The Season of Merriment and Good Cheer ~ is at hand

A concert

“…Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

The Bible speaks of merriment as something that is not only fun, but healing.

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22 [New King James Version]

Twenty-five years ago, Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday Review, American political journalist, professor, and world peace advocate, was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, an incurable and fatal spinal column illness of unknown cause. He did the traditional medical route, but they could not help him. He tried various ‘alternative remedies’ but was not cured. So, he did what he loved. He shut himself in his apartment for one month and read humorous stories and jokes, watched the old comedy movies (humor without mean barbs), and read ‘the funnies’. At the end of the month, when he returned to the hospital and, the doctors could find no trace of the disease. He was cured by intensive merriment and laughter.

Over nine months ago, I was given a serious diagnosis in the natural. One of my doctor’s personality and temperament leans toward optimism, while the other’s slides toward negatives. While I appreciate their medical knowledge and skill, I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to research Christian healing. I looked back to the faith healers of decades ago and learned how to negate generational curses, word curses, and formal curses that might have impacted my life and health and could block healing. Present day healing preachers and teachers often stress finding healing Scriptures in the Bible that speak to you, then feed on them (reading them and saying them aloud continually, also writing them). Another contemporary practice is to regularly take communion at home for the purpose of healing. Since my diagnosis in late March, I’ve done all of these things…and I’ve seen progress in healing, supernaturally in my body. At the time of my partial healing, there was no medical reason for it. I almost can’t express my gratitude to the Lord, and my desire to draw closer to Him.

So, when I sensed the Holy Spirit guiding me toward humor as the next avenue toward my healing, I took it as gospel (good news). I felt the need to enjoy good, clean humor on a regular basis. Wholesome laughing (with not at someone and without meanness) is good medicine and should be a regular part of my life. Seeing the humor in difficult and painful situations brings good cheer and is healing.

Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” ~ John16:33 [JKV]

It’s in red in the Bible. Jesus is telling us in Him we can have peace, the peace that passes understanding. His spirit that indwells us can give us His peace. After all, it is His peace that we want, not whatever little bit of momentary peace we can scratch together. Then He says that in the face of tribulation we can be of good cheer because His spirit lives in us, and He has overcome the world. So good cheer, a happy countenance, is something Jesus would like believers to have even in the face of stress, affliction, and trials. Sickness is the enemy putting all of that on us: stress, affliction, and trials.

I’ve been spending time on YouTube watching a few of my favorite Christian comedians go through their comedy routines…and I’ve been laughing out loud.

Jean Robertson, a classy lady, runs through her routines, such as convincing her husband to go white water rafting on the Colorado River with a Christian group from all denominations. You can guess how that turned out.

I’m tickled and warmed by Mark Lowry’s humor, ranging from gentle to raucous, drawing from his own life, having been born and raised in the church. Who knew growing up churched could be so funny.

And of course Shandra Pierce is hysterically funny. She has drawn from family experiences and activities, as well as from the deep pain in her life to make others laugh.

Jeff Foxworthy is just good old down home humor.

I also find Bob Smiley and Tim Hawking routines get me laughing. These two Christian stand up comics would probably be appealing to the younger generation.

And don’t forget to watch old movies, or contemporary comedy films without smut and without snide, rude, crude, debasing humor. Guard your heart from that. Not only is it not humor, it’s deadly to the inner man.

As we head toward Christmas, it’s a good idea to rev up our merriment and cheer and have a good laugh, and then laugh again and again. Hey, it’s healthy for body, mind, and spirit.

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Harmful Intent 400 P Don’t like to snort-giggle out loud. Then DON’T read this book. HARMFUL INTENT! Detective story with a pulse racing plot. Murder, mayhem, #drugs. Sometimes hilariously funny. As addictive as Stephanie Plumb but a #cleanrread. #humor #inspy 

The Bride Escape by Dalyn Woods ~ a review

The Bride Escape

Twists & Turns Ending in Thanksgiving Dinner

It didn’t seem as if Charlotte “Charlie” Dutton, now Lyons, had much to be thankful for. Her first husband committed suicide. Here she was in a limo, wearing a wedding gown with blood on it, and she had a bloody knife with her. It obviously was her wedding day. To make matters worse, Charlie was rapidly coming to the conclusion that she’d just killed her new husband, but she wasn’t sure. She had amnesia and remembered not a single thing of her former life in Folkston, Georgia.

This is a Christian Romantic Suspense with many twists and turns the reader will enjoy. The limo is parked in front of Liam MacBain’s cabin at the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp. The man claims to be Charlie’s childhood friend. The next day the limo is gone. Then the driver turns up burned to death in the limo’s trunk. Charlie is arrested for the murder of her husband and the limo driver. She’s poisoned while in the jail. And the plot twists keep on coming at a rapid pace.

The main characters are well drawn and likeable. Charlie is impulsive, while Liam is protective and a ‘by the book’ kind of guy. Charlie slowly begins to rely on Liam, but finds her back is continually up against the wall since the sheriff also remembers her from childhood. He’s carried a major grudge against her all these years and would love to pin the murders on her.

This is a ‘clean reads’ novel for lovers of inspirational romantic suspense who like a mystery story that keeps them guessing.

Purchase The Bride Escape on Amazon

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AOM Cover From Thanksgiving thru New Year’s, murder, intrigue, covert ops, family upheaval, #widow, loyalty. #Florida #Caracas. ACTS OF MALICE #inspy #ChristFic #cleanreads  Purchase on Amazon

Forever Under Blue Skies by Valerie Massey Goree ~ clean read

Forever Under Blue Skies

Christian Romantic Suspense

It’s my pleasure to host a promo for FOREVER UNDER THE BLUE SKIES by Valerie Missy Goree. Here’s to enjoyable mystery reading.

The story in a nutshell:

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?

What the author would like readers to take away:

Second chances are possible. In life, in love, and in faith. After her husband and daughter died, Marlow discovered inner strength she never knew she possessed. Browbeaten by Steven for years, she doubted she could do anything on her own, let alone travel to the other side of the world to fulfill his dying demand. Since her marriage had been anything but happy, why would she even consider another shot at romance? But she didn’t take into account how her heart would react to someone the complete opposite of Steven. After her heart softened, Marlow discovered that her soul was also released from the barrier she’d placed around it. God is the ultimate giver of second chances.

Buy FOREVER UNDER BLUE SKIES Amazon ebook

Buy FOREVER UNDER BLUE SKIES Amazon paperback

Valerie Goree

Valerie’s bio:

American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award winner Valerie Massey Goree resides with her husband on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. After serving as missionaries in her home country of Zimbabwe and raising two children, Glenn and Valerie moved to Texas. She worked in the public school system for many years, focusing on students with special needs. Now retired in Washington, Valerie spends her time writing, and spoiling her grandchildren. Novels include: DECEIVE ME ONCE, COLORS OF DECEIT, The Stolen Lives Trilogy: WEEP IN THE NIGHT, DAY OF RECKONING, and JUSTICE AT DAWN,, to be released soon. Valerie loves to hear from her readers. Check Valerie’s website to learn more about her books: www.valeriegoreeauthor.com

ribbon blueCD Cover Newly installed Pelican Beach, Florida detective Katerina “Kat” Andruko fears the prime suspect will get off in the murder of a teen with the help of the department’s forensics psychologist, a man she’s just started to trust.  Purchase on Amazon

My Late Fall Fernandina Beach Vacay ~ on Amelia Island

A Fernandina Bch Access 11.20

 

November on Amelia Island

With Hurricane Eta making its way across Florida, my vacay buddy, Christian fiction writer Lynn Wood Rix (writing as Dalyn Woods) and I kept our eye on the weather report.

This year we took our annual vacation/writing retreat in historic Fernandina Beach, on Florida’s Amelia Island and arrived before the storm. BTW, I got two more chapters written in my work-in-progress, LAST DAYS, to be released in late January.

Our vacation condo rental had beach access right across the street. I was very excited about being on Amelia Island because the head of the covert ops organization in my series of novels has his home/compound/headquarters on Amelia Island. Up until now, I’ve determined where his compound is via maps. I couldn’t wait to drive to where I had placed it.

OPS Fernandina Bch 11.20

 

After we unloaded the car and unpacked, we were famished and drove to OPS, a nearby local Italian restaurant/pizza place. I have no idea what OPS stands for. I should’ve asked but was too hungry to think about that. In any event, I was super pleased. For over a month, I’d been looking all over Jacksonville (my home) for eggplant parmigiana and couldn’t find it. I tried all my fave Italian places, but it had been taken off of the limited Covid-19 menus.

eggplant parm

 

It seemed so amazing that I had to come to Amelia Island to find real Italian eggplant parm with spaghetti the way an Italian grandmother would make it.

The dish in the back is Lynn’s stuffed shells.

A Hurrican Eta Fernandina 11.20

 

We didn’t escape Hurricane Eta completely. After it reached Jacksonville, it headed north for Amelia Island and we got 45 – 50 mile per hour winds which did take some tree limbs down. Lynn and I decided that was an excellent time to take a walk on the beach.

A Fernandina boardwalks 11.20

 

These are the type of boardwalks running from the street to the beach, allowing residents and visitors to walk to the beach. In the distance is haze from the storm. This is facing the ocean which is several miles beyond this.

A Fernandina Hist District

Time spent in Fernandina would be dull without a visit to the picturesque historic district. The streets are lined with shops and restaurants.

A Tourist shop Fernandina 11.20  A Book Loft

 

I can’t resist a bookstore.

 

A Xmas store 1 Fernandina 11.20

 

Then there’s Christmas stores and they make me so happy.  I’ve had several personal tragedies come during the Christmas holiday season and somehow the true spirit of Christmas wraps me in a glow and is a comfort and a joy that overcomes.

A Xmas store 2 Fernandina 11.20

 

 

 

A Xmas store 3 Fernandina 11.20

 A true Florida white and blue beach Christmas tree.

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Lynn Fernandina Bch 11.20

 

Lynn Woods Rix (writing as Dalyn Woods), my vacay buddy in front of the condo we rented.

 

The Bride Escape Purchase THE BRIDE ESCAPE on Amazon

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Moi at our rented vacay condo complex.

 

AOM Cover Purchase ACTS OF MALICE on Amazon

 

Rhapsody In Red (a Preston Barclay Mystery, Book 1) by Donn Taylor ~ a review as a tribute to US military veterans

A Rhapsody in Red

What a great main character ~

Preston “Press” Barclay, PhD is retired US Army, special operations and is a professor of history in a quasi-Christian university that at one time was a true Christian college. The powers that be at the school, in an attempt to be ‘inclusive’, removed the crosses off the buildings and hired a Mara Thorn, a Wiccan, to teach religious studies. They also made quite a few other politically correct changes that irk Press Barclay.

Mystery novels and thrillers are awash in retired spec ops main characters hunting down the bad guy(s) and solving crimes. In the overwhelming number of cases, the authors depict these US veteran main characters in an honorable light. Press Barclay is certainly an honorable man, and he searches for a killer while reciting lines from classic literature as well as from the Greek classics. It’s refreshing to see a military veteran portrayed in that way…and in this novel this particular scenario is often humorous.

On that note…what a great story. The author’s use of subtle wit woven throughout the plotline often had me grinning. Press has an enemy hailing back to his days in the military…police Captain Clyde Staggart. When Press and Mara find the body of fellow Professor Laila Sloan, Staggart sees this as an opportunity to hang the murder on Press. If he also charges Mara with the murder, thems the breaks. Staggart completely disregards that Professor Sloan had more than a few enemies of her own. So, Press and Mara take matters into their own hands and begin their own under the radar murder investigation. They break laws (breaking and entering, among others), rules (stealing one of the university’s pass keys), and angering all of their colleagues on campus. Press is attacked and knocked out, Mara’s car is bombed, they are chased by hired killers and wind up hiding out in a motel. Then to add insult to injury, they’re both suspended from their jobs at the university.

Press spends every Wednesday night in utter despair battling music that runs unbidden through his head as he mourns the loss of his pianist wife Faith. It’s become a ritual he observes but can not control. The music can turn from an adagio to sudden discord. These are internal musical hallucinations, a malady he shares with Beethoven.  These hallucinations can often be jarring, have a sweetness, even humor.

This novel is perfect for the reader who loves literary witticism, high jinks, and a riveting sleuthing all from a Christian perspective.

ribbon-greenAOM Cover  US special ops veterans now under the auspices of a quasi-clandestine organization search for who in the deep state brutally killed Lavender Raines husband. Retired Marine Raider Mackey feels overprotective of her though she seems to disdain him.  ACTS OF MALICE

Southern Tomato Gravy ~ a classic

A Tomato gravy

Savory and not widely known today ~

 

I’ve been on the Mediterranean Diet-ish plan for quite a while. I say “ish” because I use their food pyramid as a tool. I’m not fanatical about it. And I don’t restrict myself to Mediterranean recipes. Last week I made a huge pot of rustic American vegetable soup. This week I made rice and beans with veggies (onion, fresh tomato, and green pepper). I’m big on fresh veggies and usually add more than the recipe calls for.

I’ve been serious about restricting beef, butter, and sweets which are at the top of the Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid (squeezed into that tiny peak). That means what’s allowed is one serving of beef (6 oz), one serving of butter (1 Tbs), one small serving of sweets (candy, ice cream, baked/unbaked deserts) every two weeks. And margarine isn’t even on the pyramid, probably because it’s very questionable health-wise.

However, autumn is here and it’s time to start making hot cereal. I usually have a bowl of organic oatmeal for breakfast with organic raisins (if the supermarket has organic raisins in stock. Other wise I use regular raisins…I’m not an organic fanatic), or I’ll have a bowl of grits.  I eat a good deal more oatmeal than grits because grits is a ‘white’ grain and white foods aren’t favored. Most nutritionists agree, the more color the better. Another strike against grits is that traditionally a huge chunk of butter is stirred in at the table along with salt and pepper. Off and on, I’ve had cholesterol issues and that’s why I’m serious about restricting red meat and saturated fats. Ah, but I love grits.

How to eat grits without butter. The answer is Southern Tomato Gravy. Southern grandmothers made this savory gravy with tomatoes from their gardens they’d canned. My recipe uses store bought canned tomatoes, and I use organic ones. Even though I’ve been talking about grits, Winn Dixie’s bakery had gorgeous biscuits. So, I bought some and slathered tomato gravy on them. Delish. Trust me I made enough tomato gravy to have some on grits later in the week.

A Biscuits

SOUTHERN TOMATO GRAVY

Ingredients: 3 Tbs grapeseed oil (or another vegetable oil, not olive oil), 3 Tbs all purpose flour, 1 1/2 C chicken broth, 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Optional: real bacon bits.

Directions: In a fairly large skillet warm the oil and whisk the flour into it, stirring constantly until the flour becomes ‘mooshy’ and golden brown. Then pour the chicken broth in, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes smooth (no lumps), add the salt and pepper and the undrained diced tomatoes. If you have no dietary restrictions, add the real bacon bits here, if you like. Simmer 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve over grits, biscuits, even over scrambled eggs (or on the side). If, like me, you have heath issues and are cutting way-way down on butter and sugar, you can even slather tomato gravy on a couple of pieces of multi-grain toast and eat it with a knife and fork for breakfast.A Soup

 

The American-style rustic vegetable soup I made last week.

 

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In HARMFUL INTENT, gal private eye Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels goes undercover taking a gourmet healthy cooking class and that changes her out look on food. Sheriff’s deputy Dawson Hughes enjoys her cooking and everything about her, but remains a meat and potatoes man. All the while they are hunting a viscous killer and things are not what they seems in west Texas.

Harmful Intent 400 P