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Sarah at Christmas

Sarah at Christmas

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Five Star Reviews






5.0 out of 5 stars
on September 15, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase


on September 17, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase


on September 16, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase



Monday, September 18, 2017

Blue Monday


Good Monday Morning!

So how are you beginning your week? Are you old enough to remember this song, "Blue Monday?" Fats Domino made it popular in the 1956 film, The Girl Can't Help It.

I never saw the film, but I like the song.


Play "Blue Monday"
on Amazon Music
"Blue Monday"
Blue Monday how I hate Blue Monday
Got to work like a slave all day
Here come Tuesday, oh hard Tuesday
I'm so tired got no time to play

Here come Wednesday, I'm beat to my socks
My gal calls, got to tell her that I'm out
'Cause Thursday is a hard workin' day
And Friday I get my pay

Saturday mornin', oh Saturday mornin'
All my tiredness has gone away
Got my money and my honey
And I'm out on the stand to play

Sunday mornin' my head is bad
But it's worth it for the time that I had
But I've got to get my rest
'Cause Monday is a mess



I'm busy on this Monday, and I don't have time to be blue. I'm continuing to tell everyone about Mattie's Choice. If you haven't entered to win a free book, hurry!  The offer expires September 22. Click on the link. It's easy peasy.

Win a Free Book

Now that I've reminded you about Mattie, I'll tell you my plans.

I'm also going to drive today. Look out Houston! 
I chose a red car so people could see me and move out of the way. 

My poor hubby. He's so patient and kind. I was driving the other day with him as a passenger. I let him out when we pulled into the driveway so he could retrieve a trash can. He then watched me scrape the side of the garage as I tried to maneuver the car to my parking space.

Oh mercy!

He just shook his head. Never said a word.

He buffed most of it out.

Is he a saint or what?

I'm on the way to Sugar Land today to get new contact lens. Maybe they'll help. My depth perception isn't too good. 

If you see me coming, switch lanes.

Don't forget about Mattie. Enter to win a book. Sarah is out there too. Sarah will make you laugh out loud. She's a hoot.

Have a Happy Monday.  Not a blue one.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Drunk Driver?


How did this happen?




This is not my garage. I didn't do this.

Paul drives a blue truck and I drive a red car, but I promise, this isn't my garage.

Now I admit, the first year I lived in Houston, I had nine wrecks, but this wasn't one of them.

In many cases, mine were bazaar, but whoever did this takes the cake.

Hubby has a friend. I don't know him. He can't claim an association with me or Sarah, my dyslexic angel, are a result of his driving abilities. 

I digress. Anyway, Paul's friend once drank champagne at a wedding. This guy doesn't normally drink. When he went to his garage the next morning, his car was parked sideways. Like parallel sideways, wall to wall. He didn't know how he'd managed to park that way the night before, and he couldn't get the vehicle out when he tried to remove it as a sober man.

He called for help. No, not the police. He called a wrecker to extract his car.

My friend, Jack Watts tells how the truck got on top of the car. Click on the link above...the one with his name on it. I needed a smile today. How about you?

Have a blessed day!




Friday, September 15, 2017

Win a Book!






Follow me on my author page on Amazon. Each new person to follow between now and September 22 earns a chance to win an eBook of Mattie's Choice.



This will not sign you up to a mail list. You will not be receiving email blasts. Don't you just hate those? Everyone wants your email, and then you get one advertisement after another. Yuk!

If you check the box under my picture, when I release a new book, you will be notified. 

I wish I released a book every month. But that's not the case.

You might get a notification once a year!

It takes most authors at least six months to write a book and six months for editing and publishing.

Mattie's Choice is an exception.

It took me twelve years to write it and a year to get it edited and published. Prism Book Group merged with Pelican Book Group. Prism is now an imprint of Pelican. Mercy me! All the changes.

Whew! Right?

A lot of work from me, 
several editors and two publishers went into this book.

So please read it!

And please follow me on Amazon.

I hope you win!

The Greatest Generation

Official!  Mattie is now released.


Do you like history? If so, you'll enjoy Mattie's story. 
The story begins in 1925 and goes to WWII.

Here is an excerpt from the book.

"I’m anxious about it all. It’s on my mind all the time. I remember too much about the last one. The Great War ended when Maury and I were ten years old. Those were scary times for a child. That thing was supposed to be the War to End All Wars. Papa was too old to go, but he contributed to the effort with farm produce.” Mattie spoke while she poured coffee for Jesse.

“If it hadn’t ended, Joe and I would have gone. We were at the right age for it, and we are again. Joe will go, but my hand will keep me here.”

“Osage County had quite a few men back then and they were all between the ages of twenty-one and thirty. They had to register for the Selective Service Act. I remember it well. Maury and I had friends whose brothers fought in France. Ida Ann’s oldest brother died over there.”

At the mention of Maury, Jesse ground his teeth again and picked up his coffee cup with a shaking hand.

Mattie ignored his expression. “I recall those days like they were yesterday. Papa told us how President Wilson went to Congress to ask for a declaration of war. He stated in his speech that sending men into war would bring peace, freedom and safety to all nations. When he got to that part, Congress interrupted the President’s speech with applause. Papa thought it odd to applaud sending our young men to die in combat. President Wilson later said he thought the same thing.”

Jesse widened his eyes. “I can’t get over you chattering about these things. You didn’t babble like this when we first married.”

Mattie bit her lip, noticed his ugly expression, and went on. “Papa always said that Germany would find a way to retaliate for their country’s losses. I’m praying none of our men go, but I worry they will.”

Jesse gazed out the window and was silent for a moment. “I don’t believe the conflict will happen for us.” 

“I hope you’re right. I’ve never understood the reason men put us into war. I suppose it comes from a desire for land and power, Warfare is a terrible ordeal for young men to endure, and so many are needless. Take the Civil War as an example. Let’s pray for all the national leaders. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have.”

The characters in Mattie's Choice are fictional, but the circumstances they faced were real. Mattie, and her friend Ella, were inspired by two women I admired very much. These two lived during perilous times.  The Depression and the Dust Bowl took lives, homes and land. Polio was rampant. Route 66 came to be a reality. Women had few rights, but they'd been given the privilege to vote in 1920, and that was a major accomplishment. A baby born out of wedlock was shunned. The birth certificate read "Illegitimate."  Reading history makes us thankful for change and progress, and we learn from it.  The years between 1925 and 1940 had many challenges, but people were strong and resilient. they have been tagged "The Greatest Generation."



Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Normal Life



Hurricane Harvey and Irma disrupted normal lives.  These two devils destroyed property and took lives. It may be years before people recover, if they ever do. Daily grief may become commonplace.

As a friend visited with us this week, we discussed how wonderful a "normal life" is. You know, everyday things we take for granted. Home, vehicle, job, family—all the things we experience on an ordinary basis.

A disruptive magnitude such as a loss of home, job, or a family member devastates. After a catastrophic event, we long for everything to return to "normal" again. 

Why is it we aren't thankful for common place until it's gone?

In my book that releases tomorrow, Mattie had a wonderful life until she married Jesse. Her former, typical life changed drastically.


In 1925, women had few rights, but they had what was normal for the day.

Mattie married and expected an customary lifestyle. Husband, home, children. Then Jesse began to hurt her emotionally and physically. Her life turned upside down.

Fast forward 92 years. Women marry today and expect a conventional life, but they discover too late they married a controlling man.

A "normal" life for them becomes living in daily fear.

I hope you'll read Mattie's Choice, and I hope your heart will open to hurting women. I also hope this book makes us thankful for modern day, normal lives.


Available September 15 in eBook and print.

Here's another thing. I'm on Danele Rotharmel's blog today! She asked some unusual questions. Stop by and read my answers. I may surprise you!


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Abuse: Fearful of Living




   He might hit her again if he knew Maury, her twin brother had come by. Or do something worse… Mattie's Choice

    Mattie married Jesse when she was a starry-eyed, naive, seventeen year old. She had no idea he would turn into an violent monster.

After she married him, telltale signs of abuse appeared, but it was too late. They were husband and wife.

1. He monitored what she did.
2. He was afraid she'd be unfaithful.
3. He prevented her from seeing family and friends
4. He insisted she drop out of school.
5. He used anger to frighten her.
6. He humiliated her in front of others.


 References: 


That was true in 1925 and it remains so today.


During the Tin Lizzy days,  Mattie had no help from anyone. 

Her father told her, "You made your bed, now you lay in it." 

Society said, "Be a better wife, then he won't need to hit you."

Mattie's Choice enables a reader to understand what a woman in a similar situation goes through. No matter the year, contemporary or historical.

Oh sure, in present day, our cars are modern. We have social media. Women have more legal rights, but abuse continues. One out of four women in the USA will endure assault in their lifetime.

What can you do to help?

I'm hoping this book will give ideas.




Pre-order eBook now
Print available soon.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Abused Women

Not everyone has a happy ever after in a love relationship Their Prince Charming turns into a mean toad.  In some cases, the sweet damsel turns into a wicked witch, but men are physically stronger. So, let's talk about women.


Did you know there are only 1,500 shelters for abused and assaulted women in the United States? How about this? In America, there are 3,800 animal shelters. Hmmm. What does that say about us in the good ole US of A?

Between three and four million women in America are assaulted each year by husbands, ex husbands, boyfriends, partners, etc.

One estimate has it that a woman is beaten every twelve minutes in America. One of four will experience a life threatening event by a partner in their lifetime.

Scary?

Yes. 

And it is real.

Why do women stay?

1. Most females have heard the stories. A woman leaves, and she ends up dead.

2. There aren't enough lawyers and shelters to help a woman in need. 

In 1925, Mattie found out the hard way that society blamed the woman if bruises appeared. "Be a better wife." That was the solution back in that day.

How can you help a woman in trouble? Be an answer to a problem.



Pre order eBook now.
Print available soon.

Friday, September 8, 2017

California Incidentals

We arrived in San Francisco on July 14, 2017.

On the way to our San Francisco hotel from the airport, we sat beside a lovely young lady from Italy. Meet Martina. She teaches English and Spanish to high school students in Italy. She and I are now emailing each other. Martina plans to vacation in San Francisco for a month. Get this! She's traveling alone and staying with people she met on the Internet. Sounds scary to me, but she's a brave young lady. She told me about an Internet site, Work Away. This site puts people together for a cultural exchange.  work away. I admire young people who have the courage to try this. Martina thought she might visit Mexico while she's here. In her last email, she hadn't done it yet, and she sent a few pictures.



In another email, she said she was about to travel south to San Diego and meet someone named Christy, another person she'd met on the Internet. One of the guys from the Internet couldn't show her Tijuana. I was so pleased she didn't go into Mexico by herself. She said, "There are so many nice travelers around." I hope she's right, but I'm more cautious than she is. Fearful too.

I haven't heard from Martina in the last two weeks. She's supposed to be back in Italy teaching. I hope she's home safe and sound.

Several years ago, long before the Internet, we met a young woman from England bicycling east to west across Canada. 



We had toured the Columbia Ice Fields, and met her in the snack shop. She didn't have the funds to tour the Athabasca Glacier, so she asked me dozens of questions about it.  



I regret not buying her a ticket so she could see for herself. We spoke for several minutes, and I've never forgotten her. 

How do women have the chutzpah to travel in foreign countries alone?  This English woman in Canada was sleeping in a small tent when she stopped for the night. Her tent and belongings were attached to the back of a bicycle. Wasn't she afraid of bears? Or how about robbers?

I write adventure. These two women live it.

I'm writing a Christmas, California, Sarah, adventure story. Our travels to California gave me ideas. I asked Linda and Aaron, our director and driver, about locations when we stopped in various places. Since Hurricane Harvey has ceased most activities, this Sarah story may not show up until Christmas 2018!

Speaking of our California adventure. Here's a picture of Paul and me at Mono Lake, California.




Remember our friends, Rich and Carole Steer?  Rich graciously offered to take a picture of us at Mono Lake. We had a photo stop there, but the wind was mighty. Rick assured me the picture turned out well and he sent it to me from his camera. Hmmm? Maybe I do look better with my hair covering my face. It might be a new look to consider. Thanks, Rich. Good idea.

The tour group was phenomenal. I wish we'd had the opportunity to visit with each of them and learn their stories. Richard Steer, the guy that took the picture with my windblown hairdo said he and Carole had been in college together. When a friend wanted to supply him with a blind date, he said, "Just don't fix me up with Carole. I don't want a date with her."  Famous last words, right? This couple have been married several decades.

You met Henry Piwowarek and Karen Kruger. Henry sings with a trio in church, and Karen heard the group. She sent a note to tell Henry how much she'd enjoyed his song. At a later service, he found her to express gratitude for her thoughtfulness. As they visited in a sanctuary aisle, they discovered they had much in common and a love story began.  Karen grins when she says she eventually wrote a message to the other two men who sang. Seems to me she had eyes and ears only for Henry. Henry had a jeweler design a necklace shaped like a thank you note. Isn't that romantic? Look closely and you'll see Karen wearing it. 

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, ocean, bridge, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature

Since I don't have permission, I won't mention names.  Here's a few sentences I heard from a couple and I'm pretty sure they will find their way into my Sarah stories.

"He kept showing up every two weeks to get a haircut. I finally asked him, 'what's wrong with you?'" This guy couldn't get the nerve to ask the stylist for a date so he kept spending money on hair cuts he didn't need. She ended up inviting him out and they've been married a long time. 

Characters in a writer's story often resemble real people. As a reader, don't be surprised if a character reminds you of a friend you know. I don't write murder mysteries, but a friend does. She says, "Don't make me angry. You might end up dead in my next novel." She's joking, of course, but authors do take real life experiences and write about them.  In my Sarah books, I've written several scenes that happened to me in real life. The newest book coming September 15, Mattie's Choice, has several events that occurred to real family members.

Bill and Lisa Bitner were travelers with us, and Lisa graciously offered to help us all stay in touch. Wasn't that nice? A lot of work too. I didn't hear how she and Bill met, and I missed a few others too, but all on the coach were affable. People you'd enjoy having as friends, family and neighbors. We all faced new encounters as we traveled together.




Paul and I experienced our first all gender restroom. I don't remember the stop, but there were two facilities, and any gender could use the one of their choice. Paul said there were no women in the one he chose, but one of our ladies saw a man in the one I selected. Times are a changing.

I hope you'll stay in touch. I hope this blog inspires and brings a smile to you. I also hope you'll read my books. My Sarah books are filled with humor. This bumbling angel conducts her missions with chaotic events. Sarah: A Mission of Love is the first in the series, and it is based on my challenges as a pastor's wife, but you don't need to read them in order. Sarah: Laney's Angel is built upon my experiences as an interior decorator. 



TA DA!
I'm excited! Mattie's Choice hit Amazon this morning for preorder. 

It is available in eBook and print.  Mattie is grounded in real life experiences too. My husband's mother faced many challenges in 1925.

Mattie's Choice can be ordered through a brick and mortar store or online book sellers.

We are still recovering from Harvey down here in Houston, and now Florida is preparing for Irma. We had travelers from Florida, and a few with relatives in that beautiful state. My prayers are for all in that deadly woman's path.


Friday, September 1, 2017

The 17 Mile Drive, Carmel and Monterrey


Good morning from Houston.

We are cleaning up after Harvey moved to the east, and now those poor folks are experiencing his devastation. We haven't been able to leave our neighborhood yet, but we hope to later in the day. I'm eager to see a grocery store and spend money in one.

Now back to the memory of our California trip.

I had blogged up to Day 7, so now I'll tell you about Night 7.

We left the General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park and headed to Monterrey. We arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Carole and Richard Steer had invited us to their room for hors d'oeuvres before dinner. 

Richard and Carole Steer

Carole had bought cheese at a snack shop  and we arrived at their room to discover how creative these two are. The ice bucket was filled with chips, a can of nuts was at the ready, and Carole said the "cheese goop" was in the tin. We laughed ourselves silly. As you know, one should bring a gift to the hostess. Paul and I brought a bag of chocolate candy.

After our "happy hour," we called a cab and headed to the Fisherman's Wharf in Monterrey for dinner. Linda, our director, had said we could stroll the wharf and sample enough clam chowder to make a meal. We didn't understand what she meant until we arrived at the wharf.

Courtesy of Pixabay

This pier juts out over the water with beautiful views. Each restaurant on the boardwalk has a kettle of soup at their front door to entice diners. We tried several and decided on one. I can't remember the name of the place, but the meal was excellent and the atmosphere was romantic. I wish I'd taken pictures, but I didn't. We caught a cab and returned to the hotel. Richard and Carole live in New York and are accustomed to travel in taxis in NYC. Paul and I don't do that down here in Houston, so it was a cool experience. A night to remember with good friends.

The next day, July 21, 2017,we toured the spectacular 17 Mlle Drive on Day 8. 

We couldn't turn our heads fast enough from one side to the other for this stunning stretch of road. Ocean on one side, golf courses and unbelievable mansions on the other. This 17 mile stretch is owned by four men. Three were familiar names to me. Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer, and Peter Ueberroth.  Wikipedia


Pixabay

We stopped at the Lone Cypress Tree for photos.



 Pixabay
As you can see from the photo op, our day was on the cloudy side. The one of the golf course above came via courtesy of Pixabay. 




The clouds cleared a little when we stopped at the golf course.

We spent a few hours in Carmel by the Sea. We'd been to Carmel before and always wanted to return. We'd gone in August previously and the temperature was a delightful cool. Not so this day.


Paul and I trekked downhill to the beach from the city business center. Believe me, going back up required a few rest stops. It was too hot for jackets. We shed them quickly.

I love churches, missions and synagogues. This is the San Carolos Borromeo de Carmelo. Isn't it beautiful?

We rode the coach back to Monterrey for an afternoon at the Monterrey Aquarium and Cannery Row. The aquarium was an interesting feature. 

We sat outside for a drama portraying the establishment of Monterrey. Remember our new friends, Henry Piwowarek and Karen Kruger?


We saw them studying an event flyer and followed them to see where they were headed. The drama to follow was an interesting lesson in Monterrey history. 

Others in our group walked around Cannery Row. I noticed several of us grew tired and sat inside to gaze at ocean views. We were waiting for the farewell dinner for our tour at the aquarium. I liked the aquarium, but Paul and I wished we could have spent less time there.

Having said that, the dinner was outstanding. 


We said goodbye that night to Linda, our director and Arron, our amazing driver. Both good people.

The next day, we all said our farewells, but we had such a good time meeting new friends, and now, most of us stay in touch. This was a charismatic group. Paul and I felt blessed to be with them. How does that old nursery rhyme go?  Something like this.

Make new friends,
But keep the old,
One is sliver,
And the other is gold. 

I'm gonna post one more blog about this trip. I'm calling it "Incidentals." Right now, I'm preparing to leave this house. Harvey has given me cabin fever and I need to shop. Walmart, here I come! Come back for the incidentals. I have an interesting story to share.

Blessings to all!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Harvey Update From My Home

I've never been so happy to see a sunrise on an August day in Texas!




All of us in this part of our Great State have really been under siege. We are completely locked in at our house. Water surrounds us. All entrances or flooded and so are all the roads leading out. 

If you'd like to see our neighborhood, here's a link showing part of it. The video doesn't do it justice, but you can see the water in most areas. The street in front of our house is one of the dry ones.

Backyard


 Front yard
The water came close, but stayed outside. We were fortunate.

This morning. Our house look normal.

Weston Lakes is sort of an odd city. In 2008, the residents of this gated, golf community voted to incorporate. I'm still not sure how a city can be gated, but we are. We have no police or fire department, but we have a mayor and city council. The POA makes most decisions.  Paul and I kept our address as Fulshear. It was easier than changing all documents. The city of Fulshear is about 3 miles east of us. We're in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston and Harris County. Katy is our largest, near city, and we drive there to shop.

The Weston Lakes personnel set up a shelter for residents at the club house. Two people had to be boated out to the hospital. We have a one story but we'd planned to go up through the attic to climb out the dormers for boat rescue if needed.  The first responders are amazing and awesome. Not enough thanks for them.

Shelters are set up in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. The reaction from all over the country is inspirational and heartwarming. All of us are grateful for prayers and your heartfelt concern.

Grocery stores have been closed, and if they can open, people wait in line. A few are allowed inside at a time due to fire codes and not enough personnel to wait on customers

Maybe the sun will dry the creeks enough for us to go to the grocery store today or tomorrow. I find it odd what I long for in my pantry. Things like powdered milk...an item I never buy. Or Bisquick, another item I never purchase. 

Thanks to everyone who watched and prayed for all the people in Harvey's path. He isn't finished yet. He's moving on to the east. He's a mighty man, and one we will never forget.