Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

Covid 19 Day 10

House Party!

Wait, what? My county has issued a shelter-in-place order, so how can we be having a house party?

My daughters are having a blast with a new app. They’re getting a chance to “hang” with their friends while they paint or bake, or do homework, or browse Instagram. In this app, their friends are right there, doing their own things and at any moment one of them will laugh and share what they’ve seen or read with the others. Sometimes they chat, but often they’re just enjoying feeling like they are together again.

What a cool app!

And that isn’t the only one. One of my twins is on the worship team for her young adult group. While she’s not able to lead worship for her group, they are meeting through a program called Zoom. This meeting program allows people to meet with up to 100 others for 30 minutes at a time for free. And the ability to have longer meetings is only $15 and change for a month. Very reasonable.

I was so intrigued by the concept I ended up having a meeting with some of the Write Integrity Press, LLC authors. It was so much fun “meeting” these gals and we had a great chat about books and plans and other things.

This is part of our group during our meeting: Fay Lamb, me, Harriet Michael, Andrea Thom, Stacey Weeks, and Betty Thomason Owens. What a great avenue for “coffee” chats and book clubs or Bible studies – even small groups. I’m so going to come up with ways to use this platform to engage folks!

Wanna chat?

COVID19 Shutdown Day 6 Prayer Break

My pastor, Brent Taylor, posted this prayer chart on Facebook today and it deserves reposting. I have to say though, that it is missing something.

Pray for yourself. You are here, in this moment, appointed by God to be His perfect instrument for a specific job that will impact the kingdom and bring Him glory. It might be within your own family. It might be reaching out online or by phone to give comfort and encouragement to others. Pray that God will reveal to you your options for “touching” others during this time and that He will protect you so you can press on to make the impact on His kingdom that He has laid out for you to make.

So how are you and your family through this temporary “shut-down?” Do you have any prayer requests that I can lift up for you?

COVID19 Shutdown, Day Two

Are you climbing the walls yet?

In virtual interactions with folks, I’m finding four main reactions to all that is happening to our “world” amid the Covid 19 spread.

1. The panic-driven are hearing the gloom and doom from some media outlets and seeing the emptying shelves at the store and . . . well, reacting.

My daughter-in-law went to the store yesterday for black beans. She just needed two cans to complete a recipe but found the canned food aisle full of people and almost empty shelves. One man put his cart against a shelf and shoved all of the cans from it directly into his basket. My d-i-l was able to snag two of the last four cans (only the high-dollar stuff was left), but she couldn’t get out of the area. She found herself completely trapped on the canned food aisle and had to finally raise her voice to get people to let her out of the aisle. She didn’t even have a cart, just needed a path. (That should be the title of a song: TRAPPED ON THE CANNED FOOD AISLE! Lol!)

And I’m not even going to start on the fights that have broken out. Over bottled water? Really? This isn’t a hurricane where you have to be worried about the water. But then there’s the situation with the toilet paper. Okay, okay! I get that folks might be concerned they might have trouble getting to a grocery store should they get sick, but how much do you use in a month?

I actually got caught up in the toilet paper thing. Not on purpose, but after having it unavailable for my last two Walmart orders, we were . . . well, in dire need! Down to two rolls and those were getting pretty slender. So I went on a TP treasure hunt. Thankfully, I found plenty at the first store I visited, Kroger, and got the two packages that I normally buy. I felt so conspicuous walking out of that store with nothing but toilet paper and ice cream. (Kroger has the best store-brand ice cream! LOVE it!) I’m thinking everyone is taking pictures of the crazy pandemic panicker. “Can’t survive without my toilet paper and chocolate ice cream.” LOL!

2. The scoffers are the second group. I hate using the word scoffer because it sounds so mean, but I know I’ve been guilty of being in this group. It’s easy to laugh at some of the bizarre behavior that the fear is bringing out. But this sort of threat does build up fear – terror. The extreme of the scoffing is more what I’m talking about with this group, though.

I read an article last week that made me shudder. Someone posted a meme about the virus. We are America. “Bring it on.” Yikes! There’s a time for national pride – the Olympics for instance. But I don’t think the little varmints jumping from one carrier to another are going to be impressed when they land on an American.

It brought to mind Ephesians 6:12. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” I know there are folks today who beat their chest like King Kong, thinking they are invincible. They not only don’t fear; they invite the monsters to attack. Reckless and, yes, foolish, they have no idea what they are doing, what they are welcoming. And unfortunately, invincibility only lasts for a lifetime.

3. There’s a third type that isn’t as vocal or daring as the second group, but can be just as proud and reckless. These are the nay-sayers. I used to believe that ostriches really buried their heads in the sand when they were threatened. (They don’t, by the way.) But as a child (anytime I got scared), I pulled the covers over my head and shut my eyes. If I couldn’t see anything evil, then it couldn’t see me either, right?

No, not then and not now. But there are many people who are determined not to let the rumor of this virus stop their plans. All of their plans. Like me when I was a frightened child, they are convinced that if they don’t acknowledge the danger, then it simply isn’t there. In the extreme, these folks are reacting in anger and blame at the media and those in authority who are trying to enforce the only action that has seemed to work in curtailing this virus. There are a number of posts and opinions to the effect that this scare is nothing, and the media and government are causing unnecessary panic.

It doesn’t matter what the mayor says or the CDC or county officials or the president, this group believes the whole thing is a farce, and they insist on conducting business as usual. When the widespread pandemic fails to come to fruition, they expect to be able to say, “See, I told you so” to the ones who were concerned.

I hope they are right. I’m praying that by God’s grace this virus will not just dissipate but will vanish entirely. And I’ll lead the chorus of saying, “You were right, and I was wrong!” But I don’t think it’s wise or even godly for us to hang our hats there.

4. This final group is where I stand. I think what I’m hearing from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control is real. I think the decisions that our government leaders are making are wise and are backed up by examples from Wuhan, China and the country of Italy. And I think that self-isolating for a couple of weeks or even a month isn’t going to hurt us nearly as badly as a widespread, acute outbreak of this virus would. I think it’s prudent to follow the directions those who have studied this virus and its spread are giving us. And pray that the Lord who is really the One in charge will eradicate it.

I think, as Christians, in everything, we are supposed to give to God our absolute best. Then we’re supposed to trust Him with the results. That means we do everything we can to succeed in what He has given us – and in this case, that would be to avoid getting sick first and avoid spreading the disease otherwise – and rely on Him to make His will be done. Regardless of what His will entails.

So while I would LOVE to learn that my choices for staying at home, canceling outings and appointments, and extreme cleaning after anyone else visits are completely unnecessary, they are examples of me doing my best. Not out of fear, but with confidence that God is sovereign and reigning through all of this. To do less would be to let my stubbornness and/or laziness and excuses rule. That attitude will not glorify Him.

I serve a Mighty God.
He is on the throne.

2 Excitement Stirrers – Okay, 3!

I’m so excited! Yeah, the words of that song are running through my mind at the moment! Some GREAT things have been in the works for a while and they are all coming to a head TODAY! Woohoo!

First …

… is my radio talk show, Publishing Laine, airing tonight on at 7PM Central. Here’s the direct link:

Tonight’s topic is the variety of choices that today’s market gives to authors in regards to publishing. All of those options produce both challenges and benefits. And we’ll be analyzing those. I say “we” because I won’t be alone on this talk show. My guest is Dena Netherton, author of a creepy new thriller, HAVEN’S FLIGHT.

And that’s my second …

Yea! This book goes beyond suspense and involves a mad stalker and the natural challenges of the rugged Cascade wilderness. Here’s the short version:

Sometimes you flee from your enemy; sometimes you stand and fight.

Haven enrolled in Life Ventures Therapy Camp in the Cascade Mountains to help her heal from horrible memories of her mother’s violent death at the hands of an armed robber. But now, a greater fear dogs her steps. In the mountains, the rustle of leaves or the snap of a twig could be nothing. Or it might signal the presence of the man who won’t stop following her. It seems like a cruel trick from God to throw Haven into another dangerous situation only a year after her mom’s murder.

He hides near her tent and listens to the girl talk with the counselor. Mostly she talks about her father. She’s unhappy, and he can’t stand to listen and do nothing about it. He needs to rescue her. He needs to make sure she doesn’t ever go back home to her father. His own father was the cause of his mother’s death. And Ruth’s. He can’t let that happen again. When the time is right, he’ll take her away to his hidden cabin where she’ll be safe. She’ll never be seen or heard from again. And he will feel peace for the first time in years.

Can one month of survival training equip a girl to face all that the rugged wilderness and a madman can dish out?

And then there’s my third

This one is on a more personal level. Spunky, one of my twins, started her new job this morning and yes, the dog picture does her justice! It’s a mirror image of her enthusiasm when I picked her up after her shift! So happy for her!

But I could use the prayers. For the next several weeks, until she gets her license, she’s got 5AM and 3AM shifts – guess who gets to chauffeur? #Just5MoreMinutes? #WayTooEarly!

YOUR TURN: What is turning on your excitement today???

Teens Be Not Afraid by Cynthia Toney

You fetchThe Dog Daze of Summer continue. Yea! This week, I’m hosting author, Cynthia Toney here. Cynthia writes for young adults. Her book, 8 Notes to a Nobody, is one of the greats on sale during the Dog Daze Sale at Write Integrity Press. I’m so glad she could share her thoughts here!

Teens: Be Not Afraid

For all their apparent recklessness and disregard for consequences, teenagers Continue reading

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Stop Human Trafficking

Blue Heart campaign2I was shocked earlier this year to learn that I20, which crawls through the south side of the DFW Metroplex, is the country’s main vein for Human Trafficking. This form of slavery isn’t new by any means, but it is relatively young in America, at least on this scale.

Every night, there are at least 400 teens, slaves, along the streets of Dallas alone. Even more when there is a major sporting event like a Ranger baseball game or a Cowboy game.

These women are Continue reading

I SO Left You Hanging! (Don’t you hate that???)

climber-299018_1920I don’t know about you, but I got to the end of Dani’s last story, Grime Spree and was ready to keep going. After all, the final page ends with a huge revelation as Jay cruises up the driveway of his parents’ home.

Visiting the parents? That’s a biggie in a relationship! Something I’d sure want to read about!

My original plan for this series had only 4 books in it, but if I stuck with that, you wouldn’t get to find out what happened between Dani and Jay’s parents. And SO MUCH happened let me Continue reading

Life Makes Stories by Marie Wells Coutu

For Such A MomentThe Dog Daze of Summer continue! Find all of the books on sale, including Marie’s first novel, For Such a Moment, on Amazon or at Write Integrity Press. Winner of the Books of Hope Contest, For Such a Moment is a contemporary re-imagining of the story of Queen Esther. Her second novel, Thirsting for More, recently placed in the contemporary category of the Selah Awards.
I’m so loving getting to learn a bit more about the other authors that share Write Integrity Press as their publisher. And this Dog Daze project is a perfect time for that. Need a summer read? Oh, we have that covered! WIP link!

Continue reading

Dog Days of Summer

hot-dog-1314799Boy, I’m, feeling it! In fact, after my morning walk Continue reading


Roughing It

ruffing itCan I be honest?

I’m not an outdoorsy type of person. I just don’t get the thrill of sweat and bugs and sunburns and bug and smoky fires and… oh, yeah. BUGS!

I’m not a fan.

My new, precious daughter-in-love is way into camping and hiking. Her folks have a farm, and being outside is a thrill for her. In fact, if she’s inside, she’s usually huddled under a blanket.

Epiphany! She’s terribly cold-natured. LOVES Texas summers.

I’ve lived here all my life, but nothing drives me indoors like bright sunshine and hot temperatures. Oh, and sweat. I think I’m allergic… to sun… and sweat.


So I’m not simply a wimpy person. I actually do have a good excuse for my type of roughing it.

Boy that relieves my mind! 🙂

Your turn: Summer or winter? Beaches or Mountains? Swimming or Snow-skiing?