Free on Kindle 11/9-11/13

Amaranth for Blog. jpg

From Friday, November 9 through Tuesday, November 13, my Christian novel Amaranth will be absolutely free on Amazon Kindle.

The story:

Would you take an elixir that made you perpetually young and physically immortal?  Continue reading

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In Line with the Crowd

Drinking Fountain for Blog

At my elementary school boys and girls in the upper grades were segregated into different play areas. The boys were allowed into the girls’ yard—shared by all girls grades 4 through 8—because that’s where the drinking fountain was. Girls, however, did not dare set foot into any of the boys’ yards—and every two grades of the boys got their own yard. (In the fourth grade when I asked why the boys got half a yard and a lot of sports equipment while all we girls got was one foursquare and one slightly deflated ball, I was told it was because they were boys. Somehow that didn’t answer the question.)

Since all the kids used the one drinking fountain, the lines could be rather long. The fountain had three spigots, one on the left, one on the right, and one in the middle. But what may amaze you is that nobody, and I mean nobody, would drink out of the middle faucet.  Continue reading

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Until Proven Guilty

Cherish Original

With all this hoopla about the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, I got to thinking about the #MeToo Movement and the whole business of the sex scandal in the Church.

Have you noticed that it seems like lately all it takes is an accusation of sexual misconduct to convict someone—not in a court of law, but in the court of public opinion?

Well, my diocese decided to publish the names of everyone who has had a “credible accusation” made against them. This list goes back decades and includes persons who are long dead. My local newspaper printed it on the front page.

For the life of me, I don’t know how someone concludes that an accusation is “credible.” Exactly what criteria is used to figure that out? I also don’t know how a person who is deceased has any chance of defending himself.

Don’t get me wrong: I feel for the victims. I was once molested by a doctor. But making an accusation is not the same as providing proof. And, yes, I get that it is awfully hard to produce proof of something that happened behind closed doors. I, for example, had absolutely no proof of what had happened to me.  Continue reading

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Paying for Being a Victim

coins for blog

Once, when I and my siblings were young, we were visiting another child down the street. And, while talking to her in her yard, some other kids from the house next door picked up some dirt clods and pelted us with them.

Unfortunately, while clobbering us, they also dirtied the laundry hanging on a neighbor’s clothesline.

Well, it wasn’t too long before my mother found out about the incident and that we had been involved. She insisted we go apologize to this neighbor for ruining his laundry. Not only that, but we were to take what meager allowances we had and pay for re-washing the clothes.

Our pleas that we had done nothing wrong—had just been standing there talking—fell on deaf ears. Mom insisted we must have done something to incite those other kids, because, of course, kids wouldn’t throw dirt at us for no reason.

Even though they had.

I remember taking what few coins I had and walking down to this neighbor’s house to apologize. While standing on the porch and ringing the doorbell, I wondered what on earth I was going to say. Something like “Sorry some kids threw dirt at me and soiled your laundry”?

Fortunately for us, when the man in question answered his door, it soon became clear that he had heard the whole story and knew we were not to blame. He refused to accept our money.

I admit I was pretty ticked at my mom. Nobody should have to apologize for being a victim. And especially nobody should have to pay for being one. That’s being victimized twice.

What’s even more sad is that this neighbor believed us when our own mother didn’t.

I don’t know if those other kids ever got in trouble for what they had done. Somehow, I have my doubts that children like those were well disciplined.


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paper clips for blog

A woman once told me, “I won’t be happy in heaven unless my dog is there with me.”

Now, I understand people get attached to their pets, but I admit I was more than a little shocked. “You mean,” I asked, “that God is not enough for you? It has to be God plus your dog?”  Continue reading

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An Interview With Catholic Author Therese J. Roberts


I managed to score an interview with Catholic author Therese J. Roberts.

What are your books about?

I am both a Catholic fiction and mystery novelist. I have written four books, The Story of a Sailor, The Christmas Picture, and The Amanda Case Files No. 1 and No. 2. My next novel, Act of Hope, will be available soon, followed by the third installment in The Amanda Case Files mystery series. My Catholic books are stand alone novels and focus on characters in need of redemption, while my mystery series are lighthearted and fun puzzles that keep you guessing to the end.  Continue reading

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Redemption Value

recycling for blog

Here in California we have what’s called CRV. The letters stand for “California Redemption Value” and they’re on most plastic, aluminum, and glass beverage containers.

We get charged at the register for the CRV. We’re supposed to get the money back by taking our empty containers to a redemption center. But of course, we don’t quite get back all the cash we put in. That’s because we have to pay sales tax on the CRV charge. So, if you buy, for example, a Coke, you have to pay for the soda, plus sales tax on it, plus the CRV, plus sales tax on the CRV.

So you can bet your bottom dollar my husband was going to make sure we got back as much as we could for our accumulated containers.

We tried to do that the other day. I say “we tried” because it took a lot of effort.  Continue reading

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Rejection for blog

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a gift we don’t want. If you can’t stand country music, ripping off the Christmas wrap and finding a CD entitled Country’s Greatest Hits isn’t going to go over very well. Nor is a DVD of a movie you can’t stand, nor a food that contains an ingredient you’re allergic to.

In my life I’ve gotten some pretty bad gifts (see “Weird Gifts”

So, when I get a gift like that, I figure there are four options:

  1. Trash
  2. Donation to charity
  3. Sell on eBay
  4. Re-gift to someone who will like it

As long as I’m sure the giver won’t find out about it, any of the above can be done without hurting that person’s feelings. So imagine my surprise to discover a different kind of option:  Continue reading

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Smothering the Spark

supermarket fire for blog

It had started out as a normal afternoon.

My aunt was shopping at our local supermarket. One moment everything was fine, but in the next the driver of a car on the street outside lost control of his vehicle and crashed it through the glass doorway of the store. Worse, it started a small fire.

My aunt scooped her toddler daughter out of the cart’s seat, grabbed her purse, and ran out the supermarket’s other exit.

Of course the police and the fire department were summoned. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and the fire was put out quickly. The car was towed, broken glass swept away, the door boarded up.

That was the end of it.

Or so everybody thought.  Continue reading

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Market Street

market street for blog

I love silent movies. I admit they don’t have the “punch” movies nowadays—in color and with incredible special effects—have. Yet, they were quite something when they were made, and they still remain a window into yesteryear.

Take, for example, one of my favorites, A Trip Down Market Street, filmed on Saturday, April 14, 1906, in San Francisco.  Somebody set up a hand-cranked camera in the front of a trolley and recorded everything that occurred until the car reached the end of the line and turned for the return journey. Once in a while, you can tell a person has noticed the camera and is astonished by it, but for the most part, the picture captures a typical afternoon in early 20th century San Francisco. We see cars (some of which have the steering wheel on the right instead of the left), bicycles, and an occasional trolley car headed the other direction. What’s fascinating is all the folk who, going about their business on an ordinary day, had no idea this little slice of their lives was being preserved for posterity.

[SIDENOTE: You can view this short film here:  Sound has been added to this version.]

But the impact of this film is far greater than just that. When I watch it, I can’t help but be reminded of Luke 17: 26-29, which tells us of how people went about their usual lives, unaware disaster was about to strike . . .   Continue reading

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