Friday, January 20, 2017

I Could Have Avoided the Topic of Inauguration Today BUT...


I could have avoided the topic of Inauguration today. 


But I decided not to because the United States of America, and other countries as well, were formed by a group of people who came together to unify a culture, a way of life. These people felt their cause worth separating from others. Whether a person agrees or disagrees with who was elected, some or all of their views, some or all of their policies, Inauguration Day is still the day that represents the installation of an elected individual to this self governed country.

I make it a firm policy to never say who I voted for, and I won't today either. I have that right. There have been many presidents in my lifetime, some I voted for, some I did not, but I cast a ballot every time. Some I didn't agree with their policies or agendas or actions, some I did.

But on Inauguration day, respect for the office is crucial.

This said I'd like to pose a question to you. It will yank your thoughts from current times. A question that will hopefully create discussion. 



If George Washington, the first president of the United States, a man who said he was an independent, (although historians call him a federalist which is defined: for a strong national government that promoted economic growth). He believed in a balance of powers. He also saw that he would have continued to be elected, so rather than become another King George, he stepped down after eight years. His other accomplishments and views are available on line.




Ran against Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, a Republican. But Republican's were different in Lincoln's day than they are today. Here is Lincoln's platform: that slavery would not be allowed to spread any further into the territories. The Republicans also promised to support tariffs that protected Northern industry, a Homestead Act granting free farmland in the West to settlers, and the funding of a transcontinental railroad. His other accomplishments and views are available on line





Who would you vote for?

Consider all you've learned in school, news, your impressions, your current thoughts, your desires for your country. 

Which would you vote for?

And why.

These two men are know for creating great change in the country. Change is not something most people like, but during their time, the issues at hand seemed to call for their leadership.


Let's celebrate the right to free thinking.

The right to free speech.

The right to vote.

The right to express our views.

Would you vote for George Washington or Abraham Lincoln? One year I assigned a project to my third grade class. The class was divided in two, one group to campaign and promote Washington, the other Lincoln. They made posters and received permission to post them all over the school, made buttons, researched, and campaigned in all the classes Kindergarten through twelfth grade. They stated their cases and rallied their candidate. An election date was set. The kids ran the election inviting the entire school including teachers and staff then counted the ballots. 

The school wide winner? Abraham Lincoln. 


Today there are many people crowded in Washington D.C., and/or huddled around their media devices. There are those who are avoiding all contact with the inauguration. 

Because they can.

So, who would you vote for? Washington or Lincoln?


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



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cleanse Your Reading Palate-3 Day Countdown

Yes, the weather is extremely chilly, for all of us.

As long as you are in the northern hemisphere, that is.

Brrr.

This, my friend, is the perfect time to pick up a book and read it all the way through. Cover to cover.

We are a TV, media age and are missing so many wonderful stories told only in books. True movies may have the props, the music, etc. BUT media does not have YOUR imagination. The setting you see, the voice you hear, the touch, the taste (did you know lasagna tastes different to you than it does for me?)

This is a fourth of my library. Yeah, hubby and I place a priority on reading. He even built the shelfs.

Since this is still January, we have time to establish great habits for 2017. Rather than encourage you to read a book, I'm going to ask you to step outside of your box.

The comfy box. The one where you have four of five good books sitting on your nights stand that you plan, have been planning, and might, kinda, sorta, eventually get around to reading but haven't because well, there was this TV show.

I am initiating the Cleanse Your Reading Palate program.

Don't walk away from this. Stick with me. The benefits will be better than Mary Poppins' spoon full of sugar.

Simply pick one book from any of the six categories listed below. There are suggestions listed for some, but these are only suggestions. If you know another book in the category or wish to go to google to look up other suggestions in the category, do so. Try to pick one from these categories, though. 

You can borrow your choice from your library. There probably are some free to download from places like Kindle or ITunes. Some are also available in audio book version.

The only kind not allowed is a video version. (DVD/Netflix/YouTube/TV etc)

I picked these six categories as this week's theme. Different. Serious. Radical. Thought it might fit in with the United States' Inauguration this Friday. Everyone seems to have an opinion about this inauguration. So...let's pick books with opinions.

Today's Cleanse Your Reading Palate Choices:









All you need do is pick one book from one of these categories. 
The book does not need to be one of the suggested works.


Dip your toe into new waters

Cleanse your Reading Palate

So, reader, which category did you choose?



Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday the 13th, This Road Ain't Easy




Friday the 13th has been one of my favorite days since...I can remember. Talk about a day with plenty of entertainment. People stay away from black cats (I have one..purposely picked the little guy out from the rescue shelter), broken mirrors..you know the crazy thoughts that arise on this day.

Did you know, I learned this during my visit to Italy this year, that the residents of Pompeii were superstitious? They had statues of cornucopias around the city and small ones in their pocket to "protect them" from their superstitious beliefs. Yeah. Pompeii. Guess the cornucopias didn't work for them.




My friend, Jim Rubart has the fun, joking, yet wise personality of a big brother. He is an author and my guest today--and what a perfect post to have for a Friday the 13th.

So...for you...here is Jim Rubart's post, one we all need to read on a mid January weekend that happens to have a Friday the thirteenth. 



This Road Ain’t Easy!

So many authors. So many different journeys. 

I’ve yet to hear the story of publication from one of my author friends that is typical, yet they all have one element in common: It was hard. Excruciatingly hard.

Very true, Jim. Any career, project, endeavor road can be really difficult--and we want to give up so many times!! 

In other words, it’s okay. This road you’re on with all its blindsides and potholes and jagged cliffs with no guardrails? It’s not unusual. You’re not alone. 

My own writing road had a dead end sign on it of my own making. I’d dreamed of being a novelist since I devoured the Chronicles of Narnia in 5th grade. But when I was rejected for my school newspaper in 9th, I accepted the fact I had no talent as a writer. (I know, I know, so let me ask, what “facts” have you accepted about yourself?)

I think we all have felt this way at least once. The Evil One is very good at persuading us we can't do a job.

But I kept dabbling in the dream. In my teens and early adult years I:

•    Subscribed to Writer’s Digest
•    Bought books on writing prose and screenplays
•    Scribbled a few short stories
•    Went to local writer’s workshops
•    Wrote a Seinfeld episode in ’92 with a buddy on a whim which ended up in the hands of a prominent L.A. TV writer 

      who said we had true talent
•    Wrote Web sites, radio ads, brochures, letters and TV ads for a living


Some of us haven't even done that much because the weight of failure is too much.


But my dream of writing a novel? I did nothing. NOTHING!

(Well, I did think about it. A lot. And carried around this sack of nine-hundred pound guilt because I knew I should be taking action.)


Sitting here in the middle of January--with the great dreams for this year dangling over a cliff pleading for us to pull them up to safety.

Finally, in the spring of ’06, I went to my first writing conference. By summer I had three agents interested in representing me. In September of that year I signed with a fourth. A little less than two years later I had a contract for my first book, ROOMS.


Isn’t it Gretzky that says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”? You nailed it, Great One.


That is a saying that should be posted where I'd see it every morning, right Reader?

Maybe your dream isn’t writing. It’s painting. Or music. Or opening a restaurant. Or taking that trip to Israel or the Bahamas, or doing missionary work halfway across the globe.


No one with a goal or a dream gets it easy. Just doesn’t work that way. 


I like watching Biography and the one thing that has struck me harder than anything else is how tough it was for EVERYONE.


Here are a few of the stars I’ve watched profiles on:

·       John Travolta                             The Rolling Stones
·       Jamie Lee Curtis                         Eminem
·       Jodie Foster                               Chelsea Handler
·       Anthony Hopkins                        Jennifer Lopez
·       Kelly Clarkson                            Janis Joplin


It’s fascinating to see where they came from, what got them there, and what they had to go through to get there. I had this idea that most stars walked into their gifting/destiny with a few minor pebbles in the road, not a street where bombs had gone off and were still exploding.

And by bombs we each have our own personal type of bomb that brings our day to a halt.

ALL of the stories revealed serious setbacks before these stars achieved fame and fortune. All. 

A repeating mantra when outsiders describe these people is, “They were so incredibly determined.”

“They worked harder than anyone else.”

“They knew what they wanted, fixed their eyes on it and refused to give up.”

“No one came to see them at first, but they didn’t care. They just kept at it.”

It comes down to this: You have to believe in yourself. When no one else does. There is no other choice. 

Because there really is one sure person who believes you can finish--at least the portion of the task you were given--our very loving and living Heavenly Father.

There is no other road.

Is your dream sitting in the back of a dark rusted shut drawer somewhere? What is it?

Grab the crowbar, let’s get moving.





James L. Rubart is speaker, marketing professional, and a best-selling, award winning author. Publishers Weekly says this about his book, SOUL’S GATE: “Readers with high blood pressure or heart conditions be warned: this is a seriously heart-thumping and satisfying read that goes to the edge, jumps off, and “builds wings on the way down"






Thanks, Jim. Great words for today.




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

One Word for 2017-Ten Day Count Down




I chose "depth" for this year because I want to be more than superficial in everything I do. 

So if I am cleaning, I'd like to try harder than to just swipe the dust in view. Maybe pick up objects and clean under them, too.

If I'm reading God's Word I want to dig deeper into the meaning of the passage I read.

If I'm working on my writing craft, I want to give each minute a quality that amazes even me.

If I meet someone for the first time, I want to show them a sincere interest.


With all of this in mind, I'm also thinking about the myriad of news and events happening in our world. 

How can I become deeper involved?

How can I not stir up anger, but stir action in others?

How can I lend a hand?

How can I help make others aware?


My daughter told me about a news event that recently happened in Beijing. There are coal factories that produce heat used in business and homes. There is a fog that has settled over the city. Without wind, the fog will stay in place. The fog is trapping poisons made by the coal factories in the air. The people desperately need heat, it's very cold...so they need the heat...made by the factories...that are causing the deadly trapped pollution.

I recently watched The Crown, a mini series about Queen Elizabeth. Apparently a fog settled over London trapping poisons from factories over the city. Twelve thousand people lost their lives before the fog lifted four days later.

Before the London incident, a fog settled over a town in Pennsylvania trapping poisons caused by factories. 

Let me interrupt to say I am not against factories. We need what factories produce.

Prime Minister Churchill thought nothing of the fog issue in London. He thought it would go away. There were more important things to care about. Marie Antoinette, married to King Louis VI of France, didn't understand the French people's need for food. 

The disciples thought Jesus had a political agenda. They knew He was to be a king, but they didn't understand His kingdom. They wanted the Romans to be conquered and Israel to be the great power.

They saw the superficial and not the real issues.

Of course not every issue can be handled in depth....especially by anyone person. But I'd like to give my all to any issue that comes into my day.

In ten days the United States will inaugurate a new president. No matter what is thought of him, efforts need to be made to protect the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the country.   

Today, you are a great issue for me. 

Know this, reader, that I am praying for you.

I really am.

From the depths of my heart.

Have a great day.

Mary Vee

Saturday, January 7, 2017

One-Word Part-Two of the 2017 Party Still Going On!!



I hope you're enjoying the party that is STILL HAPPENING HERE!! SCROLL DOWN to the post below to join in the fun. PRIZES. TELL OTHERS!! EVERYONE IS INVITED!!

It's still January, have you remembered to write 2017 instead of 2016? I usually don't until February rolls around.

Still--


There is something thrilling about welcoming in a new year. I can hear Marilla Cuthbert telling young Anne Shirley, "Oh stuff and nonsense. Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it." Good advice that fits a new year, eh?

2017 is a New Year with no mistakes.

So what will we do with this year? Think about something really fun that you would like to do this year. Make it at least somewhat doable. Now, write that idea down and tuck the piece of paper someplace safe. At the end of the year we'll pull that piece of paper out and hopefully be surprised that yes, fun things can happen in a year along with the trials.


Let's get started with this new 2017:




One-Word


Three years ago, I introduced the concept of choosing a one-word to my readers here on Let's Talk. 

The directions:  choose one word to be your theme for the year. Post the word in a prominent place. Use this word as your goal word for the year. 

For example: If I choose the word "trust" 

*I might see my goal as learning to trust others 
*or I might see my goal as wanting others to trust me

So each day I would pray that God would help me grow in this area:

*During the day, I might say I need to trust God to get me to work on time, to help me do my best, to let my spouse complete a task without reminders/nagging, to still love me even when I sin, etc. 
*During the night, I might say I need to trust God to protect my children, my home, etc.

For this reason, choose your one-word wisely. Pray about your one word choice for this year. The goal is not to "succeed" but to improve that area of your life . . .  contrary to resolutions, mistakes ARE allowed!

Here are a few idea words for you to choose from. This is not an all-inclusive list. You may think of a word not listed here.  As I mentioned above, each word can have many definitions. The word you choose will have the definition you need.

Adventurous          Delight                 First              Noble               Resistant
Apprentice             Dependable         Giver            Organize          Responder
Brave                     Devoted               Heartfelt       Patient             Serious
Builder                   Disciplines           Helpful          Peace              Spunk
Care-ful                  Disciple               Hope            Praiseworthy    Still
Change                  Driven                 Humble         Prayer              Thankful
Cheerful                 Empower            Include          Productive        Trust
Childlike                 Encourager         Joy                Purify
Compassionate      Endure               Listen            Quiet
Concern                 Engage              Lovely            Rejuvenate
Courage                 Enjoy                 Manager        Relax
Crystal                   Faithful               Motivated       Release


This was my one word for 2014



This is what I chose for 2015:



And here is what I chose for 2016:




As I look back on each one, I see how each was the right choice for the time. A plan God had for me.
Here is your assignment: think about what you would like to have for your one-word for this year. I have mine. I'll post this next week.


ALSO--I'll make a jpg styled to what you list as your one-word again this year and email it to any of you who want to play along. 


The design will be changed to distinguish this year's from previous ones. Please indicate your one-word in the comments AND your email address. Thanks!

Are you ready to give the One Word Challenge a try? I hope so. I'll tell you mine next Tuesday.



I am so excited for 2017 and what God has for all of us. 

May your new year be immersed in blessings. I'm praying for you.

So, as this year draws to an close, how can I pray for you?

Ooo, and don't forget to stop in at the party. 
The post is right below this one.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

First Blog Party of the Year: Come Celebrate!





Celebrating 127 subscribers
to my 
Never Give Up Stories Adventures
  
and my soon to be released book:
Andiamo, Let's Go To Italy



Happy New Year!


To me, there is something invigorating about a new year.

Like the early morning, when the sun rises and colors appear and nature can be seen. The sun moves cross the sky and things happen. Some good. Some bothersome. Some not so good. This is the day the Lord has made. Take one step at a time. Move toward the finish line where a good night's sleep awaits. Leap over obstacles in the way and keep walking. Accomplishing. Moving past things that upset. Taking breaks to enjoy the things that please.



Starting a new year is like opening a gift. Yah never know what is going to be inside. I always hope for something amazing. Don't you?

This year is no different.

Those who have hung out here on Let's Talk know I love to travel. 

Top. Top. Top on my to-do list is seeing God's world. 2016 I shared trips to California's Redwoods, Oregon's Pacific coast, Arizona's deserts, Michigan's Great Lakes, Italy's history and food. Such an amazing time.


What travels are on my docket for this year? Eeeeeee, I am excited to say: 



Israel 

If God wants to squeeze in a few more places--I am totally on board!


Photo Courtesy
Now the Party!

Today through January 10, 2017 midnight, US residents may enter to win prizes from the list below. 


What are we celebrating?

First: In October, 2015, I started my newsletter, Never Give Up Stories. 

Those who have received issues have virtually traveled to Paris, Italy, deserts, mountains, pirate ships, cliff climbed, whitewater rafted, zip lined in the canopy of the redwoods and much more!! 

Would you like to come with us? There is plenty of room on every virtual trip. 




Second reason to celebrate: my book release this year. Andiamo, Let's Go to Italy. Here is a preview of this January release cover: 






Five winners will be chosen for the party giveaway. 

To enter, leave a comment and sign up for Never Give Up Stories adventures. 

Winners will be able to choose a book from one of the following authors: 


Terri Blackstock, 

Austin Boyd, 
Amy Clipston, 
Colleen Coble, 
Rebecca DeMarino, 
Evangeline Denmark, 
Robin Hatcher, 
Beverly Lewis, 
Frank Peretti, 
and more!


Winners will be chosen using the Rafflecopter website. Winners will be able to choose from my great author's book stack, many have been a guest on my blog. Winner's names and the book/s they chose will be announced on my Facebook page: Mary.Vee.Writer


YOU MUST INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN CONTACT YOU.
Sorry-United States only

May you experience a ton of God's blessings this year. 
May your trials be manageable, 
and your joys a pinnacle experience.
I look forward to another exciting year with you on Let's Talk.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Good News




Twas (It is the week before Christmas.)

And all is a bustle.

I don't know about you, but I've put in some long days, preparing rooms, menus, shopping, and activities for the family members who will be here for Christmas. I love the preparations but am really happy for the break to write this blog. 

Hey, want to take a break with me? 

In this fourth week of Advent let's think about some amazing words from our heavenly Father.







Absolutely nothing can separate us from God's love. 

You are so loved. 

To prove His love, God sent His Son, Jesus, to live among us, talk with us, teach us, show us about God. Jesus is our Good News. He made a way for us to live forever with the God who loves us.

Christmas will be celebrated this Sunday by many.

It will be a time to celebrate and remember the birth of God's Son. 

Years ago a family from church told me they held a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas day. They made a birthday cake and put up birthday party decorations along with the usual Christmas decorations. The idea sounded like a lot of fun. One my hubby and I chose to do with our kids. My youngest daughter ordered a special cake for this year's celebration. Yum.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. That you laugh, sing, and spend time with others.

I'll see you next year, January 3rd, 2017.   



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

Friday, December 16, 2016

Inspiration



Erica Vetsch shares her warm smile around the Christian writing community. She is fully engaged in reaching out to others on facebook, twitter, and on her blog. She has a gift of inspiring others to do...whatever God has directed. More than thirteen of her books have been published.

Today, Erica discusses inspiration. When does it come. And what happens when inspiration strikes us.







Inspiration

Recently a friend of mine asked on her blog “What inspires you?” I loved all the answers. Some readers were inspired by music, some by walking in the mountains, some by reading great fiction, or looking at the sky. After some thought, I realized that my most inspirational times, the times when my imagination is most nimble, are those precious moments at night before I fall asleep.

Photo Courtesy
For as long as I can remember, I have daydreamed myself to sleep at night. When the house is quiet, everything is dark, and I can just close my eyes and let my mind drift to magical lands and places, peopled with characters I wanted to hang out with, adventures I wanted to take. As a child, I continued stories that I’d read, riding The Black Stallion, nursing patients with Cherry Ames, pioneering with Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

It was in those precious moments that I learned to spin my own stories, and even now that’s when I work out plot problems, talk to characters, or imagine settings. My mind is free from distractions, noise, electronics, tasks, and to-do lists. 

It is at this time that I can overcome writer’s block by shedding doubt and letting myself explore ideas that simply won’t come when facing a blinking cursor and a blank page. It’s when I can sink into the story and eventually into slumber.

How about you? Advent is here. Soon Christmas will be, too. When does your inspiration come? What inspires you to do what ever you are led to do?






Author Bio: Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and reading, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical fiction set in the American West. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two terrific teens, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.

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Thank you Erica for spending time with us, today.