Wednesday, April 26, 2006

So, like, does the name "Tuesday Weld" ring a bell?

A cousin in New Orleans just sent me an email with jokes like, one of life's mysteries is how a 2 pound box of candy can make a woman gain 5 lbs., God doesn't give babies to older women because they'd forget where they put them, and my mind not only wanders, sometimes it leaves completely. Things like that.

I told her I could relate. Tonight, for the first time, I went to Wednesday night choir practice at this church I've been visiting up the street. For various good reasons, I was 15 minutes late, which I hated--I feel so rude walking in late, especially the very first time. But I decided to go anyway, since several friends had invited me and said it was fun, not strict.

I knew the room number and opened the right door. I saw no risers, pianist or organist, just a young man in his sock feet in front of people in rows of padded chairs. I wondered if I'd interrupted a class, since the quiet was deafening as they all turned and looked at me.

I got a flash of inspiriation for a brilliant entrance line: "What's today?"

My friends tittered and said hello and the director said, "Wednesday. This is Choir. Welcome," and started directing again from behind his little electronic keyboard. Oh, okay.

A friend handed me some music and I joined in, in spite of the fact the only glasses with me were my sunglasses on top of my head. I knew I had had my readers with me when I left home.

Talk about your mind leaving completely, I should have gone out to look for mine.

Anyway, as it was, I told some sweet young thing who never even heard of Tuesday Weld that I was Wednesday Weird.


And when I got back to my car, my reading glasses were hanging attached to my seatbelt where they had launched themselves from my neckline.

At least, I do make a joyful noise! Especially when I find my reading glasses.

To refresh your memory, Tuesday Weld starred in many movies, but the ones I loved were The Cincinnatti Kid, set in New Orleans, and that sweet Soldier in the Rain, both with '60s heartthrob Steve McQueen. (Not to forget his dramedy,"Love with the Proper Stranger" with Natalie Wood. Trust me, the ending is a pleasant surprise.)

The Baby Boomers enjoyed some good movies. And a nostalgic tv show about the 'sixties ran for eight years, much later--in the 'eighties and 'nineties. Baby Boomers and everyone else loved it. "Among the awards bestowed on The Wonder Years were an Emmy for best comedy series in 1988--after only six episodes had aired--and the George Foster Peabody Award in 1990. TV Guide named the show one of the 1980s' 20 best.

That's why my book is set in the '60s. Baby Boomers are retiring, will have time and money to read. They deserve some good, healing stories about their life and often difficult times.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

"God-incidence" and Pampers prod: NEVER GIVE UP!

Perseverence has never been my problem. My problem is assurance. I want to know all my efforts are in God's will.

Just yesterday I looked at my dozens of writing books and my membership renewal bill from RWA and thought maybe it was time to "retire," give away those books and move on. Go back to painting! I have garnered so many rejections along with so many encouraging words.

Even sweet people who said they would read it just never had the time to do so, and I do understand that. Everybody's so busy.

So, I wondered if this was just a training period in obedience that God put me through, and the book would not be published and it was time to move on.

Then, just today, I attended the church I've been visiting. I almost visited another one--again, I don't want to miss God's will--but ended up at that one,and was so blessed: The whole message was on Galatians 6:7-9 "Weary not in Doing Good" and we will sow in *God's perfect timing* if we persevere. What confirmation!

The pastor cited Marion Donovan who, in the 1940s, got tired of washing diapers and cut off a piece of her shower curtain and pinned it on a diaper. Later she used absorbent paper. She shopped her idea around for ten years, until a grandfather at Proctor & Gamble recognized its value. Thus was born Pampers!

There were many other points, of course, and the whole message was so good, and I thanked the pastor, who said its confirming me confirmed him, too.

I told him I was buying the sermon CD. I got to that counter and there were two CDs there, a sign saying they were $5, and nobody to sell them. I asked another woman standing there if we were just supposed to leave our money and take one, and she said she guessed so. Then she said all she had was a $10 and she'd like to buy mine! (Sowing into the Spirit, according to the sermon, she was.) I told her okay, that she would get a $5 blessing and more!

I went back and told the pastor someone gave it to me and he said "Another confirmation!"

So, if you know you are in God's will but are discouraged, please, do not get tired of doing the right thing. Keep on trustin' and obeying, and you will bear the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of your labor, in God's perfect time.

Tonight I went back to church to a brand new group, a woman's prayer group. I met some new people and one said to me she liked the name, Margo--that it sounds like a writer's name! She had no idea! One more confirmation to persevere--in God's will.

To download your own copy of this wonderfully encouraging message (which includes the invention of Pampers!) go to

and download the Sunday April 23, 2006 message, Part 4, Galatians 6:7-9, "Weary Not in Doing Good."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Christian-Jewish preacher Zola Levitt goes to his Messiah!

Zola passed on on April 19 after a bout with cancer.

I am so sad to think he won't be
climbing the ruins of Israel anymore.
But he'll be doing much more enjoyable things, face-to-face with his Messiah, worshipping, dancing, singing. His ministry and the tour I took 10 years ago this September blessed me so much. It was a major birthday of mine, and we sat, listening to a lecture, on the very steps leading up to the temple where Jesus and his family took sacrifices as Jewish families did. I chose one step and walked back and forth to be sure my feet touched a spot where the feet of Jesus walked.

Now, Zola's walking with Jesus down those streets of gold! Hallelujah!!!

We'll see you again, Zola, thanks to the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, but meanwhile, oh, Zola, you will be missed.

I had wanted to go to the Holy Land for a long time. I had heard my late, great, little grandmother in New Orleans say many times over the years that she would love to go. She inspired me.

One of my main characters longs to find his Jewish roots, and spurned by the heroine in New Orleans, David goes to Israel and finds more than he expected--a new love, and practical use for his U.S. Air Force pilot training. And something more. But, as we used to say on book report day in school, "If you want to know what happens, you'll have to read the book." Some day, in faith, believing! LOL

So, finally, I went with Zola Levitt Ministries to Israel on a major birthday, to see what my character sees. It was wonderful! I now read the Bible with such an awareness of where things happened. (I wish I had had my digital camera, then. One of these days, I'll scan and upload some photos. Meanwhile, I'll use Zola's.)

On my birthday, we walked up to the Temple, climbing the very steps that Jesus walked. I chose one step and walked back and forth to make certain my feet touched every inch where Jesus could have stepped! We heard clearly as two men read the Beatitudes without microphones, halfway down the hill of the Sermon on the Mount's natural amphitheater.

We walked into the Garden Tomb, and saw Gordon's Calvary a stone's throw beyond, right above the Jerusalem bus station where the world passes by, just as it did during the crucifixion. If only the world would not pass Him by, today. "He came unto His own, but His own received Him not. But to as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become children of God--even (namely) to them who believe on His name. (His nature and identity as Messiah, Lord, Savior. We are all His creatures. Only some are His children. It's our choice.)

We floated on the Dead Sea, where our guide said if you get the water in your mouth, you need first aid. If you swallow it, you need last aid!

We were baptized in the River Jordan, walked around, high up on Masada, rode camels and horses in Petra, site of Indiana Jones' Last Crusade, where people will probably hide during the Tribulation.

A most memorable moment was reading from Revelation as we ate a picnic lunch from a cafeteria on the hillside above Megiddo, site of Armageddon; and ate Peter's Fish on a dinner cruise on the Sea of Galilee. Oh, and we saw the stacks and stacks of books, books, books in the office of David Ben Gurion, first prime minister of the new state of Israel in 1948. My husband mentions my books, books, books, amd is not impressed when I show him my photo of the desk of this world leader--!

And the roommate they happened to assign me was a born-again Jewish woman seeking her Jewish roots, like my character! She and I were the only ones using micro-mini recorders, and could share blank cassettes. And my spellchecker had recently said to me, never heard of Margo, try Mango, so I laughed and took that as a sort of nickname. In Israel, we saw many small signs with a new cell-phone ad, back-lit in white. Its name--Mango. At the corner beside our hotel in Jerusalem, one of the signs hung on the street sign, to read together, Mango/Shalom Aleichem, as if to say, Mango--hello, friends! The whole trip was a fabulous time of blessings with new sights, new friends, and teaching from Zola and his wonderful friends and guides. So many wonderful things. I know I say wonderful a lot, but I hate the buzzword, incredible. It actually means not believable. Hey, I'm a believer! LOL.

But sometimes, it's hard

His wonderful ministry will continue with the help of his wife, Sandra, his son Mark and others, and the awesome collection of teaching and music materials he left behind. People who take advantage of these will also bless the ministry at a time of many medical bills. I've already made my shopping list.

Visit Zola's website and its store for its *wonderful* books, study guides and original music.

Monday, April 03, 2006

"You Gotta Have Art," the song says--doesn't it?

I bought a piano last weekend!

We sold mine last time we moved, and I almost went into withdrawal!

So, last weekend, I went shopping and played a digital piano--as a rich concert grand, as a bright modern piano, as an organ, my little repertoire of favorites on that new keyboard. As I realized this had to be my piano, this would be my piano, I had to stop and wipe away the tears.

The salesman's eyes turned red around the rims, too. He's his church pianist, and he said, "Sometimes, the right chord--" Yes, and something about music touches the right chord within the heart.

I also tried out a Celtic harp at an Irish festival recently. I seriously considered renting one and taking lessons. Even my inexperienced strumming of those strings produced beauty that brought tears to my eyes.

But I already know how to play my favorites on the piano.

Ballet, with its music creates soaring beauty, literature has great and moving scenes that motivate us. And of course, the Bible with its awesome eternal truths has great power to move us to tears, to joy, to action, to our destiny with God.
Standing in the incomparable Louvre put tears in my eyes, too.

But not colors and images--not creating them when I was an art major--nothing moves me like a string of notes on piano keys.

My hero plays the piano one morning before arguing with the heroine about her own desire to take her art students on tours of European art capitals. He doesn't want her so far away without him. But he knew that was her dream when he married her. She's angry, he's angry, he leaves the beach house for his workday flying with the Navy.

A little while later, she sees him die.

The usually happy-go-lucky Maggie is devastated and wracked with guilt. This is the second person she knew who died after she said something she regretted. And this is her precious husband. He will never come home again.

Why has God allowed this? She now believes God is her enemy.

Only after seeking truth and power down many blind and dangerous alleys and dating a murderer without knowing it--and experiencing laughter along with her tears--does she find peace with God again. And love with another man.

My late parents both encouraged my writing. And they both flew, (and played the piano, painted, made pottery) a long time ago. (See the photo of the type of planes they flew, below.) My scene of the young pilot's funeral made my dad weep.
It's nice to know my art could create tears in someone else. And he assured me it wasn't because of bad writing, LOL!

It had touched a universal chord within him.

Three years ago this week, he went to be with the Lord--and with Mama. I'll forever treasure that memory of him wiping his eyes as he read my work.

Yes, I know: The show, "Damn Yankees," about baseball, is the source of the song, "You Gotta Have Heart."

But I submit you also gotta have art! Miles and miles and miles of art!

Often, they're one and the same.

Guarding the *Stuff* & Sharing the Spoils

My late, great Commander Daddy, as my heroine, Maggie St. James, calls her own father, was a journalism major who painted theater sets in college ( and ended up a Navy flight instructor in Stearmans, as in the photo--my mother flew those, too, as did Maggie's mother-in-law--but that's another story--a skipper of a PBY, and a Navy photographer. ) With his love of the language, he encouraged us not to use the word, stuff, since there are always better, more specific words.

So, we were amused when I showed him stuff in the Bible--in a very interesting admonishment:

1Sa 30:24 "For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part [is] that goeth down to the battle, so [shall] his part [be] that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. "

If we help soldiers in battle by guarding their stuff back home, we share equally in the spoils.

If we give for the furthering of the Gospel, we share equally the blessings of the missionaries! Amazing!

By the way, I believe this following means garage sales are not necessary, yay!

Lev 19:10 "And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather [every] grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I [am] the LORD your God." (also Deu 24:21 )

But I digress. Receiving back should not be our only motive, as we know from
"It is more blessed to give than to receive," " the love of money is the root of all evil" and "God loves a cheerful giver."

But it's not wrong to expect to receive when we give, because as the saying goes, we can't outgive the Lord:

Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].

Luk 6:38 "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. "

Mat 19:29 , Mar 10:30 "But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. "

(Wish He hadn't included persecutions.)

Skeptical, I once tested this and gave $1 after hearing this teaching on The Hundred-fold Return at an evangelist's meeting. I told a friend I'd let her know when I got my $100. ( And I do believe it's not often just handed to us, it's usually opportunity to work and earn it. )

A few days later, I realized they hadn't called me in over a week to substitute teach, my job at the time as an otherwise stay-at-home-mom. So I called the sub clerk and she said I had said I didn't want to sub anymore. I assured her that wasn't me.

Later that day, I also realized that since giving that $1, I had earned just over $100. I called my friend and reported it.

And the sub clerk called back and said a teacher wanted to go home, if I wanted to work that afternoon!

So, I had more opportunity as soon as I kept my promise and acknowledged what the Lord had done in keeping His promise.

(Yes, of course, I called my friend to report that, too! God has made me rather excitable. And I'm convinced, sometimes He says, "I need some PR down there on earth, so I'll do something nice for Margo because she gets all excited and tells everybody." And He created me that way! So it's a double blessing. God is so good!)

So, we needn't hesitate to give and share in the blessings--the spoils of the war against the spiritual darkness of this world!

And we can't outlove the Lord. The nature of God the Father is expressed in every part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit-- love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control,Gal 5:22 all of which we receive through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us! Wow! (Glad He's still workin' on me!)

Well, that's what I'm excited about this morning, anyway.

Once again, meet your abba--Daddy--Father God--