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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Scam a Day Will Take Your Money Away



Gorgeous, isn't she? This is our 51' sailboat that we've had listed on a few internet boat sites and apparently it was the perfect lure for a scammer.

We received an inquiry with a few specific questions, then the man, "David", said he was interested in buying our boat, but he wouldn't be able to come see it for a few weeks. He said he'd like to send us a check and have us hold it for him. Several emails later (that still didn't answer or clear up all of our questions) he sent a check via Fed Ex Overnight Global Express from Canada.

Now that should've made us feel confident it was real, as well as that it being a cashier's check, right?

Nope. I smelled a scam from the beginning, but figured there might be a 1% chance he was legit, so we decided to play it out. The check was for the exact asking price, and David was in no hurry to come get the boat. In fact, he stated he'd make transportation arrangements after it cleared. Hmm...so where's the scam?

I took the check to the bank and discovered it was counterfeit. Not drawn on a real account but a check designed to look real that was actually fake. Depositing it would have gotten us a bad check fee, and of course, if we'd tried to use any of it, our checks might have bounced.

We turned him in to the local Sheriff who could do nothing, since it was out of the country. He suggested the State Attorney General. They said they don't deal with fraud/scams/criminal cases and to take it to the FBI. They could have cared less since the check didn't come via the mail. Fill out a fraud form on the internet and don't bother us.

We let David think we'd deposited the check, and two days later discovered 'the rest of the story'. He wrote saying he'd caught his wife in bed with his best friend and since the boat was a gift for her, he needed his money back ASAP, although we could 'keep' 5% of the money for our trouble.

We ignored him, and he got more insistent for about 24 hrs, then quietly disappeared, apparently figuring out we'd uncovered the truth.

The lesson? Don't assume because it's a cashier's check OR arrives by overnight express that it's legit. Take it to your local bank and have them verify first, before you deposit it, and NEVER, NEVER send money back or let the person take the item you're selling until the check clears.

We're so thankful we didn't fall for this scam, but the sad fact is, a lot of people do, or these bottom-feeders wouldn't keep doing what they do.

Have you ever fallen for a scam? What happened and did the people ever get caught? Any other advice you'd like to offer my readers? Please share!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Kim Vogel Sawyer--A VERY Talented Author!


From Bethany House Publishers 

CBD 2009 Bestseller; CBA Bestselling Author Kim Vogel Sawyer

FIELDS OF GRACE -- 

To protect their oldest son from forced military involvement, Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt make the difficult decision to leave their Mennonite village of Gnadenfeld on the grassy plains of Russia and settle in America, the land of freedoms. Reinhardt and his foster brother Eli Bornholdt, who agreed to accompany the family, harbor wonderful dreams of establishing farms in the newly-established state of Kansas, stirring Lillian's excitement for their venture. When tragedy strikes on the journey, Lillian's enthusiasm melts away...as well as her confidence that God will care for her. Can Lillian recapture the long-held faith of her fathers in an unfamiliar, untamed land? 


  

I loved this book....the deep characterizations, the heart-tugging emotions portrayed, the awesome romance that developed slowly and naturally, as well as the story that wouldn't let go, long after I finished reading. 

I highly recommend Kim Vogel Sawyer if you enjoy historical romance, and even if you don't, give her a try. She has never disappointed me in any of her many books that I've read. Truly a strong voice in the Christian community and one I believe you'll come to love. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Buzzard, the Bat, and the Bumblebee

This is not original to me, and I'm sure many of you have seen it various places on the internet or in an email forward, but it's so true, and was so applicable for me today, that I had to share it...in CASE you haven't seen it.


THE BUZZARD 

If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet

and is entirely open at the top,

The bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner.

The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground

with a run of 10 to 12 feet.

Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly,

But will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.


--------------------------------------------------------------


THE BAT


The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air,

Cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can


do is shuffle about helplessly and, No doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight 
elevation
from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

---------------------------------------------------------------------


THE BUMBLEBEE


A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out.

It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out

Through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely 


destroys itself.
--------------------------------------------------------------------


PEOPLE


In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee.

We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up!

That's the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem...

Just look up!



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sorrow looks back,

Worry looks around,

But faith looks up!



Live simply,

Love generously,

Care deeply.



Speak kindly, and

Trust in our Creator,

Who loves us.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Who Can You Trust?

I've been thinking about this lately--who can I really trust? Not because I've been betrayed recently, but I want to use wisdom in where I trust my heart. No, I'm not looking for romance, as I'm happily married, and I do trust my husband. I also trust my mother, my kids and a few close friends.

That's not what I'm talking about here. When trouble hits and you want to talk to someone, but it's sensitive and maybe even hurtful, where do you turn? When everything seems to be falling apart, what do you do?

My husband and I have endured a lot of stress the past two years, with our business failing, Allen getting laid off recently, and getting hit with some health problems. I realized that, while I have friends and family who care, none of them could make the stress go away--none could offer the fix I wanted. So why was my first impulse to pick up the phone and call my mom, my grown kids, or a friend? Wasn't that putting my stress on their shoulders? Yes, they did pray, and I value that above all else.

But only God can change my circumstances. He is my provider, my healer, my comforter, my friend. He goes to war on my behalf, champions me when I'm despondent, fights for me when I'm under attack. He brings peace when I'm confused and gives answers where there are none. I can trust him. Totally. Completely. Forever. With everything.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Do Not Be Afraid--The Lord Will Fight For You!


By Kathi Macias    Communicating the vision… (Hab.2:2)



And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the
salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.

For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." (Exodus 14:
13-14, NKJV).

At last, after years of enslavement and degradation, the Israelite's had escaped from Egypt! Not only had they escaped, but they had done so with jewels and money, livestock and clothing, and everything they'd been deprived of during their lengthy sojourn. Now they were free, and joy
bubbled up in their hearts and no doubt overflowed in their words and actions.

Then, in a brief moment, everything changed. They found themselves with the uncrossable Red Sea on one side and their infuriated former captors closing in on the other. There was no way of escape. None. The situation was as hopeless as it could get.

Ever been there? Who hasn't, right? You've been in the midst of a seemingly unending trial and then suddenly it seems deliverance has come at last. You've scarcely begun to celebrate when once again you find yourself on the verge of destruction. All hope of escape is gone. There is
nowhere to turn except to God. Which, of course, is what He intended all along.

Can you imagine the recently-delivered Israelite's level of terror and despair at that point? Their joy had just been turned to horror, and the only choice they had was between drowning in the sea or slaughter at the hands of the Egyptians.

Moses proved himself a wise leader at that crucial moment. He knew there was nothing he could do to help his people. Only God could deliver them now. And so Moses declared, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

Do not be afraid.

The Lord will fight for you.

Those are the words we all need to hear, not just when we're between the proverbial rock and a hard place, but always-every day, at every juncture of our lives. There is no reason to fear because the very God who delivered us from bondage will fight for us! Can there be any better
assurance than that?

Romans 8:31 asks, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Who, indeed? Nothing or no one can harm or defeat us because God is the One who fights for us. Wow, what a great truth-one that should set our feet to dancing and our mouths to singing! For Romans 8 also declares that, no matter what difficulties or hardships we face, "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (verse 37).

If you're hemmed in by threats or enemies or circumstance today and there seems to be no way out, don't despair. Remember, it is the Lord who fights for you, and you are more than a conqueror through Him.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mothers VS Daughters--A Deep Hurt


Have you experienced pain in your relationship with your mother--or daughter? 

My upcoming novel, Blowing on Dandelions is a historical romance, but it's so much more. It's a deep look into the life of two women--a mother and her grown daughter--who love one another, but don't know how to show it, or how to relate to each other. There's a story behind why I wrote this book.


Blowing on Dandelions is a book driven by emotion, centering on the pain and joy of the characters. Their story consumed me and wouldn't let go until it was written—in fact, it still hasn't let go. 
It all started several years ago, when I spent some time with a friend, and she let slip little comments about her relationship with her mother. Let’s just say they were filled with pain and grief. Mama was alive, well, and still contributing to that pain and grief.
I could bear it no longer, and while giving her a hug, asked if I could pray with her that God would grant her peace and healing. Through barely contained tears she refused. Not that she wasn't grateful, but she couldn't tolerate the thought of attaining some kind of peace, only to return home to the same situation and have it shattered—or worse, new shards embedded into her healed heart. I went home heartsick and unable to shake the urgency to pray for my friend. I sensed her deep level of hopelessness that her life and relationship with her mother would never change. I prayed every time her name came to mind, which happened frequently. I couldn't forget the despair in her voice the last time we spoke.
As I asked the Lord what my next writing project should be, He gently directed me back to those memories. I knew He was showing me, over and over, that thousands of women ache with the same need—for approval, love, and acceptance, just as they are—from their mothers. He directed me to tell this story.
I wove a romance into the novel and set it in 1880 in the Old West, as so many of my readers enjoy a strong historical romance. But it's so much more than that....and I hope reading it will bless you as much as writing it has done for me. 
Releasing in four months, on June 1st via Amazon, Christianbook.com, or coming to a store near you. Available now at a great pre-order price on Amazon



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