by Helen Bea Kirk
As you probably know from my last post, I made significant New Year’s resolutions—which I aim to keep—it’s just going to be a bit harder and I have no one to blame but myself.
What on earth could make keeping my New Year’s resolutions harder?
I’ll gladly share that, but first let me remind you of my 2019 personal goals. The goals encompass weight loss and a hair style change when I’m done, graduating college (finally) this year, learning a new musical instrument (because I had a mild interest in piano and guitar never captured me), more attention to daily bible reading and photo projects for my children
Last year’s major goal of mine was to change careers and work from home, and I accomplished it. Everyday, I now enjoy working for myself online, at home, in my slippers. But it’s a bit lonely. Even with weekly lunch dates with friends, the quiet has me talking to myself. It was time for companionship of the furry kind.
Dogs are an incredible gift. They are adorable and make good company. I began collecting awesome canine photos for my Pintrest “Pretty Pups” board well before we lost our lovely lab last year and although she was an outdoor pet, she left a hole in our family—in my view.
After studying a myriad of dog breeds, I was impressed with the English Bulldog most of all. Gentle-mannered, comical and not frail looking. To top it off, they are stinkin’ adorable with droopy lips and a wrinkled face that rivals Abe Vigoda.
There is plenty to learn about dogs and people. In my excitement, I was nearly swindled out of hundreds. My fault; I was searching for a “deal”. When the second scammer would not let me pay for the pup using Paypal secure either, I knew something was really wrong. In fact, they told me, “I don’t do business this way.” Both scammers wanted to be paid by Money gram, but I don’t work that way… unless I’m related to you. So, I learned a lot about criminals who illegally copy websites and don’t breed dogs at all. The biggest lesson was about me; am I ever cheap or what?
More photos to come... Feel free to share your English Bulldog comments.
by HB Kirk
There are life lessons that come with some coffees such as; stay grounded and leave a pleasant aftertaste. Be the center of a party and don’t cause people to fall asleep. Be there afterwards to help sober them up. Be someone people look forward to being around and don’t make a mess. Be good just the way you are and try not to need much to make you whole or palatable. Don’t be high maintenance and cost your friends too much, while at the same time letting them know you are part of the finer things in life; make your friendship worthy and appreciated. Black Rifle coffee offers more; be brave and gentle... and maybe take no prisoners.
Ah, coffee. Thank you, Lord.
Has there ever been such a non-alcoholic beverage so widely appreciated? Eh, maybe tea, but I’m not going there today. In keeping with my affinity and search (see previous posting) for the best ground coffee around, today is all about coffee, not tea.
Discovering the new coffee in town came sort of by accident. Hubby was hunting for this year’s perfect family gift exchange gift online and stumbled across the veteran-owned, Black Rifle Coffee Company. Yes, I think the name is cool, but I wondered if it was just slick marketing with ‘meh’ coffee. It was two weeks before Christmas, but he placed the order with Black Rifle Coffee Company for their Complete Mission Fuel Kit, and we waited.
I was charmed. Delighted. Wishing I could hug a soldier at that moment while at the same time wanting to be a military badass myself. Never having served in the armed forces, I do have a deep respect for those who have and do currently serve.
If I were several decades younger, I might look into a BRCC franchise -- maybe I could wear camo and kickass boots to work everyday and march in yelling, "Bring it on!"
A girl can dream...
About the taste? It was soft, smooth, just like they touted on the package. No aftertaste -- just delicious coffee and the best I've had of pre-ground, yet. I highly recommend Black Rifle Coffee. It's a great beverage experience and a thoughtful purchase in light of the veteran founders.
I raise my cup to you, Black Rifle! Well done.
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by HB Kirk
Wasn’t Christmas fun? I love it, but this year was different for me.
I have been pondering the demise of 2018 and the birth of 2019. And like coffee percolating, ideas of how to improve my life and my person have been brewing.
If I jettison my thoughts to this time next year, I can see her clearly; she has a stylish haircut, cute clothes that fit her slim figure well and she is playing a musical instrument that brings her joy.
Was it painful, you may be asking? Nope. Not a bit. I believe that's what happens when you are disgusted with waste. These clothes have been wasting away as have my feelings about myself because I could not wear them. I appreciate the past but I'm ready to move forward.
What in the World?
I’m swearing off the news.
Images of a white van plastered with Trump stickers gives me the heebie-jeebies. Have you been gob-smacked by the media lately? I have and I’m going to get some things off my chest while the mid-term election heat is up.
Do you remember the presidential election in 2016? Who could forget it, right? All bets were on Hillary as she tripped her way through her campaign. Oh, but wait there was Donald, the cartoonish, twittering man, right on her tail.
Admittedly, the debates that year conjured images of MMA fights. The commentator announced the candidates and the trash-talking began. I’m not saying it was a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong, I like to know how they fight. Will Hillary Clinton pull hair or go for the groin? Will Marco Rubio go on the offense or stay in defensive mode with his back against the chain link? Will Bernie Sanders display more socialism (dubbed progressiveness by the media) than his contemporaries with claims that he will be America’s daddy and pay for everything you need to be happy? Will Donald Trump push the fact-checkers across the nation into super sonic mode causing them to bloody their fingers on their keyboards?
Well, we all know how it played out; half the nation high-fived and the other half took a blood pressure pill and went to bed.
But, then there was morning (and mourning) among the Democrats. Those who had forgotten or maybe had never experienced their candidate losing the election, got more upset as the day went on.
The jubilation and shock of the Republican win was an aphrodisiac to conservatives. I’m betting there was a conservative baby boom in 2017. Will someone check that thought? Thanks.
By the same token, my guess is more Liberals turned to substance abuse to numb the pain. Fact-checkers?
Here’s what I have noticed since Trump’s election; a cyclical trend of Sex, Politics and Religion in the main stream news. Seriously. I will list the format: A story involving inappropriate sexual conduct or gender awareness, then a feature on a political individual with questionable moral character, then a piece about a religious person or group responsible for some horrible thing said or done.
Then it begins again; an issue involving gender or inappropriate sexual conduct then a questionable political figure and then religious issues.
The only time this narrative trend stops is to dwell on a natural disaster. Lately, hurricanes and floods are the commercial breaks between the regular junk.
My TV watching habits are changing. I used to run to the kitchen for a snack during commercials, but now it’s the other way around. Frankly, I’m tired. Are you?
Was there ever a time when we didn’t argue over sex, religion or politics? I can think of plenty of times and they were all with people who think like me. When you’re in the same boat, sailing an agreed upon direction—there is harmony, comfort, trust and camaraderie. I’m glad to have known many years of this kind of existence.
Though there have always been numerous ships in the water, they powered peacefully along. Now, one particular boat has its sights set on mine and it’s being steered by an invisible force, but the crew are surely pirates.
Their purpose is not to glide happily along, no. That boat’s crew’s sole purpose is to sink mine. They cannot tolerate the sight of my craft on the water. They must be the only boat.
Who died and made them owners of the waters?
A pirate does not act like a pirate if there are no other boats to plunder. Who were the pirates before turning to crimes on the ocean? Possibly disgusted farmers, broke merchants or criminals? Mary Wollstonecraft said, “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.”
So, we screw up.
Whichever political party you identify with, look in the mirror ask yourself if you are sharing the waters or hoping to sink a fellow countryman’s boat. If you are participating in the latter, recognize your mistake and tack.
That’s the way I see it. How about you?
It was a black leather fanny pack which, he explained, was made of elk leather. He had bought it while he was in Alaska. The gift was an especially bright moment in what was a chaotic and upsetting time. The horses she had developed an instant affinity with were all gone, as was Blade, who had taught her everything she knew about horses and riding, and had shown her how to throw a knife with unerring accuracy. She would put the small knife Blade had given her into that new pack as well as her journal. Browsing through it, she read the scribblings of her five-year-old self as she pondered the changes in circumstance that an unexpected bequest and a well-placed investment had given the family. That was all past now, and very little of that former affluence remained.
Helen Bea Kirk’s sleuth mystery novel, Done Running, is a fast-paced and enthralling story about a young woman who takes a chance on an opportunity and sets out for a new life as a cook in the Alaskan oil fields. Kirk’s insights into the stresses and strains of working in isolation, particularly for a young woman, work so well with her plot in making this story compelling and quite difficult to put down. Done Running also has a sweet and enjoyable romantic thread running through it as well as elements of a family saga, which further add dimension to this well-written story. Her characters are sharply defined and credible. Done Running is highly recommended.
On his commute one day he is approached by a woman with an offer for him that involves a huge sum of money, but poses a moral dilemma. Intrigued, he checks out her claim and finds she is not joking—she threatens harm to his family if he begs out. He must locate a rider on the train before said rider reaches their destination and receives government escorts/protection.
Consider wearing gloves; this pg-13 movie with its unfolding drama, filmed almost exclusively on a moving train, will have you biting your nails off. The suspense coupled with the most amazing train wreck, enthralled me. As I recall, there were fewer than half a dozen excusable instances of profanity including one use of a profound F-bomb. The violence was typical of an action movie except for a disturbing scene where a man is vividly pushed to his death in front of a bus. There is nothing sexual in this movie, just heaps of awesome drama and a satisfying ending. Loved it. The Commuter gets 5 out of 5 stars from me.
Article by HB Kirk
You see and read a lot about how cel phones and texting/social media has ruined our lives, but there is something heart-warming about the tidbits we get from the internet. So and so got married, someone’s baby took their first step, pray for someone going through a hard time … The list goes on. We are definitely informed, but do we care?
You can imagine the worry that circled our family. A second call came from the same phone number, but thankfully Mom missed the call and has no clue how to access her voicemail. We’ll never know how much that lawyer might have cost. She was a victim of an elaborate ruse called the Grandparents scam.
Unsuspecting elderly people are targeted and the perpetrator usually has some excuse for not sounding quite like themselves. For example, the broken nose and cut lip in our scammer’s lie. Other times they might say there is a bad phone connection because they are in the mountains or in Europe. Usually, they claim they are in jail.
According to a CBS News article regarding this particular scam, an ex-scammer said, “You can make 10,000 in a day if you do it properly.”
Numerous people have shared dreadful experiences with this crime online. One man told about how his in-laws lost 8,000 to a person claiming to be their grandson. It’s real and it’s ugly.
I’m grateful my mother lives three miles from me, but yesterday it seemed like three light years away. In a short phone call she could have lost all of her savings. Of all things, now we’re considering how we can help protect her from the pitfalls of her lifeline flip phone.
Select Menu> select Settings>Select Calls> select Manage Calls> select Accept calls> select Only From List. Now the phone will only receive calls from people in your contacts list, but you can still call whomever you want whether they are in your contacts or not.
With caution and luck, your parent or grandparent will not be a victim of The Grandparents Scam. Their odds of not falling for the Grandparents Scam improve with your help. If you have something to share on this topic or helpful info to add, please do!
Hundred degree days and more on the way... It's a pretty hot summer here in Texas, but it sure doesn't stop my coffee habit! I will argue there is not much in life more pleasing than the combination of a good book and a good cup of brew. Just the aroma inspires pleasant thoughts as far back as my childhood when Mom was up early on a school day, stealing her own quiet time with her livre and demitasse.
Why am I talking about coffee today?
Because I've got something to share with you----an amazing coffee! Before I spill the beans, I'm going to list a few we have thought might be "the one" to enjoy most of the time. An FYI here; I do not make special trips to specialty coffee shops to purchase coffee. In fact that gets under my skin. My goal has been to find the ultimate cup of coffee at the grocery store (and I don't mean the green mermaid). There isn't enough time in the day to cover Keurig coffee pods, so today I'm sticking to the traditional cup of joe (already ground) from your drip coffee maker. Like a good book, I'm going to apply star ratings to these picks. Keep in mind no coffee is going to get 5 stars because the search is always on, therefore 4 stars is my top rating.
So what's the secret? Patience please, Rome wasn't built in a day and I'm sipping my morning delight. I'm savoring the moment because when I tell you about the loveliest cup of (store bought coffee) I have experienced, some of you may have an "Ah ha" moment and others will snicker...
Is your reader group fun? Do you get together once a month and dig into great discussions about the latest book? The benefits of participating in a reader group are no secret; there's the the fact that it keeps your mind sharp and you learn new things. The best part is the social aspect. Just gathering with like-minded people to unpack the details of a great story is magical.
A glass of wine, a cup of hot tea and words, paragraphs, seriousness and laughs. Reader groups are enlightening. In the spirit of a club reading, we are including a conversation guide with each purchase of What Matters Most, for each member of your group.
Helen Bea Kirk
Do you have fond thoughts of the summers in your youth? I do and it's mainly because of a couple of summer road trip vacations with family and friends. Something awe-inspiring happened on every trip. Once, as our family cruised through America's heartland in a station wagon, us kids watched with bated breath as our father pegged the needle to stay just ahead of a massive tornado.
Another summer in a new station wagon, we kids begged our father and he caved and drove that Ford beast through an animal safari where monkeys stood on the hood of our car and urinated on the windshield. The air conditioner pumped the stench into the car and we all gagged as we laughed uncontrollably while Dad fumed.
Suffice to say I love road trips, but I also love the destination; I remember beaches I have graced by the book I chose. A yummy mystery romance while lying out at the beach is like a full-bodied Cabernet and a chunk of aged Havarti cheese. They're nice apart, but together it's magic.
Isn't the beach enough? Why read?
That's the rub. We drive or fly to clear our lungs and mind and yet can't seem to unplug in paradise. Hmm, what's that good old definition of insanity? Something about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? If you take your work, problems or stress on vacay with you ... you won't really experience your intended reason for the trip.
Get ready to unplug----even if you're planning a stay-cation. Visit bookstores, stroll through the library or peruse your next mental adventure by searching for that perfect book online. It will not only serve as your companion and teacher, but quite possibly your healer as you unplug and immerse. Wherever you deiced to stay or go, enjoy your adventurous summer!
Helen Bea Kirk is an American fiction writer of mystery, suspense and crime novels. View her books here.
DONE RUNNING " Emotional, flawed characters, redemption, strength and forgiveness. Porsha has so much that she is dealing with and the craziness of the situations comes through elegantly."
Helen Bea Kirk is the author of What Matters Most; a story of reclaiming what's yours.
"I loved the interaction between King and Meagan and how King shows his feelings toward Meagan who secretly feels the same. I'm glad the story ended how it did. A lovely ending for a fantastic story."
Hi, I'm Helen Bea Kirk. Welcome to my blog. I write about what I write about; the motivations behind the script.
"This story made me laugh and smile a lot. It was light hearted in places but also packed a punch too."
"Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down."
"A Hallmark movie of a book. You knew the ending right from the start, but had no idea how you would get there! The journey was filled with twists, turns, and surprises."
"The story made you think this could be true."
"I loved the author's creative imagination that led me on this amazing adventure and fell in love with the characters. Definitely a must read."
"I enjoyed many aspects about What Matters Most, but most importantly I enjoyed its quick pace. Meagan’s character was one of my favorites."
When your body is miles away from the mainland, immerse your mind in a Helen Bea Kirk adventure!
Because I love my dog...