Monday, June 25, 2012

Roughing-It For Wimps

A few years ago, my husband and I bought a travel trailer and began our adventure. I'm a city girl so it was understood that I had certain requirements for my style of camping.
Electricity - check
Water and sewer - check
Clean, workable trailer - check
Air conditioning - check
Free internet - check
Cable TV - check
Good cell phone service - check

Was that too much to ask? Did I mention I was a wimp?

Last week, I had completed the last read-through (I thought) on my story, Victoria and the Ghost, and sent it off to be formatted into book form. I did this despite losing all my e-mail folders, addresses, and inbox due to virrus. I needed a break, and so did Charles.

We left early Tuesday for Lake Murray State Park, Oklahoma and planned to return Friday glad the June temperatures were staying mild. Just a few days of R and R before we hit it again. Charles sprung it on me that we didn't have cable TV or internet. Not to worry, the lodge had internet, so I could check in once a day. I could handle that.

Did I mention I was a wimp?

Later Tuesday, I got on internet at Ardmore, Oklahoma library as we drove through and stopped for lunch. My book had been returned to me for another read-through.

Did I mention I was also a newbie to publishing?

This is the first book I've sold and published. Periodicals don't require all these read-throughs for short stories. I was learning through experience. Knowing I didn't have internet in my trailer, I asked and was able to print my book out there. I was in business. I could read the hard copy while sitting on my trailer "patio." I can do this.

Wednesday, we drove to the lodge, spent an hour trying to get on internet without success. We then drove the 20 miles back to an Ardmore McDonalds. I logged in. The publisher's editor-in-chief, the art director, another editor and the publisher herself were sacrificing important things to get my book completed and out in July. I, on the other hand, had been out of touch and on vacation. I needed a swift rapping across my knucles, or at least, time-out in the corner with a dunce hat.

Did I mention I was in trouble?

Before I could answer, power depleted to my laptop. I headed back to the library. We returned to our trailer and then to lodge for dinner. One hundred and fifty middle school band students invaded the lodge. Forget dinner. Forget a place to sit in the lobby. We found a place nearby that only cost an arm and one leg to eat there, but it helped. We made a decision to drive the two hours home to Wichita Falls.

Wednesday night I stayed awake and read my story. I'm a slow reader, so I finished it about one Thursday afternoon. I e-mailed it back to the publisher with changes. We drove the two hours to our trailer. We sat outside until nearly dark and went in. Surely, something was on our TV. Yeah, it was Friends reruns. I didn't care for the show when it aired the first time.

Did I mention I'm a wimp at this roughing-it stuff?

I received a call that my aunt died. The funeral would be two and a half hours farther east than where we were, so we extended our stay two more days to be closer for the funeral. It just made sense.

Thursday, I tried the lodge internet again with no luck.

Friday, we headed to Ardmore. Thank you, dear library for allowing me to use your internet. I seemed to be constantly spending time logging into a strange computer. One of them would delete my return messages before I could send. I typed one message three times.

Another thing: I'm rather tech-challenged.

As much as we searched for internet, we also drove around several times a day looking for BARS.

I'll leave you thinking about that a moment.

Friday night, we went to register for the Sunset cruise. We wanted something fun out of that trip with all the time and expense. That night's cruise was cancelled. They could take us Saturday night. We can do that. We can make it back. Or die trying.

By this time, my husband aimed for doing something, anything to make me happy. Any husbands identify?

We flopped from exhaustion Friday night at ten o'clock after two nights of little or no sleep. Unfortunately our spot blocked the entrance to the campground.

Did you realize everyone heads to a lake with their RVs between ten and eleven on Friday night?

Yep, that's the truth.

Saturday morning we left early and drove to the funeral. We drove out of the way to my daughter's house to take our grandson's birthday present. He turned ten Sunday. Guess what? I checked her computer while I was there.

We had lunch with the family. Nice time, but sad. She was my daddy's baby sister. I had good memories of her and hadn't seen her since last summer. We left the lunch as soon as possible since we had a drive back to Lake Murray and a sunset cruise. We WERE going to have fun. Of course, we had to make a quick (NOT) stop at a Starbucks to check e-mail in case I was in trouble again.

The hour and fifteen minute cruise was nice but we came in twenty-five minutes early. No explanation. No refund.

Now, my husband is mad.

Charles manages property and the air conditioning went out on one on Saturday evening, of course. He's scrambling to find someone to fix it that evening or Sunday. Between that and fighting anger about the cruise, he couldn't sleep, so I didn't either since I was reliving all the things I said or did wrong while with family I rarely see.

Did I mention our propane ran out and our air conditioning quit during the night?

Charles and I were glad to get off vacation yesterday. It about killed us. Not for sure when I plan on camping again.

Oh, and the bars we chased?

Cell phone coverage. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Remember the Fallen on Memorial Day

In 1865, after the civil war, the United States of America set aside a day called "decoration day" to honor fallen soldiers. It was an effort to heal a nation wracked by civil war. They gave tribute to the armed forces of both sides.

The name of the day was later changed to Memorial Day. Meetings across our land raise the American flags and/or play TAPS to remember those who sacrificed much so that we might have freedom today.

As a writer and a Christian, I would like to show honor to a fallen soldier of our recent wars, Adam Brown. This book about him makes you want to stand up and salute.

Adam gave his life to Christ and with God's help defeated a crack cocaine addiction to join the navy. He overcame the handicap of the loss of sight in one eye to become a navy seal. A bomb sealed his fate in 2010. His heroic accomplishments give glory to our Lord and bring regard to his family. On Memorial Day, 2012, I highly recommend this book. That might be a good way to enjoy your holiday.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Here's six sentences from my WIP "Auction Her Heart."

“You look pale.” His arm draped around her


A hitch caught her breathing. Her legs buckled.

She needed to sit down, but her chair seemed two

Texas counties away. For just a moment, she would

submit to the offered refuge. Taut muscles supported

her weakness.

Carol Shenold asked us to participate in her Six Sentence Sunday, so the above is my contribution. Thanks, Carol. This is fun.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Do you ever feel a let down when you finish a book? Three years ago I plotted a new contemporary romance at a plotting retreat in Quartz Mountain of southwestern Oklahoma. Since I was in the middle of other projects, I set it aside. Last fall, I began writing it with all the excitement of a school girl with a new cell phone.

Yesterday, I wrote "the end." Now you would expect that would be an exciting time. For the last six weeks, I wrote as fast as my fingers could tap the keyboard antipating "the end." I achieved my goal. Where was the enthusiam?

I tried to catch up on a few other ongoing stories or ideas, but soon succumbed to the numbness. My heart wasn't in my writing. I suffered a real case of the blues, and it all came back to the fact that I'd written "the end."

As a reader, I have experienced this before with a book that I loved. I hated to leave the characters behind as if saying good-bye to old friends or family. I have written "the end" on seven novels since I started writing, but this is the first time I feel adrift, sad, let-down.

During my quiet time with the Lord, this morning, God revealed the why. In both writing and reading, we end one book and open another eager to meet new friends, see a new world or even continue the first story if we're reading a series. Yesterday, when I wrote "the end" on my novel, I reached a dead end street with no outlet.

When we reach one of those deadends while driving, we turn around and look for a new direction. This morning, I search my options. I look through my idea list. I glance over old stories that need rewriting. One, in particular, needs a point of view change. Most of all, I pray for God's guidance.

What comes next? Only delving into a new story will chase away my let-down.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Are Ghosts Real?

Are ghosts real? No doubt, ghosts intrigue us. Supernatural beings scare us, and paranormal activity interests everyone. Still, there are those who disavow their existence. There are Christians who believe they exist, but should be avoided because they are evil.

Let me know what you believe.

The dictionary gives this definition of supernatural as: not explainable by natural forces or accepted rules. Many people testify to occurrences that can’t be explained in the natural realm. Are they crazy or hallucinating, or lying?

The Bible is a Christian’s reference for knowledge and guidance, so here's my take:

I learned two things about ghosts or supernatural beings from my study.
1) Spirits of people who have died are not real.
Hebrews 9:27 tells us God appointed one time only for each of us to die. I would not put "out of body" experiences here because they do not move around the earth as spirit beings, but drift off and immediately back to earth as living people. I concur from this verse that people can’t die and live on as spirit beings before they “follow the light” as popular TV shows such as Ghost Whisperer demonstrates. These shows are fun, but not factual. Another verse, Matt. 25:45 tells us the same thing. Evil people go to eternal punishment and ones upright with God go into eternal life.
2)Spirit beings or ghosts are real.
The Bible refers to them as angels and demons, but denotes their authencity.

God created angels as a different type of being than men. Neither distance, nor gravity nor visibility binds angels. Because of that, angels are GOOD supernatural beings. We can’t explain or understand them, but they do exist.
Wonderful testimonies abound of angels appearing to people, helping, strengthening or bringing about miracles. In the Bible, angels appeared to men such as Daniel in the Old Testament and Mary in the New Testament.

Demons are BAD supernatural beings or ghosts, if you will. 2 Co. 11:14-15 gives us insight into their ability to disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness or angels of light. 1 Peter 5:8 explains that these demons will do anything to destroy Christians. Because they masquerade as “nice people,” unsuspecting victims trust the psychic or medium, when they should trust God.
Eph. 5:18 warns us to “not be deceived.” A psychic will conjure up loved ones to convince us of their desire to help. Old Testament Scripture reminds us that God is against psychics. (See Deut. 18:10-13 and Lev. 20:27). The closest thing to a haunting listed in the Bible is the story in Mark 5 of the man possessed by a “legion” of demons so that he lived in the graveyard and scared people. This was another example of evil ghosts.

Most ghost tours or legends exemplify a person that used to live as human, but now, after death, as a spirit. Biblically, I don't believe this can happen though many times ghost stories are fun and not intended to take as a serious worry. In cases where people believe in these apparitions, have seen them or been scared by them, they could be real. Our job would be to classify them in the right category--angels or demons.

Per 1 John 4:1, “…test the spirits whether they are of God…” So, we know they can be of God, but can also be of the devil.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not and it shall be given him. James 1:5 KJV.”

Christians should view ghosts as real, able to deceive, can be good or bad, and are never reincarnated people. At least, that's my take. What's yours?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

10 Steps to Lasting Weight Loss

A million diet plans vie for attention this time of year. The latest gimmicks and schemes bombard our magazines and airways. Many of us jump on the bandwagon and try the latest thing. I did that for years.

But, do we keep off the lost weight? Not me.

When I reached my bottom weighing two hundred and fifty pounds, carrying a load of self hatred with resentments eating at my mind, I finally asked God for His success stragedy.

Here's the ten steps I've learned:

1. "Not my will, but Thine" Pray this every morning.

2. Every day eat 5-8 servings of fresh or frozen fruits or vegetables. Have one of these whenever you're hungry.

3. Whenever possible, substitute enriched breads, cereals, pastas, rice for whole grains which better satisfy.

4. When you attend a party or go out to eat, first visualize what healthy choice you'll make, and then scan the menu or options to find the item nearest your mind picture. Around your house, never keep any foods that "call your name." As the Bible says, "shun the very appearance of evil."

5. Always eat 2 teaspoons of healthy oils such as olive oil, canola oil or sunflower oil. Try nuts, seeds or avocado in moderation.This keeps you from being hungry.

6. Start your day with the Bible and then read a paragraph in a book or blog that motivates you to serve God in a new or improved manner. Remember, you need to subsitute the god of food for the true Lord of all.

7. Choose leaner meats such as grilled chicken, trimmed-up sirloin, or fish. Try meals without meat as occasional options. Eat more legumes.

8. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or tempted, pray. Strive for a short prayer at least once an hour while you're awake.

9. Find an activity you enjoy--walking, dancing, meeting friends at the gym, swimming, biking. Don't pattern your exercise after someone else.

10. When you fail your idea of perfection, (and you will), start anew whether it's noon, five p.m or ten at night. Remember, it's our own minds that demand perfection, not God. He asks only that we hold His hand.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

God In The Storm

STORMS. I don't like them. Do you? During storms, we stew and worry. We tremble and cringe. We see no escape. Yeah, while the tempest rages, Jesus can appear to be asleep in the back of the boat oblivious to our plight.

But soon, a terrible storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was fairly full of water and about to sink.
Jesus was asleep at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically, they wakened him, shouting, 'Teacher, don't you even care that we are all about to drown?' Mark 4:35-36 Life Recovery Bible.

This last week, I’ve been in the storm. Rain blinded my trust-ability quotient. Blustery winds concealed the sound of His voice. Two days ago, I “hit the wall.” Exhaustion, illness, worry and my usual struggle with resentment took a toll on my mind and my body. I sought to “wake up” my Lord. With tears streaming my face, I cried out, “don’t you care that I perish?”

God answered me as he did the disciples long ago. He spoke to the storm, “Quiet down.” The wind and rain diminished. Then, He turned to me and asked why I was so fearful. “Didn’t you know all was okay?”

I guess I forgot. Or, for just a few minutes, I doubted.

Recently, I saw an anonymous saying that I thought God would have me remember.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s learning how to dance in the rain.

Lord, even while the storm rolls over me, teach me to dance.