Friday, November 27, 2020

Thank You, Lord


Psalm 95:1-2

Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.


A couple weeks before thanksgiving, I started writing down things that came to me, that I am thankful for.


Thank you, Father, that as I sit alone in my chair in the morning, I can hear noises in the house of the family you have given me waking up, those who still live in my house.


Thank You for technology. So that I can have contact with the family who do not live in my house; to remind me of the things I forget; Truly, I am thankful for technology. Truly.:)


Thank You for the friends I can depend on.


For a call from my daughter in Iowa.


For the handful of lovely days in November when I sat on my front porch and worked or read.


For coffee, which makes me smile.


For the lovely house you’ve gifted us with.


Cinnamon tea.


Your church, Lord.


Our crazy cat.


The uncountable worlds I can visit in books.


The gifts of the senses, especially smell and taste. You could have created a way for us to have nutrition without the enjoyment we get from food.


Monkey bread; comfortable jeans.


Favorite Christmas songs, Like “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night.”


Bible verses with promises of hope.


Hebrews 7:25:

Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Voices of Freedom


Recently, I re-read a book which was important to us over 25 years ago.


Voices of freedom: an oral history of the civil rights movement from the 1950s through the 1980s By: Fayer, Steve; Flynn, Sarah; Hampton, Henry.


When Congressman John Lewis died earlier this year, a friend wrote to me, talking about Lewis’s heroism.


I knew I should know him, but I couldn’t remember. My daughter Sarah told me, “A famous leader in the civil rights movement.”


My husband Murray reminded me of the book I’d read and bought for him over 25 years ago, VOICES OF FREEDOM.


I remembered the book and decided I’d like to read it again. It was published in 1990, but it is still available as a kindle book.


This book is an oral history of the civil rights movement, taken from interviews for the TV show “Eyes to the Prize.” The book covers mostly the 1950s through the 80s, but it goes back to the beginning of the United States, disagreements over slavery from the beginning, and those who fought for rights of Black people throughout the country’s history.


Some storied included:


The Montgomery bus boycott, 1955-56. School desegregation in Little Rock Arkansas, Central High School.


In 1959-60, student sit-ins for lunch counters. They had workshops to prepare for this with non-violence, how to protect their heads from beatings, how to protect each other, how to not strike back when they were hit, how to show respect for the workers in the restaurants. This is where I first heard of John Lewis, in 1960 when he was a twenty-year-old college student in Nashville.


The Freedom Ride of 1961, where we again met John Lewis. Both blacks and whites joining together on interstate bus rides.


The beginning of SNCC, Student Non-Violent Coordination Committee.


James Meredith, the first black student to attend Old Miss in 1962, the University of Mississippi.


In 1963, the March on Washington, with speeches from both John Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


1963, the bombing of a church in Birmingham with the death of four children.


1965, Selma, Alabama bridge, marching from Selma to Montgomery.


The Voting Rights Act, signed in August, 1965.


1967-68, Dr. Martin Luther King’ Jr.’s last work and assassination.


1970-71 prison uprising in New York State, call for reform.


In 1972 Gary, Indiana, they held a Black Political Convention—Unity Without Uniformity.


Other issues discussed were bussing, affirmative action, Equal Opportunity, better housing, better education.


This is a book of history, but recent history, and I believe, a very important issue for us to think about right now. It’s important to remember these people who worked so hard and gave so much. I pray and ask God for wisdom to help us to find peace in our own times.


Others mentioned in the book: Emmett Till; Ralph Abernathy; Daisy Bates; Medgar Evers; Fred Shuttlesworth; A. Philip Randolph; Fannie Lou Hamer; Bob Moses; Amelia Bointon Robinson; Stokely Carmichael; Huey Newton; Sonia Sanchez; Roger Wilkins; Paula Giddings; Marian Logan; William O’Neal; Elliott James Barkley; Jesse Jackson; Ben Chavis; Richard Hatcher; Ron Walters; Phyllis Ellison; Ethel Mae Matthews; Maynard Jackson; Yusef Hawkins. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Psalm 119:145-152: Qoph

ק Qoph

I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord,

    and I will obey your decrees.

I call out to you; save me

    and I will keep your statutes.

I rise before dawn and cry for help;

    I have put my hope in your word.

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,

    that I may meditate on your promises.

Hear my voice in accordance with your love;

    preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.

Those who devise wicked schemes are near,

    but they are far from your law.

Yet you are near, Lord,

    and all your commands are true.

Long ago I learned from your statutes

    that you established them to last forever.


Father God, help me trust that your promises never change. Teach me how to obey you more every day and believe that you are always near. Thank you for your precious love and that you always invite me to call out to you. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Guest Author: Valerie Goree

Author Valerie Goree tells of her journey as a writer and introduces her latest story, which is placed in a fascinating setting.


Forever Under Blue Skies

Valerie Goree


My latest novel, Forever Under Blue Skies, is very close to my heart. It is based on the first novel I ever wrote, way back before everyone had a computer. Not to give away my age, but I bought a word processor back then and decided to write a story using details of my mother’s family roots in Australia.


I don’t remember how long it took since I was teaching fulltime and had two teenaged kids at the time. Although I had participated in a few mini workshops, I didn’t attend a full-fledged conference until my book was finished. I chose Mt. Hermon Writers Conference as the venue to present my masterpiece.


Well, the multi-published author who gave me a critique said I had the bones of a good story, but I needed to learn a whole lot more about the craft of writing. My first sentence had three adjectives describing the weather. Reminded me of Rudyard Kipling’s description of a river that forms the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. In his book The Elephant’s Child, Mr. Kipling called the river the ‘Great Grey-Green Greasy Limpopo River’. I grew up in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and crossed the Limpopo River many times to visit South Africa. The river is great during the rainy season, it is grey-green, but it is definitely not greasy!


Back to the basics. I set aside that novel, but kept on writing and attended as many workshops as I could. I also joined American Christian Fiction Writers, probably my best writing related decision.


After publishing five novels, I decided to go back to my first. Oh, my. I read my printed copy and was embarrassed at my purple prose, head hopping etc., and understood why the novel was not an instant hit at Mt. Hermon. But I stuck with the basic premise and found that my original research from library books was spot-on as compared to recent internet information and details gathered when my husband and I visited Australia.


I relied on details from my great-great-grandparents’ family tree for my story, even to using the town of Bendigo. Now, my family never lived on a sheep station, but that’s where the fiction part came in.


What was life like on a sheep station in 1983? Follow Marlow’s journey to find out.


“Travel to Australia to solve a family mystery? Sure, Marlow could do that. But she didn’t take into consideration the vast outback, nor the owner of the sheep station. Widower, Jake Barclay, is everything her late husband was not—honorable, considerate, a pure gentleman. She came prepared with sunscreen, but hadn’t built a high enough screen around her heart.


Jake was dubious about Marlow’s reason for visiting his station and thwarts her plan at every turn. Until he sees how she interacts with his vulnerable, young daughter.


If they solve the coded message, can Marlow return to Texas, or will Jake offer her a forever home in the outback?”





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