Friday, July 28, 2017

California Adventure - Day Two

Day Two of our California Adventure began on Saturday, July 15, 2017 with a tour of San Francisco.

Aaron, our driver was amazing. I find it difficult to drive a car, and he maneuvered that big bus like it was a piece of cake. I had nine wrecks our first year in Houston, but that's another story.

Can you believe hubby and I were the last ones to board the coach? Those of you who've met Paul know he's always early. Not this day. Probably my fault, although I don't remember why now. 

Anyway, everyone had taken seats and left us the front. How about that? Arriving late this day proved to be to our advantage as we toured the city. Linda, our tour director, rotated the group each day. We had our turn at the back, but this day we had a front row seat.

Here's a picture of the beautiful San Francisco City Hall. Guess what? It's taller than the US Capitol, and it has a gold leaf dome. The first city hall was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. The architect created a beauty with this one. 

One of the advantages of motor coach travel is that the tour guides and drivers know how to move around the area and find where the ideal picture stops are. This was one of San Francisco's finest days, one with sunshine.

Even though the day held blue skies, when we arrived at the hill looking across at the Golden Gate Bridge, the fog suddenly socked in most of the well-known site. I found the towers protruding through the fog picturesque. Linda, our director and Aaron, our driver, assured us the fog was minimal this day. 

Ready for a walk through Chinatown?  

Meet Dorothy. After our lunch at an authentic Chinese restaurant, this young, 83 year old lady gave us a glimpse of her neighborhood. She's lived within two blocks of her birth place her entire life. And she can out walk younger people! She expressed gratitude for the Baptist Church. They taught her to speak and write Chinese. 

Her dad came to San Francisco when he was about 14 years old. Her mother came as an indentured servant. The two met, married and had children. They lived in a tenement dwelling with other Chinese.  All the families living in the building shared a kitchen and bathroom.

During the early days of Dorothy's parents, Chinese men and women came to Chinatown and looked for the clan name on buildings. Family became the benevolent means of helping one another. After our visit with Dorothy, we boarded the coach and motored to the Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39

Many of our group disembarked for a sightseeing excursion at Pier 39. Paul and thought it too crowded.  We didn't see anything too usual that day at the pier, but Linda, our director, told us about seeing 1000 naked people on bicycles on a previous tour she'd conducted.  I think we were blessed that day. The crowd we saw wore clothes.

Stay tuned for Day Three!

Mattie's Choice arrives September 15.

In the meantime, I'd like to introduce you to Sarah.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Adventure: California, Here We Come!

Our group. Some 45 of us 
We're pictured at the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park.

Paul and I met a fascinating group on a Globus Tour to "Northern California's Finest." I have a few stories to tell, and over the next few days, I hope to intrigue you with our adventure. And boy! Did we have one. Just wait till you hear about the night we had to find our luggage by cell phone light! You've heard that song, "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia?" Well, for us, the lights went out in Yosemite.

But first things first.

We arrived on Friday, July 14 at the Marriott Marquis, San Francisco. Isn't that a nice welcome with my name on the TV? 

They should have included Paul (hubby) too, but what can I say? I've always wanted my name in lights, and this is the closest thing to it. I bet the hotel didn't realize I'd share the image with you. Ha! I share lots of stuff.

Before we met our group, we stepped out on floor 39 to The View. It's a beautiful spot with spectacular vistas of San Francisco. The crowd was large, but we managed to elbow our way around and see the city from the beautiful windows.

After a quick look around on the upper floor, we zoomed back down to meet Linda. 

Linda Perez, our Globus Tour Director, gave an overview of our coming trip. Sorry the pic is grainy. I usually do a better photo job. This entertaining and well informed lady is blessed with an incredible memory. She learned every name that night. Can you imagine? I need name tags when I meet a group for the first time, and this group was large. We all introduced ourselves, and I tried to remember faces with names. 

Paul and I sat at a table with six people. Five from New York, and one from Columbia.  I'd like to introduce everybody to you, and that's not possible, but I want you to meet one couple. Richard and Carole Steer.

This charming duo is from New York and we had a blast with them. We attended a star gazing program together one cold, dark night. Richard cracked me up when I heard him tell Carole, "I sure am glad I put my pants back on."

Now that takes some explanation. Right?

This savvy couple were wearing LL Bean clothes for travelers. During the warmer hours of the day, Richard converted his trousers to shorts. You see, he was wearing the Signature LL Bean Zip-Off Pants. When the temperature dropped, he zipped the longer portion back on. Shorts became long pants. Now his comment makes sense. Right? But if you didn't know that and you heard him make that comment, you'd wonder what he'd been doing.

I'll leave you with that thought, but stay tuned for more of our adventure. 

And here's a reminder. Mattie's Choice releases on September 15. I can hardly wait for Mattie to arrive.

Until next time,

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Have you ever been a sheep herder?

I haven't.

Never been around the sweet, innocent animals at all.

Since King David started out as a shepherd, and Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd, I decided to learn about these little creatures.

Wikipedia says they have good hearing! They're sensitive to sound. Remember how Jesus compared his followers to sheep? 

And would you believe sheep don't have super big ears either?

Jesus said his sheep hear his voice and respond. John 10:27. I think some of us, the people sheep, need a hearing aid. I know I do from time to time. I fail to listen to what Jesus says. Since I didn't hear Him, I don't respond in an appropriate fashion. I don't even say "'eh, pardon? What did you say." You have to hear a word to ask for a person to repeat.

You do that too?

Not sheep. They have great hearing and respond to the Shepherd's voice.

Sheep have excellent peripheral vision too. Now get this. They can see behind themselves without turning their heads.

Wow! No way can any human do that. Maybe if we could, we see Satan behind us...pushing us to go where Jesus wouldn't like.

I wear contacts. They bless me with better vision, but I can still fall down. Miss a step, and boom. I'm flat on my you know what.

Hearing and seeing like sheep. A challenge. Right?

References:  sheep

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Are You Twisted?

Howdy Folks!

Today I'm talking to my good friend, DiAne Gates. She writes books for teens, but guess what? I like 'em too. They make a grown woman laugh and remember,  no matter your age, YOU can read 'em!

DiAne, Why did you choose to write YA. (Young Adult).

Years ago, I spent an epic time in what my mother called “my gypsy lifestyle.” I toured Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas doing weekend art shows. Every smart artist knew they had to have a sure item to sell, and at that time I was concerned with the color books being offered our children—I didn’t like them! So, I drew and marketed a color book of my own characters and Christian principles that became an overwhelming success.

The color book morphed into a four book devotional series for young families, which led to a rodeo adventure series about two Texas families and their teen daughters. I felt there were many issues teens face today that parents either refuse or are in the dark about and fail to discuss with their young adults. The rest is history. Book Two of this series—TWISTED—will be released Friday, July 14th, and Book Three—UNTIED—is my WIP.

What's a WIP?

Hahahaha.  I guess I should say my Work in Progress. We writers abbreviate things.

Did you participate in a rodeo as a kid? Rope an animal? Ever date a rodeo guy?

I’m giggling again as I attempt to answer this question, Gay. This ole Florida, citified, beach-bum, gal, didn’t know squat about rodeo until we were transferred to Texas and I had two pre-teen kiddos. But God had a plan, when I didn’t. Coming from an art background, I found a small art gallery in Old Town Spring, Texas, and became a gallery artist in residence. But I needed to contribute some real bucks to the family income. The thought of leaving my children and going to the big city of Houston for more lucrative employment wasn’t on my radar.

One Monday afternoon, after crying out to God about our need, that voice in my soul—you all know the one—I heard go to the gallery. “But nobody’s there today, God,” I whispered. And again, heard go to the gallery. I obeyed.

Upon arriving at our big ole house gallery, in the deserted town, I said, “Okay, Lord. I’m here. Now what?” Seconds later there was a loud banging on the door downstairs. Scared the snot outta me! I lifted the upstairs window to find a young woman who’d been a customer. “Thank goodness you’re here,” she replied. Short of the story, she needed a painting for a gift, and I silently thanked the Lord for the extra funds. I told her my plight that I would be leaving the gallery to look for a real job and her face lit up like Christmas lights. “Why don’t you come to work for me? I’m a wallpaper sub-contractor for a home builder and I need help.”
Having no knowledge of what I was getting into, I said yes—sure seemed like a better deal than leaving my children. She had children too. We put our kids on the school bus, went to work, and quit in time to be home before they were. And I thanked God for His provision.

Fast forward a year or two. Friend decided to go back to nursing and I was asked to hang paper for another home builder and had to hire a helper. God provided another young mother—this one a 
bone fide cowgirl and barrel racer and I learned all about rodeo. She and her family invited us to attend one in which she was performing, and again, the rest is history—I fell in love with the sport of rodeo and the cowboy and cowgirl athletes. God orchestrates each and every relationship in our lives—He knew one day this experience would evolve into a story I pray glorifies Him.

Wow! Now that's a story for sore ears. I'm needing answers from God right now. I'm hoping for one as fast as He gave you!

How many children, grandchildren do you have? Do they rodeo?

We have two children—a grown, Air Force fighter pilot, son who would rather pull “G’s” and punch holes in the clouds than ride an earth-bound beast. The other a daughter who loved animals and my partner-in-paste taught her to ride. She loved rodeo, but her mama and daddy couldn’t afford a horse, nor did we have a place to put one.

As for our daughter’s children, again a girl and boy—the girl loves horses but preferred English riding and show-jumping. Her younger brother, now driving age, prefers a sleek, clean car. And would probably throw-up if he had to step over or shovel a pile of horse poop!

So would I! And shoveling the stuff would be worse, at least as far as I'm concerned.

How about giving us an overview of the book?

TWISTED picks up where ROPED leaves off, and UNTIED will be a continuation of these two families’ stories, so how about I give you a cliff-note version of what the characters have told me so far?

While the series zeroes on the two, teen girls, their families play an important role in this tale that began with competition between the grandfathers and fathers. Jodie Lea Fairgate and her family knew nothing of the love of God, for generations, and could care less—as long as they won, regardless of the cost. Crissy Crosby comes from a Christian family and she has a papa who shares the wisdom of God with his only granddaughter as she struggles to understand why the Fairgates seem to be determined to ruin her family as she must learn to control her renegade temper.

ROPED begins and ends in the rodeo arena. But not before dark secrets from the Fairgates ooze into the dim shadows of the barn on rodeo night. We all know there are always consequences to actions and TWISTED rips the lid off past and ongoing choices of Fairgates past and present that plunge everyone involved into life-threatening danger. And Jodie Lea finds herself no longer victorious, but a victim. UNTIED? I’ll only tell you, you never saw this twist coming!

Would you provide a scene from Twisted?

“Any reason the kids can’t hear this, Jim?” Daddy nodded toward Chun and me.

“No, as a matter of fact I’d like them to hear. Maybe they’ll remember something we’ve missed.” The sheriff pushed his hat back, looked at me, and smiled.

Chun’s eyes met mine. “Any idea what this is all about,” he whispered.

A squishy feeling swirled in my stomach. He knows what we did, flashed through my mind. Nah. He couldn’t, my confident-self answered.

Chun leaned close as we sat down and insisted, “Now. We have got to tell them. Tonight.”

I shook my head. “No. Not tonight.” I might puke.

Chun poked an elbow into my side. “What’s going on, you two?” Papa stared at me like I’d been tried and convicted before I’d even been charged.

“Nothing, Papa.” I brushed Chun’s arm away. “Kid stuff.”
Chun snorted and turned away.
We settled around the kitchen table and waited for Sheriff Jim to speak.

He took his time, like he was trying out words in his head before he let them loose on the rest of us. “The rangers will be here first thing in the morning to sift through this mess for evidence. I know you’re anxious to clear the mess and rebuild, but don’t touch a thing ’til they’re finished. You kids hear me? Not one thing.” Sheriff Jim glanced at me and Chun again.

A finger of guilt poked my conscience. What was he trying to say? I glanced at Chun and he tipped his head toward the stairs and mouthed, now.”

Whoa! You roped me in and I'm tied down to this story. I can hardly wait to read all of it.  Thanks for visiting with me. I enjoyed it, especially your art gallery story. God leads us in paths we don't expect, doesn't He?

DiAne is giving away her beautiful photographs. Aren't these lovely? 

Ta Da! Here's the book. It's a must read! It's officially releasing tomorrow, but you can preorder it NOW!

Thanks DiAne for dropping by. I always enjoy our visits.
You can see DiAne and how lovely she is and read more about her on her Amazon page. 

You can also get in touch with DiAne at these links.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ice Cream: Two Scoops Please

Ice cream time!

Cold. Creamy. Delicious.

What's your flavor?  

My mom would never eat anything but vanilla. Why bother with another flavor when you knew what you liked? That was her motto.

I enjoyed Pistachio Almond. I rarely eat any ice cream anymore. I try to save calories. Sigh. I spend them elsewhere.

But this is the Season!

Remember the days when we made ice cream the old fashioned way? With an ice cream freezer? I'm guessing that those of you that follow my blog remember. Millennials will say what's that?


Recipes for this homemade treat abound. Some were made with eggs, others made eggless. I preferred the kind without eggs. I never could cook the custard properly. I'd end up with tiny pieces of boiled eggs in the mixture.

Why am I talking about this?

Well, for one thing, it's hot outside.

And Another thing, I got to thinking about the simpler times of life. The days when the family made ice cream. Our daughters still talk about sitting on the patio with Dad. They took turns sitting atop the freezer while he turned the crank. The gadget inside, the dasher, rotated while ice froze the mixture into creamy goodness.

Then Blue Bell came along and homemade ice cream lives in our distant memories.

On turbulent days, it feels good to remember better, simpler times. And just think:  Those twenty-something kids will recall these days as the good old days.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Christmas Planning

Christmas is around the corner. 

What? Are you kidding me?


Decorations and trees will pop up before long, along with Halloween and Thanksgiving decor.

Holidays are the biggest season for retailers. They plan early and start early.

It's July and I'm longing for cool weather. Mind you, down here in Houston, we don't have much of it, even at Christmas, but I hate hot. And we have plenty of that.

I decorate my mantle at Thanksgiving and then again a few weeks later at Christmas.

When I took this picture, it was too warm for a fire, even in November.

Here's my mantle today. I'll ask hubby to climb to the attic and bring down holiday supplies soon. I decorate it differently each year. Probably because I can't remember from one year to the next how I did it the year before.

I long for slow, winter days. A cup of hot chocolate and a good book in front of a fire always hits my longing spot.

I'll settle for a Christmas book today. How about you? Want to read a fun, humorous, novella? I hope you'll read mine. I wrote this in the middle of summer last year and I had fun!  This rich, cowboy owns a ranch in Central Texas. That area of our state gets a bit more snow than here in the southern regions, but a blizzard in Texas?  I had to do research on that one. Ha! Remember, this book is a fantasy. 

Josiah, the cowboy, rescues two stranded strangers. He doesn't know it, but one is a haphazard angel. Sarah's assignment is to create romance between the cowboy and the human lady. Of course she goofs up.

Here's a scene. Sarah has taken the form of an elderly woman and calls herself Estella. "Estella" has befriended Emily and in this scene, she forgets who she is. 

“This certainly has been a surprising day. I went to work this morning expecting to meet my fiancĂ© for lunch, and here I am at midnight sitting with strangers in an unexpected place.”
Sarah grinned. “Me too. I never know where God will place me next. I get teased from time to time. The Superiors often tell me they don’t know what I’ll do next in an unusual circumstance.”
Emily’s eyes widened. “I beg your pardon? I assumed you were retired. You have superiors who tease you?”
Sarah gulped. Poopty doopty. How did I forget my human disguise? I’m not talking to another angel friend. Emily is a human contact. “Oh pshaw! Don’t ya know? The supervisors at the nursing home never know what to expect from me.”
“You live in a convalescent center?”
“No. no. I just visit ‘em. Good place to meet eligible men, don’t ya know.”
Emily bit her lip as a grin emerged. “I suppose so. Is that where you met the boyfriend in Dallas?”
“No. I drifted down to Dallas and conjured him up at a restaurant, but it didn’t last long. I don’t suit his style. He thinks I’m a skinny old crow with no boobs. I don’t look hot, and he wants a racy, young trophy on his arm. My boyfriend is a bozo and so is yours. Too bad, but honey, you’ll find a man worthy of you.”
Emily nodded but grinned. “At least you know why your guy wasn’t interested. I don’t know why mine broke our engagement.” She glanced at her hand. “Oh! I’ve still got the ring on.” She removed it and jammed the thing into her handbag as if it were a hot potato. “Maybe I’ll sell it when I get to Austin. I have need for money and I don’t need an unwanted ring to remind me of a wretched day.” A tear escaped and Emily brushed it away.
“Well, dearie, you’ve got a marvelous idea there. The ring looks like it will bring more than pocket money. Maybe ya can trade in Old Girl and get ya a new buggy.”
Emily nodded. “That’s exactly what I’ll do. The money should make a down payment on a decent vehicle, but I’ve got to get a job first.”


Monday, July 10, 2017

Shadow: Will It Hurt You?

A shadow enters your path. What do you do?

Does the Adrenalin start pumping? Flee or Fight?

Shadows can't hurt us, but they can represent scary things. What if the person making the shadow held a knife or gun? That's a game changer.

The Psalmist, David, wrote these words:

Yay, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

David trained his mind and body not to fear. As a shepherd boy, he protected his sheep. He'd learned this valuable lesson. God would do for him what he did for his sheep.

With God's shadow following David, the shepherd understood the power behind the shadow.

Only God's shadow has power. All other dark images are mere dark silhouettes. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Apple a Day

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Ever hear that one?

My grandfather must have believed it. He ate an apple every night while he listened to a radio very much like this one pictured below.

I can remember him sitting in his easy chair with an apple in hand. He'd reach into his pocket, remove a pocket knife and proceed to peel. His goal was to peel the apple and not break the chain of peeling. He succeeded most nights. He'd pick up the chain and show it to me. No words ever spoken. I'd nod, and then he'd slice the apple and eat it. If he offered me a slice, I don't remember it.

I wish I'd asked him questions, but he was kind of scary to me.  I'd like to know why his family (my ancestors) came here from England, when, where did they live, and what did they do. If I'd asked, he wouldn't have given many details. He wasn't a story teller. He was a tall, quiet man with white hair. My dad inherited the white hair DNA and so did I. But I'm not quiet. Neither was my dad.

His son, my dad, was a gifted speaker and told interesting tales. I never thought to ask him about our forefathers either.

I have friends who are writing down family stories for children and grandchildren. That's a good idea. I've done a little from my own background, but I don't know much family history....other than what has happened to me. I'll begin the tradition and hope others carry it forward.

My Grandfather lived into his eight decade. I don't know if the apple helped or not, but he enjoyed one every night.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Have a Chili Con Queso

Doesn't this look good? Where are the chips? I'm hungry.

I researched a few restaurants, and I'm having Tex-Mex tonight. You bet I'm gonna order queso. Read the article I wrote for Texas Hill Country. If you can't find it, type in queso in the search bar.

Let's eat!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Flags and Fireworks

We proudly fly the flag in our yard on special days, and July 4th is one of them

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

We watch the nation celebrate with fireworks.

As we admire the magnificent displays tonight, let's remember a phrase from our National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner."

And the rockets red glare
The bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night
That our Flag was still there.

We would have no fireworks, no independence, no freedom if those bombs hadn't burst in mid air. Our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence, and the declaration led to a war against the strongest nation at the time, Great Britain. We were a fledgling but determined group. Men pledged their fortunes, futures, and sacred honor for the birth of our nation.

Old, Transcript, Constitution, Vintage
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
What happened to the 56 men who signed this document?

The British captured five and tortured them to death. For another twelve, the British burned their homes. Two men lost sons, and another man's two sons became prisoners of war. Nine of the signers fought and died in the war.

What sort of occupations did they have? Almost half were lawyers. Eleven were business owners, nine were plantation owners. They were educated men who knew the consequences. The death penalty awaited them if they were captured.

Brave men. Willing to sacrifice all. 

So tonight, when you see the bursts of color. Remember these men. Thank God for them. And ask God to bless the United States of America.

Sparkler, Usa, American, Flag, United
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Happy Birthday America!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Questions and No Answers

Do you ever wonder what God is trying to tell you?

Or do you think He's forgotten you and not giving answers to questions?

Yeah, me too.

Hubby and I have been acting in faith a lot lately and claiming Romans 8:28.  So far we aren't seeing good come from decisions. Oops! Were they bad choices? Did we interrupt God's message correctly? Were our choices His plan?  At this point, who knows? We don't. You've heard of whistling in the dark?

We're singing, talking, praying and acting in the middle of muddle. Lots of muddle. Stacks of stuff. 

We have friends who are in the boat with us, perhaps you're there too. We all row ahead as if our destination was in sight. What else are we to do?

Some might say wait...sit still.  Good thought. And sometimes, that's a perfect answer. In other situations, time doesn't permit waiting. So we make decisions and hope we heard God correctly. Then things happen and we wonder did we hear Him right? Perhaps we need a hearing aid.

It all boils down to faith. 

Is your faith intact today?  I'm growing mine. How's it going with you? About the time I think mine is a strong stalk, I discover it's a seedling.

Later. Keep smiling in the muddle. We'll grow together.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


I usually order birthday cake for July 4, but this strawberry cake looks very good.

Cake, Strawberries
photo courtesy of Pixabay

Good Morning Happy Sunday

Image courtesy of

This afternoon, relax with a Sarah book.
She'll make you smile.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Red Hot and Spicy

You need this recipe for July 4th picnics. 
You'll find it here.

What are the plans?  Fireworks? Food, Fun?

How's that for alteration?

Don't forget the Sauteed radishes. They'll pop in your mouth.

Don't forget to take Sarah along.

When the events of the day settle,
you'll need a good read.

On a hot July day, how about a 
Christmas story?

PBG Insider: Gay N. Lewis Introduces her "Sarah" series

Sarah at Christmas