Jacksonville Beach out did itself with this year’s DECK THE CHAIRS holiday lights display in Latham Plaza. The exhibit showcases the 40 lifeguard chairs used in the summer by The American Red Cross Life Saving Corps. In December they glitter in colorful lights. It is free and open to the public.
In my opinion, “Jelly Fish Park” stole the show. The largest display, this one has ak moral to it’s story. The tentacles of the jelly fish are filled with non-biodegradable refuse that washed up on the beach.
Here we are, the three Musketeers. In front of “Jelly Fish Park” taking a selfie, left to right: my daughter Victoria, my friend Lynn Wood Rix who writes as Dalyn Woods, and Moi. We’re bundled because Floridians think water freezes at 50 degrees.
Santa’s Workshop, as the name implies, was whimsical and fun.
Then we have Santa’s sleigh pulled by service dogs.
In keeping with the animal theme, we have a pet adoption display. The displays are sponsored by local businesses and not for profits. This one is sponsored by Fur Sisters…Fur Ever Urs Rescue.
This is Jacksonville Beach for crying out loud, so there has to be a seahorse.
And an anchor…
And a lighthouse. We teased Lynn that the beautiful lady standing next to the lighthouse eerily resembled her…
Let’s not forget the palm trees.
No Christmas light display would be complete without a thirty-foot high Christmas tree.
Lynn, Victoria, and I wish you all a blessed holiday season and a very merry and bright Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
I start to dream just a tad more during the Christmas holiday season. For me it starts the day after Thanksgiving. To me, that day has never been Black Friday. It’s always been more of a Christmas Fantasy Friday. Although I love all the lights and tinsel (especially the lights), I don’t want to get caught up in it. I have to always remember the One who is the divine dream giver. He has a purpose and a plan for me and for you.
So, while I’m firmly aware of Who is the author of my dreams, I find myself leafing through pages of ladies magazines, looking for holiday food and Christmas decorating ideas. Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Journal is terrific for gathering ideas. I also surf the web for delish Christmas recipes. I started on my own low cal/carb style of eating (not a diet) and lost a substantial amount of weight over the last five years. And I’ve kept it off. So, I will indulge (somewhat) in holiday desserts and other high cal treats, but won’t overdo it. It takes some intentionality, but that’s my new buzz word: intentionality! That’s why I’m so thrilled at how easy it is to find truly healthy Christmas recipes that look and taste marvelous.
I also love Christmas decorating shows on the various cable networks. I love to watch instructions on how to make Christmas crafts. Love the old classical and the new innovative ways to deck the halls. I’m afraid I’ve become an HGTV and a DIY Network addict. I’ll have to go to 12-Step meetings in January. “Hello, my name is Nike, and I’m addicted to home improvement cable channels.”
It seems this year there is much less of a war against Christmas. Oh, there are still Scrooges and Grinches out there, and they take great pleasure at bringing all Christmas celebrants down a notch or two. Don’t let them. Pity them and pray for them. And then get on with Christmas cheer. Celebrate ground retaken.
I’m happy to revel in the Christmas spirit, you see because over two thousand years ago in the city of Bethlehem an angel burst forth with great joy announcing the Good News, “Peace on earth. Good will toward men.” [Luke 2:14] Jesus was born. He has decked the halls of my heart ever since the day I first invited Him in.
Children’s Books, Growing Up, Boys and Men
I met Boo Riley (as David Arp) when he joined the American Christian Fiction Writers [ACFW] critique group I head. It seems as if that was six years ago, or so. Boo Riley is his Children’s Fiction/youth pen-name. I loved this novel and I love Boo Riley’s unique voice.
Question The Author: Why did you write this novel?
Boo: I met Anthony Turner on a drilling rig twelve years ago. Over the course of a few weeks as we became acquainted, I heard hints that caused me to wonder about his childhood. I finally asked and the truth shocked me. Forced labor, starvation, and physical and mental abuse … all at the hands of his father.
I wrote his story as it happened and couldn’t find a buyer. I rewrote it in a present-past present/past format that started with his wedding, long after he escaped. No takers. Then I thought about fiction with a hint at the abuse and redemption. Lots of redemption. ME AND JAKE.
ME AND JAKE in a nutshell…
TY told his twin brother, Cameron, he felt like something would happen to change their lives. Little did he know how prophetic the statement would be and how soon it would come to pass. What seems like a series of coincidences are anything but, and what’s more amazing, Ty’s coon dog, Jake, might not be a dog at all.
Boo (a/k/a David) was born in Arizona and raised in Texas where he began a career in the oil and gas drilling industry soon after graduating high school. Since then, he’s traveled the world to places like Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Malaysia, India, China, Mauritius, and Namibia.
He discovered his love for writing while working for Saudi Aramco, drilling wells throughout Saudi Arabia. He even learned to speak decent, albeit Texas accent-laced, Arabic.
Today, David splits his life evenly between home in Colorado with his wife of 30 years, Karen, and a deep-water drilling rig on the Gulf of Mexico.
I’m SUPER excited to be bringing a crime wave to Florida…in fiction, of course. My beloved Florida. Here is the cover of COURTING DANGER!!!
A Katerina “Kat” Andruko/Dimitri Garmonin Novel ~~~ Book One
COURTING DANGER in a nut shell…
~~Taut and compelling.g detective story, with a national security twist. Dry humor. Sweet, romance. Uplifting~~
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.
This case has national security implications that gives former US Army Ranger, Dr. Dimitri Garmonin a chance to work with the FBI. The case could give him the chance to obtain the funds needed to expand his small Behavior Analysis Unit. He’s unmoved by the chic FBI agent sent to assist but is intrigued by Kat with whom he shares a Slavic heritage.
Kat and her partner detain two wrong suspects, giving the department negative press. The predator turns his anger on Kat, targeting her. Can Dimitri use his profiler skills to catch this killer before he hurts the woman he’s growing to love?
I moved to Jacksonville from Brooklyn (NYC) over two years ago and have been looking (on and off) for a new home…and soon realized I was in need of a condo. I am through with yard work and hiring handymen to do outdoor upkeep on the house. Through, I say! Through! I finally found the perfect spot for me in the Old Mandarin neighborhood.
Hebrews 3:4 [New American Standard Bible] ~ 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
I decided on this condo in large part because of the beautiful tiled floors and fireplace. Of course the existing ceiling fan had to be swapped out for a new one, same thing with the small chandelier in the dining room area of the open living space.
Ray, a friend of Christian author Dalyn Woods, is doing my reno. Here he’s working on the electric outlet in my daughter Victoria’s room.
Another shot of Victoria’s room.
The master bedroom after the first coat of paint. The bar stools for the counter off the kitchen were given a dark stain. We got them through Offer Up at $5 each.
When I take a breath after painting a door, or trim (Victoria has slathered white over the walls), I realized I’m a further step away from Brooklyn and my late-husband,, both physically and metaphorically. After two years, the bad days come much, much less frequently. Life does go on. The move is fun and exciting, but I can’t wait for the work to be done so we can settle in.
America isn’t just a country with borders, it’s an idea. Not just a democratic republic and a political construct, but a philosophical ideal. America was born for the rights of the individual. In 1776 that was unheard of. In 2018, throughout most of the world that idea is verboten and the individuals who dare to think they should be freed are persecuted, even killed.
And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts. ~ Psalm 119:45 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]
America is on the forefront of individualism. Americans believe in the individual pursuit of happiness. We walk in that concept. And that idea actually has biblical roots. That life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights given by God. Furthermore, that no government has the right to take these rights away.
Culturally, Americans step out with boldness and reach for their dreams, they reach to find their purpose in life. In America, we ask young people what they would love doing in life. We ask them to imagine that and reach for it. That doesn’t happen in most countries on the globe, not even in 2018.
Traditionally, in Europe middle class and working class young people went into the profession their parents held. A baker’s son most always became a baker. Traditionally, the upper classes in Europe were college educated.
As more and more young Europeans would pursue college careers they found it difficult to find a higher level job that utilized the degrees they’d earned. American middle class and working class college grads would hop into their second-hand car and boldly drive across the country to get the job they wanted. This is an example of American individualism we in the states often have taken for granted [but is not intended to minimize the difficulty American college grads have finding jobs]. In Europe, even today, working class youth tend to stay in the town or county in which their parents/family has lived for generations.
When I retired, I did my research, and found my place to live in my golden years. I drove by myself from Brooklyn to stay with friends in Jacksonville. I had every space in my SUV packed with large plastic bins which I put into storage. I made that trip (with the SUV stuffed) one more time. My husband and I rented a tiny place, but he passed away and I made the final trip down myself…with the SUB cargo space stuffed and the back seat with one small dog and three unhappy cats in carriers.
I am not unique. American retirees have moved in droves from the northern states to the warmer, southern states. In 2018 that trend is changing just a bit, many bold retirees are moving to Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota, Iowa, Virginia, Wyoming. Still, Florida remains numero uno and Arizona is high on the list. My point is that Americans get up and go at any age. That is part of the spirit of Americanism.
Local start-up companies are part of the spirit of American individualism. That’s not a put down of large box stores. In fact, I’m married to Walmart. Many retirees are. But my heart leaps for joy when I see an adventurous food truck with a new twist on finger-food. I eat at chain restaurants, like so many. But, I love the local hole-in-the-wall places. Love to talk to the woman who owns Bill’s Diner on the west side of Jacksonville. One day when her waitress had an emergency, she waited tables and cooked in the back. I’m addicted to Sonny’s BBQ. Can’t beat the home style cookin’ at Grammy’s. Clearing tables and working your way up to standing over a stove doesn’t require a pedigree. If you can cook, you’ll rise to chef. This to me is the real American dream…ordinary people just doing it.
Speaking of Americans getting up and doing it…what about all those ordinary folks who are renovating old, dilapidated houses with character and good bones, and then flipping them. They’re hauling refuse out of those old houses and knocking down walls. That is so exciting. The energy there is so American and it restores the history of neighborhoods as beautiful houses are restored.
There are so many possibilities for Americans. Just get out and do it!