Tuesday, March 20, 2018

How You Can Change the World

Photo by Mary Vee
I heard a report worth our conversation on the morning news today.  The reporter stated social interaction, face to face, is just as important to your health as a good diet and exercise.

The problem is, according to Shankar Vedantam, the older we get, the smaller our social circles tend to be, leaving us with a lot of alone time.

I disagree with that. I know many social older individuals. They gather together, travel, laugh, share. It's what each individual tends to do with their life. So, let's consider those who have found themselves in this alone world.

Vedanta pointed out that social media interaction is not a viable substitute. I agree with that. Although I enjoy staying in contact with friends and family who live far away, there is nothing like the initial "Hi!" followed by a hug, handshake, or simply a smile. None of which can be done in social media.

Today is a unique day for me. Hubby and I are going to see a college friend for coffee. It's been a few years plus a few more since we've spoken. My friend lives in the south and is here on business. I live in the north. And although we've seen each other's posts on social media, I've notice the corny jokes never appear. I'm fully expecting to hear a few. Those jokes usually require prior knowledge. They play off shared experiences, like past choir tours, skits, friends, etc. Can't get that so much on social media, eh?

I see a lot of benefit to social media...but I see way more in face to face time. 

Vedantam's point revolved around the increased suicide rate of men above the age of 50. Between divorces, changes of jobs, moving...all American current cultural characteristics, these men are not finding avenues to make new friends. The study reported today stated most people who get on a train, plane, etc, feel uncomfortable with speaking to the people near them. The issue falls in the first few minutes. Once a conversation manages to get off the ground, surveyed individuals said the comfort level changed.


What can we do?

When you stand by someone you don't know....say hi. Let's get back to the basics in making friends. Hear their voice. See their body language. etc.

Who knows? Maybe you might help someone feel good enough about themselves to reach out to someone else. Watch out for the butterfly affect. This change could change the world!

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

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Teens Rising

Photo by Mary Vee, all rights reserved.

Generally speaking many adults rarely hear, see, or think the words teens and rising together. Teens love to sleep in because they enjoy staying up late at night. But today we're not talking about merely rising in the morning.

Today, we're talking about teens who are choosing to break a preconceived mold. One that says teens are too young to become involved in changing our country. To go before a governing power and speak to a concern in hope of influencing laws in our country.

As Teddy Roosevelt said, Bully. Bully to the Florida teens who chose to rise very early, climb on a school bus and ride it to their state capital to address their deep concerns before those in government.

They organized their thoughts. And rather than riot in the streets they went through the process, addressing those who had influence and power to make change. News splashed the event across the nation. Their school responded by giving the day off to encourage other students to benefit from the experience.

This is what it takes to bring about action.

Rising early in the morning. 


Following the procedures.

Make the point. Clear. Don't waver. Stand up for what is believed.

These are not the only young people who have stepped up to the political arena because they wanted to make a change. Although Article 1 of the US Constitution states no one under the age of 25 can serve in the House and no one under the age of 30 can serve in the senate, younger men and women can be elected to serve their state.

Florida's House elected 21-year-old Amber Mariano in 2016. 
Michigan elected 21-year-old Jewel Jones, an African American as State Representative in 2016.
The governor of Tennessee appointed 21-year-old William Charles Cole as judge to the state supreme court. He went on to serve as US Representative for his state.

These are only a few young people who chose to rise up and address their concerns in a way that could bring about change.

Are all teens like this? No.
Are all adults like this? Nope. 

But we all can be. We can do something about the issues we are concerned about.

We can rise up, research the information, and go prepared to make a change.

For me, my concern is helping people hear/read there is a God who loves them dearly and will see each person through joys and triumph, sadness and sorrow. I rise. Prepare. Then speak with those I meet.

The sun has risen. 


Friday, March 2, 2018

The More Nominations-Grace Awards

My book, Anders' Redemption is eligible for the Grace Award in the mystery category this year.

Any book that you have read which was published in 2017, in any Inspiration category can also be nominated. (women's fiction, contemporary, mystery, speculative, action/adventure/western, young adult) 

The more nominations, the better the chance of a book winning. 

This is how you can nominate my book, Anders' Redemption:

Send an email to the Grace Awards site with the following information:

Anders' Redemption by Mary Vee
Mystery category
Say in 45 words why you liked the book.
Email this nomination to: graceawards@yahoo.com

Here is a blurb to help you remember what the book was about: 

A horrible accident steals Brice Anders' career and much of his memory. Only hope and motivation wake with him every morning. A letter arrives. A chance to forge the dream Chef career...then an intruder breaks into his new home, sabotaging his work. With days left to Christmas, his job on the line, his memory not helping, only hope can deliver redemption.

Here are some ideas for what to write with the 45 words:

1. Was the novel well written? Did the author use language correctly? Did it make sense?
2. Was the plotline logical? Did any plot turns surprise you? In a good way, as in what a surprise but this really works — or in a bad way, as in “Yikes” this doesn’t work at all?
3. Did the characters feel like living people? Could you identify with the characters and their situations in the novel? Were the scenes plausible?
4. How about pacing? Did you ever get bored?
5. Was the novel true to its setting: time, place?
6. Was the novel entertaining? Did it uplift, send you on an emotional roller coaster, have you on the edge of your seat, tickle your funny bone (depending on the category)?
7. Did the novel engage your Christian walk in a meaningful way? Did it depict Christian life in a plausible manner (in some genres, this would be symbolic)?  Do you think the work adds something of literary value?
Thank You!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Day The Mom's Were Served

Amid all the terrible news, the sorrow, and grief, I thought we could just take a break and hear about something good.

Something kind.

Something that should be expected but often isn't.

I woke at the 00 early Tuesday hour to make breakfast for hubby, then prep for coffee duty at our MOPs program. Every other Tuesday MOPs (moms of preschoolers) is held at our church. This is a relaxing, laughing, chatting with adults, networking, have an awesome time for moms of birth to preschool age children. And the moms love it.

Usually mom's bring in a breakfast food to share. I've often thought how difficult it is for them to get up, get all their munchkins ready, load them in their car seats, drive to the church, then cart the kids, diaper bags, and the breakfast food inside. Wowsers. But they all do it. 

At this very moment I'm listening to their friendly chatter in the other room.

This meeting, though had a wonderful surprise. 

The pastoral staff of the church came in early and crowded the kitchen space. 

They cracked a zillion eggs, sliced sausage, 

cooked sausage...


and pancakes.

The moms have quieted as I reach this paragraph. They are feasting on delicious food, sipping coffee, and resting while their little ones are in the nursery.

During Jesus' ministry he washed his disciples, cooked and served breakfast on a beach, listened, and so much for. He was a servant. An example for all of us.

So on this day, the pastoral staff made breakfast for these moms. 

The men laughed. Joked. Told their stories. 

Asked where the bowls were and the tin foil.

Melted bacon grease through the plastic dish.

And served A-MAZING food to those who are raising the next generation.


This is news.

This is what should happen across America ... instead of the tragedies we hear and witness.

Perhaps there is a way for you to be a servant to someone today. Even in the least measure. The reward is a smile that will bless you. Laughter that will thrill you. And peace that passes all understanding.

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


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

It Took A Sunset To Unite Nations

Photo by Mary Vee, Gates Pass, Tucson

The last two nights, hubby and I drove to Gates Pass in Tucson, AZ to see the sunset.

We aren't from the area and had no clue this mountain pass drew hundreds of people and their cameras at this hour.

Photo by Mary Vee
Hut where we stood on left, Boulder we used
to climb to the hut. Gates Pass, Tucson 

Young and old climbed the massive rock structures searching for the best seat for the night's event. It reminded me of the ancient amphitheaters filling with crowds waiting to view an evening entertainment.

To get to Gates Pass, drive west of the city and make sure your front window is spotless. The reason isn't so much the spectacular view, which will be seen once the car is parked. When driving with a coating of desert sand on the window heading into the west, the sun's powerful rays bounce off the coating like a spotlight in your eyes.

Photo by Mary Vee
The peak at Gates Pass, Tucson

Follow the curving road to the top and turn into the scenic view parking lot. Although there are many parking spots, most will be taken. Climb the rocks to the vantage you prefer and wait for the sunset.

Here is the best part:

Photo by Mary Vee
Stone hut where we viewed the sunset

Winds picking up an incredible speed across the valley far below soar up the mountain. Holding on to a nearby rock is wise. 

Like us, tourists shifted from one rock to another as the sunset shifted swirling colors across the sky. As the colors blended, so did the people.  

We climbed to this stone hut and watched from the doorway. Other people sat on boulders to the left, some leaned on the open windows to the right. This and the peak across the road were dotted with men and women from many nations, all with cameras.

A young man from an Arab country joined us. He said it was his first time at this place.  We chatted about the colors in comparison to last night's sunset. Although he took a photo, he said he preferred the memory picture and the experience. I really enjoyed meeting him.

A family of native children raced up the rocks and chased each other, giggling and playing.

Hispanic teen girls climbed high, finding a narrow place to take their photos. 

A European father called his children when it was time to leave. One child said their sibling couldn't come because they sat on a cactus. Since there weren't major tears, I assume the sibling was fine.

Men, women, and children from many nations interacted while viewing the sunset at West Gate Pass, a winding mountain road connecting valley and city.

This ranks high on my list of impressive sunsets.

My next newsletter will release soon. In the newsletter, readers join me on my journeys to amazing places and look for the hidden amongst the obvious. Sign up for my newsletter in the right column by February 14th to receive this issue.

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

Don't forget to get your copy of my books! All available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Anders' Redemption
Andiamo, Let's Go to Italy
William Worthington Watkins III and the Cookie Snitchers

and Christmas with the Enemy, due to release in October 2018

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Never Give Up Stories ROAD TRIP!!

Preplanned trips offer an enormous amount of security. Hotels are firm. Routes chosen. Time schedules organized. 

This week we are hitting the road. Those of you who have been with Let's Talk know how much I love to travel.

We had airline tickets and chose to cancel them, (in time to get our money back). 

Chuck the routine.

Toss out the plans.

Let our hair down and go. 

We'll collapse the back seats of the minivan for a flat surface. Set up the army cot. Stuff baggage under the cots. Pack the camping stove and hot pot along with groceries. Then take off.

There is something about the thrill of flexibility. We have our destination, AZ. But how we get there, and how long it'll take will be the variable.

Yeeee Haw!!

I found out there is a Dorothy house in the western Kansas. I doubt the town is called, Oz. I'd like to stop there. Moon crater is another spot we'd like to check out.

We're heading southwest. If you have any ideas where we can visit, let me know in the comments. I prefer crazy and different. Not interested in dining, we yank out a Sterno and heat something simple. Restaurants are time hoggers.

I'd like to do some climbing. 

See red rocks.

And maybe, just maybe, get to see the Pacific and the redwoods before we need to return.

We will hotel along the way. I like picking those as we go. If there are no vacancies, well, we'll just drive on down the road till we find one.

We don't often have the opportunity for an impulsive trip. This time we are in-between jobs and can't see sittin' the time away.  

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

Have I got an adventure for you!

1. Sign up for my newsletter in the right column. The next issue will be delivered to mailboxes 2/15. Amazing nature, trips, food, all within the comfort of your home.

2. Be sure to get your copy of Anders' Redemption.Can you imagine attempting to solve a mystery with memory issues? Waking each morning unsure what happened the day before except someone wants to ruin your career? This is Brice Anders' story. Anders' Redemption. CLICK THE BOOK PHOTO FOR ANDERS' REDEMPTION IN THE RIGHT COLUMN FOR THE LINK.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Tale of Two Cities Unknown to Dickens

Sometimes old news is new news.

Today I want to share with you news that only this week came to my attention. My research led me to the original article published in The Atlantic on October 22, 2013. 

This is a tale of two cities. 

That do not exist in pages written by Charles Dickens.

Viganella, Italy 

and Rjukan, Norway 

are small cities located in valleys surrounded by mountains. Although located far from each other, they suffered the same problem.

Up to six months of the year, both receive very little sunlight. 

While many global cities rest in valleys, Viganella and Rijukan are swaddled by the Alps and Galdhøpiggen mountains respectively. These giant mountains shield the valley below from precious sunlight.

If I were to visit either quaint city, I would only do so during the six months of sunlight. I really dislike the dark.

And so did the residents. The word did is very important.

Like a Hans Christian Andersen story, 197 people of Viganella came together and talked about the problem. The mayors are credited with the solution, 


I'd like to imagine that a child attended that meeting and said, "Why not put a mirror on top the mountain to reflect the light down on our village?"

All the children chimed in, cheering their friend's great idea. The parents, though said quite another word. They uttered ridiculous. 

"How much would a giant mirror cost?" a man asked. 

A woman pointed toward the peak, "How would we get it up there?"

"What if it fell down on the city. We'd all be killed."

Questions popped in every adult mind. They looked for problems in every way.

For days the towns people talked about the ridiculous idea of mounting a giant mirror on the mountain. They drank their coffee and talked. They stopped each other on the dark afternoon streets and talked. 

And while they chattered on and on about the reasons why a giant mirror could not help their problem, a teen, well beyond her years in intelligence, made drawings and punched numbers into a calculator. She figured in the height of the mountain, researched the greatest wind speeds, factored in the position of the reflected sunlight. 

And while she couldn't find a way to shed light on the entire village, her numbers showed the town square could have sunlight. She bundled her many papers together. She slipped on her winter coat and set off for the town square. 

Now, at this time of day, men and women gathered at the fountain in the center for this was when they shared the days events and talked about problems.

The teen stood by the fountain. She held her bundle with one hand high into the air. "I have done the math. A mirror can be placed at the top of the mountain and angled in such a way to reflect sunlight on this very city square."

The school teacher read through her papers. "I believe this idea might work," he said.

The councilmen and mayor read through her papers and they agreed too.

The people formed committees to set up fundraisers. They contacted builders, climbers, installers, computer experts and all matter of skilled workers for this sort of project. The first approved blue prints gave the people hope. 


On December 17, 2006, and 8 x 6 meter computer controlled sheet of steel, turned.

The people of the town gathered in darkness and waited. Their eyes raised to the mountain peak with a giant mirror mounted. The mayor signaled the computer operator to start the program. 

The children squealed in anticipation.

Dads and moms, boyfriends and girlfriends, even neighbors hugged waiting for the moment.


The Dark

Became light.

197 townspeople rejoiced. They clapped and danced in sunlight. They slapped each other on the back in celebration. 

The mayor stood on the edge of the fountain and proclaimed December 17th  A Day of Light.

No one remembered who suggested the giant mirror. It must have been the mayor.

But the little boy remembers.

And the female teen who worked endless hours to determine the probability remembers.

She texted her cousins who lived in Rjukan, Norway. They told their friends who told the townspeople who sent the mayor to see the giant mirror in Viganella, Italy. When he arrived, the mayor of Viganella took him to the town center and said, "Watch."

On October 18, 2013 the people of Rijukan, Norway gathered in their town square and for the first time in a history of long dark winters, they watched the sun reflect down on their town.

The news article didn't give these details. But this I know...the people lived happily ever after. And it wasn't "the end". It was "the beginning."

You simply must see the photos for this great project. Here is the link to the article in The Atlantic complete with large sunny photos:  

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

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Wizard of Internet is a Fraud

Photo Courtesy Link

In our everyday life, problems pop up. They aren't always something big. Maybe something that tweaks our agitation for a nano second before a solution strikes us.

Why was the peanut butter in the fridge?
How did the black sock end up in the white laundry batch?
Where are my: glasses, car keys, charger, etc?

These issues we are willing to tackle. No problem. Take the peanut butter out of the fridge. Don't panic when the white batch turns out fine. Search the house and car for missing item.

But when it comes to thinking our way through problems, we are very quick to hit the Internet. 

Can I just say, the Internet is not the all knowing Wizard of Oz? 

There is a lot of misguided information on line and some of it is very difficult to detect...for even the knowledgeable person on the given topic. 

Sure, I'll leap off the edge here for a moment. My economics teacher taught this principle, "Let the buyer beware." I'd like to add to that, "Let the Internet researcher beware."

Just because Web M.D. said it, doesn't make it so. Ask your doctor.
Even the Internet's weathermen give the wrong weather reports.

So what's the real issue here?

We are not thinking.

We don't try to solve problems ourselves. 

We run to Google and ask, "How do you..." And then follow the directions precisely. And while those specific directions may be correct, creativity has fizzled to the vast unknown.

Inventing the wheel is not bad.

Since cooking shows are all the rage, here is a low key example:
I'm standing in my kitchen. Flour spilled on the counters. Measuring cups and spoons have ingredient residue. I open my fridge and find, cue panic music, I don't have the next ingredient! 

Once upon a time, this would not be an issue. I'd search the pantry for a substitute and create a new taste sensation. The family would ooo and ahhh. "Make this again," they'd say.

Today, I'd go to my computer and bring up recipes for the same dish. I'd research alternative ingredients, wading through the one's I've never heard of before not realizing a full hour has vanished, and choose one I think might sort of work. Well, it should. It's on the Internet. And Chef Blah Blah said this ingredient worked.

Really, readers?

Can we not get through a day without the Wizard of Internet?

Another big concern is the awareness of Alzheimers. Memory Loss. Dementia. Research will show lack of this food, too much of that food, lack of exercise, and thousands of other reasons why a growing population is having memory problems leading to serious issues. 

I'm not saying the Internet is a source either.

I am saying, we can be a source. If we don't use our minds to think through problems and questions, we become lazy. Do you remember when you were a child in school. Were you always given the answer?  As a teacher, I told my students...I don't give answers. I guide. I helped them discover resources. I gave them opportunity to discover. I even let them struggle and fail because that is also learning.

Struggling and failing is not bad. Ask Einstein. Edison. Lincoln. 

So, today, I challenge you. For one week...choose not to ask Google. Let me know how it goes. 

This post was brought to you by the one word: CreativeMindsRemember

Anders' Redemption is a story about a man who lost his memory due to a slip and fall accident. His world has changed. He'd trained to become a chef but an intruder steals his prize recipes. He can't help the police because he can't remember....if only he could remember.   

Link: Click here

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