Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Tis the Season to Watch Out For Scams-Tips To Help You

Scam artists are getting better at their craft.

Photo by Mary Vee-
A real phone booth - Luzern, Switzerland

My heart breaks when I read about a person conned by these people, especially the elderly. I know several personally. 

It is so easy to say, "How can they be duped? Don't they know..."

The answer is, scam artists are very good at deception. For every word we say to them, they have a prepared script to keep us on the phone. The longer we are on the phone, the better their chances are to reel us in. Like a fisherman dangling bait for fish. 

I asked a friend who knows how to deal with these situations, "How can you know for sure if the vendor whom you've dealt with for years is really the one calling or writing an email or sending a snail mail letter?"

He said, "The bottom line is you can't. Hang up. Never say the word "yes" or the word "no" to the caller. They can record your response and use it to say you agreed to what they offered. If you are concerned or interested in pursuing the question, call the direct line to your vendor, a number you have used before and speak with them. Ask if they called. Never call the initial solicitor back."

We use caller ID. Still, there have been some sneaky scammers identifying themselves as vendors we know. I let the answering machine record the call. If I have a question, I follow my friend's advice and call the direct number to my vendor and speak with them, never using the number left on the machine.

Here are some more tips:
Be cautious about clicking on links within a post. Copy and paste the link in the search bar.

Be cautious about paying for gas at the pump. Pay inside.

The idea for this article came to me when I visited the Moneytips.com site. They have a great article: Scams to watch out for during the holiday season. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

I want you to have a happy Christmas. Let's fight these scammers by not letting them win!

You can read more about:

Phishing emails
Fake Charities
Phone Scams
Holiday E-Cards
Bogus Websites
Ordering from your Mobile Device
Gift Cards - this one is really sneaky
Advice for using Credit and Debit cards

in the Scams to Watch Out for During the Holiday Season post on Moneytips.com: CLICK HERE    
copy and paste this link in your browser https://www.moneytips.com/9-scams-to-watch-out-for-this-holiday-season?fbclid=IwAR0NZ7SJApMcK9aS8f_8j6yp9O0OBqky4lglg3DiSxU4NXFNkwXJnSHuVRU

One extra minute. One extra step. One ounce of caution


Merry Christmas



Anders' Redemption                                       Christmas with the Enemy 4.7 STARS
Finalist in 2018 contest. 5 STARS                   One reviewer: "A Hallmark contender."

CLICK HERE                                                   CLICK HERE

AND WRITE Mary Vee Author in the search box. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Friendship, Humor, A Hero Honored

Photo courtesy: wikimedia.org
I listened to the live broadcast of the service in memory of George H.W. Bush today and was surprised at all I learned about this man who was a former president of the United States.

Keynote speakers told of former president Bush's time as a navel jet pilot whose plane went down in the ocean off the coast of Japan. He was rescued before enemy soldiers found him. This event happened when he was twenty.

From there he built a life of honoring others and establishing friendships. It is said he never hated anyone.  

He celebrated life to his last days, taking a speedboat out on the water and outrunning his secret service detail in his eighties, and parachuting from a plane in his nineties to mention only a few.

President Bush was known for his international efforts, receiving honors from a former Canadian Prime Minister and a German president, in addition to others. While speakers shared the list of his many notable and great historical accomplishments, one descriptive word about him stood out more, friendship. 

He saw needs and helped where he could, and when a dose of humor would help he told jokes. Apparently, he had a subscription to a joke network that he read often.

I guess I hadn't seen the many good sides of George H.W. Bush that were presented during the service, but a little boy who had leukemia did when the then President George HW Bush visited him and other sick children. That was when we learned he and Barabra lost their three-year-old daughter to cancer.

We know in our heads life isn't guaranteed. Since we still have this day, what one word would you like to be described as from those who know you? This can still be done. While the name Mary Vee may not be remembered for time, maybe the Never Give Up Stories that are shared will be used to encourage others. George HW Bush lived a life of many Never Give Up Stories that have impacted the world.

Rest in Peace, President Bush.

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: Friendship 



Anders' Redemption                                       Christmas with the Enemy 4.6 STARS
Finalist in 2018 contest. 5 STARS                   One reviewer: "A Hallmark contender."

CLICK HERE                                                   CLICK HERE

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

NASA's Christmas Present is Gift Wrapped. What's Inside Mars?

PHOTO CREDIT: en.wikipedia.org

They said it couldn't be done. 

Who "they" are is undefined, but it wasn't the scientists at NASA. NASA has taken on a Never Give Up attitude since its beginning. You know their successes and failures. The agency has lived through great criticism and threats to defund.

Thankfully Thomas Edison didn't have to deal with the same worldwide critical audience or we might not have light bulbs! 

Well, actually I think we would. Someone else would have invented the mechanism between 1879 and today. Most likely the Brits whose research resulted in the arc lamp would have designed a commercial lightbulb or another group of scientists. I'm glad Edison's success gave an avenue to his quotes:

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

So, NASA can boast a success, once again. After finding many ways that didn't work, they have discovered how to safely land a robot to Mars' surface, falling at only five miles per hour, and opening doors to new research. New understanding of the red planet. New inventions that will become part of our everyday life.

The robot known as the InSight Lander will study seismic activity on the planet and lead to understanding Mars' core. NASA is moving at a cautious pace. Heat and windshields will be deployed to protect the robot. Engineers and other great minds at NASA want this to be a success. They are working long hours. The formal experiments won't begin for months as a result, but when they do, scientists expect insight into Mars such as they'd never known before. 

You might ask why would we need to know that. You might be surprised.

Here is a link to a NASA page with easy-to-understand explanations, videos, and interviews about the InSight Mars program: Space.com Great to share with anyone intrigued with the space program, exploration, infinity and beyond!

Successes like the Mars program--even Edison's lightbulb--encourage us to try. 

How about you? Ready to search for another way to move forward? Ready to try something new? Don't wait for the New Year. Start today and take the next step.

I am!



Anders' Redemption                                       Christmas with the Enemy 4.6 STARS
Finalist in 2018 contest. 5 STARS                   One reviewer: "A Hallmark contender."
CLICK HERE                                                   CLICK HERE

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: NASADidIt


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Flat Tire Thanksgiving

Friends - Photo by Mary Vee
Island of Bolero, Venice, Italy

Thanksgiving week blessings.

Hubby walks out to his car dressed for work and lunch in hand. He happens to look down at the front tire, something I wouldn't do, and walks back to the house. The tire is flat.

This morning, he fills the tire with air and nurses it up to the tire store. Across the street is one of those hometown restaurants with basic food, servers with pads of paper and pencils, and unlimited gut rot coffee. "So, yah wanna get breakfast?" He asks me. How could I refuse?

Two hours later the car disappears into the shop.
Although Hubby devoured southern style biscuits and gravy et all the trimmings, he is nervous he won't have the car in time to leave for work.

We walk across the road, yes we paid the bill plus tip, and walk inside the tire store.

Before hubby can ask, the tire guy grabs keys off his counter walks them to my hubby and says, "Everything is taken care of."

Hubby was speechless. All that nervousness that had morphed into botheredness (I made that word up) had nowhere to go other than the man grunt. 

The tire guy reaches out to shake my hubby's hand, "There's no charge. Happy Thanksgiving."

Hubby shakes his hand but remains stunned.

This is what small towns are all about. Love it.

So from our house to yours,

Happy Thanksgiving

Here are some wonderful stories for you, all on sale for the Holiday. 
Great stories just for you!

One reviewer says, "A Hallmark contender." 

Finalist in 2018 contest. 5 STARS

RELEASED THIS YEAR, Patriotic Suspense Novel  5 STARS

This post has been brought to you by the one word: FlatTiresMakeGreatReadingTimes

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Community Closed A Shop After It Was Open Only 4 Hours

Photo by Mary Vee
Bakery in Germany

Amazing, but true. 

John Chhan opened his shop in California at 4:30 a.m. then had to close the doors at 8:30 a.m. because of the community.

What had the community done?

The story started when a woman brought her daughter into Chhan's bakery. His wife had been there all the years the woman stopped in the shop in the past, but she wasn't that day. The woman discovered John's wife had an aneurysm and was home recovering from surgery.

After the woman returned home, she thought about Mrs. Chhan. The couple came to the U.S. as refugees from Cambodia many years before and set up this bakery. Every day the couple arrived at the shop at 2 a.m. to make the donuts then opened the doors at 4:30 a.m. to sell the treats. When all the donuts were sold, the workday ended. They closed the doors and went home.

The woman told neighbors and wrote a blog post about the Chhan's saying, if everyone went to the bakery early and bought in the morning, Mr. Chhan could go home earlier. Neighbors asked if they could help by doing a fundraiser. Mr. Chhan humbly refused. But, he did have a request.

Photo by Mart Vee
Bakery in Germany

Mr. Chhan said he would like to be with his wife more while she recovers. The community project to buy each day's donut supply early in the morning began. People who didn't eat sweets even bought a dozen then gave the donuts away.

Mr. Chhan found himself closing the doors at 8:30 a.m. With a huge smile, he went home to his wife. 

At the end of NBC's article, Mr. Chhan reports his wife is doing better. He hopes she can help at the bakery soon.

What a lovely story. The husband took over doing double the work so his wife could recuperate. 

His request for the gift of time is so endearing. And the community, well, they are stellar.

So, I wonder, especially in this month of Thanksgiving, if we can think of someone who could use a gift. A moment of time. A young mom who needs a break from the kids. An elderly person who needs company. A friend who could just use a note saying Hi, Thinking of you. These are only three ideas. 

How about you?

If you'd like to read more about the Chhan's and their amazing community, here is the link: Chhan's Bakery

Happy November!

This post has been brought to you by the one word: TheGiftOfTime

                                                           * * * * * * * * * * * *
With the Christmas season approaching, I have two Christmas books available for you. Both on sale during the holiday season. Both fun reads. One will take you to Europe. The other will take you to the Rockies. Both are sure to entertain. 

ON SALE for the holidays
for more information

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

How A Human Chain Saved A Bookstore

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay.com
A bookstore in Southhampton, England, called October Books, could no longer afford to pay the rent for it's building.

No big deal, you might say. Most people buy online anyway.

But this is a different and unique, and basically a Never Give Up Story because the community formed a human chain to save this bookstore.

October Books is an independent bookstore that also offers organic foods and hosts events for the community. Their interest in the locals impacted the people, stirring men and women, boys and girls to come to their aid.  

After having been in their original location for 25 years and facing rising rent, the owners knew they had to leave. They searched for another building and found an abandoned bank.  Several problems rose for a timely move down the street. A stockroom filled with books had to be transported. Painting. Setting up the new store. Creative genus struck when the owner called for help from the community. 

So, when the call went out, the people came. In greater numbers than the owner imagined.

250 people, from young children to the elderly, arrived at the appointed time and formed a human chain from the original store to the new one. They passed one to two books at a time to the person standing next to them, delivering the entire stock to the new location in quick time. They laughed. They looked at the titles. They talked. And had a great time.

In these days of the Internet, where nearly everything can be purchased online or read online, or seen online, there seems to be a defusing of community. Yet, there still seems to be times when a community will band together to help.

Kudos to this Southhampton neighborhood. How about you? Has your neighborhood gathered for special times?

If you'd like to read more about this story, here is the Smithsonian link: A Human Chain Helped A U.K. bookstore move to it's new location

With the Christmas season approaching, I have two Christmas books available for you. Both on sale during the holiday season. Both fun reads. One will take you to Europe. The other will take you to the Rockies. Both are sure to entertain. 



This post has been brought to you by the one word: Community

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

How Kenya Transformed A Baltimore Child-A Never Give Up Story

Photo Courtesy: pixaby.com
A school in Kenya saved the life of a Baltimore, Maryland boy.

Hard to believe, but it's true.

Here is the story:

Devon grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, as they say. The neighborhood was broken. Run down. Laden with drugs and violence. Survival required knowing where to hide when things turned ugly.

His mother was a drug addict and his father an alcoholic. 

This situation turned many children in the school district into angry persons. Devon's anger manifested itself in behavior issues at school. In sixth grade, he was suspended several times.

Here is where the amazing twist in his life story happened.

The principal of his school was told to find a way to move ten percent of the students, the ones who refused to learn or refused to behave, to alternative education. Once these students left the school, the overall student body had a hope to succeed.

A recruiter from a new school foundation came to Devon's school. They presented their program to the student body. The idea was to take the troubled students to a remote area, far away from their neighborhood, and give them a chance to start over. The foundation considered several locations in the United States and elsewhere. Unfortunately, many had issues that would only contribute to the student's problems. At last, an area in Kenya, Africa was chosen. The students who would be accepted for the program would fly to Kenya for the academic year.

The idea intrigued Devon.

Over the summer Devon filled out the application and forms, answered interview questions, and so much more. Just prior to the start of the school year, Devon and eleven other boys flew to Kenya then traveled 150 miles to a very remote area where a large hut served as their school.

The students had limited electricity, the food was drastically different, and they didn't have the electronics like video games, etc, and fast food restaurants they'd been accustomed to. Wild animals ventured near their school. Life was as opposite as it could be. And--it was not easy.

Devon and many other boys adapted. To earn their entertainment, students had to prove successful in their studies. Devon's outlook on life changed completely. He earned good grades and found a new reason to live during that seventh-grade year.

Devon hoped to return to Kenya for eighth grade. Unfortunately, the school had to be closed down due to a dangerous uprising in the country. He didn't throw that seventh-grade year away and return to his old lifestyle. Instead, he continued to reach for a rewarding life by continuing his studies.

Today Devon is a CEO of an ice cream company, has a great salary, is married and has a child. Isn't that a Never Give Up Story that makes you want to do something? 

If you'd like to read more about Devon, the Kenyan school, his photo, and more:  CLICK HERE

This post has been brought to you by the one word-TryAndSucceed

Four times a year I take readers on a virtual trip somewhere in the world. Earlier this month, my October newsletter took readers to the Netherlands, inside, and up three flights of one old style windmill. The tour included so much, including videos of the massive pumps moving water and the reason why they wear wooden shoes.

Would you like to join us for our next trip? 
No passport needed.
No suitcase to pack.
You are invited.

Sign up for my Never Give Up Stories newsletter and travel with us!
No spam--just a fun virtual trip to the Alps, on a pirate ship, a desert, Petra, whitewater rafting, and more!

Click this link to go on our next adventure: 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Feelings Like Scrooge At This Time Of Year

Some of us like the dawning of the holidays. Harvest bounty leading into Thanksgiving and on into Christmas with a New Year's finale.

Others feel like Scrooge. Humbug.

My new release only days old is perfect for both sides of the fence. 

With a paperback designed in the fashion of Dickens' Christmas Carol, this is the book for you.

Consider this:

What if Scrooge married, had children, and generations later they lived in the States. One family in Chicago full of city life, and the other in Montana where a view of the horizon is never obstructed by a building. Then suppose these families happened to end up at the same mountain lodge the week before Christmas.

There would be more peace in a meeting of the Montagues and the Capulets than the Chicago Windermeres and the Montana Tuckers that week.

This is the story. A Peace on Earth-Good Will to Man with a Twist of Romeo and Juliet Novel.

High in the Rocky Mountains, the front door to the Windermere lodge banged open with a burst of icy wind snapping at Sam’s face. She cowered back toward the sofa, staring at a six-foot intruder covered with snow.

For years she’d stayed away from this place. It wasn’t safe. Her high-rise apartment, complete with fake fireplace and located in downtown Chicago lacked the quiet, but she could at least scream and be heard if trouble struck there.

The mountain man called her Goldilocks and accused her of eating his stew before revealing he was a Tucker and asking her to leave. Just like that he'd throw her out in the blizzard. Like all Tuckers, he was as heartless as Scrooge.

Blizzard, Avalanche, Grizzly. 
All Terrifying.
But Worse...Much Much Worse
A Christmas with the Enemy

Christmas With The Enemy is on sale for the holidays:
and is also available in Dickens' style paperback.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Brilliant Beyond Brilliant Idea by the Dutch

Photo by Mary Vee, Kinderdijk near Amsterdam

This is an idea on steroids. Why am I especially excited about what I am about to share? 

In my newsletter, distributed earlier this week, I took readers on a virtual tour of an old style windmill. We climbed the interior floors, touched the sails, watched the water pumped from the land out to the river. The water was then pumped out to sea.

We had such fun. (You can get a copy of the newsletter and take the trip with me still by going to this link and signing up: Virtual Tour of Netherland's Windmills  )

Anyway, today's brilliant idea is the restoration of a famous painting. Rembrandt's Night Watch.

Ah, I hear you saying, BORING. 

Not so.

This is different. Way different.

The artist/s commissioned to do the work will begin July 2019 and work in full view of the public in the Rijksmuseum located in Amsterdam. Right on the main floor of the museum. Talk about ultimate pressure. BUT there is more! This restoration will be streamed so that anyone with internet, anywhere, can watch the process!

Click in, watch a bit. Leave. Come back another time.

The marketing is truly amazing. Thousands will plan trips to watch the process. I would.

Imagine witnessing the rebirth of a 1642 painting that spans 12.5 feet by 15 feet. This massive canvas weighs 743 pounds and is considered one of the most famous paintings in all the world. The director of this Amsterdam museum says it belongs to us all so everyone should have an opportunity to view the process.

Why is this painting so famous? Rembrandt broke the established rules of the time. Subjects in typical pieces of the day were posed, standing or sitting. Rembrandt painted his figures in action. Subjects pointed, discussed, played drums. 

Movement in the painting draws us in. We ask questions. Walk to the left. To the right. There is so much to see. 

Rembrandt's masterpiece will be protected in a glass chamber throughout the process.  I would imagine the artist/s will set up their studio, including palettes filled with paints, brushes, drop clothes right there for all to see. Perhaps it will be sound proof so when that finite stroke is started no one will startle the artist. 

How exciting to witness!

Even more than Disneyland.

Plan a trip sometime to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam sometime between July 2019 and, oh, I don't know, I'll guess 2022. The estimate is that the work will take years. Hopefully not as long as it took Michaelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, four years. 

For more information about this exciting event go to:

This post has been brought to you by the
one-word: Brilliant Idea

Speaking of brilliant ideas my new book is on sale for the holiday season. Hop on over to Amazon and pick up your copy. 

And this year my Christmas book is about Peace on Earth. Just released: “Christmas with the Enemy.” Grizzlies. The Rocky Mountains, and a family only Scrooge could have sent. Kindle version on sale for $0.99 or the Dickens’ classic look in paperback.

Click Here for ebook or classic Dickens' style paperback

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

All Things New- I Have Two!

This week I would like to tell you about two exciting "new." I leave the period there because I don't want to spoil what they are before you look below...

First, I found a new restaurant--the Old Christmas Station located in downtown Frankenmuth, Michigan.

I walked in the main door on the side of the building and found myself magically stepping into Europe. Music from France, Germany, and Italy, played with interludes from a German radio announcer. My German is a bit rusty, so I'm not exactly sure what was said, and I didn't care. This cozy restaurant transported me to one of many restaurants I'd visited in France, Switzerland, and Germany. 

A waiter came to our table. He was dressed in a white shirt, black pants as many waiters do in Europe. He didn't carry paper and pencil but slighly leaned forward as if fully engaged in the dining experience. We listened to his question and while we considered what we would order to drink, he stood with straight leg, patiently waiting our answer. European dining, even for lunch, is never rushed. Always appreciated.

We started with coffee served on a silver tray. Notice the small creamer. The plate including sugar, cream, spoon, napkin alongside the cup and saucer is typical fare even for a coffee shop along the Rhine River.

We chose a three course meal. 
I ordered a salad and was pleasantly surprised at the presentation. Notice how the ingredients are gracfully clumped over a bed of lettuce. Insodoing, dazzling red, orange and green colors woo diners to begin their meal. I gently drizzled dressing from the cup and tasted. Ooo. Such vibrant, balsamic flavor! Not too oily or vinegary like what is made in Italy.

For the second course, my hubby ordered a German dish, wiener schnitzel with house made spätzle. He lived in Germany for many years and his heritage is German, so his expectations were based on what his mother used to make. From his first bite, I could tell the gravy-coated breaded pork and delicate house made spätzle transported him even farther back to his grandmother's home. There was not one word of conversation after that point. He was far too enraptured with savoring authentic flavors from his youth. Needless to say, he will order wiener schnitzel here again.

I ordered Italian. Spaghetti Marinara. Thick, rich, tomatoe sauce with just the right amount of garlic, basil, onion, and other flavors matched what I'd eaten in Italy. Do you know the story behind spaghetti? An Italian told me spaghetti was considered the poor man's meal. In the old days, Italians took remnants of meat left over from the meal before, added it to tomatoe sauce, and poured over noodles. LOL! And now look. Spaghetti has been refined as a dish served in nice restaurants!!

The Old Christmas Station also serves handmade ravioli and, well, I'll inlcude a sample of their menu below rather than listing them. Keep in mind, any prices shown may not be current when you read this.

For dessert, hubby ordered traditional tiramisu. By the way, he is a connoisseur of this dessert. The unreachable bar set by this dessert once enjoyed in Venice. Did you know tiramisu was invented there? While the texture from The Old Christmas Station's dessert was smooth and creamy, and the favors comparable to the Venetian dish, he thought it needed a tad more coffee.

My third course was the apple strudel. Light. Warm. The gentle sweet apple melted in my mouth delightfully lingering as a memorable last note of a symphony. Absolutely perfection.

As is done in Europe, the menu is posted outside behind a glass.

If you have a chance to visit Frankenmuth, Michigan, I highly recommend this authentic European restaurant. Please note, the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.

Now for my Second "New"

My new book has just been released
is now available on Amazon!

The cover for Christmas With The Enemy was designed with the classic look of Charles Dickens' days, including the spine decoration. I wish I could have had a hard copy made to complete the look for my library. Maybe someday. For now, the book is available in paperback and ebook.

Christmas With The Enemy: 
If Ebenezer Scrooge had descendants, the Chicago Windermeres and Montana Tuckers would be them. As a result,Christmas doesn’t turn out as planned for either family. A glacier helping of Scrooge's spirit invades their festivities, leaving a wake of an impossible Romeo and Juliet story. Even the McCoys and the Hatfields would be surprised. The question remains: can there be Peace on Earth in this Rocky Mountain blizzard? This is a blizzard of a read.

Here are the links:

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: SomethingNew