Blogging Valentine’s Day Style

I love you concrete not strong as God

I admire “River Girl” bestselling author Valerie Poore who faithfully pens a blog a week no matter how difficult and chaotic her life is—thanks for the inspiration, Val.

My writerly goal is to pen a blog a week. Once a week is perfect. When blogs come through one or more a day, they pile up in my email until I have time to read them.

A blog a week hasn’t happened this year. Excuses I can find: medical issues; burnout after writing six books last year; heartbrokenness, heartsickness and disbelief at the U.S. allowing abortion up to birth; fatigue from unending grey skies, rain, and cold temperatures here—laziness. Excuses aside, the truth is…that I’ve run out of ideas.

Not so for Valentine’s Day. It’s already been written for me. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13. Jesus willingly dying for our sins so we can go to Heaven is the greatest love story ever written. No book written by human hands can match it.

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I love my son Luke who has changed his address from earth to heaven. I love my granddaughter Dulcinea. I love my husband. I love many friends and family members. But my love can never match the unequalled love of Jesus who loves all of us enough to have suffered the death we deserve and called us to follow Him to Heaven.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, all of y’all. Y’all need Jesus.

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Attacking Livelihoods

Insanity Bites is so right. Been there. Totally in the mix. She really should run for President.

See, there's this thing called biology...

clear glass ball on brown sands Photo by Nuno Campos on Pexels.com

I need to vent some frustration here, to lament the state of my neck of the woods because it’s aggravating and it all makes people’s lives so much harder.

So a livelihood is simply, “a means of securing the necessities of life.” We want to enable people to have the means to provide for themselves because it’s good for individuals and the community at large. People who have jobs and own small businesses are invested in their communities. They care about things, like the well-being of their customers, like safe roads, like property values, like their future labor force.

Why this state insists on constantly trying to tear people down and make life impossible is a great mystery. Not long ago some brilliant soul decided, you know what we need? To regulate taxi cab drivers right out of existence. Before that it was waitresses…

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Worth the Fight

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My newest book, “Pirate Hole Murders,” should have been out two weeks ago. Wait. Wait. I hate waiting. Most people do.

Finally the imminent release day…more waiting. Because I had shared five Facebook posts with strong language about New York’s evil abortion law allowing abortion up until birth, I got locked out of Facebook. Facebook supports liberal agenda and is hostile toward conservative and Christian values. Google too, which is why I use Yahoo as much as possible. Google worked the lockout with Facebook, and all but the most recent emails disappeared.

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The impasse lasted nearly two days, and because of the difficulty of retrieving cover art from the missing emails publication of “Pirate Hole Murders” was further delayed. But when it was released, it made it to #15 on Amazon’s UK site immediately.

Some things are worth fighting regardless of the consequences. Abortion is one of them. I am honored to have been singled out for my stand against abortion. And had my Facebook and email accounts remained locked, “Pirate Hole Murders” would still have been released in spite of additional waiting because it had prayer support. Ultimately, God is in control. He is from everlasting to everlasting and is immune to time.

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God creates us. God hates murder. Psalm 139:13 says, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” No one—no sex, no religion, no culture, no one—has the right to murder the humans God creates in the womb where they are the most defenseless and deserve the most protection.

When the lockout of Facebook was lifted, the first thing I shared was another post against the evil of the new NY law. Some things are worth the fight.

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Don’t Ask…

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When you see a grown woman at a bus stop undressing and dressing a Barbie doll repeatedly while she waits for the bus –don’t ask.

When you pack your bag for your trip and put one cold Diet Coke in it and get to your destination to find three Diet Cokes – don’t ask. Just say, “Praise Jesus! Thank You, Lord.”

When you watch out the back window of your house and see a distant vehicle on a distant hill stop while two stick figures disappear into the heather between two boulders with a stick figure something and eventually return without it—don’t go looking for the hidden trail up the mountain to discover what just happened. It might be nothing. It might be something. Let your imagination fill in the blanks. If anyone else is looking out their back window—you are a mere stick figure to them.

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The world is full of mysteries, and some are given to us to know and understand. How a dried up brown seed sprouts into a tall green plant. Or a tree. How a wrinkled crawly caterpillar turns into a colorful butterfly and soars.

Jesus said in Matthew 13:11 that His followers had been given the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.  1 Corinthians 13:2 warns that if we understand all mysteries and knowledge and do not love others—we are worthless. There are at least seven other verses in the Bible proclaiming God’s ownership of mysteries. Perhaps that’s why I love writing mysteries so much.

But I’m still not going to climb that hill.

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Happy 2019

Slipping in here a few days late to wish everyone a Happy, Joyful, God-Blessed New Year.

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So many people make New Year’s Resolutions, and that’s a good thing. Keeping them is especially good. Yes, I would like to exercise more this year and lose more weight, but that’s always my goal. Now that it’s been a year since my back surgery, I’m cleared to start running again.

As a writer, I can’t ignore that part of my life when planning for a new year. I wrote six books last year and I honestly don’t intend to write that many this year. The new series takes a lot of research which translates into a lot of time. I’m hoping to have the third “Fog Busters, Old Bones Detectives” out sometime in January.

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As a writer and as a person, the most important goals I can set for 2019, or any year, are found in the Bible, specifically in Philippians, Chapter 3: That I may know God and His power; That I may press on; That I may forget those things which are behind and reach forward to those things which are ahead, that I may press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

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That about sums up my 2019 goals. As an author, my inspiration comes from God.

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Whoever you are and wherever you are reading this, may God light your new year with beauty, bounty, and joy. Happy New Year!

sunflowers and butterfly laredo december 

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What I’ve Missed Most

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Spending time in the U.S. again, both in Florida and now in Texas, gives me a new foundation for making comparisons between Scotland—where I’ve spent the past seven years—and America. What I’ve missed most…

Family.

A plethora of churches, every denomination and non-denomination; plenty of “God Bless America” banners, and “Merry Christmas.”

Blue Cheese Dressing. For seven years, salads have never tasted this good.

Buffets. All you can eat from a colossal assortment of restaurants.

Free refills. On beverages at restaurants, along with wait staff who return several times, always with smiles and offers to top up iced tea, coffee, or sodas.

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Outdoor Christmas decorations replete with Nativity Scenes and awash with colored lights on houses, trees and along yard borders.

Sun and warm weather. Wearing shorts and a T-shirt in December.

Steak. Huge, affordable, tender steaks.

Houses of different colors. Here in Laredo, Texas, houses follow the rainbow. Outside colors include lilac, pink, turquoise, blue, purple, yellow, orange, magenta, lime green, red-brown, gold, Jesus Is Alive Green…house colors are only limited by the owner’s imagination and preference.

Cactus. Of all shapes and types—growing in yards and rock flowerbeds.

Wildlife. Including reptiles like turtles, snakes, and lizards.

Family. I’ve missed family most. Blue Cheese Dressing isn’t even in the running…really.

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P Choices: People or Phones

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It’s been wonderful beyond description spending time with people—meaning my family members in Tampa, Florida. This side of heaven, I can’t imagine anything sweeter—and now we are on our way to Laredo, Texas, to visit the rest of the family.

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Therefore, it wounded me watching a family at the table next to us at a local restaurant. Three adults sat on one side of the table playing with their phones. A toddler sat on the other side of the table—screaming. The child was crying so hard that her face was pinched, her cheeks wore white patches, and she was shaking. Not a single one of the adult women even glanced up from their phone screens.

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The child screamed so loudly that two elderly ladies in a booth across from the table motioned the waitress over and demanded to be moved somewhere else. And, still, the three adult women sat zoned out in front of phone screens.

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Psalm 127:3 says that children are a heritage of the Lord. Psalm 107: 41 says, “God sets the poor on high, far from affliction, and makes their families like a flock.” Those folks at the restaurant chose phone over people—over their own children and family. Tragic. Unbelievably tragic. Family is our only gift in this life that follows us into eternity.

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World’s Worst Shopper

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Perhaps I’m not the world’s worst shopper—but I must be close.

I hate shopping. Media hype insists that women have a “shopping gene.” I don’t. To me, shopping is a waste of time. I’d rather be writing, painting, walking, doing rockwork, mixing cement, taking photos of dangerous animals.

I already have everything I need. I couldn’t always say this. There were many times as a single parent when I counted out coins, sold my valuable coin collection to have enough money to go to the laundry mat, took additional jobs including climbing ladders to pick apples—did anything that was needed to get what was needed. But I am blessed. I’m not wealthy, I don’t have extra—but I have enough.

Ads are wasted on me. I’m too busy. Be it through the mail, on the computer, or on billboards, ads don’t sway me. I don’t see them. I don’t read them. For me, they might as well not exist.

If being broke transformed a person into a shopper, I should thrive in shopping malls. I lived under a bridge. I washed myself and my clothes in the river—winter and summer. I traveled around the U.S. looking for employment in states that paid more money to workers. I drove to new locations with everything I owned in the back of the pickup truck and slept on top of the load because I didn’t have money for a motel. But I hate shopping.

That being said, I love giving. And sometimes, giving to someone requires a shopping trip.

If my abhorrence of shopping seems weird to some folks, that’s okay. My assurance is in 1 Timothy 6:6, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain,” and in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned whatever state I am, to be content.”

I hate shopping—and I’m content with that.

Uvalde Bible Land (I did the cement work, not the figures

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Marine Climate & Common Sense

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Because I’m from Texas and grew up in southern U.S., I’m accustomed to hot temperatures and extended dry periods.

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Getting acclimatized to Dunoon, Scotland, has been a challenge. It doesn’t rain every day—it rains almost every day. It has probably reached 70F during the “summer” a few times, but it hasn’t gone much above that. Mostly, I wear the same number of layers, the same jackets—and at times even the same woolly hat—summer and winter.

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One of my pet peeves is labels because they are misused. Labels that judge, condemn and hurt are wrong and not beneficial. And I hate politically correct labels like calling abortion “choice” instead of murder, and attempting to soften the blow of transgression by calling sin “risky lifestyles.”

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Some labels create a chuckle: “Warning, take child out before washing.” Or on a garden implement: “Not intended for human consumption.” Way to go me; I eat hammers for breakfast and spit out nails for the rest of the day.

Now I’ve found a label that explains why we wash clothes and hang them around the house (rain outside) and it takes them three days to dry. We live in a “Marine Climate.”

Finally! A common sense label.

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It Has Happened

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It has happened. Trees shivering their leaves off limbs and me shivering right along with them in empathy, sympathy—or just because I’m cold.

I hate cold. I hate being cold. I hate winter. I have always hated winter. There are very few things in this life I hate: fire ants, scorpions inside the house, winter, being cold.

All three of my winter memories are bad. When I was eleven, I took three cute brown and white puppies home without asking my parents first. I expected my parents to see the puppies, fall in love with them, and agree we could keep them. They didn’t. I had to take the puppies back, walking several miles through snow in canvas shoes with holes in them and wearing no gloves. I suffered severe frostbite on my toes and fingers. To this day my fingers quit working when it drops under 75F, and since it is nearly always cold here in Scotland, I spend part of my working day at the computer sitting on my hands to warm them up.

My second winter memory is worse; cutting, stacking, and carrying ice-crusted logs into the house for the fireplace—without gloves. Our family was too poor to buy gloves. Have I mentioned about my hands? Pain as severe as slowly freezing human limbs is hard to describe—and even harder to forget.

The third winter memory is taking Luke to cut a live Christmas tree when he was four. He had the necessary outfit: snow boots, snowsuit, coat, and gloves. Being a single mom supporting her child—I did not. This was deeper and colder snow—if that’s possible, and we were in it for a long time while Luke searched diligently for the perfect Christmas tree. Me—wearing canvas shoes and blue jeans—by the time Luke found his tree I would have gladly settled for a tin can and a twig.

The good thing about being a writer is that it’s okay to stay inside working—until life intrudes and forces you outside. Then it’s still winter, I’m still cold, I still hate the winter.

Psalm 74:17 says of God, “You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter.”

Since God made winter, He has a purpose for it. That means my job is to be happy for those who enjoy the winter and follow the advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks.”

So I am thankful. I am thankful that winter ends.

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