Saturday, September 27, 2014

On My Blind Side

I glance at my car's rear view mirror. The lane next to me appears clear. I swerve only to hear the honk of a car and the screech of its brakes. I jerk the wheel to straighten. My head turns. A black truck's front bumper is even with my back one, perfectly placed on my blind side. I escaped an accident.

My husband wasn't so lucky. About two years ago, he exited a freeway. As he neared the end, he looked behind him. A hundred feet away, a red light held back cars. No one was headed toward him. He stepped on the accelerator to cross the access road to a station. The light turned. A driver pounced on the gas. The car hit the back side of my husband's truck. Again, it got lost on his blind side.

I find that, as a Christian, I resist the outright sins like stealing and blasphemy. But, what about those on my blind side?

Sneaky sins catch up in much the same manner as an accelerating car barreling toward my rear bumper. God gives us insight onto some of those sneaky sins.

     And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. Luke: 21:34

Quote from Divine Dining:

    I understand drunkenness.
    Cares of this life can catch any of us. If activities, even good ones, keep us from worshipping and spending time with God, that thing becomes a snare.
     Jesus aims the word surfeiting to people like me. Surfeiting means overindulging, gorging, stuffing even to the point that the word is used for discomfort or nausea. We try to apply this only to people who are overweight, but this applies to everyone at times.

Lord, keep watch on my blind side. Don't let sneaky sins like drunkenness, surfeiting, and cares of this life catch me in a wreck, one that has eternal consequences.

What about you? Have you ever had something sneak up on your blind side, spiritually, or physically?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Ghost of Clara

My first Weird Wednesday ghost tale wound its way to me several years ago when I first moved to Wichita Falls, Texas. Clara is certified as a ghost town about 30 miles northeast of town. On a lazy afternoon joy ride, my husband and I discovered Clara Cemetery, a well-cared for oasis in the middle of the sparsely-populated North Texas plains.

We entered the archway to the cemetery and walked the concrete paths to view graves marked mostly by German surnames. Set out in the middle of nowhere was this cemetery, a church, and a rectory. I researched the area. Many former occupants now live in nearby Burkburnett, Texas, and any children are bused into Burkburnett schools. I interviewed several such as Raymond Schroeder and Phoebe Todd. The North Texas historian, Dick Vallon, shared history on the area. The town once sported a post office, a school, a general story, and a bustling population.
What's more interesting than a ghost town in your backyard? I learned the answer; a ghost legend that sprang up from the area.

Clara, Texas was founded by a German, Colonel Hermann Specht. Texans gave him the title but he was never in the military. Colonel Specht was instrumental in moving Germans from several states to North Texas. His dreams were high, and he set about to make them come true. He named the town after his beloved wife, Clara.

Colonel Specht's life faced a tragic end. He traveled to visit his brother in Germany. World War 1 broke out, and he was stranded. He died for away from the land of his dreams.

A woman by the name of Dorothy Crowder probably started the ghost legend in her book "Tales of the Red River Valley." Here's an excerpt:

     The ghost of Colonel Hermann Specht can be seen on foggy nights walking between the headstones at the Clara Cemetery. Specht's back is rigidly straight in a military bearing, but he has a distinctive limp as he drags his left leg behind him. He is over six feet tall. His clothing includes a Prince Albert coat with boutonniere in the left lapel. Specht uses a cane to support himself. His face is gaunt, his eyes sunken. When he turns to see who dares to follow him, he shows no animosity, only sorrow. For Hermann Specht was a man who had a dream which withered and died before it was born.

     ... Colonel Herman Specht's ghost came into being one October morning when a reporter from KAUZ-TV called to ask if there were any good ghost stories in Burkburnett. He was told, "no, not in Burkburnett, but there is in Clara."

And, so the story spread.

When I discovered it, my granddaughter, Victoria, was going through her rebellious teens. As I love to do, I asked myself, what if ...

 What if a young girl sad from lack of friends and feelings of rejection, met up with a sorrowing old ghost. Had Colonel Specht still work to be done in Clara Cemetery?

And, so the story Victoria and the Ghost was born. It's an inspirational, paranormal YA.



At fifteen, Victoria, a city girl, loses her mother’s love and copes with country isolation, no friends and no one who cares, until she meets a ghost.




Well, that's my first ghost legend for Weird Wednesdays, and the one that sparked my interest in ghosts. Watch next Wednesday for the ghost legend that I explore in the sequel soon to be released by 4RV Publishing. It's titled A Ghost for Shelley.

If you have a ghost legend, you'd like to share on Weird Wednesday, let me know. See how to contact me under the "Who is Janet, and Where Can You Contact Her" page.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

You Might Be A Compulsive Overeater If ...

If you think you might be a food addict, here's a simple test to take to be sure.

I've listed ten signs. Count how many of these sentences or questions that you answer in the affirmative.

1.   You hide food at different places; your home, your job, your car.

2.   You tell white lies. Maybe you say you spent $20 on the kids’ books, but forget to tell that you spent $10 for junk food for yourself.

3.   You think of food all the time, planning what you’ll eat next.

4.   You leave early for work, meeting, whatever to allow time to pick up something to eat in case you get hungry while you're there.

5.   You buy one of your favorite foods, intending to eat it over several days, but you can't leave it alone. Instead you eat and eat until it's gone.

6.   Have you ever eaten so much at one setting that you were stuffed and nauseas?

7.   Have you ever eaten one meal by yourself, and then eaten another meal with someone else?

8.   You’ve  lost weight on a diet only to regain it again  with more added.

9.   Have you every suffered from a sugar overdose and then craved  sweets for days?

10.  Have you ever looked forward to time by yourself at work or at home, when you could eat uninhibited?


If you say yes to three or more of these signs, run, don't walk, to get help. Find a twelve step program for food addicts, a teacher, or class that won’t advise you to just use will power, but will instead send you to the One who has all power.
Don't search for answers. Seek after God.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What Does Your Home Say About You?

     Mementos adorn every area of my house. They’re a part of me and speak volumes of who I am. I like to think my house reflects hope as my writing strives to do.


Plates painted by my 2 youngest & a bear picture painted by the oldest -both at age 8-9

     My three daughters are precious. Memories from their childhood grace several rooms. I cherish each and remember where it was made and which girl made it. Come Christmas, our tree sports decorations made by our daughters. No faddish tree will do for me.


Pictures adorn every table, desk, and wall in this place; children and grandchildren at different ages. If you give me a vacant, spot, I’ll fill it. I add extra shelves to hold new treasures. I look for new ways to display art.


History speaks to me. Things from my past hold a place in my heart. This pitcher set was given to my grandmother when she married my grandfather, so it’s somewhere around 75 years old. I don’t do genealogy, but years ago, when wondering where I got my love of writing, I met a cousin of my mother who wrote poetry.


Friends are important. I may never travel to England or Australia, but I have souvenirs from there given to me by gracious friends. I have visited fields of bluebonnets, but none any more beautiful than a picture painted by a friend.

London souvenir from my English friend, Anne
from Australia. Thank you, Madeleine, my online writing friend.

painted by a dear friend now gone to heaven
Stacks of papers and books make up my husband’s “black hole.” I dust around them, but I never remove them. That’s his territory, a reminder of the wonderful man that shares my home.


Sayings stuck on mirrors, pictures, or cabinets remind me of things I tend to forget, but shouldn’t. One is entitled "Memories." Another says "move it or lose it." The one stuck on the bluebonnet picture above says "It's never too late to be who you might've been."


The Bible I’m studying at the present sets beside my place at the dining table for easy pick-up to read after I eat.


My writing corner. The plaque above it says "Lo, I am with you always - Jesus
A junky study overflows with books, papers, and file cabinets highlighting the computer where I pour out my heart through my fingers.

What’s in your house, condo, or apartment? What does it tell the onlooker about you?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

An Interview with Ane Mulligan

Today, my guest is multi-published Ane Mulligan. She bills her writing as southern-fried fiction. With me being a Texas girl born and bred, I just must like that tagline.

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.


1. Ane, when was the last time you wanted to give up on writing? What saved you from doing that?

    I don't think I've ever wanted to give up, although I've been really discouraged at times. My writing journey has taken nearly 12 years. But every time I felt lower than the bottom rung of a ladder, God showed up with someone who encouraged me. I eventually realized I needed to factor His timing into my publishing equation. Once I did that, I wrote and left the rest to Him.

2. Good advice. Where did you get the idea for your new book?


    Years ago, a young women at church told me when she married, she didn't know she should have prayed for the husband God had picked out for her, so she was gong to get a divorce and go look for that other man.

I talked her out of it, but it stuck with me. If one woman thought that, there had to be others. So I decided to explore what would happen if a woman in her forties, who had been married for a long time just learned that.
3. What is your favorite character from the book?

    Claire. She's a hoot. She's moves without thinking and has no filter between her brain and her mouth. She gets into more messes. The tagline form the book tells it all: With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

4. I think I would like Claire, too. Ane, if you could be a song, what would it be?

    This took a lot of thought. I may have sprained my brain, but I finally came up with When You're Smiling. God wired me happy. I love to laugh and I'm usually smiling. After all, frowning takes more muscles and therefore more work—and more wrinkles.

5. Thanks for the reminder. I must smile more. In what place do you do most of your writing?

    I used to do most of it at Starbucks, but then Hubs bought me a wonderful recliner that stopped all my back problems. So now, I write in my chair, in my new office.

6. What habit do you struggle with making or getting rid of?

    We're not talking about chocolate or coffee here, are we? Because those are two of the four major food groups. Can't give those up. Probably getting in my quiet time. I'm ADD and get distracted so easily it's pathetic.

7. What book are you reading now?

    At the time of this writing, it's Woman of Fortune, by Kellie Coates Gilbert. Although, I'll have finished soon. It's hard to put down.

8. How did you connect with your current publisher?

    I read a book I liked, Becalmed, by Normandie Fischer, and mentioned it to my agent. She looked it up, saw it had been published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and decided to send my manuscript to them as she knew the editor. I'm delighted she did.

    They also allowed my hubs, an artist, to paint my book cover. It was no easy task to pull an imaginary town from my brain. To me, it was more of a feeling than brick and mortar, even though I'd drawn a map for where everything is within the town. But he did it and I'm tickled pink with the result. Ken Raney took his painting and made the cover design with it.

9. What a wonderful thing to have your husband included in the work. I love the cover. Is there anything else you want to tell us?

    If you're a writer, never give up. Only those who give up, fail.
Chapel Springs Revival

With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.

With their marriages in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.

Okay, I hit Ane with several questions, but she was gracious in her answers. Do any of you have questions or comments for her? Chapel Springs Revival sounds like a must-read to me.