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.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Name That Kitty! Contest

I found this adorable kitty, made of resin, at my favorite thrift store, Life’s Treasures, on S. Dale Mabry in Tampa. With that sweet face, how could I resist? My husband’s voice demanding, “No more junk in this house!” rattled around in the back of my mind as I carried the critter in my basket throughout the store in search of other treasures. So, I took it back to where I’d first found it and put the kitty back on the shelf. What do you think happened next? It jumped right back into my basket! Okay…so it had a little help. But I honestly put it back three times, and each time returned it to my basket. I actually let go of it the second time. That sweet little face almost begged me to take it home. I’ve justified the purchase (50% weekend so it was half price!), by telling myself I’ll keep it at work.
Now I need your help. The kitty doesn’t have a name, so I’ve created a contest to


The winner will receive a free copy of “Chicken Soup for the Soul – I Can’t Believe My Cat Did That!” Among the many amusing and heart-felt stories are my two, “Mewsic Critic” and “Taming My Ogre.”
The Ottawa Herald recently profiled “Mewsic Critic” in one of their articles.

Another of my cat stories, “Trick or Feat,” will be included in CSFS’s next cat anthology, “The Cat Did What?” due to be released in September 2014.

So, put on your creative thinking cap and
Contest ends July 31, 2014.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Every Challenge is a Blessing

Blessings from Heaven...

In the midst of my full time job, my writing assignment, and keeping track of my husband's doctor
appointments & medications, discouragement has been lurking in every shadow. But, thanks to Dr. Stephen Bramer (of Dallas Theological Seminary) and his message at Bayside Community Church yesterday (5/11/14), I can stare down those discouraging "I can't do it!" thoughts. In Haggai 1:13, the Lord says, "I am with you." Wow. God doesn't expect me to handle all this by myself. He is with me, ready to help. The first thing that came to mind is to give thanks for all the blessings this flood of stress has provided.

Blessing #1: My full time job. I work with a wonderful group of people who are kind and patient. I have benefits that include medical insurance, paid vacation, paid sick leave, a retirement plan and little perks given at our considerate boss' discretion.
Blessing #2: My writing assignment. What an honor it is to write about finding God in everyday moments. He's there...even when I'm trying to pull words out of a rock to put on my computer screen. My creativity sails smoothly, then WHAM! I hit a brick wall.
Blessing # 3: The brick wall I hit means it's time to take a brief break and rest or take a walk. A change of scenery will bring back the creative juices.
Blessing #4: My husband's appointments & medications have made a difference in his health issues. While I'm still trying to find the blessing hidden within his ailment, we've been blessed with a doctor who looked beyond the surface to find the real cause of the troubling symptoms. He prescribes medications that won't damage the liver, as so many drugs do. And he truly cares about us.
Blessing #5: With all these challenges washing over me, I used them to prove God is in everyday moments!

(I confess I don't know where I found this picture of the angel sprinkling blessings from heaven. Probably from Free Clip Art. I would like to give credit to the person who created it.)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Florida Christian Writers Conference

(L-R) Connie Pryce, Moi, Taryn Souders
The Florida Christian Writers Conference is one of many blessings I experience every year (when the Lord allows).  I meet new friends, like roommate Connie Pryce of Daytona Beach, and catch up with long-time-no-see friends, like Taryn Souders. Here we're enjoying our breakfast in the Word Weavers Members dining room.

Yvonne Lehman presents 2nd Place Award for Romance Novel
The Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 1, brought a smile to my face when my yet-to-be-completed novel, "Unforgettable" won 2nd Place in the Romance Genre. What a special treat to be presented the award by author and conference organizer (Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference)Yvonne Lehmann. With more than 3 million books in print, she is the authority on writing Romance novels.
Devotional Writing Class with Susan King of Upper Room

Since Barbour Publishing so graciously extended my deadline for the devotional, "Discovering God in Everyday Moments," I took Susan King's (Upper Room) class on ... writing devotionals. Susan is a great teacher (college professor of English and Literature), and has a wonderful sense of humor. She reinforced some of the knowledge I already had about writing devotionals, but also taught me a few new tricks of the trade I needed. I'm already doing some quick edits of my finished devotionals.

My lack of posts to my blog are due to my intensive writing project, which I hope to finish soon.

What a blessing to write for the Lord!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Discovering God

I'm progressing on my work for hire project with Barbour Publishing.
It's a wonderful opportunity to share 180 devotions of Discovering God in Every Day Moments. This exploration into God's word has been a divine blessing to me. I had discovered Him in my writing a long time ago. When I sit down in front of my computer, I don't type the first word until I have prayed for the Lord's guidance. This is a prayer He answers every day.

My deadline is the first of March, but, since the Florida Christian Writers Conference begins 2/27, I'll submit the devotional in its entirety to my editor the early part of that week. That means I won't be available on-line until AFTER the conference.

These books include some of my first works that Barbour deemed worthy of their standards. I truly appreciate their confidence in me and thank God for another discovery of Him in every day moments...more opportunities to tell others about the love of Christ.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Giving Thanks for a Godly Heritage

I am taking a moment to give thanks to God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. In the midst of difficult times, we still can claim the joy of the hope that is within us. We have the peace that passes all understanding because we have given everything in our care, custody and control back to Him who gave it to us. We'll try to be good stewards with them in the mean time.

I also am thankful that Rachel Eaton came to the colonies from Britain on the Mayflower, where she met and married my ancestor, James Ramsdell. They had one child, Daniel, from whom my family clan has come. Tragically, she died in childbirth. Maybe she is smiling down from Heaven, knowing that through her only son an outstanding line of Ramsdells have gone forward.

And may we remember at this time of the year - and always - the only begotten Son of God, through whom we sinners, because we believe in Him, are able to enter the family of God.

Thank you, Almighty God, the Father of all,
for my godly heritage.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mincing Words

The word I want to mince today is: Discrimination.

Webster’s Dictionary defines discrimination as the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently; or the quality or power of finely distinguishing. My computer thesaurus lists good taste, insight, perception, and refinement as some of the meanings.

Morris the Cat was applauded for his discriminating taste in 9 Lives cat food commercials. (Or was that the Persian cat in the Sheba commercials?) So in cat language, discrimination means "finicky."

This is one of many words the news media or other public factions have vilified or corrupted. Its definition changed from finely differentiating to bigotry or racism.

And someone created the term Reverse Discrimination to describe an act of segregation against Caucasian people.

Talk show host Janet Parshall used that term on her radio program, In the Market, to describe an incident in which a college rejected a student’s application, not because of low grades, but because of her white ethnicity.  

The reverse of any action means that action occurs in the opposite direction; or reverses course, or inverts. If that’s correct, then reverse discrimination would actually mean acceptance. Did the college admissions board members disallow the student based on their bias or bigotry against a specific race? That isn’t acceptance. That’s bigotry.

My aim here is not to throw a rock at Janet Parshall. She’s a wonderful emcee and well-informed speaker. I enjoy her Moody Radio program on my way home from work. But it’s a bit disappointing to hear our friends and favorite broadcasters fall into the trap set by the enemy who wants to confuse and confound our language. As a Christian writer, I feel a duty to protect our form of communication and use words in their proper function.

Now, I’ll use my discriminating taste to decide where to have supper tonight.