Friday, February 28, 2020

How Many Leaves on Your Family Tree?



I’ve never explored my genealogy. Why not, you ask? Well,  I have no desire for the government to know more about me than they already know. Truth be told, they probably already have my ancestors recorded in their files. If they would reveal them to me, then we’d both know.
Not everyone feels as I do. Julie B. Cosgrove, author of three ancestor seeking books, writes about people finding lost or forgotten relatives. She calls her series, the "Relatively Seeking Mysteries." I asked her why she became enthused with genealogy and stories concerning someone’s long-lost family members.

"Genealogy is popular now, and the idea came to me to write it. Many people in our mobile, global society don't know a lot about their ancestors. I've been blessed to know a great deal about mine.

On my mother's side, a cousin spent thirty years researching. The internet wasn't readily available, and it was an arduous task. My great-grandmother was a widow with kids, and she married a widower with the same last name. He had a brood of his own, and then they had five more. 16 in all.  On my dad's side, we have a hand drawn family tree dating back to the 1300s. We also have the patterns for the formal and casual family plaids. 

I've never done my DNA for heritage's sake because I know my blood is pure Scotch-Irish with a splash of French. Sounds like a drink, right? But my husband and I had DNA tests done after our special needs child was born.  We were told not to try again. So, we didn't. We devoted our time and effort to the one we brought into the world. 

Here is a picture of my grandmother and great aunts. My grandmother was the youngest of three girls as was my Mom and also me. We found this picture in a hat box filled with old photos when my Mom passed. 

 

When I wrote out the three synopses for One Leaf Too Many, Fallen Leaf, and Leaf Me Alone, my publisher contracted me solely on that information. Each one features one of three friends as the main character. 


I plan two to three more, if I can get contracted for them. If the contract comes through, I'll concentrate on the guys in the books: Chase, Grady, and Jayden.  Their girlfriends, Bailey, Jessica, and Shannon, will be involved in each mystery. My publisher is seriously considering that option."

I think Julie's proposal for three more sequels sounds interestingI’ve read the first two books in the published series, Relatively Seeking Mysteries, and I’ve bought the third one. I’m looking forward to reading it. Even though the books feature the same characters, each one can be read as a stand-alone. Here’s my review on Amazon for book one. I gave it 5 stars. The books are cozy mysteries. A cozy mystery is one that features an amateur sleuth.

Book 1: One Lead Too Many

Genealogy is a big thing these days, so this book hits home with many. Bailey decides to establish her family tree and invite all the members she finds to a reunion. While searching through old photos, she discovers she doesn't know the family secrets and sets out to discover them, and this is a dangerous mission. Scary thugs threaten her and her friends, but a handsome detective is on the case. Bailey unravels the mystery with Chase, the detective's, help. The ending was a surprise, and I wanted to see more of a relationship develop between Chase and Bailey. This is a cozy mystery, so love may blossom in book two. I hope Chase stops winking so much at Bailey. She found them a bit irritating, and so did I. This is a good book. You'll enjoy it. Winks and all.

My review on Amazon for the second book.
Book 2: Fallen Leaf

Ms. Cosgrove brings to mind the unfairness of our judicial system in this book. Many of us are doing family searches these days. What if you discovered a murder in your family and decided to help thirty years later? Talk about a cold case. Lots of intrigue in this story. You'll enjoy this book as you look for your ancestors on your family tree.

 Book 3: Leaf Me Home.

Here's the description.


Word spreads through town about the genealogy researches of Shannon, Bailey, and Jessica. So far, it’s been a fun hobby and an eye-opening experience as they helped to solve two murders. But when old Mrs. Perkins, their Bible study leader, wants to hire Shannon and her husband Jayden to find her long-lost nephew, the couple soon learns that moving forward along the Perkins family tree may leave them dangling out on a limb . . .and someone is holding a saw!

Here's a five star review on Amazon.

When Mrs. Perkins the women’s Bible Study leader makes a death bed request to find her long-lost nephew, Shannon, Bailey, and Jessica jump into action.

While Shannon and her husband, Jayden, head to Florida, to find the mysterious man, Jessica becomes concerned something suspicious is going on at the hospice facility where Mrs. Perkins is staying.

As Shannon pieces together the life of Mrs. Perkins’ nephew, she discovers the story just doesn’t add up, and Jessica becomes worried Mrs. Perkins’ life is in danger.

Mystery and intrigue keep the reader on the edge of their seat and glued to the pages. Ms. Cosgrove’s enticing words and expert plot, will keep drive you to a stirring and heartwarming ending. --Victoria Pitts Caine


About Julie B Cosgrove


Julie signing one of many contracts.

Freelancer, award-winning traditionally published author and speaker, Julie B Cosgrove leads retreats, workshops, and Bible studies. She writes regularly for several Christian websites and publications. She is a digital Missionary for Campus Crusades for Christ Canada's The Life Project and manages over 25 devotional writers.

Besides freelance writing, Julie helps other writers with publishing, Julie has published, or will publish: three Bible studies, two inspirational works, a devotional and 15 novels. Many of her books have won notable awards, including:
 "One of the 50 Writers You should be Reading." The honor was given to her by the 2016 by the nationally syndicated radio "The Author Show." She's a Grace Award finalist, an INSPY semifinalist, and a winner in Best Religious Fiction. She's also a 2016 Best Cozy Mystery winner and a 2017 winner by the Texas Association of Authors.

 You'll find Julie's book here.  Julie B. Cosgrove. 

Visit Julie's website at www.juliebcosgrove.com
Visit her blog here. Julie's blog

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Prince


Have you kissed the Prince of Frogs lately?

Frogs are everywhere these days. I know some people who collect them. I don't collect them, but I have one in the flower bed.



I'm not sure how this little fellow came to sit there. He looks rather ghostly. I should get hubby to paint him green.  He has no name.

My friend collects ceramic frogs and names them. Would you believe she has one named after me? The last time I visited her, he sat on the front porch. She would say, "goodbye Gay Nell, eat the bugs while I'm gone." This frog was her official greeter and bug eater.  I don't know the frog's gender, but he/she has my name, and I'm definitely female.

I once had a baby frog sleep quietly in my bathroom. I guess he slept. He never moved. I don't kill bugs, and I don't remove them to a safe zone. Hubby was gone, so I let the petite guy stay there. I went to bed and hoped he'd be gone by morning.

He was still in the same place.

Yuk! What to do?  When I came out of the shower, he was missing. I inspected the floor and didn't see him. Heaven forbid if my barefoot stepped on him. Oh mercy, I'd need the EMTs.

As I dressed, I kept looking for my new, unwanted friend. I finally saw him inside the toilet. I guess he got thirsty.

Well, you can surmise what I did. If that frog survived the deluge of the water, he's swimming somewhere below us.

So why am I talking about frogs today?

Hubby preached about the ten plagues God put on Egypt, and frogs were one of them. Can you imagine frogs everywhere? There was no indoor plumbing back then. You couldn't flush them away.

Exodus 8:3 says the Nile would produce them, and they would be in your bedroom, on your bed, in the ovens, and even in the food.

How gross is that? 

That's too many frogs to make soup or fry frog legs that are supposed to taste like friend chicken.

In romance, we women often think of frogs or princes. Sometimes the guy is either a frog or a prince.  Fairy tales from long ago continue to promote this idea.

The goal for today is to kiss your frog.

If your guy is a prince, kiss him. If he's a frog, kiss him anyway. The kind, gentle gesture just might turn him into your prince.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Without Love


Without Love
by
Clyde McPhather

I awakened this morning, I was filled with despair

All my dreams turned to ashes and gone, oh yeah
As I looked at my life it was barren and bare
Without love I've had nothing at all
Without love I've had nothing
Without love I've had nothing at all
I have conquered the world
All but one thing did I have
Without love I've had nothing at all
Once I had a sweetheart who loved only me
There was nothing, oh that she would not give, oh no
But I was blind to her goodness and I could not see
That a heart without love cannot live
Without love I've had nothing
Without love I've had nothing at all
I have conquered the world
All but one thing did I have
Without love I've had nothing at all



How many of you are feeling like you have no one to love? Or maybe that no one loves you?

It's an empty feeling, right?  Like the song says, despair and nothing.

I'll let you in on a secret. You do have someone! God loves you! And He always will. No need for despair. Sweethearts may come and go, but God remains.

Sometimes he doesn't take away the emptiness and sadness right away from a loss of human love, but His divine love is constant.  Never fades. Grows strong.

Hold on to that thought. Keep the faith. You'll get there.




  

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Day of Love



Since today is the day of love, I decided to tell you about my first romance book.  Sarah: A Mission of Love is filled with romance and and humor. Sarah, the dyslexic angel, is new at playing Cupid.  She makes many mistakes. I had originally titled this story, Little Angel Screw-up. The publisher thought the book needed a more appropriate title. LOL. She was right, but Sarah is truly a screw-up. I've written many more Sarah stories, and she never learns. She's always a screw-up. Poor little angel.


Sarah: Mission of Love

            eBook, print, audio

Handsome, single, and wealthy, Houstonian Tom Shoemaker must decide if he should give up his successful business to assume a country pastorate. When a blonde, blue-eyed, dyslexic angel arrives from The Heavenlies to locate a mate for Tom by Valentine’s Day, she’s havoc in outlandish red stilettos. But despite numerous goofs in her efforts—many caused by her passion for eccentric footwear the other angels would never dare adorn—love is indeed in the air.

After Marcy Montgomery’s husband was killed in Afghanistan, she relocated to a small, central Texas town with Hope, her five-year-old daughter. When Sarah accidentally introduces Tom to Marcy, she sets about discovering if the two would make suitable mates. The Superiors certainly wouldn’t approve of a romantic link between the wrong people. But Hope wants a father, and when the five-year-old meets Tom, she immediately decides he is the perfect candidate.

Is Tom the right one for Marcy? Or has Sarah made her biggest blunder of all? Oh merciful heavens! What’s an angel to do?

You can find my books on Amazon, B&N, and other online book retailers.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Talking Love

I'm teaching a Bible Study on Sunday, February 16 on 1st Corinthians 13. I wrote a book years ago based on these Scriptures. The publisher wanted a series of novellas based on the chapter. She assigned me I Cor: 13:4. .

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not proud." NIV 

I based my book on a composite of stories I've heard from unhappy wives. I've spoken with women who are married to unkind men, and each time I do, I thank God for my considerate husband. Cruel people, male or female, bring heartache.

Many of these women (or men) who've confided in me have unkind mates, and they've suffered in silence. Others fight back and households become a war zone. A few look for love in wrong places.

Remaining  kind and submissive to an unruly, harsh person is tough, and it's a touchy subject to many.  Numerous Christians believe a woman should be submissive to a cruel, abusive husband at all costs...even at the expense of life and limb. I don't believe that, but my belief  about that is for another day.

Since this is Valentine weekend, let's talk about love and kindness from a positive viewpoint, and how my heroine dealt with it.

The female character in my book, Georgia, loves her husband and chooses kindness over retaliation. She's not weak. She has options, but she willfully makes a choice.  

Now this book is a novella. If I'd written a full length novel, I might have had Georgia go a different direction.  The Scripture says "love is kind." There are many ways to show kindness, and Georgia chose one, but others were available to her.

I had several ask me this question, "if Georgia's husband hadn't had a change of heart, what would she have done?"

That's another book.

I hope you'll read Georgia's story. You'll find it online. It's also available in KU on Amazon.




Editorial Reviews

Review

Book Review
Reviewed by Julie Hodgson for Readers' Favorite

Gay N. Lewis' Clue into Kindness is a story about Georgia, a woman who loves her husband, but he often says things that make her feel sad. He doesn't think before he speaks; then situations arise where he does things that embarrass Georgia or her friends. Georgia is a kind woman and always tries to avoid situations where her husband verbally abuses her. Her kindness goes above and beyond to keep the peace with her husband, but she always feels like she is walking on egg shells! Even her friends do not like him.

Her life and situation change after attending a party at her father-in-law's house. Her husband Alan hears some home truths about his behaviour from his friends during the party. Hearing these things about his behaviour, he tries hard to mend his ways. But could it be too late for Georgia to accept his willingness to change? Especially after the years of verbal abuse she experienced? It is an arduous task indeed for her. Do we love unconditionally? Georgia certainly did, and even when temptation comes her way she is steadfast and loyal towards her husband. She firmly believes that kindness will overcome anything presented to her.

Gay N. Lewis' Clue into Kindness illustrates from Corinthians 1:13 that "love is kind." This is certainly not a romantic novella, but a story of the struggle of love and the power of love to overcome adversity, like a husband who can be cruel in what he says. Verbal abuse is not and should not be acceptable anywhere, and certainly not in marriage. Georgia shows utmost kindness to this, and Gay N. Lewis is adept at describing how Georgia feels and the ultimate changes that her husband would/should go through. A heartrending and well written story.



What are your Valentine plans? I hope they include an extra dose of kindness to everyone in your life. 

God loves you.

And He is kind.




Friday, February 7, 2020

In our Nation, Do We Bless and Curse at the Same Time?


Out of the same mouth came praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. –James 3:10-12.
On the news this morning, I heard Dr. Jeffers, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, quote this verse from the Book of James in the New Testament.
Dr. Jeffers related the story of how he was in a room with President Trump, and someone said to the President, “We’re supposed to love our enemies.” The President turned to the pastor and asked, “what do you think of that?”
Jeffers replied with the verse from James, and then went on to explain that “if you love your enemies, you want what’s best for them.” He continued with the statement, “truth divides.”
It seems from the pastor’s testimonial that he considers the policies Christians hold sacred as truth, and that these ideals are splitting the Nation in half. Others don't hold these truths as self-evident.
Dr. Jeffers is correct. In this day and time, we have a great political divide, and it seems both sides of the gulf speak with both blessings and cursings. Bless this one, and curse that one.
Can we find a way to love our enemies while still standing up for the ideals Christians hold dear? And what are those ideals? Here’s a few: The Right to Life. Freedom to worship.
There’s a lot of discussion today about prayer. Both sides pray to win and dominate the other. Is that what we should pray for?
I disagree with many, but I pray for them. I ask God to keep them safe from physical harm. There are crazies out there who want to physically hurt people, so I pray for God to keep all government leaders safe.
I pray they have wisdom as they debate and decide on what’s best for our country.  The decisions they make affect us all.
I also ask the Lord to soften hearts and to always let His plan succeed.
I ask Him to help me accept whoever He puts in charge, because, ultimately, I know for some reason, He’s the One who put that person in place.
I seldom reply to someone with political differences, but when I do, I attempt to do so in a civil, kind manner. After all, a healthy discussion is the way we learn. Our Founders offered many debates over our Nation’s founding. The arguing became so bad that at one time, Benjamin Franklin called for prayer, and he wasn’t an overly religious man.
In summary, here’s a few items I believe both sides can pray.
1.   Thank God for our Nation.
2.   Wisdom to make decisions.
3.   Keep leaders safe.
4.   A willingness to work with each other.
5.   Show kindness, even in disputes.


I’ve always liked the Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.





Thursday, February 6, 2020

Who Dat?


Possible captions.

"I can't believe you said that."

"You weigh how much?"

"You're kidding, right? 

"She grabbed what?"

"Can you tell I went to the eye doctor today?"

"I need a new eyeliner."

"Yes, I see you."

"Do you see me?"




"She flies by me at night and says hello."





Sarah at Christmas