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Sarah at Christmas

Sarah at Christmas

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gay's Days Thanksgiving Decorating Tips

Thanksgiving Decorating Tips 2014

 Have you ever wished Thanksgiving and Christmas didn’t fall near each other on the calendar?  The proximity makes it difficult to decorate for each one.

Why not put up a Thanksgiving tree?  A few days after the guests leave and you recuperate from the crowd, convert the tree to Christmas.

The tree above was simple to do.  Garlands of fall leaves don’t require much time, and placing scarecrows among the branches add to the charm.  Anything works. 

Before I became a published author with my Sarah series, I worked as an interior designer/decorator. I will always remember a certain client. Her home was quite beautiful, but she’d decided her living and dining area needed a bit of tweaking, so she hired me as a consultant.

Her hobby was decorating for each holiday.  She kept two huge trees up all year long—one in the living area and one in the master bedroom.

When a new holiday came around, she changed the decorations.  Think of all the monthly occasions.  In January, her tree looked like a miniature winter wonderland.  February—it was hearts everywhere. From the reds and pinks of February, came the greens of March and Saint Patrick’s Day. In April, she decorated the trees with spring time flowers.  May and June—Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  She had all kinds of babies and children ornaments and included pictures of her own family among the limbs.  In July, it was time for flags and anything red, white, and blue. August and September, her trees possessed all things summer—picnic tables, watermelons, boats. October, the trees took on Halloween. In November, fall and Thanksgiving appeared, and December, she brought out the reds and greens of Christmas.

She ushered me into a room she’d converted to stockpile her bazillion decorations.  It resembled a store with aisles.  The lady could literally push a buggy up and down as she selected items for her trees. Not only did she place ornamentations on trees, they also went everywhere—fireplace mantle, dining table, occasional tables—anywhere there was a surface.

Her question to me was how best to show off these diverse decorations.  I suggested she remove wallpaper and replace it with a simple, neutral paint color.  I also suggested new indistinct furniture patterns.  The focal point would then be the adornments. Her color palate changed on a monthly basis with the holidays.

In a few days, I’ll show you my mantel and give ideas on how to group items together. A few weeks ago, I promised I’d show pictures of yard d├ęcor, but I don’t do Halloween, and I haven’t seen many local yards decorated with a Thanksgiving scene. I found one and it's well done.

I recommend clusters in a number of shapes and sizes.
When possible, lift the items to vary the display. Plant stands with numerous heights make good lifters.
 When I wrote Sarah: Laney’s Angel, I wrote from personal experiences.  However, designer Laney did not work with individuals. She attempted to build her design firm by working solely for a Houston builder. I enjoyed working with countless people who had countless styles.
Sarah: Laney’s Angel is the second book in the Sarah series, and it is now available on Amazon's Audible.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gay's Days, Veteran's Day 2014

Veteran's Day
November 11, 2014
Mr. Thomas Moore
This dear man was a POW in Germany during WWII. Shot in the right arm, the Germans captured and imprisoned him for six months before the British Army made their way to the site and freed the men.
He won't talk much about it.
Moore goes weekly to the Veteran's Administration each Wednesday here in Houston. A group of Vets gather to share their nightmares. Yes, after all these years, Tom still has them.
For years, this man who will be ninety-three on January 1, 2015, drove himself across Houston freeways for the weekly meetings at the VA. Just this past year, a neighbor began taking him.
You'll find Tom joining us each Sunday in Bible Study and Worship. He drives himself these shorter distances, and he's faithful. For three days this past week, Tom was hospitalized, but on Sunday, he arrived in his usual, early manner.
Tom is an avid reader, and prizes my books. In my first book, Sarah: A Mission of Love, I named the hero Tom.  I had Moore in mind. My character isn't similar, but the fictional Tom is a good man, and so is the real Tom.  The Warrior Angel in my series is named Tomas. I wish I could honor this faithful man in other ways.
I asked Mr. Moore if I could interview him and write his story. He thought about it and then declined. So many of these men refuse to talk about their experiences. Moore says a lot of Vets feel that we, the general public, won't understand.
We appreciate veterans who've served and are serving our country, but I'm sending a special thanks to Mr. Moore.
And one to my Dad who resides in heaven. He never spoke about his experiences either.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gay's Days November 6, 2014

Have you read Sarah: Laney's Angel?  If you haven't, you can now listen to the novel instead of reading it!  Check it out on Amazon Audible.  The reader does an excellent job.  I'm enjoying listening, and I wrote it!
Before I devoted my days to writing, I worked as an interior designer.  Some of my experiences made it into this book.
Chapter One starts off with Laney inside a vacant house with her samples. She's there to check measurements before she orders materials. Workers aren't around, and the area is secluded. When an intruder enters and finds a beautiful woman inside, he's thrilled and thinks he hit the jackpot.
I actually had this experience.
And it was scary.
No angels were present that I know of, but I've never prayed so hard in my life. When the guy touched me, I backed off and began talking as fast as I knew how.
In Laney's case, Tomas, the Warrior Angel, alerted her boss, and he decked the guy.
No human showed up to help me. Just the Lord and His unseen forces.
I left the house with the man following, got into my car, locked the doors, and then the thing wouldn't start!
More prayers.
Once more, I turned the key in the ignition, and this time, the engine purred to my relieved ears.
I never went back to an empty house again without the construction superintendent's presence.
Do you think Laney learned her lesson?
I hope you'll read or listen to find the answer to that question.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gay's Days, November 3, 2014

Sunday, was a busy day.

Hubby had asked me two months ago to prepare a program on Fanny Crosby. I presented it in church yesterday.

Fanny Crosby was a brilliant, talented hymn writer. Born March 24, 1820, she died on February 12, 1915. During her ninety-five years, she wrote 9000 hymns. As a gifted musician, she played several instruments and also wrote melodies, but she felt her tunes were to complicated to be played.

Blindness failed to keep her from ministry in the slums of New York City. Fanny believed her lack of sight was a blessing and remained positive about it.  As an eight year old child, she wrote the following words.
Oh, what a happy child I am, 
Although I cannot see! 
I am resolved that in this world 
Contented I will be!
How many blessings I enjoy 
That other people don't! 
To weep or sigh because I'm blind, 
I cannot and I won't.
One of her songs, "Praise Him! Praise Him!" was written in 1869.  Just think, that was four years after Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. She later heard that treason charges were dropped against former Confederate States president, Jefferson Davis.
To mention all major world events in her lifetime would take too long, but the news must have been an influence. The impact that electrified her life was her commitment to God. 
Many people dropped by her apartment to ask for lyrics to their melodies. More often than not, Fanny wrote them on the spot.
That fact amazes me. Most of us authors require a large amount of planning and plotting to produce a book. Crosby formed rhyming words instantly.
Here are the songs I featured yesterday. I told the stories behind the compositions.
To God be the Glory”                                                 
“Praise Him! Praise Him”                                                 
“Tell Me the Story of Jesus”                                             
“Rescue the Pershing”                                                      
“Blessed Assurance”                                                     
“I Am Thine” 
“Close to Thee”
“Near the Cross”                                                                
“Give Me Jesus”
"All the Way My Savior Leads Me”                                   
“He Hideth My Soul”                                                           
“Saved by Grace”
"Pass Me Not"
The Bible tells us that our works follow us. Such is the case with Fanny Crosby                                       

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gay's Days, October 30, 2014

This statue is a new addition in my doctor's office.
The statue is almost as tall as I am, and I usually sit in the chair next to the wall.  Now that the gold thing stands there, I sit somewhere else.
Not that I'm afraid of it, mind you. The object has no powers. I simply believe in my God, and He doesn't approve of images representing one.
Perhaps this item is art, and has no religious significance.  I meant to ask, but after three hours to see the doctor last Monday, I forgot.
He's a very good physician, and I'm pleased to find him. His office staff provides professional and friendly service, and his reputation notable. That's one reason I wait for him.
I took two of my books to his office the other day. I signed them and asked the ladies to share. I hope the staff will read them. My books are inspirational and God is mentioned often. I've been told my books aren't too preachy, so that's good.  I give away books as a witnessing tool of who I am and the God I serve.
One of the ladies I gave a book to lives in Sugar Land, so I brought her a copy of Sarah: Laney's Angel.  The other woman lives in the Houston area. I gave her Sarah: A Mission of Love.  Perhaps they will pass the novels around and others will have an opportunity to read Sarah's story.
I'm guessing that most of you who read my blog are Christians.  What do you do to share your faith? Other faiths share. Perhaps in ways we don't like. I wish our radical Islam friends weren't so drastic. Threatening people to convert to a faith is extreme, in my opinion.
God gives us free will and choice, so we are welcome to choose any faith we want. Of course, there are major consequences if we don't choose the One and Only True God.
Perhaps the physician shares his faith through the art work. I communicate mine through books as well as other ways.  Anyone want to comment on the ways they share their faith? I love comments.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gay's Days, October 28, 2014

DiAnn Mills, our FHL President, (Faith, Hope and Love) sent an email to members this week. When we travel, she wanted to know if we found a story when we came upon "the beauty, the downtrodden, the victorious, and the beaten?"
I responded that I did, and I've used what I've seen in my travels in several books. But then, I began to laugh as I remembered the photo I'd taken recently while hubby and I traveled in a nearby country town. I've seen lots of items for sale in a yard, but this was the first for a toilet.
Let's make up a story about this one, shall we?
Well, let's see. This item isn't a thing of beauty, but maybe we could go with the victorious theme.
The dialogue could go similar to this.
Wife:     "I want a new toilet."
Hubby:  "Why? This one is perfectly good. No need to spend money."
Wife:     "This one is hard to clean and the lid is broken. You threw it away, remember?"
Hubby:  "Yeah, but it still flushes."
Wife:     "Water sprays out the top when we pull the handle."
Hubby:  "Who cares?" 
Wife:     "I care. Did you ever think about the way you fill up the thing? No telling what other mess spews into the bathroom."
Hubby:   "Okay. I'll make a deal with you. You can have a new one if I sell the old one."
Wife:      "Deal."
The wife became the triumphant winner. Voila! I just wrote a short story. The Toilet in the Yard.
Thanks DiAnn for the suggestion. I think most authors write about what they see, hear, and what (or who) they know. Our imaginations are always at work. So is my outrageous sense of humor.
DiAnn Mills is a Christy Award Winner. You can find her and her books on these sites.
Have you gotten your copy yet of my latest book?
Sarah and a Dad for Mandy.
A novella, available in eBook




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gay's Days, October 22, 2014

Columbus Texas

One day last week, hubby and I drove through Columbus Texas. This county seat town lies about forty-five minutes from our home. When we travel to Austin or San Antonio, we often stop for lunch in this quaint little city.  Many of the houses are historic landmarks, and the founders of the city had enough sense to leave gigantic, old trees and build roads around them. You'll find several roads such as the one in the picture in Columbus.

I once kept a diary of books I read with snippets about the novels and whether I would read them a second time. In my entry dated August, 2005, I reviewed My Mother's Daughter by Judith Henry Wall.  Perhaps the book has been updated because Amazon says it was published by Simon & Schuster (January 4, 2014),  and I read it in 2005. The book is not available on eBook.

I had to look up the title in my journal....I'm bad about remembering titles. Are you?

Never-the-less, I've never forgotten the story. Two sister, a photographer, makes photos of war zones in 1942. The other sister stays in Columbus. When the photographing sister returns to Columbus, she expects a child, but refuses to say who the father is. The sister who stayed in Columbus takes the child as her own. And the mystery begins.

In my notes, I've written, "This is an okay read, but I don't want to read it again." Having said that, let me hasten to say that I've never forgotten the story. When we drive though Columbus, I think of these two fictional sisters. The picture on the cover of the book resembles many of the homes in Columbus.

Product Details
Do you keep a book journal? For years I did, and I plan to go back doing so again. Finding forgotten books is easy with one, and knowing which ones you want to read a second time is priceless.
I'd love to hear the names of your favorite books. Do you read them over and over?  If so, why?
I love Janette Oke's book, Love Comes Softly. I read it from time to time. The sequels aren't as good to me as the original. I also loved the movie, but the book is better.
A splendid compliment came my way from a reader. She said she reads my books a second time. I think there's no better accolade than for a reader to tell an author that. I also think the author did a good job if a reader remembers a story.
I hope you will read my Sarah series, and please leave reviews. Readers are often afraid of reviews because they think they must recap the story. That's not necessary.  A simple, "I liked this book" will do.
Keep your smile handy! Pick up a book and read today!