Monday, July 27, 2015

August 2015 Book Club Lakeside

TWO BOOKS to choose from for the Lakeside Ladies Book Club for August 2015. Read one book or both, your choice. #1 Book is Red Skies. It involves the fates of three people who’ve never met ...converging in profound and unexpected ways.  Mari, the daughter of the town scavenger, grew up knowing hardship, but she never could have anticipated the struggles that now face her as an adult. Feeling alone and isolated, she dreams of a better life. On the other side of town, a frightened little girl named An Ni is forced to live on the streets, but she silently longs for the one thing she’s never known—a family. Max, a struggling American photojournalist, arrives in China with only one goal in mind: to face his demons and put an end to his own unbearable suffering. This hope-filled story offers a fresh glimpse into the life of a remarkable family. Rarely am I moved to tears after reading a book but this tale caused me to drip with compassion and joy.  I wiped many tears away, both happy and sad ones. I cringed, ducked and shrieked in terror... the author makes her characters and experiences come alive.  It tells of struggles of everyday life, of hope, of loss, of joy and overcoming the odds.The author Kay Bratt is a child advocate and author of several best selling books.  Red Skies is an EBOOK downloadable from Amazon for $4.99 USAWe are SET to gather at the newly renovated Adelita's in San Antonio to exchange our brilliant reviews on Aug 13, 2015. NEW PLACES, NEW FRIENDS ~ AWESOME!
Now for a quick bite of our 2nd thrilling book CHOICE for August. Saving Grace is a delightful read that includes a dip into the expat world in the Carribean. Ladies we all love CHOICE on a menu, and also in the flavor of our reading preferences.  1) Red Skies by Kay Bratt is historically interesting (or) for a lighter fun FREE kindle ebook read 2) Saving Grace by Pamela Fagan Hutchins. Saving Grace is also the first of a comical mystery series.  It was hard to put down as it is full of wit and a cunning depth. The leading lady is Katie Connell a high-strung attorney from Dallas who remains in denial as she escapes to the Caribbean to bypass professional humiliation.  She ends up trading one set of problems for another when she begins to investigate the suspicious deaths of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. Her retreat from her professional legalese, and immersion into the island dialect introduces new words, and new astonishing customs and beliefs. She is drawn to an abandoned house in the rainforest and discovers that she’s as much a danger to herself as the island’s bad guys are. We may read the Pamela Fagan Hutchins series is ya'll loved Saving Grace. But for Sept we will read "Tea with Emma".

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 2015 BOOK Family Matters

A Lakeside Book Club begins in Chapala at the Hotel Villa San Francisco, one block up from the Braniff House.  We plan to meet on the 2nd Thursday each month beginning July 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM. This Ladies Tea setting is elegant and we will all ENJOY meeting new people and: a perky selection of Teas, coffee, juice, fruit, fresh muffins, and cookies. The Villa San Francisco will set up our tables and serve us for 100 pesos each.  Our first DIGITAL book is available on AMAZON for only $2.99 USA. A light and fun mystery. "Family Matters" by author Laurinda Wallace.  In the lobby a grand piano is available for a quick warm-up tune under a beautiful chandelier. The PLOT: If you think your family is dysfunctional, welcome to Gracie Andersen's cast of characters. It takes place in the fictional town of Deer Creek, New York.  Gracie is a young
widow who runs a dog kennel called "The Milky Way".  Her uncle bequeaths her an odd gift immediately following her aunts funeral which prompts her to investigate the untimely death of her cousin. With Haley, her black Lab, Gracie pursues a trail of clues.  --- Our first book is a delightful WHO DUNNIT, a quick and easy read that cannot offend because any sort of obscenity is absent.  We can laugh together at any similarities within our own cast of family members and share our likes and dislikes about how this fictional tale turns out.  Future authors that are considered for this Book Club include Lynn Austin.  A free book this month on AMAZON entitled "Candle in the Darkness" by Lynn Austin.  It is a riveting fiction full of history.  A mind gripping tale of a woman caught in a nation split apart and torn between the one she loves and a truth she cannot deny.  Caroline Fletcher is a daughter of a wealthy slave-holding family from Richmond, Virginia.
She was raised to believe slavery is God-ordained, but she becomes aware of its cruelty and injustice.  Her awakening is sparked by the love and devotion of the slaves who tirelessly care for her.  Her dad and fiance fight for the Confederacy and their long held tradition of slavery.  Does Caroline's loyalty remain with her family values, or is she changed and compelled to fight for justice?  Is her passion emboldened to make a difference, or does she recline and choose NOT to risk rejection and difficulty so as to keep the peace within her family?  This book is also worthy of a summer read and perhaps a Tea Party discussion. All the snowbirds who have left for the summer are welcome to join us in the Fall.  Lakeside also has some interesting authors to meet, read and discuss.  Even if you are not interested in the book of the month, please join us for tea!!!  A hot cup of tea ministers to the soul...
just as sweet music or a great book lightens your spirit.... so please JOIN us and delight in the refreshing atmosphere of words shared among wonderful friends.  It is magical to depart from reality for a brief moment for a savory meal of words spun together for our pure PLEASURE.  Let us inhale deeply the good medicine of laughter and the joyful noise of women chattering about something fresh, like a new song....that sets our mood up, in tune with a HOPE that outlasts any temporary burdens we may bear. Invite a friend who needs a lift!  If you do not have an IPAD or a KINDLE, you can download the KINDLE READER onto your desktop, then order the book online at AMAZON and read on your desktop computer.  MUST RSVP to Barb at:  Read the book, or simply come for the female friendship in a lovely spot.  There are some ladies who will flutter in and out of this book club due to other obligations, so this group will remain flexible and embrace each one whenever they can attend.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


The Prophet Malachi was God's personal messenger. Malachi was riveted by the humbling presence of His holy God and his assignment from heaven was to deliver direct assertions from God. "I have loved you" Malachi 1:2 - to which the lazy Priests questioned God "How have You loved us?" That question was evidence of their short term memory loss. God had rescued them from HARD LABOR in Egypt, and took them safely through a miraculously parted Red Sea, fed them daily, clothed them, and walked with them as a Pillar of Light each night. Have you ever said "I'm doing my best" when you knew you were limping, and laboring half-heartedly? Has disappointment ever snuffed out your hope? Everyone of us have performed at below standard during difficult times. When we feel insecure because of shifting sand, because of unwanted changes, because of demands made upon us when we are operating at our lowest levels, we tend to LABOR grudgingly and accuse others of being unjust. We easily get miffed at others for dis-regarding our significance as they expect us to LABOR without complaint.  It is also very common for each of us to dishonor, or discount wisdom during times of personal struggle. Our mothers LABORED in pain to bring us into the world as we know it. We were given a name, we did not choose our parents, our inherent character traits, our personality, or our aptitude for career paths. As adults we labor day to day believing that we must bring honor to our birth family name. The identity we were assigned upon our entrance to planet earth comes with a nationality, a zip code, a zodiac sign and a language. Our birth parents,
or our adoptive parents exercised authority as they represented us at the doctor's office and when they brought us to school. Our holy God also LABORED hard to retrieve us from the emptiness that follows the achievement of lofty personal goals. God came down from His throne and walked the earth as Jesus Christ.  Jesus LABORED with all authority, as our Spiritual Father, and He adopted us and gave us His family name.  God claimed us as His kid, and as He promised, He sent the perfect Sacrifice to cover ALL our sins, and filled us with the Holy Spirit, Who never departs from us. Talk about a LABOR OF LOVE! Let us take time to acknowledge who we became "in Christ" as a Christian. Let us LABOR to live as  a "FEAR FREE" born again child of God, who has already gladly surrendered and free fallen in pure FAITH into Who Jesus Christ is.  Trusting Him to catch us when we fall, we jumped off the cliff of world FEAR, and we walk in faith,  ignoring the CAUTION that the unliberated souls cast out. We must NOT doubt the living Word of God. "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You must not be surprised at My saying, 'You must be born again.'  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:6-8 NIV ~ True Christians are born again of the Spirit, which is from God.
Like the wind, the Holy Spirit swept into us, and though we could not see from whence the Spirit came, we heard the sweet small voice whisper "I have loved you, you belong to Me."  We were wooed by His love, and His grace changed our hard hearts of resistance. His Spirit gave us understanding of all the mysteries, as the Word of God was written by the Spirit. We do NOT live in fear, but we speak and act according to our faith. The High Israelite Priests were a fraternity of holy men who were anointed by God and given very high LABOR standards.  The High Israelite Priests of Malachi's time pitiful lack of gratitude for all that God had provided deserved our Father God's response.  Our holy, all powerful, full of authority God then declared His holy love- hate
relationship with Esau's nation of Edom and Jacob's nation of Israel.  The Israelite Priests had been bringing skimpy offerings that dishonored God. They had not been LABORING at their best as His anointed ones.  They were hoarding money and not feeding the spiritually starved.  God had shown much favor to the Israelites, as long as they treasured their inheritance, as God's chosen people. God is always fair and just. Isaiah 2:11 " The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low." God's word warns us, it gives us examples of how not to be. Israel questioned God "How have we despised Your Name?" Malachi 1:6 ~ The Hebrew word for name is sem. In Hebrew God's name or sem includes the concept of identity, character, significance, power, authority, presence, essence, and representation. God replied "By offering polluted food upon My alter." Malachi 1:7 ~ Offering blind or automatic robot praises is to dishonor God's name, His power, His Holy essence. When we offer sick excuses, when we whine and deny that we have NOT doubted or sinned, we are evil in our
rebellion and denial of God's holy significance. The Holy Spirit breathed words in Malachi 2:15-16 clearly puts the responsibility on the holy men for abandoning the Almighty God of the scriptures. "Did He not make them ONE, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? - So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless." The purging fire of heaven, the indwelt Holy Spirit, will erase the ERRORS of our past, IF we allow Him.  God does not regulate our choices.  He urges us to come and lay down our burdens, and pick up our mats and walk. IF we break our vow to love and obey God, and/or our spouse, our hearts will feel fractured until we return to God. God permits us to choose Him, trust Him, come to Him with all our burdens.   IF we want to experience JOY, then it is imperative that we give to God our past, our fears, our hesitations, and let Him CHANGE us for His glory.  We must allow God's grace along with the Holy Spirit to give us understanding as we contemplate God's covenant with us, and His enduring compassion and understanding for our LABORS and SUFFERING.
Our holy God is a relational Father, and with His Son, and the Holy Spirit all working in unison to redeem, restore, and forgive us, the appropriate RESPONSE from us is "Thank You Father for all my struggles which have caused me to seek You with all my heart!" Joni Erickson Tada who paints with her toes, knows that the grace of God does at times, come packaged as difficulty, without a tidy bow of understanding.  Yahweh does not always come immediately to RESCUE us from our consequences, or our unexplained painful life experiences.  Christians who are quick to take offense, and blame others in defense, are the same people who are anxious about everything.  Like the High Priests, they are NOT humble, and they do not rely on God through prayer. WHY?  Because they are insecure and truly trust-impaired. Security is a deeply rooted confidence that God is on the throne, and His faithful Authority rules, all the time, in every circumstance.  Is not our security centered in our Father? Our identity "in Him" is found in His word, which is true.
The opposite of security is an arrogant demand that we have the right to complain when life gets complicated or tough. If the Israelites wearied the Lord with their words, is it not possible that we weary our family, friends, and the world with our whiny insecure words of woe?  "You have wearied the Lord with your words." Malachi 2:17 - Job absolutely wore out the Almighty when he defended his complaints. "I'm not letting up, I'm standing my ground.  My complaint is legitimate.  God has no right to treat me like this. It is not fair!"  Job 23:1-7 The Message ~ Now consider a friend who has confessed their huge foe-paw to God, or think of something you said that was ungodly and confessed - on a scale of 1-10, do you believe our heavenly Father has completely forgiven both...or is He still waiting to give you another chance? Grace and forgiveness is a GIFT. It came to us easily without effort on our part.  Let us then quickly issue grace and forgiveness to honor God in our LABOR to please Him.  May we continue to walk worthy and LABOR on to bring our NEW FAMILY NAME all honor and glory.  AMEN

Saturday, July 4, 2015


It was a thrilling day going back to school in Mexico.  I was delightfully greeted by the owner of a new Thai restaurant in Ajijic.  Senor Roberto Lopez told me that he had just had the opportunity to speak at the Rotary club this morning and share the short story of his boyhood.  He offered me a copy to read and I was glad for the cultural lesson on respect in Mexico, something that Mr. Lopez learned from his father.  He was raised in Arizona and he attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. He continued his education and acquired his Master in Psychology and taught for forty five years in Sacramento, California.  When Mr. Lopez retired he took a two week vacation to Guadalajara.  His friend encouraged him to visit the ancient lakeside town of Ajijic.  Within a year he moved just outside of Jocopotec, Jalisco and opened a restaurant in Ajijic named “Taste of Thai”.  Since living in Lakeside, Senor Lopez has encouraged nine local students to remain in school.  Mr. Lopez supplies each child with their required uniform, shoes, backpack and books. Enjoy the true tale of Roberto growing up.Taken from his own words: The long shadows of the setting sun
glistening through the huge grey cottonwood trees, made me realize how late it was and that I should hurry home as I was certain to be needed by mi Madre to run an errand before dinner at 6:00 p.m.  Tying my tennis shoes, I called to Chito “Oye vato, I can’t play anymore. I must get home.”   Chito was angry because our flag football game was tied.   I yelled back “me esperan en la casa”.   As I ran home I felt the sting of the December cold.  My nose and eyes were red and dripping as I raced towards the purple Papago Mountains that surrounded my small Arizona barrio.  Mi Madre was always in command and we enjoyed a clean and orderly home.  We were a family of eight.  My six siblings each had assigned chores, and mine was to run errands because I was as quick as the wind.  I was ten years old and at least once a day, before a meal could be properly prepared, Mi Madre dispatched me to purchase necessario items from Mr. Jackson’s store.  The store was only three blocks from home and it offered canned and boxed goods, fresh vegetables, candy and the very best ice cream in the neighborhood.  Mr. Jackson consistently greeted all customers with a grunt and sour face while his wife always appeared tired and forlorn.  The story about town regarding Mr. Jackson was that after the couple had lost their only child, he got drunk and in a rage chopped off two fingers with a sharp butcher knife.  He treated all kids the same, he was mean and grouchy. Mr. Jackson did not like me because I always questioned him about his high prices.  Once in my arithmetic class I calculated that this neighborhood store charged 20-30 % more for all items.  At home I questioned mi Madre
“Why do we pay that old man Henry so much for our food?”  Suddenly I heard my dad’s deep voice “Roberto, don’t you ever let me hear you question your mother like that again, and don’t you ever call someone older than you by their first name!”  One very cold evening my father was bringing home a guest for dinner. Mi Madre called “Roberto, here is twenty dollars and a list of things we need for tonight.  Run and get them, Y mijito, please be careful with the money as it is all we have.”   When I arrived at the store Mr. Jackson was locking up and he growled “hurry up boy!”  Frightened by his tone, I ordered a round steak, picked out some potatoes, a head of lettuce, and a loaf of bread.  I handed Mr. Jackson the twenty dollar bill.  As he counted back my change for a purchase of only $2.85, he had only given me change from a five dollar bill and yelled “Now get out of here and don’t come banging on my door anymore at closing time!”  I stared at the change and said “I am sorry sir, but I gave you a twenty”.  He raised his thick eyebrows and with an angry voice shouted
“Are you saying I made a mistake?”   Tears ran down my cheeks, my hands were shaking and I mumbled “I’m not saying you are a cheat, but I gave you a twenty.”  This tall bald, big fat man screamed “Get the hell out of here, and never return!”  My mind raced with worry about what to tell my parents. I decided to lie and tell them that in my haste, the money must have fell out of my pockets as I ran.  As I approached the back door I saw mi Madre expertly making paper-thin tortillas.  She asked me “porque durasted tanto?”  What kept you? Never mind hurry up and wash.  Before dinner, Dad proudly introduced me as his responsible young son to our dinner guest who was a doctor.  Suddenly I felt dizzy, I could not breathe and I felt like I was going to pass out.  “What’s the matter mijito, que pasa muchado?”  Nada, I lied, “the thought of doctors makes me sick.”  The next morning mi Madre asked about the short change from the twenty. “Mama, I lost the money on the way home from the store.”  She told me that my father was waiting in the kitchen to talk to me.  With my head down I walked towards the aroma of coffee expecting a scolding from my dad.  “Sientate, your Madre tells me that you lost fifteen dollars, Es verdad?”  I answered “Si and I am sorry.”  Papa stirred his coffee and asked “Is it true you that you lost the money?”  Not wanting to lie anymore, I
confessed the truth.   “No Papa, I lied” After I told my dad what really happened; he gently brushed the hair out of my eyes and told me to go to my room. The next day my Papa excused me from going to school and he took me around the entire neighborhood. As I played with the young children, my dad was mumbling a conversation to the parents of each family we visited. That night my dad called us all into the living room. “Today I spoke to all the parents in our barrio and after careful consideration of the facts, we all have decided to take action against our grocery man. Mr. Jackson has taken advantage of us all for years.  In addition to taking more than is fair of our hard earned money, Mr. Jackson is teaching our children to be deceitful and dishonest by his example.  Then with a dramatic flair, Papa stuck a match and lit his pant leg on fire.  As he looked at the growing flame he whispered “There are better things we could do!” Dad snuffed out the smoldering flame and with one hand and held up his opposite fist and said while motioning to his singed pant leg “This would be too easy, therefore, Los Padres today we made a wise decision.  The barrio residents have decided to take away something from Mr. and Mrs. Jackson that means much more to them. We will take away their respect by referring to them as Henry and Alice.  We will never call them Mr. and Mrs. Jackson again!”  My eyes lit up with great surprise as I smiled at my father with great admiration.  Many errands were eagerly ran for mi Madre after that.  I never feared Henry again! ---- THE END ---- You are welcome to chat with Senor Robert Lopez at his Thai CafĂ© located in The Plaza Interlago near the car wash on the Libramiento.  Give this Thai Restaurant a try. They are open Mon – Sat  10:00 AM – 8:00 PM.