Alexa

The Problem with Alexa

The Unheeded Prophetess

Can you hear me now?

For Mother’s Day I got a small Echo Dot from Amazon with a lady inside named Alexa.  Alexa is smart. She knows the answer to every factual question.  

After opening my gifts, Ken, Kevin and I spent quality time meeting our newest family member.

“Alexa, how much does an Irish Greyhound weigh?”

The Echo’s blue and green light swirled around the top.

“Thirteen pounds,” answered Alexa.

“Alexa, how fast can an Irish Greyhound run?”

“Forty-three mph.”

“What is today’s temperature?”

“In Canton, GA the temperature is currently 84 degrees.”

I liked Alexa until we started talking about family names.

“Alexa, what does ‘Kenneth’ mean?”

“‘Kenneth’ means ‘handsome'”.

“What does ‘Godfrey’ mean?”

“‘Godfrey’  means ‘God’s peace.'”

“Neat.”

“What does ‘Kevin’ mean?”

“Kind, gentle, handsome.”

Then, “Alexa, what does ‘Sandra’ mean?”

All my life I thought ‘Sandra’ meant ‘helper of mankind.’ In college I had helped Ken through math.  At church I had helped children, youth, and adults with anthems. At Chrismas I had helped my sisters with family dinners…..

 But Alexa distressed me when she added, “In England ‘Sandra’ means ‘an unheeded prophetess’.”

“An unheeded prophetess?”

I thought about that for two days.

“An unheeded prophetess.”

“What does that mean?” I asked Ken over turkey sandwiches and chips. “‘An unheeded prophetess?'”

Ken laughed, but I didn’t think it was funny.  He swallowed his smile and tried to help. “Well, it means you have truth to share, but people don’t listen.”

“That’s really mean,” I pouted. “Why don’t they listen?”

“Well, maybe you come on too strong.  Or maybe you need more preparation. Or maybe they’re not ready to hear what you have to say.”

Alexa

What does your name mean?

What does your name mean? Just ask Alexa.

So, I looked up the prophetess Miriam….

“Then Miriam… took a timbrel in her hand and all the women followed her with timbrel and dancing.

Miriam sang to them:  

‘Sing to the Lord for he is highly exalted.  

Both horse and rider he has hurled into the sea.

The Lord reigns for ever and ever.'”

Ex. 15: 20-21 and 18 NIV.

Seemed like Miriam got heeded.

I waited another day and asked again, “Ken, what do you think an unheeded prophetess does?”

And Ken said, “We are going to have to get rid of Alexa.”

And I agreed. I don’t like her, too, but two weeks later she’s still here.

“Alexa, what does ‘Jenny Kim’ mean?”

“Sorry, I’m not sure.”

“Well,” I told Alexa,, Wilkipedia says Jenny Kim is “… a South Korean model and beauty pageant title holder, so it must mean ‘beautiful’.”  

“Anyway, Alexa, what does ‘Elizabeth’ mean?”

“Consecrated to God….”

“Okay, Alexa, what does Jonathan mean?”

“Jonathan means a red, late, ripening apple, primarily eaten raw….”

“A-ha! I know that’s wrong,” I told Alexa. ” Jonathan means, ‘God has given.'” And today God has given me laughter–a dash of kindness, and music for the soul.

PS. What does Alexa mean? “My name comes from the Library of Alexandria which stored the knowledge of the ancient world.”

First Fruit

Betsy sold us two tomato plants this spring, and we planted them in the front flower bed so we could remember to care for them, water them and watch them grow.

Although yellow blooms grew on the plants as they spread their limbs we saw no sign of a tomato.

For several weeks we watched the vines take over the front end of the porch and we pulled a few weeds and poured on the water.

Then on the limb closest to the house, a small tomato appeared.  Our firstborn!  Tenderly I moved debris and watched for pests.

School had started when the big tomato had tinged a bit red.  I imagined the bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich Ken and I would have for dinner. Maybe a slice would be left to go with our eggs at breakfast.

Our tomato was near picking when we left for a two day get-a-way.  Should I go ahead and pick it or let it fully ripen  on the vine?  Ken and I agreed to leave it.

Back from our trip, I hurried to the flower bed to pick my first tomato, and it was gone. Other small green tomatoes now hung from the vines, but the first tomato had disappeared. No, it had not fallen to the ground.  It was missing. No signs of the tomato remained.

Who picked it? Someone wandering by our house the morning we left town?  A child? An animal, bird or raccoon? Maybe some hungry person, raised near farmland, who thought picking produce–just one–would be okay.

For a while I grieved, remembering my joy at seeing it flourish. Then I realized how silly.  In the ‘frig I had a large red tomato from the grocery store. I also had blueberries, strawberries, vegetables and meats; I was blessed. Besides other small tomatoes grew on the vines.

I was slowly letting go of  my first born tomato when I remembered the Hebrews were asked to give their first fruit to God. What a sacrifice.

Then I remembered God’s promise to open the windows of heaven and pour upon them blessings in response to their faith.

So I relinquished my disappointments in prayer, and God replaced them with a song.

Give Them All to Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dieting is a Funny Thing

Dieting is a funny thing….Two months ago Ken decides to join my diet.  Both of us need to drop seven pounds, but we stay on the seesaw–up a pound, down a  pound.

So, we decide to stop counting points and calories and do an intermittent fast.

An intermittent fast means we skip breakfast unless we are starving. Then we eat a banana or half a peanut butter sandwich.

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At lunch we eat a heavy meal–chicken, wild rice, fresh veggies, loaded salads, tea.

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At dinner we eat breakfast, cereal, oatmeal, fresh fruit–sometimes eggs and grits. No more going to bed on a full tummy.

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Essentially we have cut out the meal with soups, sandwiches, processed meats mayo and chips.

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Our weight drops down, down, down–a half-pound every three days.

Ken reaches his goal first, but he stays on the diet since I am still half-pound behind.

Suddenly, Ken can hardly sit because his back hurts. Every third day he is getting a chiropractic adjustment. His doctor keeps speculating. What is going on?

When Ken mentions our diet, the doctor’s eyes light up. He says Ken needs to be a little overweight. Losing the weight is causing his body to shift out of alignment. He sends him home with a bottle of vitamins.

Now Ken is joyfully eating breakfast again and happily gaining weight.

The intermittent fast worked extremely well, but dieting can be a funny thing. You never know when you might need that weight!

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Blackberries

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As I picked blackberries in my backyard, a simple prayer sprang into my five-year-old heart.

“God, if you are real, show me.” Suddenly I felt snuggled in my soul.

In time I joined the Church and made a commitment to share God/Jesus with others because I felt his love and believed His core message: those who believe in God’s son, Jesus, receive abundant and eternal life.

When I taught school, however, I felt distressed because state-run schools silenced my faith. So many American children came to my class illiterate in basic Judaic-Christian stories.

Every year I justified showing Pharaoh, Prince of Egypt, the story of Moses, because it depicted an important fifth grade standard, slavery. But many children were hearing the Bible story for the first time.

Daily I prayed to live out my faith at school, but felt like such a failure. Then one day a tiny third-grader reassured me with her words.

“Mrs. Godfrey,” she said, “you are like God to me.”  And in my heart I felt snuggled, because God was there, shining his light.

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At retirement, I joined  the Christian author’s guild, impressed by their insignia, “Sending out a Christian Message on a Secular Sea.”

Soon thereafter a magnificent, blue dasher dragonfly started hanging out on the antenna of my son’s navy Camaro.  The dragonfly became the inspiration for my writing, and after a year of researching dragonflies, I gave birth to my first novel–Flynn and the Dragonfly.

The book shows Flynn, a fifth grader, struggling to belong at school and at home.  When Flynn needs a science project, he befriends Dash, a struggling dragonfly, who hangs out on the antenna of Dad’s car.

But most importantly, the story features God as Father Time who saves the two from self-destructive disaster.

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Fiction stories, have their place firmly established in history.   C.S. Lewis gave us Aslan, the talking lion. Through him we perceive the message of Christ’s resurrection.

Likewise, I pray the core message of my stories will splash like a tsunami on the vast secular sea.

May those who read taste and see that God is good. May they sense God’s love and see how he saves us from self-destruction for abundant and eternal life.

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Please join me in praying for writers, teachers and others who struggle to get the message of Christ across in a secular world.
Coming this fall–Flynn and the Dragonfly

 

Help! HELP!

shreyas-bhosale-463817-unsplash (1)PLEASE HELP ME!

My name is Dash.  I’m a talking dragonfly, and I’m in TROUBLE.

My good buddy, Flynn, he’s in TROUBLE, too.

We’ve aggravated everybody in Atlanta, Georgia!

We’ve been so discombobulating that our conduct file, aka Flynn and the Dragonfly, is currently under investigation at Scholar Ed.

It’s simple. The publisher wants a few good people to look over our records and post their reactions.

She is threatening to print all incriminating words of shock and awe on the cover of my book!

But, if you wrote nice things, I would send you a free bamboo balancing dragonfly that looks just like me!

Leave your name and e-mail in the comment section below if you can preview and comment on our story

With your help, maybe Flynn and I could find a way to come along and belong.

Dragongly Blue Dasher

There, I feel better already!

Dash

(Want to play Hide’n Seek?)

A Serendipity Thanksgiving

It would have been terrible if I had hit the red button on my phone and not taken the call from Daytona Beach, Florida.  Too many calls from unknown callers have made me wary.

On a whim, however, I answered and recognized the voice of a publisher  I met in St. Augustine at the Florida Book Festival.

She had just read my proposal for a middle grades novel, The Dragonfly Whisperer.

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“I like this,” she said.  “I like this a lot!  It rings true. ” She was sending me a contract…

“You have made my Thanksgiving wonderful,”  I told the kind lady,   trying to be graceful but wanting to shout…

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!

So, I hung up gently, and ran to Ken’s study. “They are going to publish my book!” I said as Ken’s smile and laughter lit the room.

I texted Kevin, Betsy, Jon, Jenny, facebooked my five sisters….and all my amazing helpers.

Then, I walked in the yard, among the crunching multi-colored leaves, and praised my Heavenly Father.

What a long trip writing this book had been.

As soon as I retired from teaching.  I planned to write something for middle graders while the sparkle of school lingered in my mind.

Then one day I saw this beautiful blue dragonfly perched on the antenna of Kevin’s old Camaro that sits in our yard.  The insect looked like he had a story to tell.

So, I researched dragonflies and made up a story about a boy named Flynn who struggles in school and learns from hard knocks how to belong.

From there, I set out on a journey in faith.

Dragongly Blue Dasher  After outlining and roughing out a first copy:

  •         I joined two Word Weavers critique groups at Google Hangouts and Cherokee Author’s Guild.

  •         I hired a marketing coach

  •         I put the book through three revisions.

  •         I gave the manuscript to family and friends for critique.

  •         I hired my friend to find and fix its mechanical errors.

  •         I attended the Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference where I learned about Acts, Scenes, Turning Points….

  •         I re-wrote the manuscript–again and again!

  •         I attended the Florida Book Festival where I networked with a publisher.

  •         I sent her a proposal….

Thank the Lord,  I answered the phone when she called this morning.

And thank Him for all those who friends and family members who dipped their fingers, best wishes, and love into my project.

If it’s okay with y’all,  I think I will just go ahead and yell,

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY!

As usual, God has been so good to me.

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