Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Not currently. It seems that my most recent demands have been to write from real life experiences. It is often said that “truth is stranger than fiction.” In my case that is definitely a real and accurate statement! In 1980, I wrote The Peacemaker. It was the Christian answer to the Star Wars idea. It was fun being on the Christian bookstore shelves next to C.S. Lewis books, and meeting some of the Star Wars characters such as the actor who played Darth Vader, but that was it, and that was the last fiction book.
What would you like for our readers to know about your personality?
That although I have walked through some unusual and extreme trials in my lifetime, I am confident and positive about my life, and continue to look to the Lord for guidance, and to be in control in my future, looking for his blessings daily. I love ministry to teenagers, and love staying fit and energetic as time continues on...it makes me feel ageless!
Tell us about your family.
My eldest daughter, Yvonne Blackwood Heffel, is married and lives in Alamo, CA. and is a Personal Trainer to the rich and famous! Jaina, Karen Lee’s older sister, and my middle child, lives with me here in my large 4,000 sq ft home overlooking the Yakima Valley, affectionately called the “Pink Castle.” Ever see the woman sitting on the dragon on the “Tension Tamer” tea box by the Pink Castle. It’s me, really.
My Mom, Ruby Lee Garrison, is part of the famous “Garrison Clan,” which meets all over the USA with family re-unions far and wide. They paralleled American history so much, that a book was done about it. The Garrisons’ were related to the French Huguenots, in past history, who were the banner wavers for the faith after the Reformation. When the heat got turned up too high in France, they migrated to Scotland, and England, then to the United States in the 1700’s. Becoming farmers, educators and leaders on many levels, they continued to trust God with “big faith.” Whenever I am around a Garrison family reunion, we may not have ever met each other before that day, but I find that most are leaders, pastors, and are still “banner wavers” for the faith, after all these generations.
My father Henry Horacek’s side of the family is Czech. My Grandmother’s name was Kathryn Koblar, (pronounced Ko-bel-lair) and was related to the royal Hapsburg family who were the ruling kings and queens of Austria and Hungary. She was from Prague, but both living in Vienna at the time, they migrated to the USA in the early 1900’s during the Bolshevik revolution, and barely escaped with their lives! My Grandfather, Frank (or Fron-ta-cek, in his language) was an officer, a Captain in the Austrian Calvary, and participated in the Lipizzaner riding academy, a tradition carried on by my sister Suzanne, in riding dressage, and breeding horses, by the way, for over 20 years. My Grandparents were very, young, Kathryn being around 16, and already having two children.
It was an era when Lenin was rising to Power in Russia, and Johan Strauss was becoming famous for his various waltzes. In Vienna, how the elite loved whirling graciously around in elegant dress in the ballrooms, and taking joy in the beauty of the waltz. The women loved wearing their elegant, sometimes beaded and be-jeweled, sometimes red, long full formals on the dance floor. As I contemplate it, I fantasize how Karen Lee would have loved the princess like full petticoat gowns, as she definitely had her own collection in her more current day! I almost see her face, glistening cheeks and dewy lips, with bright eyes, and glittering tiara, and long gown, as she steps onto the expansive marble dance floor of the Austrian palaces of long ago, with her gallant gentleman.
But times there were not always so joyous, as a sudden cloud of terror fell. When the enemy forces advanced into Austria, soldiers began to push their way through the woods toward the Austrian Calvary headquarters. Frantecek witnessed some military men, his colleagues, trying to the escape through the woods on their horses. Bolshevik soldiers shot and killed both horse and rider, as they attempted to leap their horses over the fences surrounding the area, towards the woods in the distance. Terrified, my grandfather carefully slipped out another way, rushing home to gather his family. Walking away with a just a few suitcases, they hurriedly left their large home in Vienna behind, boarding a ship to America. Miraculously, they had escaped. They arrived to America, and eventually settled in a quiet suburb of Chicago. Kathryn was pregnant with my father, Henry and he was born here in the USA. Sadly, over the next few years Frantecek would pass away, and then Kathryn remarried. The family’s life revolved for many years around a family business, owning a gas station. My dad, and all two brothers, Frank and Ladd, and one sister, Helen, worked hard after school to help out, forgoing many other kinds of fun activities enjoyed by other school age youth their age. In his adult life, my father Henry, would become a college graduate of UC Berkeley, and successful Realtor and Broker in Northern California, all my childhood life, growing up. My Mom Ruby, never worked outside the home, as he supported a family of 4 children, only two years apart. Yes, we really were ages “two, four, six and eight”...me being the eight year old…or the eldest of the four siblings.
Now my Mom, Ruby. Let me tell you a little about her. My Mom grew up in both Tulsa, and Claremore, OK. Young Ruby’s childhood was filled with memories of her Mom, Elizabeth watching the skies for those feared funnel clouds, then spending the night with her siblings in the basement, hoping the house would still be there in the morning. Her Dad, was what they in the oil fields called a “wild-catter.” He would tell the oil companies where to drill for oil based on the topography of the land and other factors. Funny how he always seemed to be right, too. He and his partner had a chance to start their own company, but Grandpa, who had to support 4 small children, was afraid to stray from a regular paycheck. So his friend and partner went off on his by himself to start his own oil company. It turned out to be a little company we learned to recognize...Phillips 66. Oh well. He learned how to find the oil from my Grandpa.
During her childhood, my Mom lived in both Texas and Oklahoma, with a network of relatives around that region. One relative’s farmhouse in Texas burned down, and with it some important family records linking my Mom, Ruby’s family to the Royal family in England. So unfortunately, it all became just hearsay. I did not even hear about the records lost in the fire until just recently, myself. But I realized that it was a missing piece in a very important puzzle I grew up with as a child. My Mom, Ruby, was and still is, like a twin sister to Queen Elizabeth! The Queen is 4 years older than my Mom. Now here is where I really need to have a good picture for you, don’t I! Open house night at school got a little interesting for me as a young girl, if any of my teachers happened to be astute regarding appearance of the Royal family. I used to hear it all the time. “You Mom looks just like Queen Elizabeth! Are you related?”
“I don’t think so,” I blushed. As a 4th grader, what could I say?
At the age of 25, my Mom Ruby was engaged, and later married to my Dad, Henry Horacek, and lived in No. California. They originally met in San Diego while my Mom was working assembling parts in the shipyard just after WW II, and my dad was in the military. Ruby also used to work at the telephone company, and yes, they really did wear roller skates to get around at the job! Ruby was at Lajolla Beach one sunny Saturday, and was looking for someone to take her picture. She stopped the first good looking male stranger, and asked, “Would you mind taking my picture?” Well, my Mom was a real knockout in the bathing suit, and the rest is history. We still have the picture.
They heard that the British ship The Queen Elizabeth, was going to be docked in the harbor for the public to view, so they planned to tour it. Well, you guessed it. The military personnel dropped their jaw, and just about went into a faint, when Ruby walked onto the ship for a look around. “Is it her? It couldn’t be her, now could it?” My Mom got treated a bit like a queen that day, even though she wasn’t. Everybody had a bit of fun with it!
As I look at the recent CD cover “Revival in Belfast,” from which I took the Robyn Mark song “Days of Elijah,” because of the lyrics, “Here he comes riding on a cloud, shining like the sun, at the trumpet call”...and had my video guy from my publisher, Jacob, combine that with the well known video clip of Jesus breaking through the clouds on a white horse, shining like the sun, to go with my author’s Power Point presentation at the climax and ending. Since then, many have spoken about this same scripture reference, and used the same song. Not just myself. I think about “Irish” and think about Karen Lee FitzPatrick, and the message of the stairway to heaven in the cloud, then pull back fully to see the four white galloping horses in the cloud, reflecting Revelation 19:11-14 when Jesus returns victoriously to take the control of the Earth away from the Anti-Christ. Behind him are myriads of believers behind him on white horses...and what came back…went UP! I Thess. ch 4. This is truly a significant reminder to us believers, during these trying times to keep our eye on the final outcome and the final goal. So this cloud formed, over “the Messenger” young Karen Lee. The cloud rising from the ground starting at about 5:30 PM, from fire smoke, ultimately took full formation as a pure white cloud against a bright blue summer sky, at 6 PM. Photos with time code were captured by local photographer Sandor Feher, and a USFS a smokejumper plane pilot, as he flew over the site. It came to be known as the Thirtymile Fire Cloud, or “Stairway to Heaven Picture.” But then we saw the four horses. Wow. A stunning message.
Once can only contemplate that this bit of history leading up to the present, is about as complex as a study on the Bible Codes…and shouts loud and clear of an intricate design interwoven over the decades of time with various people and events, now at a climax… who now in our present time, speak and carry God’s message clearly. The Spirit of Jesus seems to whisper “Lo I am coming soon...are YOU ready, and are YOU riding behind me on a white horse?” The only question is: are we listening?
Have you written other non-fiction books?
Yes. In 2001, I released EXTREME TEEN RESCUE, a book/program for youth detention ministry which helps people who feel called to do this type of ministry in their community at their own local Youth Detention center, know how to formulate a dynamic ministry presentation of an effective bible centered approach based on my own experiences of doing this type of ministry both alone and with a team concept, since 1997. I sometimes speak and train in various locations out of state and internationally, for the Young Lion’s Youth Ministry Program. See www.younglions.org for more details. The book is available on-line at the site only.
Where on the internet can the readers find you?
What kind of hobbies or leisure activities do you enjoy?
When one is a Realtor, income property owner, and also does youth ministry and writing, there isn’t much time left! I enjoy “power walking” around the neighborhood, jogging, running, going to the gym, sunbathing, gardening and listening to music and learning new songs.
Why did you write the featured book?
I realized shortly after the death of my 18 year old firefighter daughter in the now historic Thirtymile Fire of July 10, 2001, (Winthrop, WA-North Cascades) that God was trying to breathe and speak out an important message. The multiplicity of the message came through her regarding a high standard of godly living and close walk with God, and through the Holy Spirit, a message regarding the extreme nearness of the soon return of Jesus Christ, and the readiness we need to observe in our daily lives toward that.
What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
I hope that the reader can enjoy and be refreshed by the “Essence of Karen” almost as much as when she was actually here, speaking and mentoring people in person. Also, that God speaks and moves in signs and prophecy through individuals that make the sacrifice of time and purity to walk close to Him. The Song of Solomon, chapter 2 speaks of it as the Lord asks of us to “Come away my beloved” to that special place of intimacy with Him. Karen speaks of “Lilies that grow in difficult places.” This is also likened to John chapter 15 in which Jesus says, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Together we produce much fruit. Without me you can do nothing.” It is an intimate place near the heart of God that few seem to ever find, yet it potentially, it is available to all of us. Karen Lee invites us all to “Come Away,” near to the heart of God…a journey she took at great sacrifice.
Kathy, thank you for this interesting interview.
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