Tuesday, October 27, 2015

First Place in Tapestry Writing Awards!

Tapestry Award - 1st Place
Historical Fiction
My yet-to-be published novel, “Miss Ellie’s Orange Tree,”  won First Place in the Word Weavers State-wide Tapestry Awards! Tampa Chapter President Sharron Cosby presented me with the award (one of three my writing won) at the monthly meeting, Saturday, October 17, 2015.
Here’s the synopsis:

“Three can keep a secret …if two are dead.”
– Benjamin Franklin

How deep do the roots of an orange tree grow – deep enough to sustain a sixty-six-year old secret?

In 2014, eighty-eight-year old Miss Ellie looks out the window of her empty kitchen and views the towering orange tree in her back yard. “They’re going to tear down my house, aren’t they? And my orange tree, too?” She turns to leave and with a quick glance back, whispers, “And won’t they be surprised when they do.”

While war ravages Europe in the summer of 1944, eighteen-year old Ellie Miller must fight her own battles in the peaceful city of Tampa, Florida.

Lieutenant Joey Clement declares his love to her before leaving to join his Flying Fortress. The sprig of an orange tree she and Joey planted from a seed provides the only consolation in his absence. She waits…and waits…and waits for a letter from him.

Ellie’s tendency to panic throws her into a loveless marriage. Her abusive husband resents the baby she carries. And the worst onslaught of all – knowing the only man she’ll ever love is due to return to MacDill, unaware of her unbearable situation. Worn down from her own combat, she hasn’t the courage to face him.

Will Joey forgive Ellie when he learns she married a man he despises? Will he forgive himself when he discovers that he, not Ellie’s husband, is the father of her child? Is his love deep enough to cover her buried sin?

Miss Ellie’s Orange Tree is an 80,000-word historical love story that moves from present-day to the 1940s, and back to the present.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gearing Up for Frustrating Moments

Have you ever had one of those frustrating moments when you can't move forward because of mechanical failures?

One such moment made me late for work today. My Monday started out fairly normal. Hubby Tom prepared a nice breakfast of eggs & turkey sausage. Even my hair obeyed my hands and allowed me to wrap it in a soft bun on the top of my head. I left the driveway in plenty of time to get to work with time to spare.

My favorite parking spot near my office was still available, so I backed my van into it.
I got out and started walking toward the front door, but remembered the weather report for today: 60% chance of rain. I spun around and headed back to the van to get my umbrella. Since it was in the back seat, I opened the driver's door and pushed the button that automatically opens the back slider. The door jiggled, stuck in the "between opened and closed" position, and the "door is ajar" alarm sounded with a constant Beep-Beep-Beep.  I tried locking and unlocking all the doors, pushing the button again that should open or close the door...several times.

Frustrated, I used my key to unlock the hatchback, inadvertently locking it so I had to unlock it again. Climbing into the hatchback, I bumped my head and messed up the bun I had so easily created before dressing at home. I grabbed the umbrella and climbed back out, hearing that constant, annoying Beep-Beep-Beep.
The sliding door remained in the half and half position, so I thought, "Maybe if I start the engine, the door will let me open and close it again." I told myself this was a stupid idea, but threw my purse, lunch bag, tote bag and umbrella into the passenger seat and climbed into the driver's seat anyway. Putting the key into the ignition, I turned it to crank the engine.
I tried it again.
Still nothing.
Uh-oh. That sinking feeling in my stomach. The engine light had come on during the drive to work. Did I kill my Honda Van?

I blew a frustrated sigh and looked down at the dashboard. That's when I noticed the car was still in Reverse. The back doors won't open if the car is in gear. It's a safety issue.
I moved the gear shift up to Park, and the Beep-Beep-Beep stopped. The button that opened and closed the door worked, leaving the vehicle securely locked.

Today's life lesson, which I hope I learned: Before engaging in the day, make sure you are in the right gear. And heed the still, small voice that makes a seemingly irrational suggestion. There's always a solution hidden in there.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Remembering the Greatest Generation

I've seen ads on TV of groups calling for donations of WWII memorabilia. These ads state the importance of documenting "The Greatest Generation." Call me cynical, but do they really want to preserve this part of our history, or destroy anything that might show our soldiers in a positive and victorious light?

We've seen how the education system has twisted the discovery of the New World, the Mayflower passengers and the American Revolution. They've demonized Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson and other signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as removed portraits of George Washington from school buildings. The latest misconception of the Confederate flag, supported by the news media, speaks to the skewed teachings of the War Between the States. They even mislabeled it, calling it a "civil war." The word "slavery" is mistakenly associated with that war, instead of the true issues of taxation, economics, and states' rights.

For this reason, I'm hesitant to send anything without doing some research on these organizations. Who funds them? Are their workers volunteers or paid employees? Where will they store the collected items? Will the public be allowed to view the items? What will they do with faith-related letters or documents?

Fifteen years ago, I donated my late father's uniforms and some photos to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. I recently found the web page for the 379th Bomb Group, my dad's unit. (379thbga.org : The 379th Bomb Group of WWII) We may have located a photo of him with his crew. I have his small Gideon Bible, in which he inscribed the words: "This Bible flew 33 missions with me."

So, before you give away precious memorabilia to an unknown source, do your research. Locate your family member's unit. Visit bona fide museums and consider donating to them instead. Preserve them and pass them on to additional generations to give them a perspective of the faith and sacrifices required to defeat a godless dictator and win a world war.

Let us never forget the Greatest Generation and the faith that brought them through to victory!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Apostasy or Rapture?

Click on the link below to receive this excellent lesson by Pastor Andy Woods of Sugarland Baptist Church. Andy is frequent guest speaker at Bayside Community Church in Tampa, Florida.
Andy Woods' Lesson on the meaning of Falling Away.

I will post more lessons from Bayside Community Church as time permits.

Monday, November 10, 2014

New Book Release - Jan. 1, 2015

Watch for your postcard announcing the release of my debut book, "Discovering God in Everyday Moments - 180 Devotions for Women." (Barbour Publishing). The release date is January 1, 2015, but friends who have ordered on-line received them in December (in time for Christmas).

You can order this book through any of the following resources:

Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/discovering-god-in-everyday-moments),

Barbour (www.barbourbooks.com),

Amazon. If you choose to order through Amazon, please help a missions pilot by ordering through his blog site:

or ChristianBookstore.net:(http://www.christianbookstore.net/discovering-god-in-everyday-moments-jan-by/catalog-6127626/)

I've recently discovered this devotional will also be available in Spanish.
How exciting!

Pastor Tom Doyle of E3 Ministries, who has authored several books(https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/96933.Tom_Doyle), has requested a translation in Arabic and Farsi to bring hope to the Christian believers to whom he ministers in the Middle East. No word, yet, on this possibility.
Please keep this wonderful pastor and his family in your prayers, too!

Here's a gifting idea:
Although the book won't be available until after Christmas, you could print out copies of the cover to wrap up for loved ones on your gift list. They'll feel blessed to get the second gift a couple of weeks later.

Look for God, 
our creator and benefactor,
in everyday moments.
He is there...always!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Voting Advice for General Election - Amendments

Here's my advice for voting on the Constitutional Amendments, which will appear on the Florida ballot in November:

If you believe these amendments are good for the State of Florida, bring them up to your State Representative. Let the legislature vote to enact them. It's much easier to amend or repeal a legislative act than to change or repeal an amendment to the state constitution.

Here are the facts:

No. 1 - Water & Land Conservation. Dedicates 33% of net revenues from existing excise tax to acquire and restore Florida conservation & recreation lands. This is already being done, rendering this a moot point.
Vote NO.

No. 2 - Use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients' use of marijuana.
The term "treatment centers" means any entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes, transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana. In other words, the pill mills our LEAs have shut down will reopen as pot shops with no restrictions on locations (like next to a school or daycare center).
The term "caregiver" means a person who is at least 21 years of age. No professional licensing or background check is required. They can be felons or drug dealers, or drug addicts.
The term "debilitating disease" could be anything from back pain to having trouble sleeping. No Rx from a doctor is required to obtain pot.
The term "qualifying patient" places no age limit on the user of pot. This means teens and children can buy pot without parental consent or knowledge.
Don't call it medical marijuana; that is already legal in this state. The man who is pushing hard for this amendment has his own self-centered agenda. And he knows he won't get this passed by the congress in Tallahassee. (On a personal note, our neurologist has NOT suggested using pot to lessen epileptic seizure activity.)
Vote NO.

No. 3 - Prospective Appointment of Certain Judicial Vacancies.
Currently, the governor may NOT fill an EXPECTED vacancy until the current justice's or judge's term expires. This amendment would give the governor authority to pre-appoint a judge or justice to an expected vacancy when the current judge or justice faces mandatory retirement age or fails to qualify for a retention election, or is not retained in an election. Three supreme court justices will age out during the election cycle of 2019.
Vote NO.

Three "no" votes will get you out of the voting booth in a few quick minutes!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

1944 - 1948 Tampa, Florida Research Project

My latest fictional work, "Miss Ellie's Orange Tree," begins in Tampa, FL in 2014. The third chapter moves the action to mid-June of 1944, where the bulk of the story takes place.
Researching this time period has been both exciting and fascinating. Here are a few newsy items I discovered:
  1. The Gandy Bridge once had a toll and a draw bridge.
  2. A B-17 crashed into a house in Abdella Street in May. Only one casualty came of this incident because the neighbors rushed in to rescue the airmen. They didn't know the term "first responder" back then.
  3. A ham sandwich at Newberry's lunch counter cost 10 cents.
  4. Clark Gable and John Garfield both came to Tampa to film wartime movies and documentaries.
  5. A hurricane crossed the bottom portion of the state in October.
  6. Tampa had a network of streetcars.
  7. The Tampa Theatre had air conditioning!
  8. Kennedy Boulevard was Grand Central. Interesting note: had they not changed the name I would be known as a SOGCS instead of a SOKS (South Of Kennedy Snob). But in those days, not much was north of Grand Central.
  9. Tampa U was a two-year junior college.
Times were difficult back then. They sacrificed for the war effort, unlike today. No one asked IF you went to church, but WHERE did you attend. Perhaps their faith in a living and loving God gave them the strength to live through and win a world war.

If you have any tidbits of newsy items from 1944 - 1948 in Tampa, FL, feel free to post a comment.