Tuesday, January 16, 2018

38 Minutes of Sheer Panic

Photo Courtesy Link

The Hawaiian false alert from January 13th scared many islanders and raised fears reaching far across the ocean to the mainland.

Throughout our growing up years generations are trained to regard warnings for every type of danger:

Fasten your seatbelt
Look both ways
Duck and cover
Seek shelter
Stop. drop and roll
Don't touch
Stand tall and face a wild animal
Run. Run fast from killer bees
Don't put your hand in hidden areas where rattle snakes shelter
Wash your hands
Avoid hiking in washes
Don't feed animals
Do the lightning crouch
Stay away from windows
Hide in doorways
Get away from buildings
Stay in your car
Seek high ground

Alerts have been developed for cell phones:
Amber Alert
Silver Alert
Blue Alert
Gold Alert
(do you know all of these alerts? I'm sure there are more)

Hawaii's January 13, 2018 false missile attack alert lasted 38 minutes. Panic stricken men, women, and children had no clue what to do. 

Islanders did their best. They grabbed flashlights, radios, cell phones, water, and hid in bathtubs, on lower floors, in buildings, storm drains, anywhere they could find shelter. 

For 38 minutes they didn't know if they would live.

Now, a few days later, we have learned that one person accidentally pressed the wrong button. A three man team gave directions to another three man team, one who had the responsibility to press the button. In the drill process, the button was pressed accidentally.  

In these days after, tempers have soared. Investigations launched. Fingers pointed.

How could such a thing happen?

I think back to Apollo 13, when after an array of mechanical failures, the ridiculous happened. As the astronauts exhaled, carbon dioxide built up in the capsule, filters designed for two men could not accommodate the unexpected three. The filter in the damaged part was round. The overworked and failing filter in the good capsule was square. Men on the ground had to figure out how to fit a round filter into a square hole.

Hawaiian News Now interviewed senators, the governor, military, and other officials during their broadcast. When asked if false reports happened in the past, one official said, "Yes, during the cold war."

The major complaint at this time is not regarding the potential attack but the scare from a false report.

People will not believe future warnings. They will think the government is crying wolf and not prepare for an actual disaster.

From Science Fiction to thriller to action movies and books, there has ALWAYS been more than one step to blow up a ship, release the missiles, whatever the ultimate action was. Codes from two or more approved individuals. Two keys held by two ranking officers. A hand scan plus an eye scan. ALWAYS MORE THAN ONE. 

Even the epic moment, the one we know is yet to come, will have more than one step. "The trumpet will sound, those who have died will rise, and we will be changed." See, God never makes a mistake. He has given us a warning that will come true at the appointed time. 

We don't know when the end times will come, but we can be prepared. To be prepared, God's Word says: Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. That simple. Because God truly loved the world so much that he sent His only Son to take the punishment for our sins, that whoever believes in Him, Jesus, will have everlasting life.

This will not be 38 minutes of wondering. 

38 minutes of panic.

No need to duck and cover.

To have the ultimate peace that passes all understanding.

This post has been brought to you by the one word: 38Minutes

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

When The Simplest Solution is the Only Solution

Hubby and I saw the movie The Darkest Hour. It was nice to see all but a few seats hadn't been sold for our viewing. Surprising, since the movie released back in November. I was also happy to see the range of ages in the audience, from children to silver haired patrons.

This is not a review of the movie. I understand there are some historical accuracies. In my research for this post, I found discrepancies between sites for the actual numbers. For this discussion, I am using numbers cited in the movie with the caveat these only represent the actual number.

The time is May, 1940. 

Newly elected prime minister, Winston Churchill's back was against the wall, as was the British army trapped on French shores with no transportation to return safely home. He couldn't rally help to save the men or obtain a supply of weapons to fight the war. The fleet had been destroyed. 

He tried everything he could think of.

The king and other influential people begged him to negotiate with Germany. Churchill adamantly opposed. (Eventually, King George agreed with Churchill)

600,000 men had about two days before Germans would reach their position.

A temporary idea came to light. Churchill ordered British soldiers stationed in Calais to distract the Germans away from Dunkirk, France. 

Both Calais and Dunkirk are sea towns. Calais is south of Dunkirk. Both are across the English Channel from the UK. 4,000 men were trapped in Calais. 600,000 men trapped in Dunkirk. Germans swarmed both cities, leaving British soldiers backs against the channel.

Even with the Calais distraction, Churchill had no means to transport soldiers trapped in Dunkirk. 

...until a very simple solution presented itself. 

He summoned the general to ask British citizens owning boats with a capacity to transport any number of soldiers to cross the channel and bring their boys home. The mission was given the name Dynamo.

The result: thousands of small crafts crossed the English channel and rescued not only stranded British soldiers, but also stranded French soldiers.

Sometimes a problem seems so very overwhelming. We try every solution we can think of, poo pooing simple solutions as futile. Or we forget to consider those around us who could lend a hand.

But when that bizarre solution works, we sit back amazed. Happy. Surprised. Perhaps a bit stunned.

So, this is a new year. 

Are you ready to fight the impossible situations that may come your way?

Are you ready to press forward, even if it means using the simple solution or humbling yourself to ask for help?

Here is a quote from Winston Churchill that may help you:

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

May your 2018 prove to be one that counts.

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

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Don't forget...

While this is a new year, we should remember those who are hurting.

I am one.

Today, my post is very short because I will be at the funeral for my father-in-law.  Dr. Vee. 

Dr. Vee led a life that holds an unbelievable history.

If you would like to read a short summary that appeared in newspapers:

Metro Detroit's medical community is mourning the death of Dr. Vainutis Kazimieras Vaitkevicius, a key physician in the creation of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and a compassionate leader in Michigan's oncology field. 
Dr. Vaitkevicius  — known by patients and colleagues as "Dr. Vee" — died on Dec. 24, 2017, at Omega House Hospice in Houghton. He was 90.
"Dr. Vee touched many lives," Patricia A. Ellis of the Karmanos Cancer Institute wrote in an email.  "He would not be one to boast about himself but, for me personally, he is so very deserving of us honoring him and celebrating the gifts he shared with all of us that will continue to benefit oncology care and research for years to come."
Dr. Vee was born on Jan. 12, 1927, in Kaunas, Lithuania. His mother, Kamilija Zakaviciute, was a nurse who spent years in a Siberian labor camp. His father, Henrikas Vaitkevicius, was an architectural engineer, who died in forced exile after being arrested for political views. 
In 1941, the KGB arrested his immediate family, although he managed to escape. He moved in with his grandfather, Vytautas Zakavicius, a trained as a physician and a botanist.
But Zakavicius was executed soon after by the Nazis after it was discovered that he was hiding Jewish children. 
Dr. Vee then moved in with his aunt, Dr. Jadvyga Zakaviciute. To avoid forced enlistment by the Nazi Party, Zakaviciute, a prominent doctor, said Dr. Vee suffered from tuberculosis -- a ficticious diagnosis -- and placed him in the quarantine ward. 
As the war continued, Dr. Vee ended up in a Lithuanian refugee camp outside of Frankfurt, Germany. It was there that he began to show his leadership skills, establishing a secondary school for the refugees — including himself. 
While Dr. Vee originally dreamed of being a musician, his life direction changed after the war. In 1951, he graduated from the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universitaet Frankfurt Medical School.
He moved to the United States for post-graduate training. This, however, was put on hold for a two-year stint with the U.S. Army, where he achieved the rank of captain. Following the military, Dr. Vee began his residency at Detroit Grace Hospital and Detroit Receiving Hospital in 1955. 
Following residency and a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Detroit Institute for Cancer Research, Dr. Vee started as an attending physician in oncology services at Henry Ford Hospital.
In 1962, he was named clinical director at the Detroit Institute for Cancer Research. Four years later, he was appointed associate professor at Wayne State, becoming director of Wayne’s new Division of Conjoint Services and Curriculum in Oncology. In 1982, he became physician-in-chief at the Detroit Medical Center and chief of medicine at Harper Grace Hospital.
Dr. Vee's most memorable accomplishment is his role in the creation of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, where he later served as interim president. 

I say all of this not to hold one man above others, only Jesus Christ deserves that...but to remember that there are those whose life has very rough edges, yet something good can come from it.

So in this New Year, may we think of others even when we experience the harshness that sometimes seeps into our lives.

Happy New Year
May this one be an exciting year full of promise.

Mary Vee

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Winter Pillage

photo by Mary Vee

Winter has pillaged my neck of the woods. 

Did you know that when temperatures dip sub zero it's too cold to snow? Snow is actually a sign that temperatures are warming.

I'm an outdoor girl, but even these temps convinced me to hanker inside. The furnace has worked overtime duking it out with the sub zero temps outside and barely surviving. The thermostat, set for 65, hasn't eeked above 61 yet. 

I say, in between chores, let's find a good book, a hot cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or tea, a comfy chair, and dive into a warmer place.

If you need a suggestion, my holiday book, Anders' Redemption is available in paperback and ebook to read right now. This photo was sent to me from a reader. Seemed the best photo for today's post, don't you agree? 

Here is the link: Amazon

An advantage to ebooks is you can buy them and read them within in minutes...
and stay warm.

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Laughter and Singing at the Homeless Shelter

It was a night to remember.

A night to tell friends about. So I am...

Fifty men, women, and teens rode in busses on icy expressways into the inner city. They poured out of the bus at a homeless shelter unsure where to go, what to do, or what to say. One led the pack through the main doors, pass security checkpoints, and on through winding hallways to a large room.

At night, this room is filled, wall to wall, with cots, blankets, and at this time of year, cold homeless men, women, and children.

On this evening before the night, hundreds of chairs formed straight rows and faced a platform.  

The fifty set up sound and instrument equipment. Singers cozied in the limited platform space. Instrumentalists tuned their instruments. 

A few residents poked their heads in the door. Intrigued, they came in and watched the first measures of several songs start, stop, start again. Microphone levels adjusted. The singers laughed. Chattered. The group stepped off to the side and waited for 6:30. 

Something amazing happened when the clock struck 6:30. 

Other than the concert with the fifty singing as they usually did for concerts, and the homeless watching with blank stares as the fifty expected an invisible spark happened.

Neither group did anything special. 
But something amazing happened inside the room. 

The residents smiled. They clapped and sang along. The fifty sang with a new robust which egged the residents to stand and join in. 

The stoic uncertainty fleeted from the room.

Hearts warmed. Faces brightened.

Inspiration blanketed the room, causing both residents and the fifty to sing with their whole hearts, all praises to God.

Residents shouted Amens at times.

The fifty shouted Amens at times.

And as the last verse of an enthusiastic rendition of Go Tell It On The Mountain ended, the residents, who had sat back down, leaped to their feet again and sang along. They cheered at the last note and pleaded for more.

But this was not a time for the fifty to be on a platform and the residents at their chairs. The fifty left their positions, stepping out toward the residents who warmly welcomed them.

Among the fifty was one man in a wheelchair. He tended to be shy. But during this gathering time, he wheeled his chair to the back of the room where he met a homeless man. They spoke for a time, then hand in hand, prayed for several minutes. Seemed they helped each other with strong, healing words.

Residents, workers, and the fifty helped to clear the room, ready for night ... a place for cold homeless men, women, and children to sleep.

Yes...This was an evening to remember....

                                                             ....and share.

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

No, It Is Not Impossible! Cambodia's Never Give Up Story: Winter Olympics

I am sitting in a coffee shop writing this post and heard two patrons sitting at a table next to me talking about a friend who couldn't possibly change. The person's future had been "etched in stone".

The conversation bothered me. I guess, I'm the sort who feels it is never too late to change. 

Careers have begun late in life. Retirement funds set aside late in life. PhD graduates have become taxi drivers. Truck drivers become professors. Yeah. I had a problem with the conversation.

Their words brought me to today's winning topic for our discussion.

Google Maps

Today we will jet to Cambodia for an inspiring story.

In a country where the low temperatures are in the 70's and the highs in the 90's, one wouldn't consider this a training ground for a winter sport.

Surprise, Cambodia now has winter sports training.

In the capital city, Phnom Penh, there is now a professionally groomed ice rink. It is the only one in the entire country and opened in 2013. The rink is on the third floor of a mall, above a food court and boutique shops. 

Photo Courtesy
The story goes like this, Khiev Panha's job was to maintain the ice rink. A rink without a purpose other than casual skating. While doing his job, he became interested in the art of skating. Panha devoted hours to learning this sport which most of his countrymen had never heard of before. 

When I read that detail, I immediately thought of the movie Cool Runnings, a story about the first Jamaican bobsled team and their journey to the Olympics. Bobsledding in Jamaica? Yeah. That is the same response you could have for Cambodian ice skaters.

Yet here we have it.

Bravo and kudos to this first ever team of six Cambodian skaters leading their country in training to enter the Olympics. The long term plan is: 2022 Olympics for speed skating and 2026 Olympics for figure skating. I'm so glad they aren't rushing their training. Instead this goal shows a real interest to learn the skill worthy to be true contenders in the Olympics. Way to go!

The six skaters lead by coach Clair Ben Zina train rigorously. But more than preparing themselves for this lofty goal, Sen Bunthoeurn, Khiev Panha, and the other skaters teach classes to young skaters, hoping to raise a generation of skating competitors. 

How inspiring to see these young men and women who started training in their twenties, a very late time to begin training muscles for this rigorous sport, also give up their little free time to teach children not only the rudiments of the sport, but also a deep passion to excel, and a love for skating.

Bunthoeurn and Panha have already qualified to compete in the Southeast Asian games, placing eighth and ninth respectively. True, there were nine competitors in their division, but they legitimately earned the right to compete. Something I could not do. Bravo!

Let's give a cheer and shout out to the young Cambodian skating team and their truly remarkable #NeverGiveUpStory.

For more information about this amazing team here is the BBC's article: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42007557

#NeverGiveUpStories are the focus of my work, including my debut release: Anders' Redemption, A Christmas Novella Mystery. 

This is such a good story, taken from many real life pieces rolled into one man's plight after suffering a terrible accident. While he had his physical health restored, he suffered on-going memory issues. He lost a stellar job opportunity, surviving on cheap noodles...until a letter came. One that gave him a second hope--until an intruder broke into his new home and stole his signature recipes. Only hope could bring the redemption Brice Anders' desperately craved.

Anders' Redemption is on sale for the holiday season. Both ebook and paperback books are available from your favorite bookseller. Here are a few links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iRexRU
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2yZZaxh

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

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Dream, Number One, Christmas Gift

Hubby and I had the annual Christmas talk. The one that starts: "So, honey, what do you want for Christmas?" And continues with, this response: "I don't know."

And so, the games began. Neither one of us wants to confess the dream, number one Christmas gift. 

There are several reasons for this. 
1. The dream gift is uber expensive.
2. The dreamer doesn't trust the purchaser to find and buy the right one.
3. There isn't enough time to arrange/find/get the dream gift.
4. The dreamer feels guilty about asking for that item.


I have no clue what hubby would like for Christmas.

From our first Christmas celebrated as a married couple, we've chosen to have a birthday party for Jesus. Knowing that the money to buy the gifts came from God, we honored Him with a celebration rightfully belonging to Him.

Hubby and I buy balloons, have a birthday cake, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, decorate our home with a Christmas tree theme including lights and the birthday gifts that Jesus enabled us to give each other under the tree. The kids joined the fun the year each one was born.

The children were much, MUCH easier to figure out what gift to buy and wrap. 

Much easier than hubby is.

Have you told those in your life what you'd like for Christmas? Or are you hoping they can read your mind? Go ahead. Tell them. Give them a chance to feel the spazz-jazz of seeing your face when you open the gift. Admit it, don't you love seeing them open the non tie, new socks gift? Yeah. They feel the same when watching you.

Yah, know, Christmas is the biggest, best, birthday ever-- celebrated all around the world. And the One who's birthday we celebrate has the best gift waiting for those who haven't received it, yet. For you too. 
God loves you so much that he sent His One and only Son to take the punishment for all our sins. To everyone who believes in Jesus, that person will receive the gift of eternal life. The gift is waiting for you.

Speaking of spazz-jazz and sharing a personal Christmas wish, I'd like to share mine with you. Although it is small, my wish is that you'd read my debut Christmas book, Anders' Redemption. A story of redemption. Hope. Mystery. And Joy. 
Did you know Charles Dickens self publish his book, A Christmas Carol, another book that showed us so much about the joy of giving, sharing, and family. 6,000 copies sold in those few days before Christmas.

After reading Anders' Redemption, best selling author, Wayne Thomas Batson said, "This could be the next Christmas classic." Anders' Redemption is on sale now through the holidays. I really think you will like this story. Enjoy these days before Christmas with a good story, family, hope, and most importantly, redemption.

Link for Barnes and Noble:  http://bit.ly/2yZZaxh
Link for Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iRexRU

This post has been brought to you by the one word: StoriesOfRedemption
and GodLovesYou