Friday, April 28, 2017

Finding Emmeline Book Review

Here is the latest review of "Finding Emmeline" posted on Amazon. Thank you reader for your review. Happy you enjoyed the read:

I have read and enjoyed the three Patch Town series books, and now Finding Emmeline, the first book in the Brain Box Detective Club series. This book tells the story of finding and rescuing Emmeline Quinn and her eight year old daughter from the bondage imposed by Emmeline’s landlord and employer, Charles Hobbs. Along the way there is adventure and danger, set in the backdrop of the beautiful Pocono Mountain region of northeastern Pennsylvania.

A central theme in each of Mr. Parlante’s books is that we only become truly free when we forgive those who have hurt us. The main character of the books, Martin Gilmore, works hard to overcome past anger and grow beyond it through forgiveness, but as we all know, this is not an easy task.

I find that I have become attached to the characters in the Patch Town/Brain Box Detective books. They are simple, everyday people that struggle with the very recognizable difficulties of daily life. Martin has lots of anxieties, but manages to love. He has overcome past difficulties with being able to hold onto a job. Though devastated by the loss of his first wife, he was able to find Linda and her daughter Kati, and begin to build a new life. The adventure added to each book makes it fun to spend time with these very tangible people.

Robert Parlante

Saturday, April 22, 2017


Pulled up behind a SUV in the Home Depot parking lot and I was struck by the vanity license plate on the vehicle. It said “Callonme”, and in my instant reverie, I immediately began channeling Carole King singing “You’ve Got a Friend.”

“When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand … you just call out my name and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running.”

The song was written by Carole King, and she recorded it for her album titled Tapestry, one of the bestselling in all recording history.

While still silently humming the song, a contractor type person showed up and unlocked the vehicle and got in.

"Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you’ve got to do is call, and I’ll be there. You’ve got a friend.”

But a reality check soon overcame my fixation with music decades old. Instead of a Scripture text being the immediate thing to come to mind, I thought of Carole King. Maybe having recently seen the stage musical of her life and music, titled “Beautiful”, may have had much to do with that focus. But look at how much more it could have been

There is Psalm 50:15 – Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.

Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to me and I will answer and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Psalm 91:15 – When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.

Keep Colossians 3:2 in mind when you feel your focus going awry. “Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Robert Parlante

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Seven Last Words of Christ

Last week I had the opportunity to hear a string quartet presentation of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Last Seven Words of Christ on the Cross. The musical piece is a series of sonatas for each of the seven phrases uttered by Christ during his final hours. During the chamber music presentation, various audio clips of various preachers preceded the different sonatas. Words by Evangelist Billy Graham and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. were among the excerpts.

As the sonatas approach the end, the final comments by Christ were particularly compelling – “It is finished” (John 19:30) and “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

At the close of the sonatas all you hear is a single musical note being plucked on a string instrument. Initially, it sounded like a rapidly beating heart dealing with the agony of crucifixion. The heart beats slowed, and the time between beats begins to grow longer, then more intermittent, and culminating with a final single, solitary beat.

Stillness followed. It was over. Christ was dead. It was a somber moment intensified by the moving Haydn music, even in its silence. I found myself wanting to gasp for more air.

On Good Friday, we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But as believers, we know it’s not over. Yes, Christ died, but there’s more to the story! On that day, we also wait with anticipation for greater things.

There is Resurrection Sunday. There is personal redemption for those who believe and place their trust in Jesus Christ. Even in silence, the voice of Jesus Christ and his work on the cross can still speak volumes.
Robert Parlante
Good Friday 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Make Your Bed!

One of the first life lessons I learned while growing up was to make my bed every morning. It did not matter how well you made the bed __ it just had to be made! The bedsheets did not require sharp military corners. I usually just flipped the quilt over the heap of sheets underneath looking like I was covering up evidence 0f a crime.

Some mornings I would be running late, and I would skip the chore. My bedroom was on the second floor and did not get “inspected” until late morning. When I had gotten home from school I was reminded firmly to not leave the house without making your bed. Now as an adult I can still hear the words “make your bed before you leave for the day.”

The Internet and YouTube have enumerable videos and articles from military personnel touting the reasons for making one’s bed. Let me give you the one that works for me. It feels great to start the day accomplishing something. It feels like I’m prepped to have a full and positive day of possible accomplishments.

Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command was the commencement speaker at The University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014. In his speech, he offered several life lessons to graduates on how to change the world. I’m only focusing on his first suggestion to be an agent of change. Check out the YouTube video of Admiral McRaven for his complete speech.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. “If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”

We all have our morning routines. Researcher are saying we are not eating breakfast at home like we did decades ago. No time to make coffee. Grab a muffin. Eat on the run.

For starters, just grab your bed spread or quilt and flip it over your crumpled sheets. Who knows, by the end of the week you might even be doing military folds at the corners of the bed.

And next week? God only knows! The world is waiting!

Robert Parlante
April 2017

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Times of Refreshing

I’m sitting on my back deck enjoying the sunshine and the view of the woodlands backing up to the rear of our property. Squirrels are scurrying about the forest, digging up acorns stored away last fall. The weather has warmed, the garden is budding with new spring growth, and the holly tree in my backyard is flush with red fruit.

Birds are flying about, getting ready for the mating season. Carolina wrens and finches chirp noisily like I’m interfering with their important work. I checked the wreath on one of our doors to see if the Carolina wrens have built a nest in the wreath. It happens every year. So far, no nest, but I know it’s coming!

Then, without any announcement, a large group of light grey birds descended on the holly tree in my backyard. There is fifty-plus birds drawn to the red fruit and a feeding frenzy begins.

I checked my bird-watching guide and concluded they were cedar waxwings likely migrating north. They apparently stopped for a time of refreshing and food. The birds almost stripped the holly of its fruit before they left and continued their journey.

Psalm 23:1-3 speaks of times of refreshing. The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

We are all on a journey, and we all need times of refreshing. If the cedar waxwings did not stop to replenish their strength they would not reach their destination and would not finish well.

We are all refreshed in different ways. Down time, vacation, family time … just to name a few. But do not ignore the most obvious way. Spend time in and reflect upon the Word of God.

Robert Parlante
March 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Goodreads Book Review

Reviewer Wendy Hines just posted the following book review on

Patch Town: Up From the Ashes is the second book in a series, but it's the first in the series I read. It reads as a standalone novel and at only one hundred and five pages, a relatively quick read. Martin has had his share of troubles. He had troubles growing up, then he lost his wife to breast cancer. He's now trying to get his life together, going to church, talking to God and doing the right thing. However, the past has a way of catching up.

Someone is trying to kill him. He's nearly been hit by a speeding vehicle several times, and it's never the same vehicle. It happens so fast that he can't see who is behind the wheel. Not only is this bearing heavily upon his mind, but he's not sure how the relationship with his friend Linda is going. He thinks he is ready to move things to the next level but he's still unsure. And to make matters even worse, one of his worst nightmares is rising. His daughter Ruth may have breast cancer; the same cancer that took his wife. Martin will need to get on his knees and put all of his faith into God if he hopes to get himself and Ruth out of their current predicaments alive or have peace with the results.

A quick read that has elements of suspense, family dynamics and a splash of romance mesh together into a solid and sharp read. Parlante's talent with words draws vivid images in the reader's mind that really bring it all together. Solid writing and a great novel.

Hope you enjoy the read!
Robert Parlante

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Tribute to My Friend

My friend John passed away a few days ago after a brief stay in a New Jersey hospital ICU, where he had been admitted with an infection overtaking his body. Early Saturday morning I decided to call John, not knowing he had already passed. His cell phone rang for a long time before it transferred over to a message center. I left him some words of encouragement.

“Hi John, this is Pastor Bob. Hope you’re doing well. We’re praying for you and looking forward to seeing you return home soon. I love you as a brother in Christ, continue to trust in the Lord and He will take good care of you.”

A few hours later, we received a call from his wife Joyce who told us the sad news. He had passed at about four in the morning. So much went through my thoughts following our difficult telephone conversation. It was like our lives as friends flashed before me.
John had served in Vietnam, returned home and had to deal with wartime scars. He could not drive a car and eventually needed a kidney transplant after years of dialysis.

Our lives as friends intersected about twenty years ago. I was on church staff as an associate pastor and Joyce was the church secretary. One day as I left the office to visit someone in the hospital, Joyce asked a favor. Even though John was not attending the church could I possibly find time to visit John at home? Of course, I would!

Later when I went to his house I had to get past his two dogs who immediately went into their crates upon John’s command. We talked for over an hour. He was emotional. He tried to explain his hurts related to church life, and then he would fall quiet with a look of sadness across his face. We bonded that day and a door opened for an invitation to church.

I invited him to attend church through “side-door” events such as game nights, senior adult lunches and other fun events. He eventually attended a service, committed himself to Jesus Christ and became a church goer. I was honored to have played a small part in that moment of decision.

Sixteen years ago, while on a men’s church retreat, John received a call that doctors had found a well-matched kidney for transplant. The Lord was faithful through the difficult recovery. It was a reminder that we serve a just-in-time Lord.

He was a co-laborer with me in the senior adult ministry. He took over the kitchen and prepared the lunches. He was faithful, encouraging and hard-working. I can still hear the clang of pots and pans as he meticulously prepared the menu.

He was an actor in the church musical productions. He usually played a disciple. At the enactment of the Last Supper he was the only disciple sitting on a bench while the rest of the cast kneeled. Not sure it was exactly biblical, but it was the only way John could get up on his feet. John played in every production I directed. I wanted him to feel he was indeed a valued member of the cast. He symbolized my desire for every church attendee to feel like they are part of the family of God.

Finally, he was a member of the church worship band where he played the conga drums. When he played, it felt like he was preparing himself to one day stand before the Lord like the mythical little drummer boy. He offered the best he could and said to the Christ child, “Shall I play for you on my drum.”

I was blessed to know John. Your legacy will not be forgotten. And I am glad we could spend time together this past summer.

Robert Parlante