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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Lost in a Crowd? Not if You're on Social Media



A lot is being said about our lack of privacy.

The days for anonymity are gone for most of us. Have you ever Googled yourself?  Even if you aren't on social media, someone is tracking you. People can find out a lot about you, even if you've never given personal info.

Scary, right?

To prove my point, I just Googled my friend. She's private to the max. She's never posted a thing anywhere at any time. Yep, she's there.

I'm all over the Internet, but then, I've written books I want to sell, so yeah, I'm there. By design, I'm there.  If I weren't trying to sell you something, I still would be there. Not as much as I am now, but I'd be there.

How did we allow all this to happen?  Was it the convenience of the Internet?  Every time you research a subject, you're tracked by some entity. Let's name two: Google and the U.S. Government. They store records in the cloud.

What about all those DNA sites? Oh mercy! Now "they" can tell even more about us. What diseases we're prone to have and how many years we might live. They can run our DNA though data basis to see if we’ve committed a crime.
 

From our DNA health report, the entities count how much we will contribute to society over a lifetime. If we aren't adding to the stockpile of society's money, the calculate how much it will cost them to underwrite us.

Whoever "they" are may know more about us than we ourselves know.

As of today, our thoughts are all we have that are private. How long will it be before "they" know those too?

Listening devices are everywhere. My daughter and I were talking the other day about what to wear. Out of nowhere, Siri's voice comes on my daughter's iPhone. "Wear leather pants."

What?

We laughed, but is it really funny? Siri was listening, and uninvited, she joined our conversation.

By the way, she was wrong. We don't wear leather pants in Texas in 100-degree heat.

As I related this Siri incident to a friend, she said, "I wear an Apple watch. I said I needed help, it called 911, and an officer came to my work." She needed help with a project.

Have you read the book, 1984 by George Orwell? He wrote it in 1949. Most people at the time thought it science fiction. Winston Smith, the protagonist, is watched by the all-seeing, all-knowing, big brother.

Some people think 1984 is now, and George Orwell was prophetic. 
Will the day come when artificial intelligence is smarter than the human race?  Will it try to be our God?

Okay, so here's the thing. 


I don't believe God will allow that to happen on a permanent basis, but He might allow it for awhile. Maybe hundreds of years.

But in the meantime, practice Godly thoughts now so you'll be prepared for the future. Be aware someone is listening. Maybe watching.

During out periods of lack of privacy, those times when every thought and action is recorded, God might want to show us how unintelligent we really are.

And we are...if we rely on something or someone other than Him.

Reference:  1984





Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dancing in the Rain



Ever had one of those days when crying seemed a good idea?

Yep, me too.

Especially lately.

From time to time, I write about our ill daughter. I don't talk about her often, just sometimes.

Her disease is a painful one to experience. Dementia. Alzheimer's. She's too young for it, but disease respects no gender, skin color, nationality, or age.

Of course all fatal disease is horrific, and we who stand by to comfort and help the ill person find it difficult. Some days we're at a loss as to what to say or do.

My dear, sweet, cousin, who was more like a brother to me, died a few years ago with oral cancer. The doctors removed his tongue. That was horrific, too. No longer could he talk or eat. He spent one day in bed. Silent. He then accepted his condition, got up, and became an inspiration for us all.  He lived his remaining days with 
a positive attitude. He wrote notes. He called on the phone and pressed buttons to make tones. He ran his business while ill.

He danced in the rain.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's learning to dance in the rain."--Vivian Green.

I don't know what Ms Green was going through when she penned the phrase, but isn't it excellent?

Some rainstorms last a long time. Dancing is a challenge during a torrential downpour.

A patient with dementia can live for 8 to 10 years or longer, declining each day. These patients degenerate until only a shell of a person remains. 

God didn't give us any pleasant ailments. Suffering isn't fun. Grief and misery takes work and faith.

Here's a scene from an a Sarah book coming in November. Sarah, a klutzy angel, is appearing as a 90 year old human lady. Julie, her charge, faces a monumental decision.

Julie folded her hands and chewed her lip. She finally glanced up. “Believing is difficult.”
Sarah answered without a beat. “Look at it this way. Ya go to sleep at night believin’ you’ll wake up in the mornin’. Ya get on an airplane believin’ it will get ya someplace. You go to the doctor sick and trust him to prescribe the correct medicine. See? You use faith in everyday situations. Ya just don’t think about it. You live it. Faith becomes part of you. Believin’ is a matter of choice."

Sarah gave good advice. Faith is a matter of choice, but at times, it's a difficult choice to make.

Here's one thing I've learned. It's okay to cry while you dance.




May the God of hope will you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 NIV.



Saturday, August 11, 2018

Let's Cruise Our Summer Away



Want to go on a midnight swim? Elvis did in Blue Hawaii. Elvis

How about taking a Sea Cruise with Frankie Ford? Frankie

Joseph McDade's got a midnight cruise going. Midnight Cruise


I took a cruise by myself several years ago. For some odd reason, my hubby didn't want to go, but I needed a vacation, so I went alone.

I flew from Houston to Los Angeles and was met by cruise personnel. I was going to Ensenada, Mexico with a mid-way stop on Catalina Island.

This adventure turned out a memory to treasure. My dad had recently passed away, and I was grieving. The crew did everything for me while I sailed the sea with them. My life had order.

I write about this adventure in the book: Sarah and the Midnight Cruise to Catalina Island.

The heroine, Carolyn, is single; I wasn't, but a lot of the other stuff happened to me.

When I arrived in LA, my luggage went missing. It had gone to Dallas.  The airline got it back to me before the ship left the dock.

I toured Catalina Island and found it romantic, filled with history, and charming. I'd love to go back. I found my ship photo.



Here I am. Can you believe that hair? What was I thinking? I look as though I placed a big power puff of flour on my head.  And why was I biting my lip? Perhaps the grieving had something to do with it, I'm not sure. I didn't feel like smiling, and I remember one of the guys telling me to smile. And so I did.

My faith remained fine, but my spirit needed refreshing.

I met interesting people. Lots of interesting people. I ate with  the same group at every meal. One was a couple taking their teenager on a trip before college. Another couple lived in Orange County and took this same trip multiple times for relaxation.

In the book, Carolyn met similar folks. She also meets Sarah.

Sarah, the angel, appears as a human traveler and is seated with the group for meals. She plans to help Carolyn find the right mate. Oh horrors!  She goes from one escapade to another.  At one point, the passengers thought the ship would sink. The Superiors called Sarah on the carpet for that bit of chaos.



Available in eBook and print.


Here's an excerpt from the book. And remember, the loss of lugage really happened to me. Authors often write scenes about real stuff. In this scene, Sarah remains invisible. She materializes as a human on the ship.

Carolyn strode to the Lost Luggage office.
A woman glanced up at Carolyn from her desk. “May I help you?”
“My bag didn’t arrive. I need to report it missing.”
An invisible Sarah frowned. Huh? Who took Carolyn’s suitcase? 
Sarah watched Carolyn fill out paper work and then the lady clicked away on her computer and made a few phone calls.
“I’ve found it. Your bag ended up on the wrong plane and went to Dallas. It’s at the DFW Intercontinental Airport in the Lost and Found area. We can deliver it to your hotel in about four hours.”
Carolyn stood akimbo. “Can you drop it by parachute onto a boat? I’m supposed to board a cruise ship in an hour.”
“That’s not possible, but let me see what I can do.”
While the lady clacked on the keyboard again, Sarah decided to fly to Dallas and bring back the case. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? She’d been there before, by accident of course, but she’d visited Dallas Love Field when she’d been Laney’s angel. From the air, she should be able to spot another airport in the area. DFW must be close to the city. Right?
On the other hand, getting lost was second nature to her. What if she failed to find the airport and didn’t make it back to locate Carolyn? Another way would be better, but what? Sarah snapped her fingers, and when she did, the two women looked in Sarah’s direction. Seeing nothing, they resumed their positions. Carolyn fidgeted in a chair and the customer service rep worked on the computer.
“I don’t understand this.” The lady at the keyboard glanced up in surprise.
“What now?” Carolyn lifted her brows.
“The bag handler said your suitcase disappeared. He had it by the grip one minute, and the next second it left his grasp. He’s in a state of shock, can’t find the thing anywhere and has no way to explain it missing. He’ll be reprimanded, but that doesn’t help you.”
Sarah clinched her eyes shut. Uh-oh…got another human into trouble. Sigh.
“That makes no sense.”
“I know. The poor man is taking a break, he’s shaking so hard, he can’t continue. His story is unbelievable, but he insists he held it and it literally left his hand.”
“Maybe he imagined he carried the bag. That’s the only plausible explanation. How will I be able to take a five day trip with no clothes?”
“We can replace the value of your belongings, and you can go shopping.”
“Buy a wardrobe and get to the ship in an hour? That’s impossible.”
As the two women discussed options, a man brought a case into the office. “Is this the missing bag? Carolyn Baker is the name on the ID tag.”
Sarah watched in amusement as both ladies mouth fell open at the same time. Too bad about the guy in Dallas getting into trouble, but the idea to call forth Carolyn’s bag had seemed the perfect solution. Maybe the Superiors would send someone to Dallas and help the poor muddled man. He truly had been transporting it from one place to another when she made it go bye-bye. Uh-oh! What if his managers thought he lied about having the luggage? Poopty doopty. Maybe calling forth the thing hadn’t been such a good idea after all.

I hope you'll read Sarah and the Midnight Cruise to Catalina Island. I describe the journey, and you'll feel you are there.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Can an Angel Help?





Insecure, dyslexic angel materializes as an overweight female to makeover a vulnerable human woman who has two men chasing her, but only one man is for real. 

A scene from the book

Oops! Hold it. Once she completed the makeover, the wrong man might win Valerie’s heart. Sarah needed to guide the female to the correct guy. Poopty doopty. How would she know which dude was the proper one? As usual, the Superiors left out information. Bummer. She’d welcome a little help now and then. A super important part of this assignment was left to her, and how on earth could she determine who was Mr. Wrong, or who was Mr. Right? Check his heartbeat? Measure his overbite? Give him an IQ test?
 Finding the intended guy could turn out daunting. You’d think the Superiors would give clues, but oh no, nothing doing. Nope—not them—never a single inkling—seemed against their policy to give hints. If she asked for pointers, they’d remind her angels and mortals had choices and then they’d go over that freewill stuff again as if she’d never heard it before.
Rumble. Rumble. Thunder rolled from the clouds to her ears.
“Sorry. I know I’m not supposed to criticize. It’s another bad habit of mine.” Sarah sighed and plopped down on the roof to study her charge. Looking through the roof, she saw Valerie.
My stars! The poor thing had voluminous hair sticking out in all directions. How did a female human tame hair? Valerie’s red, frizzy mane needed restyled. Maybe she could talk her charge into going to one of those hair places. Valerie needed a professional, and it wasn’t Sarah.

 ******



With an assignment to give an earthly lady a makeover, Sarah is perplexed. How could a dyslexic, low-esteemed, inexperienced, angel accomplish such a mission? Boost Valerie’s poise and help the mortal develop a healthy lifestyle? Impossible. On the other hand, the Commander gave Sarah permission to use any and all measures to succeed. So, this task could be fun. After all, appearing as an earth creature, wearing beautiful clothes—and shoes—especially stilettos, made her heart flutter.

Two men present a new challenge. One has nefarious motives, and the other might be an angel. Not only does Sarah need to help with Valerie’s makeover, but she must discover which man provides true love. Can she do it without making other angels in the heavens roll with laughter at her chaotic bumbles.




 Available in ebook and print

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Words Matter



What did Jonah say as he sat on a mound of rotten food in the big fish's stomach?

"If I'd kept my mouth shut, I wouldn't be down here."

Words matter. So do actions.

Jonah told God he didn't want to go to Nineveh and preach to sinners. 

Jonah didn't want to.

Well, duh! God wasn't asking for volunteers. He was recruiting.

The Bible doesn't record Jonah's exact words, but God hears what we say in our minds. No need to speak them aloud. God is God. He heard Jonah's unspoken and spoken words.

After speaking, Jonah ran. He ended up in the belly of the fish.

Rhetoric these days flies faster than bees to honey. People scream at each other. They tweet obscenities and argue in loud voices in homes, offices, and TV.

People offer sweet expressions too, but which words cause you the most damage or consequences? Kind or harsh ones?

In my latest book, Sarah and the angelic, Magical Makeover, Sarah helps Valerie with self-confidence. Valerie's dad has belittled her from infancy to adulthood. He told her she was ugly. Stupid. Would never amount to anything. She deserved jail. Valerie believed his words.

Sarah, being the unorthodox angel that she is, fixed his goose in a hilarious way.

Valerie is a character of fiction, but her circumstances of emotional abuse occur.

Remember the Bee Gee's song? "It's Only Words."  It's a romantic, love song. We show love by our words. The song says so, but we also show love by actions. You can listen to it here.


I'm making a commitment today to build up someone with words and actions. How about you?

Want to see what Sarah did to Valerie's dad? You'll love it.








Thursday, July 26, 2018

It Happened in Colorado Springs!



We went to Colorado Springs a couple of weeks ago, actually spent July 4 there. Rain prevented a fireworks display, but the wildfires needed the rain, so we didn't complain.

We stayed at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, a lovely, rustic, place.



See the smoky haze in the sky?

Flying into the city meant we had no car, but we used Uber and the hotel shuttle. I must tell you about my conversation with one of the hotel drivers, a super nice guy who does his job well. I know his name, but for the sake of his privacy, let's call him Jake. Jake and I talked while he drove us to a destination.

Gay:   "So, have you worked at the hotel long?"

Jake:   "Five years."

Gay:    "I appreciate your attention to customer service. I'm an author and I have a newly released book out. The hero in my book graduated from the Conrad Hilton College of Hotel Management in Houston. It's part of the University of Houston. My hero drives a shuttle like this but also works in all aspects at the hotel. He plans to manage a major hotel one day."

Jake:  (He quickly turns to look at me with wide eyes) "Are you a spiritual person?"

Gay:   (This surprises me. I've not mentioned to him at any time that I'm a Christian author or a pastor's wife) "Yes I am."

Jake:   "How can I be a better person and be at peace?"

Gay:   (Wow! Talk about an unexpected invitation to share the Gospel!) "Get to know Jesus Christ. The more you know and imitate Him, the more you become a better person, and peace comes."

Jake:  (Nods his head)

Gay:   "Have you read the New Testament?"

Jake:   "Twice."

Gay:    "Good! Then you know that Jesus is the only way to God and eternal life. Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.'"

Jake:   "John 14:6."

Gay:   "You do know the Scripture! Fantastic. Now you need to make a choice. Place your trust in Jesus. God didn't wan't puppets, He gave us freewill so we could choose to love Him."

Jake;   (Nods his head again.)

Gay:   "He sent Jesus as His one and only plan for eternal life with Him.  If God had asked me to earn a million dollars, give it to Him, I couldn't do that. I don't have that kind of earning power. If He'd said to me, 'sell everything and live homeless under a bridge,' I couldn't do that either, but He didn't ask the impossible from me. God sent His Son to die on a cross as a way to reconcile man to himself. God's plan was bizarre, and yet Jesus agreed to it. Choosing Jesus is the only way to life, peace, and becoming a better person."

We arrived at our destination. Jake opened the door for us to exit.

Jake:  "Thank you for talking to me about this."

This event was not a co-incidence. It was God's Divine Appointment for two people.

I'm honored that God put me in the right place at the right time to share with Jake.

I plan to send him the book that started this conversation. I wish I knew what crossed his mind when I told him about my hero in the hotel business, and what prompted him to ask if I was a spiritual person. Perhaps his plan is hotel management and he related.





The hero's name in this book is Daniels. He meets Sarah at a hotel in Katy, Texas, and shuttles her from place to place. He's such a nice guy...Sarah thinks he may be another angel.

The heroine, Valerie, is insecure and a bit overweight. She's been bullied all her life, and Sarah plans to help her gain confidence, lose weight, and find a mate.  Sarah materializes as Oceana and becomes Valerie's roommate, and she introduces him to Daniels. They join a gym, but Valerie falls for the trainer, Travis. Sarah thinks Travis may not be the one for Valerie and tries to prevent the relationship. 

Here's a scene from the book.


“Heck no. Marriage isn’t necessary these days. It’s old-fashioned. I’m never getting married. I believe it’s okay for a man and woman to enjoy the pleasures they bring to each other. You don’t need a ring for that.” He leaned in and kissed Valerie in a slow, deep way. When he released her, Sarah could see Valerie was trembling. Travis gently pushed Valerie to a reclining position, pressed himself next to her on the sofa, and kissed her again.
Sarah wanted to gag. If she didn’t intervene, Valerie would succumb to the charms of Travis and regret her actions for the rest of her life.
She could make something happen to break up the love fest Travis had in mind. Oh sure, the Superiors reprimanded her when she interrupted a human’s sinful endeavor. That was a no-no. Humans were allowed to choose their conduct, but for Valerie’s sake, she’d intercede and take the consequences. Again.
What could she do? Sarah visually checked the room and then snapped her fingers. The smoke alarm! She lit three candles under it and made volumes of smoke drift upward.
RARRRRRR!!! The noise that thingy made would wake the comatose.
Valerie and Travis burst into the smoke-filled room. Travis blew out the candles and opened a window.
He checked for damage. After making sure there was none, he then turned to Sarah. “You almost started a fire.”
Sarah raised her brows. “Really? I thought I was putting out one.”















Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Top 50 Faith Blog


Medallion


Hooray!  My blog has been chosen to be among the top 50 blogs!

I'm honored and excited to be in this select group. My friends and I are doing the happy dance.


If you click on the link on this page, or the medallion at the top right, you'll find the site. You'll find encouragement in these blogs, and I hope you'll discover a few new ones to enjoy on a daily basis.

Check them out. You'll be happy you did! You'll find me at number 45!