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 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Get A Grip America

NPR has been running a humanity series which included interviews with people who feel they have financial issues. All but one story intrigued me. One stirred me to comment in this post.

The story is about a man who has a supervisory position. He is married and has three children. He makes a little over one hundred thousand annually. 

When he and his wife married and wanted to start a family they discussed the choice between having a two parent income and placing the children in day care or a one parent income and have a stay at home parent.

After much thought they decided the two choices would be a wash financially because of daycare costs and went with the one parent income with a stay at home parent.

Now that the children are older and one is getting ready to enter college, the man said he  is thinking they made the wrong decision. He looks at his neighbors and sees all they have. Had they been a two parent income they could have a lot more money to buy the things they want now too.

So here is my beef. 

He and his wife gave great though to their decision. They had their reasons for making their choice. We were not told what they were. Apparently something tipped the scale that was important to them.

Now, years later, the Joneses game has hit. 

And he feels poor. 

Because he can't go out and buy on a whim like his neighbors.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to buy things. 
To upgrade what is owned. 
To improve quality of life. 
To fit in.

He told the reporter they have plenty of money for all they need. They eat well. They celebrate events. They pay all their bills. They just don't have the extra money to do the extras.

This man is greedy. 

Had the man and his wife chosen to go with a two parent income and day care in the beginning that would be fine. It would have been their decision. The family would have grown and done well either way.

What they aren't doing well is having a dad who expresses his unhappiness about a well thought-through decision between he and his wife years ago. Does he honestly think there wouldn't have been struggles with a 2 paycheck home? Had they made that decision he would be complaining today about how his children didn't have a stay at home parent when they were young. 

Some people can't be pleased.

Now his children and his wife get to hear him on a national radio program whine about not having money to buy the extras he wants.


Okay, so it's not all of America. But those who need to get at grip...do it.

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

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Finding New Ways-Better Than the Internet-To Meet People

Maybe the Internet has taken away the mystery or fear of meeting new people, I'm not sure. But this week, three cases leaped to my attention where new folk met new friends not on the internet. These weren't just superficial hi, howya doin' chance meetings. They had a deeper connection.

Thanksgiving is a great time to talk about this topic.

The first new unexpected friend I'll share happened at the local community college during a Citizens Police Academy class. BTW, this is a great class for everyone and is offered all around the country. My greatest take away was the strategies for driving on ice. Of course, I enjoyed the tour through the jail because of the unplanned riot in the women's wing, and sitting in the jury box for the first time while the judge gave her presentation on the courts. 

The point being is I met classmates. We had a "graduation", a food and chat time during the last class hour. I took a handful of bookmarks with photos and info about my debut book, Anders' Redemption, released this October. Each person asked questions about the book and the role of an author.

I stayed with a few classmates to clean up the food and noticed a lady I hadn't met yet. Now, I am not great at the personal introduction thing. Still, I yanked on some courage and went to her. I handed her a bookmark and told her about my book. She said, "This looks like a really nice book. Do you know what I do for my job?"


"I am a librarian. Go to the library and ask for Patty. Tell her I sent you there. She will put your book on display for Christmas."

Talk about surprise!

Later in the week, NPR hosted a story about a man who shared a ride in an Uber car. After a great conversation, the other person got out at their destination and the man continued to his destination. Wanting to continue the friendship, but not knowing how to get in contact with the person, he posted flyers around town. He wrote: If you are the person who liked, he listed a few things they talked about, mentioned the uber, and left his phone number. Oddly enough, the new friend called and they connected.

I've heard mocking about the American Hallmark commercialism. My take is: companies are not the only ones who benefit from graduations, holidays, birthdays and other celebrations. We the people of these United States and people around the world benefit from getting together. After all, as the old song goes: "The more we get together the happier we'll be. Cause your friends will become my friends and my friends will become your friends..." 

Internet isn't the only way to meet new people, to keep in touch, or to connect. There's something about a hug, a real smile, hearing a giggle behind a word, and all the body language that comes with personal contact.

I challenge you to make a personal contact with some different than you normally would during this holiday season. Sure it will be difficult. You won't have the safeguard of turning off your computer screen, you may actually have to speak to the person. GASP! I say this because I have the same fears.

Arm in arm, reader. Let's go meet someone.

Brice Anders' has a slightly different problem. He doesn't mind meeting people, but due to an injury, he can't remember names. Talk about awkward when bumping into the same person several times in one week! Want to know what happens next? Anders' Redemption, a Christmas story, is on sale through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, both ebook and paperback.

Amazon Link 

Barnes and Noble paperback link

Barnes and Noble Nook link

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

Do you have a unique meet-someone story? Share it in the comment.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Italy's Gianluigi Buffon A Hero

Monday night's world cup football playoff between Italy and Sweden proved to be an epic game. This was the first time Italy did not earn the right to go to the World Cup football (or as we Americans say, soccer) games in sixty years.

I didn't like the mocking reports against this fine team. And while the Italian fans walked away in silence, I thought there had to be shreds of good hope in this major sports event for them.

I searched on-line stories about the event. 

Then, this morning, tucked in one article, was the rest of a story. The heroic response by Italy's goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon.

As we all heard, Buffon played brilliantly. He prevented any scores by Sweden. The final score was 0-0. He did his job.

There are no overtime minutes to determine the winner. According to the rules, if a game ends in a tie, the previous scores and win/loss records are used to determine the winner. Italy's team knew what was at stake before the match began.

Buffon had planned to retire after the Moscow World Cup games. But, after last night's loss, he chose to retire now, although some reports say he is willing to compete in contracted games for the rest of the season.

Don't get caught up in rumors running around cyber space implying Buffon's decision to retiring early is because he's mad he didn't end with a perfect record. 

Here is why-and this is the stellar part of his story. Better than all his wins. 

Buffon was quoted with saying these words:

"I am proud to have worked with some great champions."

"I am not sorry for myself but for all of Italian football."

"Hugs to everyone, especially those I've shared this journey with."

...And he applauded the Swedish national anthem.

Gianluigi is a true sports hero. One that showed children and adults all around the world how best to respond when things don't go the way we desire.  

Brice Anders from Anders' Redemption is such a hero. After an injury steals a promising career, Brice is faced with an intruder who breaks into his home and takes his designs. 

This intense story is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers. Available in ebook and paperback.

Currently all 5 stars on Amazon, this is a story I think you will really like.

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

Never Give Up Stories