Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FOR THIS I AM DEEPLY SADDENED


This statement gave me great joy…

“I saw, in one enduring moment, that the God who could make the Double Helix and the snow flake, the God who could make the Black holes in space, and the lilies of the field, could do absolutely anything and must know everything --- even why good people suffer, why genocide and war plague our planet, and why Christians have lost, in America and in other lands, so much credibility as people who know how to love.” Anne Rice

And the Bible says:

“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good...” Genesis 1:31

This statement made me very, very sad…

"I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity. It's simply impossible for me to 'belong' to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.” Anne Rice

And the Bible says:

“Then they asked Him, ‘Where is your father?’ You do not know me or my Father, Jesus replied. If you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” John 8:19

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in Your name drive out demons and in Your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:21-23

For this I am deeply saddened.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Imagine

 
Thirty years ago this week, John Lennon was murdered in front of his New York City apartment. Even after thirty long years, his death is still commemorated on the media and across the globe.
NBC’s The Today Show reported on an auction at Juliene’s Auction House that brought in $240,000 for the jacket worn by Lennon on the Sgt. Pepper album. In addition, a red sweater worn by Elvis went for $90,000 and one of Michael Jackson’s famous gloves sold for $330,000!

It amazes me what the world values and counts worthy to memorialize. People who survived the sixty’s remember Lennon’s death with great reverence. Scads of women over the age of fifty swoon with grief upon remembering Elvis’ 1977 death. Eighty’s and ninety’s pop fans are still grieving the death of M.J.

I wonder…what would Jesus’ tunic get at auction? Would the original manger take in a cool million dollars?

Unfortunately, Elvis, The King of Rock And Roll is dead. M.J. The King of Pop is dead. And Lennon, famous for touting peace in an un-peaceful world is still dead and in the grave.

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone put as much loyalty on Jesus Christ as on the kings of this world. Makes me glad I’ve placed my allegiance with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Yes, He died and went to the grave, but He didn’t stay there. So this Christmas season, remember the One who made the lame to walk and the blind to see and still has the ability to save lost souls. My Savior lives and will reign forever!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rudolph And The Great Affliction

 
 
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the classic 1964 film, has been a staple in our household and previously
in my parent’s household since…well probably since 1964. I know I must have seen the film a minimum of
forty times, but for some reason, I never noticed how incredibly mean-spirited the characters are. 
 
The painful dialogue begins with Rudolph’s own father. His mom is willing to overlook the situation, but not
Donner. Literally, as soon as the fawn is born, with his “affliction,” his father goes on the attack.
 
Mrs. Donner: We’ll simply have to overlook it.
Donner: How can you overlook that? His beak blinks like a blinking beacon!
 
What can be said but, appalling. Shortly thereafter, Santa arrives on the scene. And if I dare say so myself,
Santa’s performance definitely earns him a spot on the naughty list. The way he treats this poor, suffering animal makes me understand why Michael Vick turned out the way he did. Upon seeing the so called “blinking beacon,” the conversation goes something like this.
 
Santa: Great bouncing icebergs!
Donner: Now I’m sure it will stop as soon as he grows up, Santa.
Santa: Well let’s hope so if he wants to make the sleigh team someday.
 
There it is folks…discrimination. And who is in total agreement with Santa, Donner of course. And to
perpetuate the problem the abusive Donner decides to hide his son’s handicap.
 
Donner: Oh Santa’s right, he’ll never make the sleigh team. I’ve got it, we’ll hide Rudolph’s nose.
 
Rudolph pleads with his father not to hide his nose, but to no avail, Donner has his way.
 
Donner: Alright, son, try it on.
Rudolph: I don’t want to, Daddy. I don’t like it.
Donner: You’ll like it and wear it!
Rudolph: But Daddy, it’s not very comfortable!
Donner: There are more important things than comfort: self respect! Santa can’t object to you now.
 
With the makeshift nose cover in place, Rudolph meets with other young reindeer at flying lessons.
He meets a nice girl named Clarice. Upon learning that Clarice thinks him cute, Rudolph leaps for joy,
flying across the screen! The nose cover Donner made for him accidentally falls off and his glowing red
nose is exposed to everyone. The following comments were made by bystanders.
 
Clarice’s Father: No daughter of mine will be seen with a red nosed reindeer!
 
Coach Comet: From now on, gang, we won’t let Rudolph join in any reindeer games.
 
Disheartened and depressed, Rudolph runs away to find his place in the world. A travesty has occurred
in Christmas Town.
 
What about you? Do you have an affliction that is affecting your life? Is it physical, mental? Are you sin-sick?
The Bible says: 
“I will be glad and rejoice in Your love, for You saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.”
Psalm 31: 7-8
 
Don’t run away from what ails you. Take your affliction to the Great Physician. He is happy to help heal
whatever is wrong with you.
 
And please don’t get me started on the harsh treatment of poor ol’ Herbie, the elf that dreams of one day
becoming a dentist. That’s a whole other story.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do You Need God To Be A Drill Sergeant?


Sometimes while I’m reading my Bible my imagination goes wild! As I was reading the thrilling account of the Lord giving Joshua his marching orders on Jericho, for some reason the voice of God turned into the drill sergeant, R. Lee Ermey from the (does a former drill Sgt. Make a terrible therapist) commercial by Geico Insurance.

Okay, you have to do the voice in your head as you read:

God: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.” (Can you hear meeeeeee?)

Joshua: (But…but, Lord, Jericho is powerful and fortified and protected by many strong warriors! What good will it do to march around the city?)

God: (Now listen to me you jackwagon!) “Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” (Now drop and give me twenty-five maggot!)

Fortunately for the Israelites, Joshua wasn’t living in mamby-pamby land and didn’t have to have a drill sergeant God to get him motivated. Joshua listened to what the Lord said; he actually obeyed the Word of God and was able to pull off an amazing miracle to boot. Wouldn’t this be an awesome world if we were all like Joshua and did what the Lord said the first time around? But instead we sometimes choose to do things our own way and as a result end up walking around that ol’ mountain again and again. So the next time you hear the voice of the Lord calling you into action don’t ignore Him, get off your can and get to work scumbag!

Note: Parenthetical text added by writer

Link to R. Lee Ermey commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APwfZYO1di4

Thursday, October 21, 2010

History In The Making


Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:9

I apologize for the lack of blog posts over the past month, but I’ve been pursuing another venture…historical research! I’ve always been intrigued by history, especially local (Texas) history. I suppose it’s something I picked up from my dad who’s quite the history buff himself.

Dad has a way of talking about things from the past that makes history come to life. For instance, I can remember him taking me and at least one of my brothers to the capture site of Santa Anna (President of Mexico and commander of the Mexican army). This extremely significant and yet little known historical site is located next to the Pasadena Paper Mill front gate, facing the Houston Ship Channel. After I had children, Dad and Mom took them to the site…along with the San Jacinto Monument and the Battleship Texas.

When I was a young child my family went on a road trip from Houston, Texas to Destin, Florida. Along the way, my father took us through the Civil War battleground at Vicksburg, Mississippi. At the age of eight (?), I thought that was the most boring thing we ever could have done. Now that I’m…well, let’s just say I’m grown up, I wish I could remember more about it.

My love for history has encouraged me in my latest writing project. I decided to write a book series based around the Lighthouse at Point Bolivar, Texas. I’ve always been intrigued by lighthouses and this one in particular because I have a familial connection to the current owners, (who, unfortunately I’ve never met).

The first book in the series is based on a fictional family who has been called away from their home in New Orleans to man the lighthouse during the Civil War only to find when they arrive that it has been dismantled completely because of the war. The book is a romance of a forbidden nature involving a Union soldier and a southern girl. Sounds interesting, right?

Some things I’ve learned in my historic research:
1.      There was a Confederate ship Named the CSS McRae (My maiden name)
2.      During Hurricane Ike, part of the Civil War Ship Monticello washed up on the Alabama coastline
3.      The penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas was built BEFORE the outbreak of the Civil War
4.      During the Civil War the penitentiary sold more than two million yards of cotton and nearly 300,000 yards of wool to both civilians and the Confederacy. Wartime production made a profit of $800,000

I had no idea combining historical facts with a fictional account could be so much fun. Please pray for me as I pursue this exciting new endeavor.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Martha Rogers – Inspirational Writer…Inspirational Woman


When I first met Martha Rogers some five years ago, she was in full “conference-mode,” and I didn’t really get to know her. We met at First Baptist Church of Houston where she was hosting the annual Inspirational Writers Alive! conference, of which she is the State President. My first thoughts were, “Boy, this woman is a lot older than I am and she has more energy than an ADHD kid who forgot to take their meds!”

I soon learned that there was much more to know about Martha Rogers.

Martha is a retired English Composition and home-economics teacher, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, singer, youth leader and First Place leader. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes a weekly devotional for the group as well as being the treasurer for the Writers on the Storm, Woodlands, Texas chapter. Martha also acts as treasurer for her local chapter of Inspirational Writers Alive! in Houston.

One of the things that is most inspirational about Martha is the fact that after trying to get published for a number of years (not counting her contribution in a novella entitled, Sugar and Grits) she finally received her first writing contract at the age of seventy-three!

Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:3

Wow! Martha tells the story that she made the mistake of telling someone that she had absolutely no stress in her life. Shortly thereafter she received a multi-book contract with Strang Publishing. Her first novel had to be turned in within four months! Her book credits include:

Sugar and Grits (Not on the Menu) 2007
Winds Across the Prairie Series
Becoming Lucy 2010
Morning for Dove 2010
Finding Becky 2010
Caroline’s Choice 201 1
To Be Announced 2011
A Riverwalk Christmas 2010
Seven Bible studies
Contributions to Compilations
By Wayne Holmes
By Karen O’Conner
By Debbie White Smith
Multiple Devotionals – Including
            Blissfully Blended, a devotional book for Step-Moms

Martha is a talented speaker as well. I recently heard her speak to a group of writers on the topic of Deep Point of View, explaining how important it is to let your reader know what’s going on inside your character’s head.

I’m delighted to have read the first book in Martha’s Winds Across the Prairie Series, Becoming Lucy. Here’s what the back cover copy says:
           
In 1896, after her parent’s deaths, seventeen-year-old heiress Lucinda Bishop is sent to Oklahoma to live with her aunt and uncle. But Oklahoma ranch life brings her more than she bargained for when she meets ranch hand Jake Starnes, a drifter who is running from his past. As her friendship with Jake grows, Lucinda faces emotions she’s never before experienced.

As Jake learns more about God’s love for him, he realizes he must face his past and the consequences of his actions, even if it means he will lose the one girl he loves. Will he be able to get his life together before someone else claims her hand…or even her life?

This was a wonderful book. Martha does a great job at drawing the reader into the lives and feelings of the characters she’s brilliantly created. I can’t wait to read the next installment, Morning for Dove.

I tease Martha of late telling her she’s my hero and my inspiration, and yet, I’m not really teasing. This godly woman is an inspiration to me and to everyone she comes in contact with. She has encouraged me to continue writing and has even helped me to pursue my latest writing project, a historical romance set in Civil War era Texas.

Thank you Martha for inspiring me and a whole new generation of authors yet to come.

Find out more about Martha Rogers at:

Monday, August 30, 2010

All Good Things Must Come To An End


All good things must come to an end. The end of the movie. The bottom of an ice cream sundae. The season finale of your favorite television drama. The last page of a really good book. And the number one thing I hate to see come to an end…summer vacation.

Kids these days have approximately 93 days off from school. (79 if they don’t pass the State mandated achievement test) Not even close to the 104 days Phineas and Ferb so aptly proclaim in their cartoon theme song. Let’s break it down:

May 22 – June 25 These are your prime summer vacation days. This is when you take the kids to Disneyworld the beach or a classic family favorite, the cross-country road trip. The weather isn’t too hot yet. The kids are so glad to be out of school that you can get away with practically any kitschy venue you desire.

June 26 – July 31 These are the days used mostly for taking care of business, i.e. appointment time. Since you scheduled these six months ago, you had no idea your best friends were going to invite you and the kids on their trip to the water park. But you can’t go because all three kids are having their teeth cleaned and you don’t dare cancel the appointments. The only excitement to be had is watching Lois the Corpse Flower bloom (woo-hoo) and then die (boo). This is also when vacation Bible school is scheduled, and youth camp and pre-teen camp. And if the summer isn’t slipping through your fingers fast enough, the stores are advertising back-to-school sales.

August 1 – August 22 These are the dog days of summer. It’s much too hot to step outside the air-conditioned house unless you’re headed straight to the pool. The kids are so bored and antsy there’s no pleasing them. The fights are endless and escalating! And then—school starts. There was, however, one unexpected high point during those long dog days that will forever stand out in my mind…

Toward the end of the summer of 2010, God laid a plan on the hearts of a group of boys, Taylor, David and Jesse. This plan culminated in the 2010 Back To School Worship Rally. Taylor was the worship leader and played guitar. Jesse played lead guitar and David played drums. There were also three back-up singers, Hannah, Kagan, and Kyle, a pianist, Terri, a bassist, D.J. and on the organ, Casey.

Two youth preachers spoke to the crowd of well over 100 kids and adults. One of them talked about how whatever we are truly passionate about is what defines us. Weather we are passionate about the football team, our friends, education, or whatever…that passion comes out and tells everyone around us who we are. And if we are as passionate about Christ as we are about other things, we could start a revival at our school campuses. Both ministers encouraged the youth to take their faith with them to school instead of leaving it at home.

I have to admit, going to Disneyworld, watching the Corpse Flower bloom, and teaching vacation Bible school were all a lot of fun, but nothing compares to the feeling you get when students turn their hearts and lives to Christ. I can’t wait until next year to see what Taylor and his group have in store for…Back To School Worship Rally 2011!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

There’s No Place For That In God’s House



"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”
Matthew 23:13

Something happened at church Sunday evening that took me back twenty-five years to when my husband and I were first married…

We joined a church close to our apartment in the Aldine area of Houston. We soon learned the congregation wasn’t “local” at all. The church had re-located from a very classy part of the Houston Heights.

We never felt welcomed into the church. The new member’s class we were put in consisted of an eighty plus year old teacher, several mature singles, and a few couples who could have been our parent’s age. Needless to say, there was no class unity.

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back happened when a visiting missionary was asked to take the stage and speak. He stepping up to the pulpit, scanned the audience, tugged at the collar of his plaid shirt and proclaimed, “Man, I’ve been away so long I forgot you can’t wear jeans on a Sunday morning.” I looked down at my precious husband’s Levi jeans…the nicest thing he owned. His eyes told me how he felt. We didn’t return and subsequently didn’t bother finding another church home.

Skip ahead twenty-five years. We’ve attended the perfect church for fourteen years. It’s the middle of summer and my darling husband decides to wears a pair of cargo shorts to Sunday evening service. This decision earns him the ridicule of not one, but two of the more “mature” male members of the church.

Hubby let it roll off his back…but I can’t. You see my husband wasn’t going to evening church in the first place because he had work he needed to get done before Monday morning. But he did it for me; and his reward…abuse from a couple modern day Pharisees!

What about you? Is there a Pharisee in your church? Or perhaps it’s you. Are your closed minded, old fashioned ideas causing someone to stay home from service, skip a week because their finest clothes are at the cleaners, or just stay away from church all together? There’s just no place for that stuff in God’s house.

Thankfully my husband is grounded enough in his faith that codgerly comments don’t affect him. I can’t help but think that it might have been a different story had the comments been made to a brand new baby Christian. I think there’s something in the Bible about causing new Christian’s to stumble. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be that guy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Chills! By Guest Blogger: Casey O'Hare


Ahhhhh Summer. Clear skies, refreshing swims in the pool, and MURDER?!?!?! That’s right: it’s Summer Chills from Alley Theatre. Other than The Nutcracker, I had never been to a play before, so Mom decided it was time that she took me to see Wicked, but it was sold out, so we looked to see what else was showing this summer when we stumbled across a play written by an author we both knew, and loved, and bought tickets for Saturday the 24th. Finally the day arrived; we put on the Ritz and headed for Houston. Our show was being performed on the Patricia Peckinpaugh Hubbard stage, which seats a little more than 800 people in elegant, red velvet covered seats which I’m sure will either raise your IQ or your social standings just by sitting in them, or at least that’s what it felt like. So what is this play we decided to go see you ask? It was the Alley Theater’s rendition of the longest continuously running play in London’s West End, since it first opened in 1952: The Mousetrap, from the third ranked bestselling author: (behind The Bible and Shakespeare) Agatha Christie!

The Mousetrap takes place during winter at Monkswell Manor Guest House in the English countryside just outside of London, owned by newlyweds: Mollie and Giles Ralston (played by Elizabeth Bunch and Chris Hutchison). Trouble begins when a woman is murdered in London, with a note left saying that she was only the first of the three blind mice to die. The only other clue is a note book that was left which included only two things, the address where the first murder took place, and the address of Monkswell Manor! Agatha Christie sticks to her usual motive of twists and turns which always keeps the audience guessing to the end. The Mousetrap is running in the Alley Theater till August 8th, and I highly recommend you see it before it’s too late!

Three blind mice, three blind mice. See how they run, see how they run. They’ve all gone after the farmer’s wife. She chopped off their tails with a carving knife. Have you ever seen such a sight in your life as three blind mice?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Disneyworld 2010 By: Connor O'Hare


Hook, Line And Believer welcomes guest blogger, Connor O'Hare, age 9.

Well, the summer of 2010 has been pretty good so far. I got back from Disneyworld three weeks ago. It was only my third plane ride ever. We stayed at the Polynesian Resort. It was beautiful! Our room had two beds and had three sumo belts ordered into Disney Mickey ears. (They were really towels arranged on the bed.)

The first park we went to was the Magic Kingdom. We visited Stitch’s Great Escape and then we headed to our first mountain…SPACE MOUNTAIN! I loved it. They had video games at the 1,000,000,000 mile long line but it was worth the wait. It was very cool and at one point my heart skipped some beats. They had like planets above us and even the Death Star! Then we did the frightening Haunted Mansion ride…it was way too scary. My favorite part is when two paintings of guys with rifles facing opposite directions turned to face each other and shot the rifles at each other.

(Mom note-this morning we went back to MK and rode Thunder Mtn. RR and Splash Mtn.)
The next day, day two we went to Hollywood Studios. First we rode Star Tours. It was pretty cool. It was like you were in a spaceship circling the death star. After that we went and saw Muppet Vision 3D. THEY TRICK YOU BECAUSE IT’S REALLY 4D. But it was very funny. And then we saw Indiana Jones live! The best part was explosives…TNT! I loved the very first thing best which was the old rolling ten ton boulder. After the show, Casey and Dad went on the Aerosmith Rockin Rollercoaster. Me and Mom went to Toy Story Mania 3D. Oh, what’s that? Who won in Toy Story Mania? Moi! By the way, moi means me.) After that we went to the Great Movie Ride. It was pretty cool. It had animatronics to show the movies.

Day three we went to Epcot. We ate lunch first—Chinese, it was yummy! Then we went to Ellen’s Energy Adventure, but it’s not TRRRRUUUUEEEEEE! The entire universe wasn’t created by an explosion, it was created by God!!!! Next we went to the thrilling, the chilling, the amazingly cool Test Track! They tested the cars for ice and then in a totally heated room and the brakes and my favorite, speed…woohoo!!! That was super fun. After that we went to Soarin’. We saw another 1,000,000,000 mile long line, but they had big televisions on the wall so everyone could play games like ‘train ride’, ‘you’re a bird’, and stuff like that. But it was just another movie ride aaahhhhhhh! Then we went to Finding Nemo and got eaten by a clam! (Just kidding that’s what the ride cart was.) Then we stayed Nemo-style by eating at the Nemo CafĂ©. Then, Spaceship Earth, woohoo. It was telling you all these things that happened through time and one was about the Egyptians discovering paper. (They took our picture) At the end I looked funny in my review.

Thursday, day four is the day we went to Animal Kingdom. First we had to take the bus. That’s the only way to get to Animal Kingdom. The first thing we did was It’s Tough To Be A Bug—Scarrrrrryyyyyyyy!!! 4D, woohoo…couldn’t stand it! After that we went to dino-land to ride Dinosaur. Can you believe the fiercest dino you’ll never see is mutated (Mom note-evolved) into the chicken…Mom doesn’t buy it! It had so many dinos, I don’t want to talk about it! After that I took the challenge of Expedition Everest. It was a pretty long line but nothing I couldn’t handle. It had a huge drop going through mines and the mountain of Everest. At one point the rails broke and you go backwards! And when you’re going backwards, in the corner A GIANT YETTI POPS OUT AT YOU!!! And I was the only one who saw it too. Well that’s pretty much what we did at Disneyworld.

Friday, July 2, 2010

It Had To Be You - By: Janice Thompson


Each time my husband or I pass by this book by Janice Thompson we have to sing a couple lines of the catchy Frank Sinatra tune. My nine year old son has even caught on to the act when he hears the song. “Mom, Dad saw the book again!” I write this review with a heavy heart as this is the last in the Weddings by Bella series.

Bella Rossi, wedding planner and owner of Club-Wed, furiously plans the most important wedding in her young career for her precious Uncle Laz and Aunt Rosa. She is anxious to be done with the wedding because she knows the next wedding in line is her own. Family visits from Italy to attend Laz and Rosa’s wedding as well as an ex-mob boss and an overzealous swing band, making for an exciting pre-wedding blitz.

Major conflict for Bella happens when some other family members decide to plan their weddings very close to her own. Bella is stressed even more when she is ousted permanently from her lifelong bedroom for a construction project to house Laz and Rosa. The icing on the cake for Bella comes when she is forced to room with her sister who insists on talking into the night about her own wedding plans. Bella hits a figurative wall and is forced to slow down. During her down time, she is pampered by her loving family and she is able to re-connect with God which is always a good thing.

Thompson outdoes herself, humorously tying up loose ends in the book. She beautifully illustrates how we shouldn’t judge people by how they look and to not lash out at people when they severely get on your nerves…even if they are your sister.

If I had to say something bad about the book the only thing I could say would be the cover art. By the looks of things, the female cover model seems to have unfortunately wrenched her shoulders out of joint. The male model isn’t at all what I would picture to be a Texas cowboy and I would know. He isn’t even wearing cowboy boots. This is of course no fault of the author who wonderfully portrayed the Tex-Italian characters in the book. Kudos to you, Janice Thompson.

Monday, June 21, 2010

1985 The Year In Review

-O. J. Simpson becomes the first Heisman Trophy winner elected to the Football Hall of Fame.
-After 6-1/2 years, the television series The Dukes of Hazard goes off the air.
-Mikhail Gorbachev becomes Soviet leader.
-Bhopal disaster: India files suit against Union Carbide for the disaster which killed an estimated 2,000 and injured another 200,000.
-New Coke, a marketing disaster is introduced. Three months later Coke re-introduces its original formula as Coca-Cola Classic.
-U.S. engineer Thomas Patrick Cavanaugh is sentenced to life in prison for attempting to sell stealth bomber secrets to the Soviet Union.
-Microsoft Corporation releases the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0.
-A Boeing 747 carrying Air India Flight 182 blew-up 31,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, South of Ireland, killing all 329 aboard.
-Route 66 ceases to be an official highway.
-8.1 Richter scale earthquake strikes Mexico City. More than 9,000 people are killed.
-A Delta Air Lines Lockheed L-1011 TriStar crashes at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas, killing 137.
-Pete Rose gets his 4,192nd career base hit, breaking Ty Cobb's record which stood for over 60 years.
-The Unabomber kills his first victim
-The Titanic is rediscovered
-The Super Mario Bros. video game is released by Nintendo.
-The "Achille Lauro" is hijacked by Palestinian terrorists.
-United States Navy F-14 fighter jets intercept an Egyptian plane carrying the Achille Lauro cruise ship -hijackers and force it to land at a NATO base in Sigonella, Sicily where they are arrested.
-Calvin and Hobbes, a comic strip by Bill Watterson, was first published.
-American naturalist Dian Fossey is found murdered in Rwanda.
-Ford Taurus is First Produced
-Super Bowl XIX - 49ers 38, Dolphins 16
-Michael Jordan Wins Rookie of the Year

JUNE 22, 1985 – DAN AND ANNETTE O’HARE BECAME HUSBAND AND WIFE, TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY DANO!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It’s The Only World We’ve Got


Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." Genesis 1:26

A night ago I was privileged to eat at Pappadeaux Seafood. The meal started off with a steaming bowl of crawfish bisque. My hubby continued the crawfish theme, ordering the crawfish platter. Half his plate was covered with a load of fried crawfish and the other half crawfish etoufee. I feasted on one of their fried seafood platters. My plate overflowed with fried catfish, shrimp, stuffed crab and stuffed shrimp on a bed of homemade French fries. I used up four paper cups full of tartar sauce. The platter was supposed to have fried oysters too, but they have a tendency to make me break out in a rash so I opted for extra shrimp.

Between bites of the seafood feast my mind drifted to the British Petroleum owned oil well spewing crude oil, unchecked into the Gulf of Mexico. The same body of water where my family has fished, swam, played in the sand and hunted for shells for over forty years.

I’m sickened to think about all that oil ending up on Gulf Coast beaches. As a child growing up in Houston in the eighties, my family spent many a weekend on Galveston Island. One of my not so fond memories of those trips included watching where you stepped because of the pools of black tar that dotted the sand. Of course it was to no avail. The tar ended up on us anyway, staining our feet and subsequently the floorboard of our cars.

A list of oil spills on the internet revealed a spill in 1979 by the Mexican government owned oil company, Pemex. The spill added up to approximately three million barrels…I believe this was the cause for the tar on the Texas beaches for so many years. I remember staying at an upscale hotel on Galveston at that time and along with the usual shampoo and soap, guests were given oil-removing hand wipes for trips to the beach!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-oil companies. After all, it’s oil money that supports my family. I am however saddened that the oil has been flowing for more than forty days and no one can come up with a solution that will actually fix the problem. Worse still is the thought of the natural resource being literally washed out to sea. It’s the only world we’ve got people! And it sickens me to think that my youngest son’s coastal memories might now include watching out for globs of black goo in the sand just like when I was a kid.

Father God, You gave us the earth and the seas as a gift to use and care for. But right now we’re failing horribly. Lord forgive us for what we’ve done and help us to fix the damage we’ve caused to your glorious creation. Amen

Oh, and the Pappas family…they have already begun legal proceeding against BP for what this spill is going to do to their business.

Picture courtesy of Reuters.Com

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Are You Listening? Aka: The Dummy, The Donkey and The Doggie

God uses a multitude of interesting ways to speak to us individually. I wrote a scene in a book where the main character has to be hit on the head with an iron skillet before God finally has her attention.

My Bible reading today brought me to one of my favorite stories. It’s found in the book of Numbers, chapter twenty-three. Israel is on their trek toward the Promised Land. Nations that refused their request to peaceably pass through were quickly defeated. Both the Amorites and the people of Bashan fell to the chosen of God. With Israel drawing near, Balak, king of the Moabites called on Balaam, knowing his reputation as a prophet.

Balaam saddled his donkey and went with the Moabites, disobeying God’s command to stay put. As a result, God sent His angel to block Balaam’s way. Balaam didn’t see the angel…but the donkey did. Three times the donkey veered away from the sword wielding angel and three times Balaam beat her for her disobedience. God saw fit to allow the donkey to speak to her master.

“What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?”

“Because you have abused me, I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”

“Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day”? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?”

“No.”

Then God opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw the angel of the Lord and he said to him. “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you because your way is perverse before Me. The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now and let her live.”

Wow! I wonder what it would be like if God allowed my dog Max to speak so he could tell me what God wanted me to do. In fact I have an issue I’m talking to God about right now. I desire His perfect will and it would be so easy if Max would turn to me after a good ear scratching and say “Mom.” That’s what he calls me. “God really thinks you should do…” But I guess that’s not going to happen any time soon.

So what’s a girl to do if God won’t make my Weimaraner speak? And I don’t mean barking. I suppose I’ll have to get down on my knees, do the speaking myself, then shut up so I won’t miss what God’s trying to tell me.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


ANNOUNCEMENT

(Please feel free to share with your readers and/or writing group)

Writers, would you like to make money doing the thing you love most? If so, then this announcement should be of interest to you! Janice Hanna Thompson, author of over fifty novels and non-fiction books, would like to announce the debut of her writing course for freelancers titled “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer,” available at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The purpose of this course is to strategically train freelance writers so that they can earn top dollar with their writing. Students can purchase the entire course (Ten Lessons) for only $199, or students can choose to purchase individual lessons for only $24.95 each. Each lesson will include an audio file (mp3 for download), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a power point video, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum, where Janice will meet with authors for group mentoring (at designated times). Currently, there are ten lessons available, but the site will continually grow. New, fresh material will always be added. If you’ve been looking for creative and exciting ways to earn money with your writing, your time has come! Please visit www.freelancewritingcourses.com and sign up for the newsletter, or write to Janice at booksbyjanice@aol.com for more information.

ENDORSEMENTS:
What writers are saying about Janice’s course:
“I've taken a number of classes since starting on this journey of writing, but Janice's course on freelance writing has been the most helpful. Full of tips, suggestions and her own writing experiences, Janice's course has something for everyone. If you are considering signing up for her writing lessons, I urge you to do so. You won't regret it!” – Edwina Cowgill, American Christian Fiction Writers member.

I've not only had the pleasure of taking online classes from Janice, but also attending seminars. I love the practical working knowledge she teaches because I was able to put much of it into practice immediately. From the classroom to real life in a snap, Janice Thompson gives the steps, the encouragement, and the simplicity to help any writer become self-sufficient. Would I tell you to take her courses? ABSOLUTELY! You will grow the ability to earn money with your writing! Every writer's teacher, Janice Thompson. -
Angie Breidenbach, Author of Creative Cooking for Colitis, ACFW PR Officer, Mrs. Montana International 2009

I participated in Janice’s online course in January of ’10. I found her to be very thorough and very concise in her explanations. She also took pains to offer lots of feedback and make it interactive. I know her classes will be great! – BK (Brenda) Jackson

My book-related website:www.janicethompson.com
My freelance writing course site: www.freelancewritingcourses.com
Explanation of course on YouTube site: My freelance writing course site: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-5IZSNaZFU
My facebook reader's page: www.facebook.com/pages/Janice-Hanna-Thompsons-Readers-Page/303537684650?ref=ts

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Home Is A Castle


Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good. Psalm 100:4-5

During a trip to England, my husband and I planned to tour Windsor Castle. Imagine that! I was excited about the opportunity to see the splendid home of the royal family.

Outside the castle, we waited in line, the chill of damp, gray gloom seeping into our bones. Then we heard something. A jet? It passed right over us. We moved up slightly in line. Five minutes later, another jet. I turned to my husband and said, “You know, honey, we’re not the richest people in the world. Our house is a fraction of the size of this place, but I wouldn’t trade it.”

He laughed and asked me why not. “Because as beautiful as this place is, it’s still under the flight path of hundreds of roaring jets.”

We had a good laugh together. But then I realized that our home truly is our castle—a blessing most of us regularly take for granted.

Beatitude Check: Be thankful for the home God has given you. It may or may not be a castle, but God chose the home you live in just for you. Celebrate your hearth and home with a bouquet of flowers or a prayer of thanksgiving.


From: Babes with a Beatitude Devotions for Smart, Savvy Women of Faith
Published by: Howard Books, a division of Simon & Shuster, Inc. 2009
Written by: MY DEAR FRIENDS, Linda Kozar and Dannelle Woody, my favorite babes with beatitudes! www.babeswithabeatitude.com

Thursday, March 25, 2010

God Will Make A Way



“…and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” Exodus 14:21-22

God has a thing about making ‘a way’ for His people when the situation seems impossible. He’s been doing it since He first freed the Israelites from Egyptian captivity and He’s still doing it today. Ever received an unexpected insurance reimbursement check in the mail at just the time you seriously needed the money? That was Him.

No, He might not part the Gulf of Mexico for you, (even though we have proof He could) but He will miraculously stop a two-ton SUV before hitting the sub-compact who’s slammed to a stop in front of you. Yes, that was Him too.

What is your Red Sea? Is it a lost job? Is it an illness? Is it coming up on April 15th? Only He knows how to part your Red Sea. Turn it over to Him and He will allow you to cross over on dry ground.

God WILL make a way even when there seems to be no way…

Photo courtesy of Connie Morgan/Flickr.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

iFever


It seems of late that technology is exploding like an atom bomb. I’m reminded of my first cell phone purchased about 18, 19 years ago. It was about as big as a size 6 tennis shoe with a screen the size of a postage stamp. It took phone calls…that’s all it did.

Over the years my phones have shrunk in size and grown in the amount of technology they utilize. But it’s not just cell phones that have evolved; portable music listening devices have changed immensely over the years. I’m dating myself by admitting this, but I was once the proud owner of not only a record player, but also a Dynamite-8, eight-track tape player. It was bright yellow and shaped like that box thingy in movies that set off dynamite, complete with a plunger handle you pushed to change tracks. Did I listen to my Carpenters tape on the player? Yes…yes I did!

The eight-track gave way to the cassette tape. Anyone have a Walkman? And then we were introduced to the CD and the portable CD player and eventually the MP3 and MP4 player. Okay, I don’t want any techies harshing my blog because I’m not very tech savvy. I’m just hitting the highlights here.

Last weekend my husband bought me the famous Apple iPhone. What an awesome piece of technology it is! Now my phone not only takes phone calls, I can text, update my Facebook, surf the web, watch a movie and play an awesome App…all while driving my SUV! JUST KIDDING!

The real reason for this blog entry stems from stumbling onto an online video touting the wonders of the (heralding trumpets) Apple iPad! Gotta have it! This thing is amazing with its 9.7 inch LED backlit display, websites, e-mail, photos, movies, books, 150,000 apps and all for $499.

What’s drawing me to this product you ask? I just got the iPhone after all. It’s because my friend, who I’ll call Sam, because that’s his name, sat in church last Sunday morning and whipped out his Bible…on Kindle! Who does he think he is, reading God’s Holy Word digitally in the Baptist church? And that, my friends is why I MUST have the iPad. Come on April 3rd…well, maybe I’ll wait until the iPad comes down to four hundred fifty bucks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Everybody Must Get Stoned



Bob Dylan said it and I’m here to attest that his words are true. They are in my case anyway.

A couple weeks ago as I lay alone in my bed resting a pain developed in my side. I didn’t think much about, after all, I often have side pain with my Crohns Disease. The pain didn’t dissipate as I had planned. Instead it got worse.

It was a different kind of pain, like a contraction. Now I’ve given birth on three separate occasions—I know what contractions are like. The difference with this pain and a contraction is that with childbirth, you get a small break in between.

I’m a very patient woman. That’s the only reason I can determine why I lay in my bed writhing in pain for two hours. My husband at work, my two younger children at school, I decided to call my eldest son, home from college. He was down the hall asleep in his bedroom.

My son, rushed to my side. We came to the conclusion that I must be having an attack of appendicitis. I’d just gone through that only a couple months earlier with my husband.

The pain continued to worsen to the point that I began throwing up. The only good thing about this turn of events is that the pain seemed to abate for a few minutes after throwing up. I threw up four more times before I saw the emergency room doctor.

My husband met me and my son at the ER. I could tell he was frightened. He’d seen me give birth to our three children. He knew how I reacted to that pain. This was worse. He would later tease that he was sure an alien was going to explode out of my torso.

Thank God the emergency room was fairly empty and I was quickly taken back. After seeing the ER physician I was hooked up to an IV, given some fluids and a very strong pain killer before being rolled down for a CT scan.

The CT came back shortly with a diagnosis—kidney stones.

The following evening I survived the passing of my first stone. It wasn’t nearly as painful as the day before. I investigated kidney stones on the internet and was surprised (well sort of) to find that people with inflammatory bowel disease are prone to kidney stones. This disease just keeps getting better and better.

From my blog posts I must sound like I’m sick all the time…but I’m not. I’m living a happy, productive life despite my illness. In fact I praise God for the trials I’ve gone through. I even searched for a Bible verse to describe this current situation. Here’s what I came up with.

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Luke 19:38-40


I’d like to think that when I was laying there unable to do anything but groan in pain that my “stones” cried out with praise to God!

But don’t get me wrong…I do not feel so all alone, because everybody must get stoned…

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Time Like The Present


He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' Job 37:6

The Good Lord is certainly generous in Southeast Texas with rain showers, but snow…well not so much. On December 4, 2009, however, Houston, Texas delighted in a smattering of snowfall. Most school children were already deep into class or school would surely have been cancelled. Thankfully for my kids the snow lasted well into the evening so they had their chance to play in the soggy white drifts. Keep in mind the drifts are what accumulated on car hoods.

A Houston snow is about as common as a flock of Blue Footed Boobies migrating to Galveston Island. Speaking of Galveston, a blanket of snow covered Galveston Island on Christmas Eve 2004. The amazing pictures of the Galveston Seawall, coated in snow were all over the news and internet. There was even a coffee-table book released commemorating the “miraculous” event.



We’ve been blessed with a layer of the white stuff only four times in the past fifteen years including the December 4th snow. There doesn’t seem to be much accurate information on the history of Houston snowfall, but here is what I’ve learned from the internet and from having lived here over forty years myself. Apparently it has only snowed in Houston thirty-three times since 1895 when the heavens opened up and dropped twenty plus inches of snow on downtown Houston. Believe me when I say it has NEVER snowed that much in the one-hundred-and-fifteen years since. The December 4th snow marked two records; first it’s the only time it snowed two years in a row, 2008 and 2009 and it beat the previous record for earliest recorded snow of December 10th set in 1944 and 2008.

I’ll never forget my first snow memory. The year was 1973. I would have been nine or ten years old. Schools were closed at the first mention of snow. My brothers and I watched the news reports warning about icy roads and covering the tender vegetation as we snuck peeks out the window waiting patiently for that first bit of fluff to fall from the sky. When it finally came, we rushed outside wearing three pair of pants, four shirts, winter coats and rain boots. (My mom doesn’t like cold). I remember a snow man of about two foot tall and my face stinging from being pummeled by snowballs. I also remember my mom making snow ice cream and saving one final snowball in a plastic baggy in the freezer. Yes, these are memories that stick with you.

Another memorable snow happened in 1989. It was special to me because it was the first snow I could remember since my first snow in 1973. My husband and I played in the snow in the backyard of our first home. We made a six inch snowman complete with match stick arms and cat food eyes. Ahh memories.

It seems strange that my youngest child has seen snow three times already in his short life. And we’re looking at freezing temperatures at the end of this week. Do you think it might snow in Houston yet again? That’s global warming for you!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Is There A Doctor In The House?


When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. John 11:4

I’ve been sick since Pearl Harbor Day. I’m not the sort of person that complains much. Probably the reason why I waited twenty-two days before going BACK to the doctor for more medication. Unfortunately I feel as though I missed the entire month of December in my Codeine-induced stupor. I was diagnosed on my second trip to the doctor (on my birthday) with asthmatic bronchitis. I pray you never get this! Especially if you suffer from a compromised immune system like I do.

Somehow I managed to feel my way through the holiday season. Admittedly I stumbled through much of it. I narrated our church’s Christmas musical. I attended my son’s Christmas concert. I performed a reading from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I also attended my daughter’s Christmas band concert, my son’s school party and an AWANA Christmas party. I welcomed my eldest home from college, sent three kids to dental and medical appointments and attended a professional basketball game. I shopped, decorated, shopped again. I’m not mentioning all the things I had to skip due to excessive weakness. December is a tough month to be ill!

An illness of this degree will make you closer to the Lord. I found myself asking if this was going to be a sickness unto death. I had to ask because at times, the coughing, wheezing, night sweats and hours of daytime sleeping made me wonder if I was going to make it. Thankfully it was not a sickness unto death and I’m here to write about it. Thank you Father for sparing me that through my sickness You might be glorified.