Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


Passions Discovered

Truly, this post was inspired by some credit card commercial. “What’s in your wallet.” LOL! I couldn’t help but think of that silly question when I started contemplating passions. I would say, though, that a better question is what’s on your calendar. Continue reading


Book Review – Peril (And A TREAT!)

I spent the most delightful weekend with my girls, chilling and reading a book that I’d wanted to read for some time. Peril, by Suzanne Hartmann had a delicious mystery mixed with suspense, and a setting that I drool over: NASCAR races!

From the back cover: Continue reading


H is for …

Hearing the message. 
Wow! Have you ever noticed the descriptive words and phrases that Paul uses in Ephesians 4? They are the exact opposite of the things we usually see, even among Christians.
He starts out by urging us to “live a life worthy of the calling … received.” Our worthy behavior doesn’t get us
into heaven. That’s already been done with Christ’s death as our redemption payment. But living a worthy life is the result of the indwelling of the Spirit. Committing to live in that manner is our thank-you to the Lord for all He’s done for us. Then he describes what our worthy life will look like.
He instructs us to “Be completely humble and gentle.” That first word–completely–exhorts total and whole-hearted commitment to the task. And total commitment is what is expected. After all, we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. Lord first. That means we put Him in charge. Our own wishes take second place–a lesson that I learned the hard way today, just after I did my Bible Study. 
I have to be honest! I’ve been waiting in happy anticipation for the beginning of NASCAR season for their biggest race. Rained out on Sunday, I thought I’d have all afternoon on Monday to enjoy it. But it was delayed again, set to air during a dinner that I had to go to. A business thing. I already resented being forced to attend, but I REALLY resented having to miss something important to me. And God brought my study from this morning back to my mind. My own wishes need to take second place.
I need to be humble. Truly putting the needs of others in front of my own means I have to embrace missing the Super Bowl of my favorite sport. For those of you who aren’t race fans, compare it to missing the second-half of a two-parter of your favorite show that you’ve been waiting to see all summer. Agonizing. And yet, personal agendas and opinions have no part in humility. So I determined to go to that dinner and try very hard to wipe the thoughts of what I was missing as far away as I possibly could.
Which leads to Paul’s second descriptive word. We’re to be completely humble and gentle. Our words need to be delivered with compassion and love, but our actions must also have an air of sincerity. As I dealt with the folks at dinner, I had to be totally there. Not an easy thing for an naturally ADD sufferer. It takes a lot for me to concentrate solely on anything anytime, but with my mind distracted by racing, I couldn’t imagine being able to be sincerely and completely gentle.
Or patient. I’d already figured out what time I’d need to leave in order to see the second half. (No, I don’t have a DVR – bummer!) But, the more I thought about missing the race, the more impossible being friendly and engaging seemed. I seriously doubted my success, yet I still had to go.
The good news is, that even though if left up to me, the evening would’ve been doomed, it wasn’t left up to me. The Spirit of the Lord lives in me and because of that His fruits are evident in my life. And those fruits include patience and gentleness. Good thing! So my challenge wasn’t to be humble or gentle or patient. My challenge was to empty myself of my own desires in order to let the Spirit work through me. He provided the sincerity and compassion that I needed. And I ended up having a lot more fun than I thought I would.
I even met another race fan! Oh and I didn’t miss the best part of the race! Caught the last 40 laps, a fire, an explosion, 3 wrecks (you’da thought it was a disaster movie!) and a win at 12:15 central. 
When was the last time an irritation served as a major challenge for you?


Highs and Lows

Okay, you non-race fans. Bear with me. There really is a point to this! I was watching an interview with last year’s Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne. In only his second Sprint Cup start, the 20-year-old (same as my Dear Boy) won the equivalent of the Super Bowl.

He was so green he had trouble finding Victory Lane. “I don’t even know where to go,” came over his radio after his burn-out.

Only a few weeks later, his career lay in jeopardy by a mysterious illness. Five weeks, he was forced to watch, mostly from a hospital bed, his car race without him.


Thankfully, the man recovered and has qualified for his second Daytona 500 race coming this Sunday.


High highs and low lows. They’re just part of life, whether you’re a race car driver, a parent, an accountant, or a writer.


The highs inspire us. Carry us. And the hope of them drive us forward in anticipation. It’s that hope that gives us our strongest motivation and propels us through most of our daily days. Reaching the highs is spectacular for a moment. Resting on it for too long can drag us down, but that element of reaching the high and the memory of it provide the fuel that creates our dreams in the first place.


If the highs inspire us, the lows direct us. As a teacher, misbehavior always resulted in redirecting. Not only did the word sound better than punishment, it was a more accurate description of what happened. I didn’t want to stifle the creativity or the spirit of my students. I just wanted to funnel it into an appropriate area.


Our failures treat us to the same instruction. Like a mouse in a maze reaching a dead end, we have to pick up and turn our enthusiasm to a different path. The lows threaten to rob us of hope and a positive attitude, but they don’t have to.


In fact, they really don’t have the power to do that. Dead ends only look like they stop us, but it depends on how we react to them. We can allow them to stop us, sit on our hineys and whine. Or we can pull a u-ee and try another possibility. (There are always other possibilities.)


Now this article isn’t an explanation of me making a drastic change. On the contrary, I’m riding on hope right now with my new story idea and am writing more than I have in months. But I have to be ready for set-backs: passes from agents, strong critiques, even poor reviews. I don’t expect them, but I have to be prepared for them so that when they come I can use them for growth instead of wrapping my emotions around them into a fetal position.


All of my goals, including reading, visiting other blogs, even my exercise, are on an upswing. It hasn’t been that way the whole time, but I’ve been able to find something to be pleased about with every update, even on weeks when I topple big.


Your Turn: Where are you this week? What’s spurring you on, or what’s holding you back?



Book Release – New Suspense Series!

How did I ever miss the buzz on this new book? It has everything I LOVE:

  • Inspiration
  • Suspense
  • Romance

Could anything be more perfect?

So glad I heard about it NOW! Cause TODAY'S THE DAY!

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Y is for Yearly Fix, um … I Mean Dose

I confess: I’m a speed junkie. Wait. I’m a child of the 70’s. That’s not the kind of speed I’m talking about.

I’m talking about a full-tilt, pedal-to-the-metal, adrenaline injection over a mile and a half with 24 degree banking on the turns. Yes, I mean NASCAR!

We have made the November race a yearly jaunt! It became a traditional part of our anniversary celebration several years ago when I became such a fan. This year (our 25th) Sweet Hubby and I got a royal treat.

My awesome mom bought a bunch of tickets for a charity raffle and won two tickets to the Sprint Cup Race this past Sunday, at the equivalent of the 50-yard line with seats high enough to see the entire track easily.

Okay, if you’re not a racing fan and you’re still reading, BIGTIME THANKS! And if you’ve read this far and always thought that track races were about as interesting as watching grass grow, well, you’re not alone.

I was right there with you. The only thing that I thought more boring than a track race on television was one on the radio.

“There they go. And they’re making a left turn. And now they’re going straight. Wait a minute. Here’s another left turn, but they’re straightening out again.” Puleeze! Three hours of that?

When an old friend described it as a chess game at 200 miles per hour (yes, they sometimes get that fast :D) I started looking at it a whole new way. Sometimes three hours just isn’t enough!

For thinkers, it is the ultimate in physics and dynamics. Just the drafting techniques alone can get exciting, especially when a driver can send another one reeling without ever laying a hand … er, fender, on them. Strategy plays a huge part in the process, along with a little luck.

For instance, from Sunday’s Sprint Cup race: after the racers behind him pit, one of my favorites, Kasey Kahne, pulled in for fresh tires. Just as he reached his pit, the caution flag flew. That meant that he had to get his tire change complete and get out of the pits before the leaders crossed the start/finish line or else he would lose a lap and no longer have a chance to win.

The luck part came with his timing. He hit the pit box just right to get out (in 12 seconds) and squeeze back on the track barely ahead of the line of cars. His talented crew members stepped it up and performed with perfection. (Yes this is a team sport.) And the strategy (and BEAUTY!) of it occurred a few laps later when all the other cars pitted during the caution to put on new tires and get gas. Having already done that Kasey stayed out and moved into first place. He ended up a happy third! (Well, I was happy, anyway.)

For the feelers, this sport is full of drama. REALLY! That shouldn’t be so hard to believe, though. Think of the last time you got cut off on the freeway. Okay? Okay!

This weekend had that as well. No big accidents during the Sunday race, but after a little fender rubbing on Friday night (during the Camping World Truck Series) Kyle Busch snapped. After the yellow flags flew because he hit the wall, (The yellow caution flags demand that the racers slow down to 55 MPH.) He maintained his pace (at almost 100 MPH) and shoved the truck, that had accidentally caused his accident, head-on into the wall. He destroyed both vehicles and eliminated the driver of the other truck from the race and from the truck championship (both of which the man was poised to win).

Bumping, retaliation, and accidents are normal during races, but this went way beyond appropriate behavior,  even for drivers in NASCAR. The officials not only parked Busch for the rest of the truck race, they made him sit (in time out) for Saturday’s Nationwide race and Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

*Best Brit accent for a Texan* “I think it’s time he sat in the naughty seat!” At this point, there are lots of other rumors flying that NASCAR and Joe Gibbs (the owner of the team for which Busch races) aren’t through with this matter. I’m so intrigued!

***Update*** As of this posting, Kyle Busch has been placed on probation for the last two weekends of the racing season. He drives for all three series, so his sponsors, like M&M’s are at least going to enjoy their publicity. Bad publicity! BAAAAAD Puddytat!

Oh and for laughs, Texas Motor Speedway put Busch’s car next to the main entrance and encouraged everyone to use it for picture-taking since Kyle wouldn’t be using it. LOL! See Sweet Hubby’s photo above!

So our yearly jaunt is perfect for my Y post and for my sweet hubby and me. (His racer, Jimmie Johnson, didn’t do so hot. But he enjoyed watching a second fave, Tony Stewart, win.) Perfect weather, fun company, and a dynamite floor (ahem, asphalt) show!

What is a yearly jaunt you like to take with a loved one?


Yummy New Blog Award!

I love blogging. The writing is a challenge. Reading about others and getting a capsule view of their lives is inspiring. I especially love having conversations through comments.

There are times when I look at my schedule and feel hopeless desperation. "What will folks want to read about tomorrow?" But mostly, it provides a free-writing opportunity for me and a fairly safe avenue to practice my craft.

So when my blog gets someone's attention, like for
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I is for Me, I mean I, BOTH of Us!

Today's letter is I; Introductions
At the Texas Christian Homeschool Prom with Sweet Hubby

Identity is a difficult monster to define. I've had many of them: student, wife, daughter, sister, teacher and now writer. When I left my teaching career, there was a little trouble with this topic. No longer with a full-time "career" it took some getting used to before embracing the role of stay-at-home-mom. Some of my SAHM friends sure had me fooled. I thought this job would be a breeze after teaching twenty-six 5th-graders. HA!
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