure we didn't hug, though I remember it seemed like we should or we might. I didn't like hugs...I'm trying to get over it.

I remember getting into the car, my daughter in her infant seat, having two distinct thoughts in mind. One, how happy I was to see you and to know of your blessing and two, that I would never call and likely, neither would you. For my part, we lived in a one bedroom apartment with the living room cleverly divided by my husband into nursery and living space while you drove back to your castle in Thorneblade. The insensitive words your husband had 'shared' with mine came tripping out, over my mind. No, I knew our path had gone as far as it would go.

Three years have past since that day. Rick called your husband about a month ago. Did you know? It was a business call, but still they talked about us, about our children, general stuff you'd share with strangers. I didn't think too much about you beyond a general smile of goodwill when Rick said you were doing fine, your son growing, four years old now.

What happened?
When did you let yourself forget who God is?
When did you begin to believe the lies your mind was telling your heart?
When did darkness become your guiding light?

The past few days, every time I've hugged Arowyn, I've notice I clutch her twice. I think it's once for us, and a second time for the child that now lives outside the realm of a mother's embrace. I don't ask that God have mercy on your soul...What he has promised, he will do and He remains faithful even when we are not. I ask instead that He have great mercy on your memory, the last one you have chosen to leave behind with your family and friends.

As for me, the interest that I'd had in your life so long ago has been renewed, solidified even, by your death. My prayers will ever be with your child as they are with my own. Such is the privilege and responsibility you have left to the care of others, the Body of Christ. Til we meet again, I will not forget my pledge.

Monday, May 25, 2009

On Stephen King..."On Writing"!

I shot the following question to a couple friends:

My question: Hey~ Do you read Stephen King? ~ Yes, it's loaded.

Lori Ramey (lucky gal) wrote back! At the very least, she's a multilevel teacher in what she calls "the best school ever!" As both her and her husband work there, I've no doubt, she's right. (I'm a committed homeschooler and still I'd love to send Arowyn there...what's a 5 hour commute, anyway! lol!) Enjoy reading our little book session!

Lori's response: My main foray into S.K. has been via his excellent book about writing (called On Writing) which I would happily require my oldest kids to read if not for his liberal use of the F-word. A friend of mine (then a freshman at Clemson U) told me he'd been assigned to read it by his more-progressive, young English professor. Ta is a good writer, so I figured I'd take his recommendation and read King's book... and I'm glad I did. I've also read some of his short stories when sitting in B&N and usually enjoy them. Haven't taken time to read one of his novels, though I'm sure I'd enjoy one of his good ones. They're large, and I don't have as much time for reading as I'd like, so I tend to be picky about what I'm willing to invest time in... I've told my students that I think King is a great writer. I didn't think much of his subject matter per se until I read On Writing. His comments about his various stories really intrigued me, and gave me a new appreciation for his genre. I don't have a problem with horror writing. I just don't usually CARE about the stories enough to invest time in them. lol But hearing him talk about the seeds of ideas, and some of the deeper ideas/themes that underlie some of his novels piqued my interest. I think Shawshank Redemption and Green Mile are 2 of the best movies I've ever seen, so if that's indicative of King's abilities as a writer, I'm happy to give him a shot... after I get through the other 10 books currently on my nightstand. :-) What do YOU think? :)

My Response: Yup, you hit it exactly! {and expressed it better than I could}

Thanks for contributing Lori!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cheap Thoughts ;)

Here's a list of 'stuff' I've discovered over the years, mostly by accident, which has changed my 'quality of life' one way or the other.
  • Target brand of 3 blade razors are better than the name brands
  • I use 1 part gel shaving cream and 1 part hair conditioner to shave - better results and cheaper 'vehicle'.
  • Degree deodorant doesn't react with polyester type fabrics. I discovered this by accident. For 20 years I have used the same deo. that my mother used and have smelled like a pig within five minutes of wearing un-breathable fabric (there's a word for that). Here's the story: On the way to drop my husband off at the airport, I realized he had forgotten to pack his deo. So I ran into a gas station who only had degree. I put it in the glove compartment and said, "Don't forget to take..." He did, and I used it while he was gone.
  • On average, a room takes about 40 minutes to clean if you haven't been on top of everything, 15-20 minutes if you are. If you think about it...you can actually gain time by not being on top of everything, all the time, but lose that time by having to sort through the clutter to find keys, papers, bills. My theory? You really don't lose or gain time either way. Verdict: I think everyone should weigh their own level of clutter/dirt/ embarrassment factors, and live within their own family's acceptable range.
  • Panera's new mushroom soup makes an awesome quick gravy. Just microwave and voila- you have lump less gravy (pretty nasty as a soup though).
  • Steel Wool pads from any local hardware store make windows crystal clear.
  • Do something annual for you child simply because you loved them. Examples: make up a song every year just for them; write a diary of events, milestones, or a simple walk or gift of relating that was special to you that they might not remember but you do; get postcards and fill in all the "W's". Be creative, be fun, but most of all make it uniquely you. Good cook - one special recipe a year. You get the idea.
  • I've been learning how not 'personal' people really are. Someone interrupts you- not personal. Someone butts in line-not personal. Someone takes your parking spot- not personal. All these things that person would do to anyone in the same circumstances. It's not you, it's them and frankly, sometimes, we're them too. Now, if someone burns your barns or runs you over with their car...I'd say that's personal.

Well that's all I can think of for now - If you come across this post and want to add your own 'Cheap Thought' I'd love to hear it!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Psalms 27:10

This post is in response to another's post on a literary agent's blog. The writer is obviously hurting as her eldest son, born to her when she was young and unmarried, is a drug addict who has also been in jail. Nevertheless, she mentions her two younger sons, born into a wonderful marriage, who give her much joy.

I do not wish to add to her hurt, but I want to release mine in reading her excerpt. This blog is as good a place as any.

Children, born to young mothers who then get another mate and 'produce' half siblings, ~ right, wrong, good, bad -whatever~ often feel like the discarded souvenirs of a parent's trip down a road they wish they'd never taken. A path, had the parent not taken, would erase the child's very existence.

That is a gaping insecurity which no amount of parental love can cover or complete. Only a growing understanding of God's perfect, loving, compelling purpose for each of our lives, gives significance, that each of us were meant to live, to be, to hope. Despite my heritage I can dwell in assurance, confident that I too have a place 'numbered among the stars'.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We walk on water too...

I envied Peter. He knew the feel of sliding liquid beneath his feet, instead of firm ground, and still...he walked. The whole experience so foreign, so unforgettable. Think about it for a moment. The boat, a place he'd lived his whole life, feeling more at home on it than Matthew or John would have. The wind, an element never to be underestimated. Jesus, the one foretold since the beginning of time, his teacher and friend. And let's not forget his mouth which got him out of the boat in the first place. Remember what he said, "Lord if it is you..." And there it is...Even before getting out of the boat, Peter has questions, but he questions WITH hope.

Not too long ago I was looking back, not always a bad thing, remembering what it felt like when I dwelt with the Lord during painful times. I kinda camped out in his grace, saw by the light of his
mercy, and moment by moment was made mindful of the 'hope of his calling'. He tells us through Jeremiah, "I know the plans that I have for you, plans for good not evil, to give you a future and a hope." More than any other verse, I held on to that one in particular.

The past couple of years, I've had a sorta reprieve from chaos. The rain dissipated and the gardens of my life had a chance to grow in sunlight, the tears I had cried, full of the nourishing Word of God, fell on my parched soul, allowing the Lord to produce certain fruits in my life.

But there is something bittersweet about the time before the sun. A time when I saw only clouds of sorrow hovering over the horizon; when I trusted that the sun was still there, while embracing the storms. Looking back, I struggled for words to describe what it felt like being with the Lord, depending on him for my EVERYTHING.

At first the word 'floating' came to mind...but that was too easy a description for what I felt, what I went through. Carry? Not that either. I didn't feel carried, though I felt upheld. I felt...steadied. I felt the lion's breath, but not his teeth; the heat from the fire, but not the flame; the water, but not the waves. In a very real sense to me, I realized with surprise, it felt like I had walked on water with Christ. I walked with faith and, amazingly, there were times I didn't sink. But when the doubts began to overwhelm me and I faltered, the wind picked up and the waves rose up against me, I called out, just as Peter had, and He upheld me by his righteous right hand and guided me to a 'safe harbor' (Psalm 107).

But now, it seems, I've been too long on shore. My feet have gotten dry and I've begun to long for the salty air of ocean breezes and the constant dependency upon my Savior, who is closer than a brother. I've seen the warning signs from the harbor, the storms are returning. But this time, it's different. This time I remember...we do not walk so well with God in gardens anymore; so He takes us out into deep waters, that we may know our feet are made of clay. But God, who delights to do the impossible, has caused me to walk on water before, and by his strength, I look forward to meeting him out there again. Out beyond the 'safe harbor', out where faith changes the very nature of the elements as God transforms their effects on my soul.

To God be the Glory, great things he has done and is doing...in all our lives!

Friday, May 8, 2009


My daughter scolded me yesterday for squishing her imaginary caterpillar! The child could be a professional mime for all the care she put into lifting, nudging, and actually tilting her head over her shoulder as she walked so her hair would 'shade' it from the rain! OMW!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Memorable Victory...

A young friend of mine just had a baby boy. Unbeknownst to her, through her pregnancy, I have made a journey of my own and have found myself victorious as I stand rejoicing with her and her husband. A thing I could not have fathomed four years ago. Let me explain…

In all probability my friend got pregnant on her honeymoon. My husband and I had invited the newly weds over for dinner and she told us with excitement and anticipation that she was expecting. All the while, there, on the coffee table between us, was a single, perfect yellow rose which had been unfolding with bittersweet beauty for about five days. It's time of beauty was peaking and the next day I would take the petals from the stem and let them float from my hand to the earth, allowing the elements to take them where ever they should go.

I bought the rose to honor the baby for whom I'd prayed, longed, and loved. For, after five long years, I had finally conceived. But God, who hears our prayers, in his wisdom, does not give and take based on a mother’s love or longing. Four years to the hour prior to the night I met my friend Anna, I began to miscarry my first child.

I remember smiling politely at the newly weds, and, by God’s grace, my congratulations didn't falter when she said her due date was May 1st, the same mine had been. Did I cry when she left…yes…did I wonder at God’s choice for her, for me…yes…Did I pull back from His plan for my life…again, by God’s grace…No. The following is an excerpt from an email I sent to a dear friend at the time. I hope it helps those who might be going through the same thing. We are certainly not alone...

This past year I came to terms with the fact that our grief/mourning is a kind of gift to our children- to all our children...

In light of the love, joy and thankfulness I have for Arowyn, I have had guilt washed thoughts as to "why am I still emotional after all this time?" I went to the Lord, and he showed me . . . if I, full of sin and selfishness, can feel this way about "your (my) little Blob" as the ultrasound technician had called him a week before I'd lost him) still after all this time, how much more does Perfect Love respond?

As odd as it may sound, it is such a comfort to still "long" for this child after all that has happened. To know that the love I have for him/her did not evaporate like a whim or get transferred like getting another kitten after losing a cat, or even pushed aside in the day to day business of life. My children, each one, are not replaceable. My own longing shows me how irreplaceable we truly are to the Lord, who alone is pure and perfect in his emotions towards us. That one coin that's lost, the lamb that goes astray . . . He LOVES us!

And in truth, my baby jumped over my embrace into the arms of Perfect Love! How can I not rejoice through tears of loss? As John says in his epistle "There is no greater joy than to know your children walk with the Lord!"

I didn't share or open up to hardly anyone at that time because, let's face it, sometimes people give comfort like a machete to a sapling, but others can give great encouragement. I pray now for you, as you have need, may the Body of Christ surround and support you. I have a wonderful collective memory of, despite my best efforts of solitude, the light of many sisters peaked through in so many ways...Know with assurance, they are the arms of Christ, ministering to your heart.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Garden is Growing!

Gardens are growing. What a miracle! How wonderous that a little seed I planted two weeks ago has sprouted. When I was a child, learning of the fall of man, I marveled that anyone would want to be a farmer...Now I think, 'Wow, God could have made it so much harder...but he didn't."

After several years of this city chick sowing seeds and basic gardening, I still have so little faith that something I plant will grow. But God had still chosen to bless, and despite my nay saying ('there are too many roots and rocks') and 'negative waves', as my husband calls it, we have vegitation! And it's strong! Amazing!

If God cares so much for such a little thing, a thing he specifically cursed...will he not see to the concerns of my heart, to cover them with his good will and grace? My life, my daughter, my husband, my family, my writing, my all are always in his hand. That said, may my prayer be sincere, in faith, as the prophet Habakkuk praised God,
  • "Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls- Yet I will joy in the God of my salvation The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, and will make me walk on my high hills." [Habakkuk 3:17-19]

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Personal Inquiry: Why don't I like to blog?

For me, blogging is like opening a diary to the world. Most people don't go around offering to others their most private, intimate thoughts, feelings, embarrassing actions, recounts of bad judgement and poor decision making...everyone has a messy life...it's life, what else would it be?So, I liken blogging to letting all the mental health patients out of an institution and watching them dance around un-medicated, unsupervised and, of course, naked!

Maybe that's why writing is such a release. We fold our characters up in blankets woven together with our heartache and tears. We capture the essence of our disillusioned youth and retired dreams in the souls of men and women who breathe only when a reader touches them in his thoughts. Each new direction the story takes, one hears the echoing footsteps of the author' s own walk, while both the writer and reader remain safely tucked away in the genre of 'fiction'.