Friday, January 11, 2019

Fighting For Life and Surviving

Photo credit:
Today we stop in New York City and are standing across the street from the New York Times Building.

From the sound of such an environment, you would be correct in assuming this is prime property. Any small business that had its start in 1917 and found its way to this location would logically struggle to stay solvent when surrounded by mega companies. 

Such is the true case of a bookstore. A bookstore so amazing it received a Tony honor for excellence in 2011. 

So why is such a famous store struggling?

Manhattan rent increase. Prime property. The law of economics.

The bookstore is called The Drama Book Shop and has been a family-run store since its beginning in 1917. Success enabled the owners to move the store to bigger buildings with better locations until it finally landed on 40th Street. After the bookshop settled there, The New York Times building sprouted across the street. As did other large companies. Of course, online book buying also increased.

News of the owner's decision to close the doors reached a successful producer, a theater owner, and an actor/composer/playwright. The actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton and star in Mary Poppins Returns, spent hours as a teen in this bookstore. "It was a place to go." He and three other Hamilton Musical colleagues purchased this book shop from the widow owner to keep this treasure alive.

The store will still have to vacate the 40th Street property. The new location will be announced in the fall. If you'd like to read more, here is the link to the BBC article

While shopping online is convenient, there is so much more that awakens the mind and engages the social spirit by physically walking into a brick and mortar store. Kudos to Lin-Manuel Miranda and his three colleagues!

This year, plan to visit a bookstore. A library. A brick and mortar store of any sort. Meet people. Hear the sounds. Smell the atmosphere. Much better than being sucked into cyberstores.

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

Until then, I have two great book ideas for you:


Both are available here: Click Here To See!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year Resolutions AND Syrian Refugees

Perhaps you have been asked the usual New Year Question, What is your resolution?

Perhaps you asked yourself before anyone else did.

Usually, I play the game and answer with one of the standards that everyone else says then find myself failing by February.

This year I chose to make annual goals. That way I have the whole year to complete the tasks instead of expecting to fulfill one resolution every day.

How about you? What is your resolution for this year?


I'm one of those who enjoys sending snail mail Christmas cards. I do it because I want to receive Christmas cards. There is a doorway in my home where I tape the cards. When the tree comes down, I take down the cards. 

Some of the cards include Christmas letters. 

Traditionally, Christmas letters serve as a year in focus. A friend tells what happened in their family's life over the course of the previous year.

One friend had an interesting closing paragraph. She described for me what she chose to do with her free time in 2018. She said, 

A lot of my time was spent with Syrian refugees that were settled in our area. It is overwhelming to hear their stories of death and destruction in their homeland. The women especially miss their mothers and sisters. I fill some of that void, helping them with English, the kids with homework, driving to doctor appointments, and figuring out our American culture.

I thought, this is a wonderful volunteer activity. It is an opportunity that could be done with any group anywhere in the U.S. In my local area there is a reading for adults program. These adults are very intelligent people who somehow didn't understand the concept and process of learning to read when they were younger. The methods for teaching adults are different than for children. As a result, many men and women are grasping the concepts and finding their way in a world of words.

You may find your schedule overwhelming at this time. I have had several years in my life when that was such the case. But when you do find a time when you might say, I have every Tuesday evening open, and you'd like to help someone, consider volunteering.

Here are some ideas:

Local VA
Community Reading Outreach
Community Senior Outreach
Moms Outreach
Teen programs
Refugee Outreach
Child Advocate Programs

I'm sure there are thousands more, these are just the few that spilled off the top of my head.

You might be surprised how fulfilling volunteering can be. 

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

Photo credit:

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

No, I Didn't Forget You.

Photo by Mary Vee
Probably my favorite of the year.

No, I didn't forget you. 

I kinda hoped you would be busy with family, new Christmas gifts, cookies, etc. I hope you are.

Let's meet again next week...are you thinking about your resolution for this year? I am. Will I keep it? Probably not...but I most likely will for the first few weeks...or at least days.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

How a Drone Saved Lives on Vanuatu's Island

Photo credit: Pixaby

I typically don't see anything good about drones. Many articles have reported them used for invasive reasons. Some have even been used to look in apartment windows. So, I tend to not have a high opinion of them.


I recently read about a remote mountain people group on an island called Erromango, one of a chain of islands making up Vanuatu. See map to the left.

As you can see the island is far away from a large land mass.

According to Google maps, Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly eighty islands that stretch a little more than 807 miles and has a Melanesian culture. Tourists can enjoy scuba diving at coral reefs, underwater caverns, and shipwrecks.

I tried to imagine myself growing up on this remote island of lush greens. Where vibrant palm trees reach the sky and thick jungle plants fill the land. Where mountains keep the people isolated from the world, and I wouldn't know what a skyscraper looked like, but I'd know everyone in my community so well. Where I didn't have to worry about transportation because I walked everywhere and didn't have to face crowds in a store or search online because we grew our own food. Life would really be different.

Sickness has its run of the tiny island of Erromango, though. Anyone bringing assistance must cross the mountains, a twenty-five-mile difficult trek on a rugged trail to visit. Vaccines and other medicines must be kept cold while in transport.

Vanuatu requested medical help from UNICEF. An Australian drone company won the bid to transport the vaccines via drone to the small village. The vaccines were sent in a styrofoam box with temperature control and placed on the drone, and flown twenty-minutes to the village where a local nurse gave the vaccines to thirteen children and five pregnant women.  Want to read more? Here is the article on the BBC: Vanuatu Vaccines

I was amazed. Clearly, without the drone, the village would not have received life-saving vaccines.

With this being the month of Christmas, it seemed a very fitting article. After all, isn't life-saving what Christmas is all about?


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

Merry Christmas!

Don't forget to get your copy of my Christmas books. The sale ends soon. 
Link for Mary Vee's books on Amazon

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 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 CLICK HERE    
copy and paste this link in your browser

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:
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?


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: 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:
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