Sunday, January 28, 2018

Clouds: How do you see them?

A mix of black and grey clouds hovered near the Earth's surface. "Can the plane get off the ground okay? Those billows look scary. What if I don't make it home?" These thoughts raced through my mind as I boarded the aircraft. As the rain pelted down, I chanced a glance toward the heavens. The skies promised bad things.

"The pilot won't take off if he doubts he can make it. He knows what he's doing, where we're going, and how to get us there."  I tried to remove anxieties with this notion. The reassuring flight attendant smiled at me as I fastened the seat belt. While I waited for everyone to take places, I bit my lip and worried.

Uh-oh. The plane began to move.

I gripped the armrests and prayed as the airplane barreled down the runway.

With the aircraft's nose pointed upward, I stared out the window.  Through dark, steely haze.

I could see nothing but vast, scary trouble.

Would this be the only view for the two hour flight? Would we land in a storm? 

Without warning, we broke above the ugly, scary, grey stuff, and the view changed.

The sun was shining after all! Beautiful, blue sky appeared, and below was the sweetest vision of white, fluffy, meringue. Soft mounds of sugared whipped cream.

I reminded myself that my circumstances are similar. At the moment, they appear foreboding, but they can change in a heartbeat. I'll go through the threatening situations and arrive at tranquil, blue skies.

Just as the pilot knew what was above the clouds, God sees what's above me.

On one side, the clouds appear bleak. A short distance above them, they are gorgeous.

How do you see your clouds? From below? Or from above?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Jogging: Sarah tried it!

This chapter is an excerpt from 
Sarah and the Midnight Cruise to Catalina Island

Sarah is an angel and can appear in any form she chooses. In this story, she's appearing as a young woman to befriend Carolyn on a cruise ship. She's new to the angel game and a lot of things humans do make no sense to her. As a human, I find we often don't make sense either.  Enjoy.

Sarah, dressed as Hope, knocked on Carolyn’s cabin door.
“Are you ready for our girl’s day out?”
Carolyn grinned. “I’m so ready to be away from men, I could yell with happiness. We’ll have fun—just the two of us. I’m super pleased you decided to join me for exercise and a massage.”
“Am I dressed appropriately? I’ve never been to a gym before.”
“Shorts, t-shirts and lightweight jackets are good choices. Is your swimsuit in that bag?” She nodded toward the small duffle Sarah had chosen.
“Good. They’ll have towels in the gym and the spa area.”
Towels? Why would they need those? Sarah didn’t ask, but followed Carolyn into the small gym area. A woman dressed with the ship’s logo and a badge that read “consultant” approached them.
“Good morning. Do you need instructions on any equipment?”
Carolyn shook her head. “Not really, but I’d appreciate suggestions.”
Sarah glanced around. “I’ll need assistance. I’ve never been to a place like this before.”
“You’ve never been to an exercise room on a ship?” The consultant’s brows raised a notch.
Sarah shook her head. “Never been to one of these places at all. They don’t have them where I’m from.”
“You must live in an unusual place. I don’t know of a city where fitness centers don’t abound.”
The instructor-consultant lady surveyed Sarah. “Since you’ve never been in a sports center, may I suggest you start with a warm-up on the bicycle?”
“Oh, no need for that. I’m kind of hot already.” Sarah removed her jacket.
The lady smiled. “No, no, I meant prepare your muscles.” She pointed at a row of machines. “Hop on this bicycle and pedal for five minutes.”
Sarah twisted her lip. Was this human female joking? The thing only had one wheel and the base sat on the floor. The gadget couldn’t possibly go anywhere. Bicycles existed in The Heavenlies, and kids who’d never ridden one enjoyed them, but here? Propel this unmovable thing? The lady might be a nutcase.
“The bicycle doesn’t go anywhere. How am I to tour on it?”
Carolyn snickered. “It’s stationary and designed not to move. Jump on and give it a try.”
Sarah obliged, placed her feet on the pedals and pushed as she’d seen kids do in The Heavenlies.
The consultant smiled. “Good. That’s the way. Now ride the bike for five minutes and then I’ll move you to another exercise.”
Ride the bike? When she rode a cloud, she moved through the air. As a passenger in a car, she progressed down a street. This doohickey remained in one place. Weird. Humans invented strange terminology for their gadgets. Cycling on an unmovable apparatus. What next?
Carolyn sat on one next to her and also traveled nowhere. “Hope, you should go faster to work up speed.”
Work faster to stay in one place? Well, okay. Sarah pumped her legs harder. Sweat popped out on her forehead. Hmm. This must be what the lady meant by a warm-up.
Now might be a good time to mention Carolyn’s love interests. She glanced at Carolyn. “So who do you enjoy the most? Nick or Ash?”
“They’re both nice. I have a date with Ash next week and was a little surprised to hear he’d been married several times. Not sure that’s a good sign for a lasting relationship. He may not be the faithful type.”
“That’s a valid point, and when a woman dates, it might end up in a serious connection.”
“True, but on the other hand, I don’t know what caused the marriages to go south. Maybe Ash doesn’t know how to pick a wife.”
Sarah bit her lip. Well, how about those apples? Carolyn still considered Ash as a possibility. What could she do or say to make Carolyn see he was wrong for her?
The bell on the bike rang and nearly startled Sarah off the leather seat. Merciful heavens! What made the gadget clang? Had she damaged the thingy?
The consultant returned. “Time for the leg lifts.”
Sarah shrugged. Guess she hadn’t damaged the bike after all. She frowned. “Leg lifts? What on earth are those?”
“I’ll show you.” Carolyn strode to an area with strange-looking gadgets. She strapped cuffs with puffy weights around Sarah’s ankles, and then attached a similar pair to her own. Carolyn sprawled on a purple mat while Sarah observed the strange behavior.
“Here, Hope. Lie down on this mat and do as I do.” Carolyn thrust a leg into the air, brought it back down and then repeated the process.
Sarah mimicked her charge. “Have you always been this athletic?”
Carolyn nodded. “When I have time, I go to the gym, but if I can’t fit it into my schedule, I exercise at home.”
A woman on the other side of Carolyn also kept her legs bobbing up and down. “I’m trying to convince my daughter to begin a fitness program.” She looked at Carolyn. “She’s about your age and hasn’t started one.”
“How old is your daughter?” Carolyn changed legs and continued to lift.
“She’s nineteen.”
“You don’t appear old enough for a daughter about to be twenty.” Carolyn smiled at the stranger.
“Thank you. I’m in my sixty’s.”
Sarah groaned between puffing. “With this kind of stuff, I don’t know how you humans live to your thirtieth birthday.”
Carolyn giggled. “You humans? You have an unusual way of expressing yourself, almost as if you weren’t one of us.”
“People have told me that before.”
The consultant appeared again. “It is now time for the sit-up board.”
The sit-up board? Merciful heavens! Another torture contraption? The lie down-and-be-immobile board would be a better choice as far as she was concerned.
The consultant led Sarah and Carolyn to a plank with one end pointed to the roof and the other resting on the floor. “Stretch out on the board with your feet up, and then do sit-ups.”
She kidded, right? Perhaps this ding-dong mortal female was crazy. How could anyone do such a thing? “No, thanks. I’ll watch Carolyn.”
Sarah stood nearby as Carolyn sat up, went down, and back up. Good grief. Carolyn must have stomach muscles of steel. She glanced heavenward and mouthed. “Sure am glad we don’t need to do this stuff up there.”
The Lieutenant’s face appeared through the ceiling. He smiled at her and nodded.
Focusing on Carolyn, Sarah stood with arms akimbo. “What you’re doing looks more difficult than choosing between Nick and Ash.”
Carolyn smiled. “I’ve done this before. Piece of cake, but having more than one man interested in me has never been an issue, and although flattering, it’s also daunting. Have you ever had a serious guy?”
Sarah shook her head. “No. I steer away from them.”
“I’m thinking about doing the same.”
“Don’t you want to settle down and have a family?”
“More than anything, but Nick’s and Ash’s behavior may cause me to change my mind.”
“Which one do you think more of?”
“I’ve spent more time with Nick, but he thinks I lied to him. I don’t know Ash very well.” Carolyn grinned. “Nick makes my stomach turn over every time I see him.”
Sarah nodded. “Ash doesn’t?”
“Not like Nick.”
“Did Nick explain why he thought you’d lied to him?”
“Yes, and I didn’t tell him to get lost. It would be hard to do on a boat.”
“Oh, I don’t know. I seem to lose my way on this thing.”
After a few minutes, the consultant came back. “Good job.” She glanced at Sarah. “Don’t you want to try it?”
“No, thank you.”
“Let’s move on.” She grinned as she glanced at Sarah’s legs. “I’m sure you will benefit from the thigh reducer, and it’s easy.”
Why did that ding-dong need to sound so cheerful? And what was wrong with her thighs? She could make them smaller or bigger with a blink of an eye if she wanted to.
Oh, well. She’d come here to help Carolyn, and the consultant probably didn’t intend to be insulting.
While huffing and puffing on this one, Sarah watched a beautiful woman enter the area. Her clothing suggested she enjoyed showing off her exquisite form, and her cool expression plainly said, “Don’t bother me.”
Humans didn’t realize body language told a story. No doubt this female would have no problem dealing with two men. On the other hand, who possessed that knowledge? Not her and evidently not Carolyn. No matter. Carolyn’s wellbeing occupied this mission.
“Okay, time for jogging.” The chirpy consultant’s tone frayed on Sarah’s nerves.
“Where do we jog?” Carolyn glanced about her as she spoke.
“We have a track around the deck. Go through that door and begin. I’ll catch up with you soon.” The troublemaker-consultant pointed to an outside exit.
“Have you jogged before?” Carolyn focused on Sarah with her question.
“No, I don’t think so. What is it?”
“Running. Surely you ran as a child.”
“Well, I sort of flew about a lot and often won a race.”
“Jogging isn’t racing, we merely run at a slower pace.” She took off.
Sarah ambled along beside her. Another lady ran past them at a rapid speed.
After she whizzed by, Sarah voiced her thoughts aloud. “Judging from her tight, see-through clothes, she must be hoping to acquire a boyfriend. Maybe you should introduce her to Ash.”
Carolyn giggled. “You see all kinds of clothing in a fitness center.”
A handsome young man overtook them on the track and disappeared from sight.
“That guy’s shorts are too skimpy. Did you see the way he kept pulling at them? He and the lady who ran ahead of him should find each other. We saw through her outfit and his duds are way too scanty. Together in those garments, they’d become a revealing couple.”
Carolyn laughed outright. “You should be a stand-up comic.”
“What’s that?”
“A comic is one who earns a living with a humor presentation. There’s one appearing at a show later aboard this ship. Perhaps we can go, and you’ll see.”
As Sarah and Carolyn rounded the corner, they encountered a couple jogging toward them in their direction. Sarah turned her head to watch as they whooshed by. “Those two probably work out at home just so they can look healthy after they get here.”
Carolyn chuckled again. “Seriously. You should write these remarks down and start an act for the theater.”
“An act? No, I don’t think so. I do enough playacting down here without putting on a show for an audience.”
After the third jog around the deck, Carolyn stopped, bent forward and huffed. Sarah mimicked her.
“Let’s try the steam room.” Carolyn straightened her spine.
“Steam room?”
Carolyn nodded. “Hot steam makes the muscles relax.”
“You mean to tell me that after we warm muscles up to exercise, we then go into a scorching room to make them cool off and calm down?”
“That’s the way it works. This is where you need the swim suit.”
Sarah nodded and followed Carolyn to the designated dressing area where they’d left their belongings.
“You take that cubicle, and I’ll take this one. I’ll meet you out here when you have your suit on.” Carolyn disappeared into the booth.
Sarah did the same, and when she was appropriately attired, she exited the stall.
Carolyn waited in a black bikini.
Carolyn’s eyes widened to the size of saucers when she saw Sarah in a getup reminiscent of the roaring twenties.
“Where did you find that ensemble?”
“I wanted a cover-up and this is what popped into my head. You don’t like it?”
“Oh, I do. I’ve seen pictures of them in history books. The only thing missing is the corresponding umbrella. The blue and white horizontal striped top with lace around the collar is adorable. I would wear it with jeans.” She allowed her eyes to move up and down Sarah’s choice. “The matching bloomers hovering at your knees complete the old-fashioned bathing suit look, and I like the ruffle trim.” She nodded. “It’s transferable.”
“Transferable?” Sarah frowned.
“Yes, you could wear the top with shorts or jeans, or the whole outfit as pajamas. Quite nice, and it’s a good way to stretch a dollar.”
Carolyn handed Sarah a towel as she wrapped one around her head. “I want to protect my hair—brown might drip down my forehead.”
The color of her curls might dribble onto her face? She must have abnormal tresses. Wait! Maybe that was some of the gunk she’d put on her head earlier. Sarah decided not to ask, but she followed Carolyn’s example and did the same with her guest towel.
They entered a searing, steamy room. The heavy vapor made it difficult to see.
“Great goodness! This place must be as hot as Hades in the Underworld. I’ve never been there, but this is a taste of it right here and now.”
Carolyn giggled again. “You’re hilarious. We’ll stay a few minutes and then shower.” She chose a bench, and Sarah rested next to her.
A lady entered, spread her towel on the bench, and then sat on a bench opposite them. “I understand one can catch sex-related social diseases in these germy places. A clean surface makes me feel better.”
Sarah didn’t know what they were, but social diseases must be connected with freewill and sin, and one bad experience with seasick pills was enough. She needed no reminder to be careful with human illnesses. Sarah stood, removed her towel, placed it on the bench and parked herself on top of it. “I’ll just sit on mine too. I don’t worry about my hair.”

* * *

Monday, January 22, 2018

Yoga: Yes or No?

Can you turn yourself into a pretzel?

My Yoga instructor can. She's amazing. As she maneuvers her body into an impossible pose, she says, "Go as far as your body lets you."

Since my body won't let me go far, I'm tempted to maneuver myself off the mat and out the door.

I look around me to see how others are doing. A few ladies in my class are almost matching the instructor's pose. A few are somewhat doing the pose, and the rest of us stare at the instructor as if she is an alien from another planet. We glance at each other and shrug.

The calm voice continues. "Stretch both legs in front of you and grasp your feet."

Yeah, right.

I touch the tip of my big toes and stare at them.

I need a mani-pedi.

She continues, "Ease into the earth, let your mind concentrate on your body. Don't think of what you need to do when class ends."

What is she? A mind reader too?

Before we end the torture,  we sit for a few minutes with our index fingers touching our thumbs. This is suppose to keep us aware of our bodies and our senses.

Yeah, right. Good luck with that.

Aww, the part I can do and love the most.

We lie down on our mats and sink into the earth.

What do I hear?

Someone snoring?

Hope it's not me.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

God and Country

I'm all about God and Country. I try to avoid politics, but when I received the following facts in an email, I thought it worth sharing, even if some unfriend me or cease to follow me. I don't know who compiled these facts, or who wrote the email, but I find them interesting. When a player takes a knee, the acceptance of the gesture or the rejection of the gesture depends on why he takes it.

In 2012 the NFL had an issue with Tim Tebow kneeling for each game to pray, they also had an issue with Tebow wearing John 3:16 as part of his eye-black to avoid glare, and made him take it off. 
In 2013 the NFL fined Brandon Marshall for wearing green cleats to raise awareness for people with mental health disorders.

In 2014 Robert Griffin III (RG3) entered a post-game press conference wearing a shirt that said "Know Jesus Know Peace" but was forced to turn it inside out by an NFL uniform inspector before speaking at the podium.

In 2015 DeAngelo Williams was fined for wearing "Find the Cure" eye black for breast cancer awareness.

In 2015 William Gay was fined for wearing purple cleats to raise awareness for domestic violence. (Not that the NFL has a domestic violence problem...)

In 2016 the NFL prevented the Dallas Cowboys from wearing a decal on their helmet in honor of 5 Dallas Police officers killed in the line of duty.

In 2016 the NFL threatened to fine players who wanted to wear cleats to commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11.

So tell me again how the NFL supports free speech and expression, all of a sudden...

It seems quite clear based on these facts that the NFL has taken a position against any action by NFL players  demonstrating RESPECT for any issue:  For God, social causes such  as mental health, cancer, domestic violence, for cops killed arbitrarily for being cops, for the Memory of 9/11...

But, they will allow demonstrations of DISRESPECT for our National Flag, our National Anthem, for America, and for the American People.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Secrets: Don't Tell Anybody.

I'm gonna show you a picture I keep hidden. Shhh! Don't share it or tell anyone. Isn't it awful?

Remember the big hair days? Yep, I had it too. Yuk.

And look at those earrings! They scrape my shoulders, but they are blingy.

For some unknown reason, I was biting my lip when the photographer snapped the picture. 

I still have that suit in my closet. I really liked it. It doesn't fit anymore, but I have hopes.

If you go to Peggy Trotter's site, I'll tell you a few more secrets...such as how I work in my space.

Peggy is a friend and she asked me a bunch of questions. I told the truth when I answered most of 'em.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Libraries: We need them.

Good Morning Friends,

I'd like to go to the library today. Love that place, but they are closed. It's a holiday, MLK Day. So....I"ll go tomorrow. We need libraries. May they never go away.

Unfortunately, I won't find my books there. Once upon a long time ago, the libraries carried my VHS productions, and I'm happy to say they were checked out many times. Travelers bought them too.

My videos aren't there anymore. DVD's have replaced that technology. My books aren't there either. Sigh. 

I could cry, but there are other things more important to cry over. Right? Maybe one day, I'll become famous and all my books will be on library shelves.

In the meantime, how about putting a few of my novels on your shelf?

If you prefer eBooks, my books are available in that format. Some are in audio.

Please, please buy my books. Pretty please with sugar on it.

You can find them online at your favorite bookseller.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Angel: Needed today

Ever have one of those days? 

We had one of those years, and I'd hoped 2018 would be easier. NOT! 

I need an angel.

Our daughter, in assisted living, requires a lot of time, attention, money, and emotional support. I took her to Austin this past week to the dentist for a tooth implant. It's been a long process to get to this point. Several all-day trips to Austin and back. The guy cemented the tooth and said, "all done, no more problems."


This morning, the thing fell out. I guess the little thing didn't like being in its new home. She doesn't talk dirty and brushes often, so why didn't it like the new place?

It's Saturday! Now what? A dentist on Saturday? And the other dentist has been paid. Argh! 

And here's another aggravation.

I signed a new contract!  Yay!  That's good news. Happy news.

Problem?  Well, you know me, I'm not tech savvy. This publisher wants all contracts and forms signed and sent electronically. 

Sigh. Moan. Groan.

I'm excited to have a new contract, and I'll figure it out, but the aggravations of life require patience and I need an angel to give me a shot of the stuff.  I wish Sarah would help!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Congratulations Alabama

I love Alabama. 

I've never lived there, but my mom and her family were born in that awesome state, and I enjoyed childhood trips to visit her relatives.

Best cooks on the planet.

And as of last night, the best collegiate football team in the USA.

Georgia gave them a super challenge. The game could have gone either way.

Have you ever noticed how life is like that?  Just when you think you're winning the battle, circumstances are instantly changed by an interception, a field goal, or an unexpected touch down.

Time ran out for Georgia and Alabama won. If there'd been a few more minutes on the clock, the ending might have been different.

Reminds me of life. Who knows how many minutes are left on our life clock?  

Play the game of life as if you'll have an overtime to fix whatever problems you face, and after all is said and done, you'll have played an amazing game.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Angels To Watch Over You

May God and His angels watch over you in 2018!

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31 NIV
He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4 NIV.
We'll have hills to climb in 2018, 
but we know Who is in control.

Oh sure, we'll have doubts.
Maybe anger.
But we'll have rainbows and beautiful sunny days, too.

My prayer for us is this:

When 2019 rolls around, may we see that God indeed did provide His watch care and His angels during 2018.

Monday, January 1, 2018


Hello 2018

As I leave 2017 and enter a New Year, I'm reflecting.

What kind of year did you have?
Twelve months hurried by.
Were they a mixture of happy and sad?
A conglomeration of peace and anger?

Twelve months, one day at a time, we experienced a collection of emotions.

As I glance back at my calendar, I see doctor's appointment. Boy! Do they take the time and money!

We need them and I thank God for them. For meds too.

Hubby and I were blessed. The docs we saw were mostly routine, but we also take care of our daughter who has dementia. 
She had many visits with those guys too.

Her physician visits require us to take her to Austin, TX. That's a 2.5 hour trip one way.

Yep, lots of time went to doctors.

We found a new caregiver for her in early summer and that allowed us to take a 2 week vacation to California. I blogged about it. The trip is a happy memory.

Then on August 25, Hurricane Harvey hit us. We had no water in our home, but we were surrounded and stranded for days. I blogged about that too.

My book, Mattie's Choice hit the shelves on September 15. I'd worked for years on Mattie. It was a joy to see her in print.

Joy about the book turns to stress.
The caregiver up and left in October, giving us a 24 hour notice. 

We quickly found an assisted living facility and began moving our daughter into it.

Not understanding.

Talk about hard? Those were tough times. Still are. She hates her days and blames us. We had to do it...put her in a facility. The caregiver who lived with her in Austin suddenly left and we could find no one to take the caregiver's place. We brought her to our home and then moved her to a wonderful place. It's so much better than with the person in Austin, or even us. We know she's fed properly and gets her meds on time. She also has activities and residents to visit with, but she doesn't like it and wants to be at her home in Austin. 

Our daughter comes and stays with us for days and weeks at a time, but she's miserable while she's here, and so are we. We must work and can't entertain her 24/7. I work from home. I write for Texas Hill Country, my books, and work six times a year for Access Intelligence, also from home. Hubby's job as a pastor/teacher takes him away. 

We care, and we try, but we aren't caregivers. There is a colossal difference between caring and caregiving.

I admire the caregivers who work with dementia and Alzheimer patients. The work requires gifts and training. As the disease progresses, most patients with this disease require these special, skilled angels. Our daughter is in that stage.

Here we are this past Christmas. Our ill daughter stands beside me in the colorful, printed shirt. She loves color and bling. She's beautiful and way too young for advanced dementia.

Since November, we've been clearing out her house and last week, it went on the market. Her hubby passed away in 2015, so we take care of his and her business affairs. That took a chunk of time in 2017 too.

In December, I had to re-enroll her in ObamaCare.
Oh my! Talk about hours on the phone! The dot gov people put her with a new insurance company just starting out in Texas. Ambetter Insurance. They've been a headache. If you have them, I hope you have better luck with them than I'm having.

They told me she would have doctors in her area. There are none, and now we are stuck driving miles and miles of Texas in other cities to see them, or we pay as if we have no insurance. More work to do on this thing. Why did dot gov do that to us? Like we needed another time-consuming headache.

We've had our good, happy days, and a few sad or angry ones, but as the year closes, I'm thankful. As the old hymn goes,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

If I could read about your year, I'm sure you'd tell me about your mixed bag too. We all have them.

That assorted bag will come our way in 2018 too. That's okay. Let's look forward to the year. We know, based on the past, that God has got it in His hands. 

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

Sarah at Christmas