Monday, September 30, 2013


When the Pope posted a selfie – self-portrait – a lot of people were stunned. Thankfully, he didn’t make a silly face. I must admit, when I see some of the silly and strange selfies my teenage granddaughters post on line I’m puzzled and confused. Why would you want your friends and all those Facebook people to see you with your tongue sticking out? Okay, I get it. They do it because they can and it becomes a competition to see who can post the silliest pictures.
            I’m post pictures on Facebook too. It’s fun to share pictures of me with my grandchildren, book signings, and other events in my life. But eventually, you reach a point where the pictures must be culled down. Many that were funny or important at the time seem a waste of space a month or so later. How many pictures do I really need of my blooming azaleas? They bloom every year after all.
        The best part of selfies is that you are in them. Those are the ones friends and family will want to keep. When my father died, my brother and I had to dispose of his belongings. Our dad loved to take pictures. He had several cameras and hundreds of albums filled with snap shots. He did a fair amount of traveling and he took pictures of everything. Literally.
        When we started going through the pictures we made an interesting discovery. Of the thousands of pictures he’d taken over the years, we would only be keeping a small fraction. Why? Because he wasn’t in most of them. We only wanted to keep pictures of our dad. We found a few of him standing in front of the dude ranch he visited. One of him on a horse. A few of him beside a sign declaring his location. Unfortunately most of the pictures he took were of trees, mountains, prairies, sunrises and sunsets, rivers and snow scenes. Are you seeing a pattern here? We ended up tossing out all his pictures. The scenery had no value to us. Only his image.
         I came home and started sorting through my own collection of pictures. I found the same problem. Too many pictures of flowers, the Christmas tree at various angles, and my kids playing ball, but from such a distance that you couldn’t distinguish one boy from the other.
         So the next time you’re on vacation, make sure you take enough pictures with you as the center piece. Those pix of the Washington monument are fine for your own memory, but unless you’re in the photo your kids won’t keep them. Give your family memories and pictures they will want to keep. Mom and dad at Disney world, Grandma and Grandpa in front of the Grand Canyon, brother and wife at Mardi Gras.

They’ll thank you for it.

 Lorraine Beatty is a multi-published, bestselling author born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She and husband Joe have two grown sons and five grandchildren. Lorraine started writing in Junior High and has written for trade books, newspapers, and company newsletters. She is a member of RWA, ACFW and is a charter member, and past President of Magnolia State Romance Writers. Away from writing she sings in her church choir, loves to garden, spend time with her grandchildren, and travel. I love to hear from my readers. Visit her at

Friday, September 27, 2013

My Sweet Deifiúr …

My Sweet Deifiúr …

A difficult day…this one.  I have been absent from this place for the longest amount of time since the first time I put words on a page that I desired someone else to read.  My fingers, while functioning perfectly, have not been able to find the right keys, and my mind has not been able to find the right words.  When I look at the instrument at which I now sit, it looks as if a foreign object has invaded my Sanctum Sanctorum.  Like some sort of mystical creature lurking on my desk ready to wreak destruction to my already broken heart.  I am grieving and have absolutely no idea where I am in the grief process, or if I will ever get out of this dark place.

My Sweet Deifiúr, Paula, was born on this day and went to live with My Dear Sainted Mother and Jesus on April 16th of this year.
In the last 140 days I have glanced at this instrument with disdain.  I have circumnavigated the 3 or 400 channels I have on the contraption sitting across from my all too comfortable easy chair with the electric lift motor.  I have meandered around the net on my smart phone and, more recently, on the new Nexus Notepad I received as a gift.  These devices allow me to journey anywhere the internet may take me while never leaving the comfort and ease of my sloth.

It is time to get off my big dumb lazy Irish posterior end and write.

It is a dishonor to the memory of my hero that I am not writing.  She championed my abilities, and encouraged me to pursue the shaky dream of being a fulltime writer.  She called me and told me I was amazing.  She told all her friends that her brother was a published author and giggled like a little girl the day I sent her link to a short story contest I had won.  “Award Winning Writer” became a term she added to all the other accolades she heaped upon my scribbling’s.  When difficult times arrived for me, she told me that the first royalty check will fix all my money problems.  She was and is my muse and I deeply regret my denial of those talents she believed I have.  I must get back on the metaphorical horse.  To do any less would be to dishonor her beliefs and the love she had and has for me. 

It is time for me to grow up.

Among other things I have used to keep me away from that which I love more than anything is the feeling that I am now alone in the universe.  That there will be an unmarked grave in a Potter’s field somewhere that would prevent Paula from finding me and taking me home.  As absurd as this may sound, it is, a feeling and emotion I have been battling.  It is also, completely false and profoundly dangerous for me to grasp onto. 

I spent the last weekend with the family of what is, in actuality, my older brother, John.  We were raised together and bear no blood relation.  We do share the emotion and belief that we are family…a feeling that has unburdened my heart greatly.  Captain Domesticado, Paula’s husband sent me a message today that we need to stay strong.  We were the closest two people to Paula and continuing to keep each other in our respective lives would be just what Paula would want.  Thankfully, it is most assuredly what we wish also.

Maintaining the lethargy has been exhausting.  As I languish in my feeble attempt to distance myself from the rest of the world, I have come (once more) to realize what is important, love and understanding.  Paula gave me as much of that as any human could possibly disperse.  I took all that was given me.  It is time to give it back.  Help me Lord, to reject my idleness and despicable behavior.  Forgive me my sloth and show me how best honor my hero.

Goodnight Paula…I love you.

By T. Lloyd Reilly

T. Lloyd Reilly is a writer and former school teacher with over twenty five years of writing experience. He has lived what some would consider more than one lifetime and have gained a wide range of knowledge and life experience which he wishes to share through generous application of the written word.  His writing is eclectically diverse crossing many genres.  Further examples of his writing can be found at: 
“We don't need lists of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don'ts; we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”
— Philip Pullman

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Courage to Write About It

By Gail Kittleson

In these late summer days, I've been reading Searching For Stones by M. Scott Peck. His books have taught me so much, but it's been years since I read his work.He reminds readers of the value of making meaning of things through writing. And that fits with what a participant in a memoir writing class shared yesterday.
She read an account of her younger brother, one of those "lost" folks who never discovered his passion, or if he did, lacked the discipline to pursue it. He flitted from one job to another, one woman to another, and in the process, lost his health. 
Sometimes I get down about having taken so long to get to what I was meant to do all along. But there are worse things. You can live your whole life without even discovering what that is. 
What struck me yesterday is my writing friend's pluck to tackle this painful facet of her life, because it hurts to watch a loved one miss out. Someone who was meant to grow into healthy adulthood, function and contribute to society, doesn't. 
This older sister certainly tried to help, but there's only so much she could do. Still, she stayed in touch with her brother and attended a recent birthday party for him. That hurt, too, to see him broken and old before his time. 
But she found the courage to write about it. She used dialogue to begin her work, which fulfilled the assignment for the week. But from there, she employed several other techniques to express her pain. Not that she ever mentioned her pain--she showed it to us, made it real through description and vivid pictures. 
Hers was a kind of brave poetry that reeled us in and reproduced in us her emotional reaction. We were pretty quiet when she finished—her writing made meaning.
This retired woman has led a busy life, but still says yes to a lot of community volunteer work. And she takes time to make meaning of what's going on. That's what memoir writing is all about. 
Professor Keating in Dead Poets Society had it right: “We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”  
This writer in our little class is alive—more alive for having processed her experience through the written word. Writing it down released sadness, encouraged clarity, and to us listeners, brought understanding. It doesn't get better than that! 

After teaching English as a Second Language and expository writing, Gail enjoys her family (married 35 years, two children and two delightful grandchildren) and writing. Her nonfiction (Catching Up With Daylight/WhiteFire Publishing, August 2013) and fiction (World War II era) share a consistent theme—empowerment.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Seniors as Literacy Volunteers


By Alan Zendell

Does this sound familiar?  I retired at sixty-five, spent three years helping one son manage his business, then six months rehabbing my other son’s sweet dog after brain surgery as recorded in my short story, A Boy and His Dog, an Unfinished Love Story.  What did those efforts have in common?  Neither earned me a cent, but what I got back can’t be enumerated.
Six months of serious writing was satisfying, though I missed the utter joy of helping out my kids.  But they didn’t need me anymore.  I’d spent forty-five years as a scientist, engineer, and software developer, and I’d thought fleetingly of teaching math, but I knew I could never deal with the bureaucracy and politics of schools systems at my age, much less having to put up with kids who didn’t want to learn.
Then, I discovered Mathnasium, a California company that supports learning centers in math all over the country.  I could have purchased my own franchise, but I’d had enough of running a business, so I stopped by one seven miles from my home and offered my services as a tutor.  I had no idea what I was getting into, and given what the job paid, it certainly wasn’t about making money.  After nine months, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Sixteen of us teach nearly two hundred kids from age seven to eighteen, typically two to four at a time.  We tutors range in age from twenty to our mid-seventies, and represent six countries and a variety of racial and professional backgrounds.  The kids are the most ethnically diverse group you can imagine.  And this unlikely and continuously evolving group has developed a synergy like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
I never know what I’m going to have teach on any given day or hour, and what the kids learn in school these days looks very little like what I learned over fifty years ago.  It’s a constant challenge, that I think I’ve met well, but it’s the kids who make this special.  Whatever they learn from me, they give back many times over.  They’ve exploded every stereotype I ever had about their generation, especially the teenagers.  They’re motivated and eager to learn, but what’s really special about them is their basic goodness.  They are absolutely blind to their differences.  White, black, yellow, brown, young, and old, all each of them sees is other kids.  They share and help each other, they’re sweet and respectful both to us and each other.
I work mostly with kids eleven to sixteen.  Remember how awful your kids were at those ages?  But these are focused and serious.  They work harder than I ever did in school.  When they and I have worked hard together for hours to master something, when their eyes finally light up with understanding and their faces are transformed by smiles, I hear, “Thank you for teaching me that, Mister Alan,” and I know exactly why I’m there.
The first time I walked into the place I thought I’d be altruistically giving something back – we hear that cliché a lot these days.  I never imagined what an energizing, enriching experience it would be.  This isn’t a commercial for Mathnasium, though I love what they do.  It’s about remembering what kids are all about and how to invest my retirement in something that never stops giving back.

Alan spent more than thirty years as a scientist, aerospace engineer, software consultant, database developer, and government analyst, writing really boring stuff like proposals, technical papers, reports, business letters, and policy memoranda.  But trapped inside him all that time were stories that needed telling and ideas that needed expression, so with encouragement and cajoling from a loving baby sister he plunged into fiction.
Since then, he has written mostly science and extrapolative fiction, the genre he loved since he was nine.  But his stories are about more than aliens and technical marvels.  He creates strong, three-dimensional characters a reader can care about, because it’s people and the way they live and love that are important.  It’s the things they believe in and how much they’re willing to invest to preserve them that make a story worth telling.  It’s convincing interactions and well-researched credible plots that make a story worth reading.
And, of course, like any writer, Alan loves having an audience.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Loss—I Want to Talk About Him Now

By Jude Urbanski 

Loss is a universal and evergreen phenomenon and I want to talk about my loss. My pastor took his own life on May 27, 2012. Of course, he was not just my pastor. He was pastor to a whole church full of people. And he was well-loved. Very well-loved.

 I loved him as much as I love my brothers. In fact, it feels as if I’ve lost a brother. That’s the kind of impact my pastor’s death made on my life. And I am not alone. Others have said the same.
One of his many gifts was that he made you feel special. His life was thoroughly invested in people. He was so relational, met people wherever they were on their walk in life and before leaving them, let them know how very much God loved them.

Perhaps because of his German heritage, he felt a kindred spirit with Dietrich Bonheoffer and Martin Luther. I know he was every bit the prayer warrior these men were. Often his arms were raised heavenward as he knelt at the altar when he prayed. More than once, I’ve been the receiver of his powerful prayer to God on my behalf and have felt so nurtured from his words.

We, as a congregation, will never get over the loss of him, but we will get through it. We’ve already begun needed steps for healing and realize much time and tears will be required. We focus on celebrating his rich and full life and take comfort in knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not even suicide.

Our Loss One Year Later

No, we haven’t gotten over our loss of Pastor John, but we have learned to live with it. That is what must be done. If you’ve suffered loss, you know what I mean.

After our loss, we as a congregation participated in forums focusing on reasons for suicide. We tried to relate his downward, health spiral to such an unbelievable decision. An on-going grief group formed. We gave teens of our congregation every chance possible to come forth, understand and heal. We created prayer shawls and prayer squares to comfort. 

We hugged one another and hugged often. We vacillated. We became tolerant. We ached. We healed.
Most creative of all is that we made Pastor’s old office a sparkling-new, small chapel open to anyone, to our other pastors and congregants. I was part of the Healing Team organizing this space and can say it has been part of my healing also. The space, called the Chapel of Living Waters, is a beautiful compilation of many people’s efforts. The donations, the art work and the sweat equity were wonderful.

Chapel of the Living Waters

And, you know what? I’m decided next year this is place my husband and I will repeat our 25th wedding vows. Just need to let him know! Life is good.
Jude Urbanski, pen name for Judy Martin-Urban, is a multi-published, award-winning author who writes women’s fiction with inspirational romance elements. She weaves stories about strong characters spinning tragedy into triumph with God’s help. She is published in fiction and nonfiction. Jude was a columnist for Maximum Living, a Gannett magazine, for five years. She is a member of ACFW and National League of American Pen Women. Her latest book Nurtured in Purple is book two in The Chronicles of Chanute Crossing and is published by Desert Breeze Publishing in eBook and soon-to-be print format. Find Jude at:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Taffy--Heaven Sent?

I lost my big ole collie dog that summer. We knew he was getting old, stiff, deaf, grouchy--sometimes. But I didn't want to face it, didn't really think his death would come anytime in the near future. After all, he wasn't as old as another dog we took in.

We got him as a five month old pup, papers and all. He was adorable. My sons were younger and we enjoyed debating over what to name him. We'd had a female collie years before when the boys were just babies. Now we decided to go with a male. My family has always been big with western stories. It seemed appropriate to call our favorite dog after a character in one of them. Of course, he had his registered name, but we shortened it down to Sabre.

We loved him dearly. I use to tease my sons and tell them Sabre minded better than they. They'd just look at me and smile.

Sabre was smart. Very. He came when I called, even obeyed the hand motion I used for him to come. He loved playing hide and seek with me, and I think I loved it just as much. His big brown eyes were thrilled when he located me, and when I tricked him with a new place, I was as excited as he was.

He'd play fetch as long as I would throw. He'd follow hubby and myself on our walks. He'd ignore another dog we rescued (Mackie). I don't know whether he thought he was better, or just too dignified to get into Mackie's petty arguments over territory.

That last week, he began getting weaker. He had a horrible time moving about. I petted and talked "love talk" to him, telling him how much I loved him and what he'd meant to me through the years. And I cried and cried. I couldn't sleep that last night. Checked on him over and over.
The next morning I said my last good-bye to him.

A couple weeks earlier my oldest son and hubby came home from work. There sitting in the pasture near one of our horses was a small dog. Where did she come from? Did someone lose her? Want to get rid of her?

We don't know. Although son made inquiries we never found out who she belonged to. My hubby called her Squirt. I call her Taffy. She's a beautiful Jack Russell, big eyes, loving, and all. Well, I've never had a JR. We were gone traveling, but when we returned, I began making up to Taffy. She's a doll.

Could it have been heaven knew I'd need something to help me fight the lonesomeness of losing Sabre?

However it happened that Taffy came to us, I'm happy she did. I'll never forget Sabre. But my heart is big enough to love Taffy, too.

Have you ever lost a pet? How did you handle it?

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, she enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

ABOUT The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman:
How far would YOU go to avenge a daughter’s cruel death?  Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings. Can his prayers and love reach Cara and show her the way to redemption? Will Cara realize God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far?

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a novel of hope shining through the darkness with strong elements of suspense and romance. This novel was a semifinalist in the Genesis contest. Release date is September 30, 2013 from the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, an ACFW approved publisher and will release September 30. Check it out here:


Connect with her here:
Personal blog:





I also am part of several other blogs: Stitches in Time:

Barn Door Book Loft:

Friday, September 13, 2013


It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas---oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it-overspending... the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma ---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else. 

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike.

The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league
match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

 As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

 Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like thiscould take the heart right out of them. Mike loved kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. 

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition---one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. 

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. 

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. 

Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. 

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

Author Unknown

Contributed by David Crabtree 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


By Lil Duncan

For me images of September 11,2001—the plane hitting the second tower—firefighters rushing in the buildings—panicked people jumping from the buildings—the bright orange flames along with the smoke and rubble—the people running through the streets— still evoke a pit in my stomach and tears to fight back. 
I’m sure that’s the case for many of you as well.
But just as that first day of infamy, December 7, means less and less each year as those who lived through it decrease, so the same will happen with 9/11.  It’s hard to believe that twelve years have already passed. That means those children going into middle school or junior high have no real memory of that day.
When I was assigned this day for my post, I wanted to write something profound that would inspire all who read it to be a better American. Unfortunately, nothing came to mind as I pondered what wonderfully, awe-inspiring words to write.
Instead, I’ll share my memories of that day and the days following the terrorist attack. Days when I remembered just how much I loved my country in spite of that fact that it’s not perfect.
Days when Americans came together in a way that I’d never experienced in my lifetime. After all, I’m a baby boomer who lived through Viet Nam. A war that polarized our country. A war where we are only now recognizing and honoring the heroes of that time. So to see Americans come together in love and support of one another and their country was an awesome sight for this cynical baby boomer.
Days when I was so proud to be an American as story after story came out of the heroes who ran into the building to save fellow Americans. Some of them came back out but not all. Stories of how people helped each other because it was the right thing to do.
Days when Americans fell to their knees in prayer.
Days when the spark of patriotism was relit and the embers are still felt today.
Days when we all remembered that the country we are blessed to live in is still a country worth dying for.
Days that showed me and the world that America was still home of the brave.
Please take a moment to reflect on that day. Please take a moment to honor those who died that day. Please take a moment to pray for those who lost someone they loved that day.
I hope others will take the time to share their thoughts, memories, and insights from that day as well.

Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author. Her most recent releases include, The Christmas Stalking, Deception, and Pursued. Her next release, Betrayed, will be released in 2013. She writes the types of books she likes to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch of romance.

She lives in a small town in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, three parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She recently retired from her day job as a speech-language pathologist.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, you may visit her at or connect with her on a variety of social media sites. Her blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes can be viewed at . She also has a devotional blog at

Friday, September 6, 2013

Can Boo and Doo Drag the Net?

By H. Kirk Rainer

So while Yogi may yearn (referring to the last article announcing Yogi’s retirement from a life of petty, picnic snatching), Boo and Doo team-up to do their own version of Dragnet.     

On a case involving an alleged well-stocked kitchen.

“Just the facts mam; oh, and something to eat.”
“Say, aren’t you the comic figures that use to – ”.
“We’re detectives, mam; hungry detectives.”
“But you remind me of – “.
“Never mind the similarities mam; just food and facts. Got it?”
“Okay officers – “.
“We’re not officers mam—just hungry detectives.”
“Okay officers—I mean detectves—let me see what I have in the kitchen.” 
“Now your talk’en mam. Can we come along?” 
“Do you have a search warrant?”
“No we don’t; we’re private detectives.”
“Well, come on in boys; ah, I mean bears, dogs—whatever.”

Arriving in the kitchen—a place that is central to the case. 
“Now there’s a term I haven’t heard  in a long time. Are you detectives hip?” 
“Well, not any more; it is from the past when I did a gig with a dude named Shaggy.” 
“Was Shaggy a dog like you?” 
“It just so happens that there was a dog named Shaggy. But no, this guy was a dude.” 
“That’s nice.  Please don’t get me wrong, I like animals; especially the kind that act like us.” 
“So you only like domesticated animals?” 
“Well little bear with the bowtie, I like wild animals as long as they’re not too wild.”
“Oh, I am very domesticated; enough to be acceptable on Saturday morning TV in the early years.  Slap a tie on me and I am –“.
“As hungry as a bear?” 
“How did you guess?” 

H. Kirk Rainer was born in Atlanta Georgia, on June 16, 1961; at the present, and for the foreseeable future, he has made his home in Alabama. 

At this time in his life, Kirk is busy in the general direction of writing; both in training and in practicing this new found endeavor.   At the same time, he continues to ply his skills and education as an industrial engineer.

His writing is largely a reflection of his own experience through post-divorce and non-custodial life (around year 2000). To this purpose, he has gained much support and understanding from such organizations as:  the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (; Alabama Family Rights Association (; Protect Fathers' Right (; and allied resources.

To learn more, please visit  and

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


By Linda Wood Rondeau


Remember Jim Nabors, Gomer Pyle, who smiled with every new twist and turn in his life? I love surprises. And I hope I never get too old to appreciate the new or the old with a twist. This blog is dedicated to life at its fullest. Not every surprise brings joyous news, like a flooded kitchen sink in the middle of a holiday dinner.

 But every surprise is a reminder that life is far from boring.
My husband and I stopped at an IHOP on our way to New York City to visit our son for Thanksgiving. Even an IHOP is a treat…we don’t eat out that much. But we were met with a surprise in a place where we thought no one would know anything about us or that, at the time, we were approaching our 33rd anniversary.

I left for a few minutes to go to the ladies room. When I came back, I saw my husband’s neck stretched, perhaps looking for me. Maybe I was gone a little longer than expected. 

When I sat down, an elderly man came to our table and handed us a poem he’d scribbled on a napkin, written in the voice of my husband. What a special moment, found at random. Made us want to give back a little…a random kindness in return to perhaps give someone else the pleasure of a surprise.

YOU LEFT ME by Joe Testo

My Darling, you left me
                For minute or two
                Though that is not much
                Still I missed you
                So I thank the Good Lord up above
                For giving me you
                My Darling, to love.

                Give someone a random surprise today. In fact, come back and let us know about it.

Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight,  LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes stories of God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.
Linda’s best-selling Adirondack Romance, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas and is available wherever books are sold.
These books are also available in ebook format along with her other ebooks by Helping Hands Press: IPrayed for Patience/God Gave Me Children and Days of Vines and Roses. A Christmas novel, Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street, and a novella, A Christmas Prayer will be released this fall and Songs in the Valley is scheduled for release in 2014. 
Readers may visit her web site at or email her at  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, and Goodreads

Monday, September 2, 2013

Aches & Pains Are Normal, Right?

By Lil Duncan 

          We’re getting at that age when a few aches and pains are to be expected, right? I suppose that’s true, but when the aches and pains interfere with your enjoyment of life, then it’s time to do something about it.
Even though aches and pains are considered a normal part of aging, they can also be indicative of something more serious. And that means they shouldn’t be ignored.
A few of the possibilities are:  arthritis; chronic fatigue; fibromyalgia; depression; or vitamin D deficiency to name a few. There are more serious illnesses as well, but why make you worry needlessly.
Wait! Did you say a vitamin D deficiency?
I did say that! Research is showing that vitamin D is very important to our overall health and that many people are deficient. Not a good thing. When my doctor told me I had a vitamin D deficiency this past winter, I shrugged. So what?  That couldn’t be that big of a deal.
But I soon found out how wrong I was. 
 I sort of took the vitamin D supplements the doctor prescribed—when I’d think about it.
And then the pain came—a lot of pain. So much so that even walking or standing up became a chore.  I complained to my doctor and she did some tests—still is. But as I took my vitamin D supplement one morning (when I finally remembered) I wondered what the symptoms were for vitamin D deficiency.
Here’s some of the symptoms:  Bone pain; Muscle pain and weakness: Reduced energy,;symptoms of depression; sleep irregularities; and Immune function disruption;

Do any of those symptoms sound familiar? If so, you might want to schedule a visit with your doctor.

Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem. Lillian is a multi-published author. Her most recent releases include, The Christmas Stalking, Deception, and Pursued. Her next release, Betrayed, will be released in 2013. She writes the types of books she likes to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch of romance.She lives in a small town in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, three parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She recently retired from her day job as a speech-language pathologist.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, you may visit her at or connect with her on a variety of social media sites. Her blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes can be viewed at . She also has a devotional blog at