A Timely Delay

earringsI don’t have any sisters, but I have an older cousin named Norma, who is as dear as a sister to me. I thought about her one day as I was putting on a favorite pair of earrings I hadn’t worn in a while. When my grandmother was dying, I wore those earrings when I went to the hospital. My cousin Norma arrived from Illinois wearing earrings just like mine. I guess that means we have similar taste, good genes, or something like that.

I kept thinking about Norma, throughout the day. I’d not heard from her in a while, and she’s not on the computer, so I found a card with an appropriate message and wrote her a note.

“Do you remember when Grandma was in the hospital and we arrived wearing the same earrings? Well, they’re back in style, and I’m wearing them today. I’ll always think of you when I see them.” I finished with some news about the family and sealed the card.

The next day, I had the card with me at work, planning to mail it, but I’d forgotten to write the address on the front, and I didn’t have her information with me. She didn’t have a “land line” so her address wasn’t in the online phone book. I put the card back in my bag so I could mail it the next day. A few days later, I was looking through the bag and came across the card I’d forgotten all about. So I took it out, found the address, and put it back in the bag.

I finally remembered to mail the thing several days after I had written it. A few days later, I received Norma’s answer.

AuntJen8-2015
Aunt Jen

“You are such a blessing,” she wrote. “Your sweet card arrived on Mama’s birthday.” Her mother, my favorite aunt, had died a little over a year before. Norma was feeling sad when she went to the mailbox and found my card.

I smiled at the memory of my forgetfulness, but after re-reading Norma’s note, I wondered. My delay in sending the card meant it arrived on Aunt Jen’s birthday (which I’d forgotten about). Coincidence? I don’t think so. I prefer to believe in a loving heavenly Father who cares about our every need. His plans for us sometimes include precious surprises that brighten our day and help us through difficult times.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3 NIV

Originally posted on Facebook, September 15, 2011

Unlikely Merger’s SAM List

Caribbean Beach2It all started on a Love Boat Cruise to the Caribbean. You might wonder how Mercy Lacewell ended up on a cruise like that with her semi-invalid father…

Well, that’s the kind of thing that happens occasionally, even in real life. It seems like the wrong place, at the wrong time, when it could just be wrong place at the right time. Or right place, wrong time. Anyway, Mercy went on a cruise with her dad. She met a young minister named Brent Teague and something happened to her heart. The almost-romance softened her heart a little and prepared her for what was coming next.

What was coming next–

Back home, Daddy and his assistant, Madeline, decide Mercy needs more life experience. They send her out as acquisitions analyst for Lacewell Limited. Her job: to assess the companies and businesses they find, and decide if the businesses are a good investment for the company. Sounds like fun, right? Except that it’s something Mercy has never done, never thought about doing, never wanted to do. She’s perfectly happy in Denver, taking care of Dad.

First trip out: wouldn’t you know they’d end up in Texas during a freak ice storm? Mercy and Lacewell Limited’s other acquisitions analyst (Dustin Rogers) never actually make it to the destination, but they find something better, and are able to add it to the list. And Dustin gets added to Madeline’s SAM list. What’s a SAM? Single, available male (remember that).

Next stop, Watkins Glen, New York, to check out an inn. This adventure includes snow, sledding, and Landon Gates. Now we’re ready for a warmer climate. How about San Diego, CA? Nice, very nice. And once again, Mercy bumbles through her first meeting with the owner of Montoya Olive Oil–yes, that’s MOO for short. Enrique Miguel Montoya, “Ric” for short–doesn’t seem to mind. He makes her feel very much at home among his clan in their beautiful home. Mercy learns not to bite an olive fresh from the tree, no matter how ripe it looks. Ric is a welcome addition to the SAM list.

alligator-439887_1280Staying with the warmer weather, Mercy is headed to Titusville, Florida, and a gator farm. Yes, you read that right. Adventure. For this one, she takes Uncle Thomas along. I don’t blame her. Mr. Mann welcomes her–Gabe Mann. Great name, huh? After a full assessment and a medical procedure, she says goodbye to Titusville, but Gabe finds a place on the list.

Headed north, Mercy stops in Madison, Alabama for a quick look at Diana’s Burger Bistro. Will this be a good investment? She has a rather unfortunate first meeting with the chef, a surfer-type named Talon Hawthorne. But he makes a nice save by cooking a meal that pleases her palate.

Fourteen Quarters Repertory Company is located in New Orleans, Louisiana. And Douglas “Digger” Grant is the contact. Chemistry! Mercy learns all about small productions and develops a nice friendship with a man named Icky. You’ll need to read the chapter to understand that one.

Chapter Eight takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, where Mercy looks at McBride Mortgage. She feels uncertain about this one and tries her best to talk Uncle Thomas into accompanying her. But…ends up on her own with the formidable Mason McBride, until she meets IT director, Levi Shepherd. Mercy was more than happy to spend quality time getting technical with this guy. Another addition to the SAM list!

Great Barrington, Massachusetts is Mercy’s next stop, to look at a trucking company. Ahhh, New England in the spring. Rob and Steve LeClerc of LeClerc Trucking, at your service. Mercy falls pretty hard for Steve. Or 9cb57-shutterstock_40179583maybe his dog.

All the way back across this wide country of ours, Mercy lands at LAX and hits the road for Santa Monica, CA. She quickly learns there is no avoiding L.A. traffic, but that’s nothing compared to the crankiness of St. Andrew. She ends up trapped in a very small room with Reuben Miller. For three hours. Kind of a crash course, ending with Rube Miller on the SAM list.

So that brings us to the final stop on Mercy’s itinerary–in Lexington, KY–land of blue grass, beautiful horses, and Knight-Link & Associates. After a near head-on collision with someone she believes to be a handyman or plumber, she meets with Philip Knight, the owner of the architectural engineering firm. He introduces her to his nephew Daniel Knight, aka handyman/plumber, who turns out to be a designer of equine habitats. And his cowboy charm wins him a place on the list.

11112210_858579607541022_8504991036842170166_oFinal chapter, readers’ choice. One of the ten handsome, young fellows you met in the above summary has won the chance to woo Mercy. Our readers voted for their favorite. Who is it? Well, you’ll just have to read the story to find out. Today, and for the rest of the 4th of July holiday weekend, you can download it absolutely free. Don’t have a Kindle? Did you know you can get a free Kindle app on your phone or computer? Just go to Amazon Kindle and check it out.

If you miss out on the free download, Unlikely Merger be available through the remainder of July for just 99 cents.

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Happy New Year – 2014 – Anything is Possible

A friend of mine is lamenting Christmas. He didn’t get everything he’d hoped for. In fact, this entire year is ending on a bit of a sour note for him.
Several months ago, he made the difficult decision to follow his dreams. He knew the road was going to be rough. It was. The approach of the Christmas season brought anxiety, since he wasn’t able to give as he had in the past. His family “suffered.” 
But he is pursuing his dream. Each new day dawns with the promise that said dream will come true. He will accomplish what he set out to do. Like an inventor with a great idea, this man is daily transferring his dreams to reality. It takes work and tons of ambition to keep chipping away at the iceberg blocking the finish line, but he’s determined. And with that determination, comes doubt.
His lament is the voice of discouragement. I understand that. Many of us tend to let our energy drain out to the dredges during the final few weeks of the year. We simply endure Christmas, then try to drum up some excitement and expectation to face the new year. Sometimes we become so caught up in our own problems, we don’t realize that others have troubles, too. 
Maybe you didn’t make your goals for 2013, so you’re discouraged about the year’s end. Maybe your Christmas was bleak and fraught with worry. There’s nothing new or weird or unusual about that. Here’s what a certain preacher had to say in the Old Testament:

I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—    the feeling of hitting the bottom.But there’s one other thing I remember,    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.They’re created new every morning.    How great your faithfulness!I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).    He’s all I’ve got left. (Lamentations 3:21-24, The Message)

<img alt="" border="0" height="200" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-u87z6pO_Dng/Ur3gcUXnXhI/AAAAAAAAAvs/h-WCBTxArX0/s200/freeimage-5640458-high.jpg" title="© Peafactory | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images” width=”133″ />
Stockfree Image
Get a grip on hope, because God’s promises are renewed every morning. Get some rest during these darker days of winter. Let God’s promises renew themselves in your spirit. As the days lengthen and the sun wakes the sleeping trees and plants and brings them back to life, you’ll wake up, too, with a renewed sense of purpose.
Most important of all, don’t give up. Stick with God––He’s all we’ve got left. But that’s like saving the best till last. He’s the Greatest and the Best. He’ll never let us down. His timetable may be different, but as long as we do our part, He’ll be there. 
What is our part? Faith. Believing in Him and in His promises. Believing that He sent His only Son. 
So for 2014, Believe. Anything is possible. You can win. You can make it. And what you’ll end up with––even if your hands seem empty––is a year’s worth of progress