Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It is Unanimous by Hafiz

IT IS UNANIMOUS
Hafiz
It is unanimous where I come from.
Everyone agrees on one thing:

It’s no fun
When God is not near.

All are hunters.
The wise man learns the Friend’s weaknesses
And sets a clever trap

Listen,
The Beloved has agreed to play a game
Called
Love.

Our sun sat in the sky
Way before this earth was born
Waiting to caress a billion faces.

Hafiz encourages all art.

For at its height it brings Light near
To us.

The wise man learns what draws God
Near.

It is the beauty of compassion
In your heart.

Written by the 13th century Persian poet, Hafiz.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

T-Bone: Name-Dropping

Monday, December 29, 2008

Review: Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight



Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight
by Karen Scalf Linamen.
Blurb:
Every woman longs for change in some area of her life. Unfortunately, fear, fatigue, adversity, heartbreak, past failures, and even the choices of other people get in the way and make lasting change seem out of reach. Having been there herself, Karen Linamen knows exactly how to take readers from where they are to where they want to be.
In Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight, she examines 52 powerful actions readers can apply to any change they long to embrace. Her insights apply to career, finances, personal health and fitness, relationships, faith—in fact, every facet of a woman’s life.
Blending laugh-out-loud humor and sage advice, Linamen shows readers the link between dissatisfaction and transformation, how to remodel habits, the little-known truth about procrastination, how to generate the energy they need to pursue the life they desire, how to benefit from options and resources they never dreamed they had, and much, much more!

Author Bio:
Karen Linamen is a popular speaker and the celebrated author of ten books for women, including Due to Rising Energy Costs the Light at the End of the Tunnel Has Been Turned Off and Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt. She has been featured on more than one hundred radio programs, including FamilyLife Today. Publishers Weekly describes her as “funny, forthright and unforgettable.” Linamen lives with her family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Visit her website at www.karenlinamen.com.

Amazon Link:

My review is up at blogcritics

Weekend Movie Viewing

Some interesting flicks over the weekend:

10,000 million BC

-- okay, modern day time traveling scientists end up in the past. They accidentally leave the very hunky Chris Atkins character and some hot athletic girls behind. Sixty years pass by -- it's very hard to pin-point dates when one goes back in time to a specific time-- and the original scientist returns with the military to get his friends back. But there's a problem. Because of the singularity wormhole issues (yeah, i know the lingo cause i watched way too much stargate back when it hadn't gotten so complicated and weirdly theological) the scientist --who feels guilty for having left his friend back in the day-- has to stay behind and shut off the singularity or else...well, dinosaurs or whoever will be able to get through into modern time.

Not that it helps. Scientist nobly stays but alas, a dinosaur gets through the wormhole and follows the returning aforesaid hunky Chris Atkins character back to LA. Dinosaur creates havoc...but one of the returnees remembers the 3rd street tunnel and they decide to trap the dino there. BTW, one of the returnees has a son who was left behind and who is angry because of the loss of his father. So the prelibration is pretty much us wanting this dad and son to reunite and be healed.

Not bad...but well, scifi channel special effects are none-too-great. A lot more time spent in the BC time than in the LA time. So there's this feeling of more a back in time flick than a Godzilla messing up buildings. Also, much of the dino damage is done at night so most of LA is blissfully unaware of rampaging dino. There was an attempt to do little trick ending stuff with time as in Timecop but it kinda fell flat. On the whole a good movie.

It was basically reptilian weekend on scifi channel. The worst of the lot being MegaSnake...with a hero who was emotionally scarred from being raised in a snake handling cult. For the record: Jesus DID say if you handle dangerous snakes they won't harm you. But he didn't say go out and pick them up. After all, the devil told him to dive into supernatural danger by jumping off the temple and used Psalm 91 in his temptation but Jesus declined. Also, the ability not to be harmed by snakes could pretty much represent demons as well as physical snakes.

A Walk to Remember. Young girl -- minister's daughter-- is dying of cancer and falls in love with juvie kind-hearted hunk. Hence, she gets a little happiness before she dies. In this flick miracles are defined as the fact that she got to have some marital sex before she died. Sweet movie but because of my particular health issues and my son's I always get annoyed with stories that define miracles in such a wussy way. I'll agree that God blessed her with a husband before she died but I think A) he would've blessed her with a good husband anyway and B) I think he could have given her a true miraculous healing in addition to this sentimental thing they called healing. I just hate sentimentality when what I want is a true acknowledgment of divine miracles.

Momma's Boys. -- Okay, this wasn't a movie but a reality show I discovered on WE TV. It's like a dating show except the moms are there too, helping their sons pick the right girl. And the girls are of course trying to butter up the moms. Sweet Jewish, italian, and Russian-American moms. The guys were okay but didn't do much for me. A lot of black girls made the cut...and a lot didn't. ::raised eyebrows:: made me wonder why black women put themselves into these situations where guys pretty much are hooked on the blonde ideal. Will see what happens to them.

Valkyrie -- another not-movie. On History Channel. This was about the conspiracy plot to kill Hitler. I honestly didn't like this much. First, trailers for the Tom Cruise movie kept popping up during the commercials. Which made me think the docu had been made simply to sell the movie. But I also disliked it, secondly, because the take seemed to be that the poor German folks were hijacked and only the Nazis were racist. Hey, I'd like to believe that an entire people could be duped but I don't really believe the regular German person was so innocent. Thirdly, they mentioned the holocaust against the 6 million Jews but not against the gypsies. My friend Cora Schwartz is Jewish and works so hard to commemorate the memories of the death of the gypsies that I've turned into a stickler about it too. Gypsies died too. About 4-5 million. Fourthly, they listed some groups that hated Hitler and Nazism: the noble monarchists, the idealistic secularists, the religious community, the Catholic community. But they forgot the Jehovah's Witnesses (yeah, although most christians think they're a cult, the Witnesses are great at standing up to persecution.) and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Why didn't they mention these folks? On the whole, it was okay.

The weird thing is that as I watched it I realized that what the Nazis did in their literature about Jews was what many novels, news programs, etc, do with Christians. Very weird. It kinda scared me because I saw quite clearly how Christian fanatics are now the new boogeyman...and Christian evangelicals are subtly blamed...as the Jews were blamed in Nazi germay. Trust me: I can totally see Christians being scapegoated and killed in a new government. There are very very very very few Christian fanatics in real life. And most of us -- I for one-- am very nice. But it made me see how close we are to being set up to being persecuted and destroyed. I mean, as I watched it, I could easily replace Jewish with Christian and see how hated we Christians now are. If I see one more book or read one more novel or hear one more newscast about evil Christians!

On the whole, not a bad weekend. But not a really great one. I think I'm gonna start watching Momma's boys. I really like the Jewish and Italian moms. -C

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Easy Dismissal: human judgment

We humans have a very bad habit of easily dismissing other people. Everyone does this. Religious, non-religious. Christians, non-Christians. This is what Jesus calls Hardness of Heart. And it is possibly the worst of sins because it's a sin against Love. It's part of the human condition to judge others and dismiss their lives, pains, etc. We don't know...but we think we know. Because it's easier than to break up the fallow ground of our dry hearts.

We find other people over-emotional. Or we judge them as whiny. Or we judge them as weak. Or we judge them as cold. It doesn't matter. We just judge them. And we really don't know what it's like to walk in their shoes...but we think if we walk in those folks' shoes we would wear those shoes better. I cannot tell you the amount of folks who think that if they only slept one hour a night for 20 years...and was taking care of an autistic kid they would be so much better than I am. Oh really?

I notice this a lot in Christian sermons. Ministers always give illustrations as if if they were in a Bible character's position they would be so much better. I've heard people blame the brother that stayed at home (when the prodigal left) for not being more happy when his prodigal brother got home. As if they themselves would have behaved so much better...as if they actually behave better. I've seen ministers blame Hagar...as if they know what it's like to be a slave woman. I've heard ministers blame Job's wife as if they wouldn't lose faith if all their children were killed in one night. I've heard people mock the disciples for having no faith and pick on Peter for running out on Jesus...as if they wouldn't have done it. Oh really?

I recently heard a white Christian guy on Christian TV talking about the bad habit black women of have being fat. His mouth fairly dropped scorn. Seems we black women just don't have any moral power to stop ourselves. Like the guy knows what it's like to deal with racist folks. Has anyone ever done a study on the effect of racism on black women? And how about those studies that say black folks don't have the enzymes to digest wheat and milk properly...besides our body was geared to store fat because so many of our ancestors lived in barren places? And how about the effects of stress and lack of sleeplessness on obesity? But no...folks like easy answers and so they come up with black folks eat too much and so are fat. Oh really?

Jesus tells us not to judge each other's sins. We believe we don't judge other folks' sins but judging what we consider other folks' failures, faults or personality...is also judging. Look: I'm not gonna judge a judgmental minister when he falls into sin. Remember, the Bible says judge not less ye be judged. And that judgement is often not the great throne judgment but being put in the same situation as the person you judged. I remember a friend picking on her sister-in-law. Her exact words were: "Look, she got so far taking chemotherapy. But look at me. I had cancer too. And I'm thin." I so wanted to sock this lady. Even in the same situation, she found a reason to judge another human being. We should have loving hearts.

I am totally sure I get on folks nerve and they think I'm a whiny blogger. But you know what? I feel God called me to be honest...in a world where so many Christians and so many Blacks are not honest because we care too much what other folks think about us. So if I whine because I feel sick or my son feels sick...just be happy that you aren't sick. Besides, I'm not judging you or your posts. I try my best to enter the life of another and see their life from their own point of view. And why not? I soooo know how --everyday, everyday, everyday...I just miss falling into some mega sin. But that's between me and God. And I've lived long enough to know how frail we humans are...and how hard life is...for EVERYONE.

Vilsack - poor choice for Dept of Ag - Please sign petition



Got this on a health list I belong to fromgary gach so am passing it along:

In spite of a huge e-mail campaign from organic consumers and, in apparent contradiction to his announcement that he wants an organic garden at the White House, Obama has chosen Tom Vilsack, a strong bio-tech proponent supporting genetically engineered crops, cloned animals, etc., to run the Department of Agriculture.
Vilsack, according to The Organic Consumer's Association, was named Governor of the Year by Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the biggest
pro-genetic engineering lobby in existence.


As you will see below, Vilsack is truly Monsanto's boy. He pre-empted the local votes of towns and counties who had voted to disallow GE seeds!

Here's a youtube vid of Vilsack's history with bio-genetically engineered food.

* Vilsack was the origin of the seed pre-emption bill in 2005, which many people here in Iowa fought because it took away local government's possibility of ever having a regulation on seeds- where GE would be grown, having GE-free buffers, banning pharma corn locally, etc.

An activist from the west coast even made this youtube animation about Vilsack


The airplane in this animation is a referral to the controversy that Vilsack
often traveled in Monsanto's jet.

It's still possible to block Vilsack's confirmation with a massive support
of the petition drafted by the Organic Consumer Association. It's easy to sign on at this link:

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1783

or from the Organic Consumer Association website http://www.organicconsumers.org/

Your email will be sent to your Senators and the President-Elect's office.

PLEASE POST THIS TO YOUR E-MAIL LISTS!

Thanks!

author page:
blog: http://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-buddha-meets-freud


Despite a deluge of over 100,000 emails and petition signatures from organic consumers and farmers objecting to the appointment of biotech and biofuels booster Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture, the Senate is scheduled to begin confirmation hearings for Vilsack today.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is disappointed in this controversial appointment, and we are calling on our national network and allies to pressure Obama to move beyond "agribusiness as usual" by drafting Jim Riddle to head the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the department that oversees organic food, farming, and standards. Riddle is an organic farmer from Minnesota, former Chair of the National Organic Standards Board, and a longtime advocate for sustainable and organic farming. With Riddle heading up the AMS, farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture, transition to organic programs, and the National Organic Program will finally receive the attention, technical assistance, and funding they deserve.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Easy Dismissal: Scientific hubris

If there's something that irks me it's when someone dismisses something out of hand without quite knowing the facts. It's kneejerk disdain, kneejerk arrogance. They think they have all the answers. I was listening to a scientist who said he questioned God's competence because the amount of junk DNA in our body just makes him know that if a perfect God had made us we wouldn't have all this silly unimportant stuff floating around in our bodies.

Oh really?

Oh really?

I'm no expert on DNA and I don't think the experts on DNA are experts either. God's wisdom is past finding out. It is the glory of God to conceal a thing and the glory of man to reveal it.

I've lived long enough to hear folks find a reason for the appendix and for tonsils. I have no doubt at all that one day we will find that all that junk DNA is quite useful to God's creations. I have no doubt that if a scientist tries to remove the junk DNA from someone or from someone's genetic line, we will end up with disaster. But the arrogance of people who think they know....

He who knows not and thinks he knows....is a fool.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ah, these Jesus movies!

Okay, I'll say straight up that my favorite Jesus movie is Pier Paolo Pasolini's The Gospel According to St Matthew. This director was an atheist and a Marxist and yet his rendition is the most faithful, the most clean, the most respectful of its source material. His "Jesus" is passionate, angry, pissed off at hypocrisy....utterly prophetic in his holiness and his disdain of human self-deception and worldly hypocrisy.

After that is Jesus, based on The gospel of John. Not a bad flick and it touches me. It has moments of interfering teacherliness but not as much as others. It touches the viewer.

There is Franco Zefferelli's Jesus of Nazareth with the blue-eyed Robert Powell and the ultra blonde Michael York which has a very approachable Jesus. It's not Jesus as everyman, but Jesus is pretty human and yet manages to be holy at the same time. It's about eight hours if I recall. The problem with this one is that in order not to blame either the Jews or the Romans for the death of Jesus Zefferelli invents an evil Jewish bad guy out of whole cloth. Not necessary and it feels very odd.

There is The Passion of The Christ: It's pretty bloody. It didn't touch me because I pretty much knew it was bloody. Also, it is more Roman Catholic than Jewish. I would have much preferred seeing the Last Supper done as a Jewish Passover mean than to see it imitative of a Roman Catholic cleric. The Virgin Mary is also very Roman Catholic, her sexuality influenced more by St Augustine's issues than by Jewish sexual mores. So she is pretty virginal and untainted. And Jesus' brothers and sisters are nowhere in site. Like the rest of the Jesus films I'll describe it adds little bits to try to enlighten us but it's an interpretation that is sometimes iffy and a might sentimental and obvious. I mean: the depiction of Barrabas as a drivelling fool. What's that about? In the Bible Jesus Barabbas is a kind of proto-anti-christ figure: the one chosen because folks want strength, physical and worldly answer to their problems.

Among the worsts are The Greatest Story Ever Told. I totally don't know where to begin to disparage this ponderous boring monstrosity of pseudo-holiness. Okay, I watch it on the holidays. But that's because I like Jesus movies on the whole and in Christmas there is nary a word about Jesus in all these Christmas movies on cable... so better half a loaf than no bread. But the trouble with this is that it not only tries to teach people the meaning of everything Jesus says but that it truly gets some theology wrong. Jesus, for instance, preaches righteousness and is rather judgemental. It belabors certain points and brings in other sections from the Bible to teach flat-out homilies that just don't work. There is a kind of arrogance in the film where it's clear the screenwriter thinks it's best to replace the words of the gospel with his interpretation of the words. This is why I hate paraphrased Bibles: sometimes they totally change the message and the theology by their changing the words. So Jesus ends up saying pious comments that show that the screenplay doesn't understand the gospel of grace, or that he thinks the audience won't understand. And it is so obvious that Max Von Sydow doesn't "get" Jesus as a person but as a kind of walking pious spouter that one cringes. Not to mention the weird sub-plots they have to add. Okay, I won't even talk about the casting -- okay, I will: what's up with that black Simon of Cyrene? If having Sidney Poitier help to carry Jesus' cross is to say that we black folks are bearers of god's truth or some other civil rights aren't-they-a-holy-people-issue, honestly it just makes me cringe.

Okay, to mention weird sub-plots, the worst Jesus move has got to be King of Kings. I'm not saying all these stories don't have a moment where they touch me. But honestly, King of Kings is so utterly "creative" in its sixties adaptation/interpretation of the Bible that well, if it wasn't for Jeffrey Hunter's hotness I'd turn the channel. This is one seriously homoerotic Jesus, too, and it certainly makes a girl wonder what the heck was going on between those disciples. It's kind of like sword and sandal meets religion. Every time I see this one I want to get the DeMille silent version.

There is also the Passover Plot which is based on a book written by a Jewish writer who decided that Jesus planned a passover plot and well, the rest is history based on deception. I won't even go into the mechanics of what being crucified does to the body much less the idea that someone who has suffered blood loss and trauma is going to revive in a cold airless grave guarded by temple guards then have twelve of his disciples (and more if we include all the women) go to death and suffer being burned in oil rather than give away the secret.

Jesus of Montreal is utterly stupid and tries to show that Jesus was really the illegitimate son of Mary and a soldier named Panthera. Okay, it's an old insult against Mary that has been proven false. First: Panthera and Parthenos are words that sound alike. Parthenos means "the virgin" so with bad production or --purposeful snideness-- Jesus the son of the virgin easily becomes Jesus the son of Panthera. Second: We all know that when we want to belittle someone we get nasty. Instead of saying simply that Jesus was the biological son of his mother when she was married to her father, folks go out of their way to belittle his parentage by making his mother a whorish frolicker with a licentious roman soldier. Nasty. And I won't even go into the fact that he's depicted as vaguely mentally-disturbed.

Upshot? If you want to see a Jesus film and if you don't mind subtitles, seek out Pier Paolo Pasolini's The Gospel According to Matthew. It's odd filmmaking and it's made by a Marxist atheist...but it's the purest depiction of Jesus ever made in a film. God's words, and only God's words. No prancing half-naked lusty women in beads for miles around. And yeah, one totally gets the feeling that Jesus rose from the dead. Unlike some of these other films which tend to spiritualize it or psychologize it or simply remove it from the context at all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What will you do with your power, fame, and wealth?

I am a total mess whenever I see suffering children. I suspect all mommies are that way and most women generally. The sight of children in poverty, pain, grief, illness, alienation...well, we fall apart.

So there I was watching one of the many adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and on the screen comes Tiny Tim. Yes, yes, I admit it...this kid was definitely created to pull at our heart strings but honestly, there really are kids like this in the world: sickly kids who are very religious and very sweet because their parents encourage them to trust in God each day...to just endure and possibly be healed of their illnesses. So yeah, I don't think Tiny Tim is mere sentiment.

So he comes on the screen. Okay, before the kid even says something I'm all awash with tears.

Then I saw Nobody Knows which is based on the Affair of the four abandoned Children of Sugamo The kids fair a little better in this film than they did in real life where they truly suffered. But even so...it was a tough film to watch. Slow as molasses, it pretty much traps you as you go through the harrowing slow days of loneliness, poverty, despair. (This is probably one of the reasons why my books have such odd pacing issues -- other than my need to perfect my writing skills, that is-- I watch way too many small indie arty foreign films. Never was a film so slow and so lacking in action and yet each moment is harrowing grief-inducing suspense. Yeah, I hope to write like that.

So what is all this about? Quite simply, watching these movies -- if I sit through them and honestly sometimes I just can't and I have to get up and turn off the tv or leave the room. When I saw the Iranian film, A Time for Drunken Horses, I absolutely walked out of the theater. I love these films but I honestly can't take pain.

Anyway, rambling aside, I feel that should I become a wealthy writer or a famous writer, I will use what power I have to help the poor...especially poor children. Isn't that the sign of true religion: to take care of the orphans and the widows, to feed the poor, to keep one's self unspotted from the world?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sudden Realization

A couple of days ago I was in bed pondering an old memory. Two old memories, actually. They both happened on the same day. The weird thing is that these were old memories and I hadn't really thought of them in a while. Suddenly they popped up and I made a connection I hadn't made in the past.

Okay, the first memory: I was living in a house share with my friend, Tiina, and her cat became pregnant. The cat gave birth on either Friday the 13th of Saturday the 14th, Valentine's Day. The mommy cat was so needy she didn't want any of us to leave her but we had planned a valentine's day party. So Tiina ended up staying with the cat in her room and not attending much of the party. This was the party where I met my future hubby. Yep, I met him on Valentine's Day.

The second memory: The day before the party, or maybe the day of the party, Tiina and I were coming from the mall with party goods and we saw a school bus. When I walked past it I saw a hippie type young man, our age. I said, "Do you want to come to a party at our house?" He pointed to the back of the bus where a woman was in labor and said, "Could you allow us to park our bus in your backyard while my wife has the baby?" Talk about strange and put on the spot! I was willing to do it but Tiina said, "No! Don't get involved." So we went home. I felt so guilty, being so willing to invite them to a party but not able to let them come to my house and have the baby out of the privacy of the mall parking lot.

So I'm lying on the bed and suddenly it dawns on me: (I MEAN Suddenly, and I had never thought of it before) We were there for a cat to give birth and we weren't there to help the human woman give birth. ????? What's that about????? I hadn't seen the connection or the juxtaposition until two days ago. Why did I suddenly see it?

Of course it's part of life to suddenly understand something twenty or so years later but this was so weird.

Then I got to thinking that I failed that couple. (Okay, maybe it was best and maybe they should have or did end up at the local hospital but who knows?) But then I started thinking of other folks I've failed.

I remember walking in NYC and I saw a blonde frail looking young woman walking about in a daze. So, of course, I start talking to her. Turns out she was let out of the mental institution and put on the street. I wanted to take her home with us but my friend Tiina objected. Instead, I gave the girl a jacket... cause it was a cool night. But really, what good was that?

I also remembered another time I was about fifteen and passing an alleyway in NYC when a young well-dressed white fellow walked out looking dazed and staggering. He managed to stutter and to hold on to me and say, "Help me!" I was so stunned and surprised. I thought he must have been high on something and I scooted away from him. Later it dawned on me that perhaps he had been mugged and that was the reason he was dazed. Of course, I was entirely to blame for that.

Now, why the heck did I suddenly think of this? Is all this a result of my recent prayers: "Lord, deliver me from what I don't know. Deliver me from what I have gotten used to." ???? Is God showing me that in some ways I feel I don't deserve good because I have failed others? Is some kind of self-blame going on that is messing up my capacity to receive blessings from God?

Well, every day I'm praying that prayer...and I'll see what happens...as God unveils ---and sheds light on---the darkness.

There's a great Christian poem that goes:


I never cut my neighbor’s throat;
My neighbor’s gold I never stole;
I never spoiled his house and land,
But God have mercy on my soul!

For I am haunted night and day
By all the deeds I have not done;
O unattempted loveliness!
O costly valor never won!


I'll be clear though: I don't think God wants me to feel guilty. I think I feel guilty and he wanted to show me that I feel guilty and perhaps my feelings of guilt was getting in the way of my receiving healing because I don't believe I deserve it.

Blogsites every writer needs

The following blogs are sites which have helped me greatly and which I feel every writer should add to her google reader or rss feed.

http://evileditor.blogspot.com/

http://edittorrent.blogspot.com/

http://thedarksalon.blogspot.com/

http://www.writingexcuses.com/

http://thewritingcast.com/blog/

http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

http://www.floggingthequill.com/flogging_the_quill/

http://practicing-writing.blogspot.com/

http://anthologynewsandreviews.blogspot.com/

http://www.placesforwriters.com/

http://hopeclark.blogspot.com/

http://terrywhalin.blogspot.com/

Happy Creating.

Weekend Movie Viewing

Saw a flick called Treasure of the Grand Canyon with Michael Shanks. In this one, an Aztec Tribe manages to live logn into the 20th century inside a temple in the Grand Canyon. Yes.... I'm saying it with a straight face. I cannot tell you how annoying this movie was. I will only say that the hero "pretended" that he had taken out his out heart asnd sacrificed himself. Yep, in all the thousands of years the Aztec priests were sacrificing folks, they never realized someone could pretend to pull out his own heart!!!!! How dumb do they think Native folks are???

It was amazing. He stabbed himself than pulled out this blob of thingey -- which he had stolen from a sacrificial pot-- then he stood before the trembling masses. Then he suddenly fell to the ground. And those ignorant little old natives believed!!!!! But when the heroine raced to him, he winked at her. So...wow, we saw how he deceived those idiotic simpletons. The weird thing is they have this demongod called Quetzlcoatl who our heroes manage to kill by letting the temple bricks fall on him. Wow, amazing, uh! The Aztec priests hadn't done that either. All those years and they couldn't figure it out.

The other weird stuff in this film just really got to me. As I said, it was all a bit much. If you ever see it, the heart pulling comes around the last 15 minutes so you won't have to endure the entire thing. I'll just say that dark superstitious native types are very easily-fooled by white heroes.

I saw a good sweet little romance called Undercover Christmas in which a FBI operative takes a gangster's moll to his house for christmas...and his staid family are somewhat shocked by the girl's general flooziness but then they warm to her and well, he falls in love with her. Very corny and the bad girl with the heart of gold thing and the annoying lower class accent thing was a bit much. But sweet on the whole.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Study War No More

I actually like Sister Rosetta Tharpe's version better than Mahalia's but..



My favorite Mahalia song

Living Rich for Less Tour


Living Rich for Less
By Ellie Kay

Blurb:
You really can be rich in every way, every day.

So you want to own the home you love, make memories on wonderful vacations with family or friends, finance college educations, and help others too?

You can—starting here and now.

With lively humor, proven know-how, and practical principles for financial health, Living Rich for Less helps you stretch your dollars to realize the lifestyle of your dreams. Ellie Kay’s entertaining and enlightening examples show you simple steps to save, spend, and give smart, and her three main principles are undergirded by dozens of effective rules and hundreds of Cha-Ching Factor™ tips that keep or put money in your pocket.

Ellie knows what it’s like to be financially-strapped or struggling, wanting to be the Joneses but feeling as poor in spirit as in pocketbook. She went, within two and a half years, from being a new wife and mom with $40,000 in consumer debt and seven children (and college educations) to support, to being completely debt-free and within fifteen years able to pay cash for eleven different cars, give away three of those cars, buy two five-bedroom houses (moving from one to the other) and nicely furnish each, take wonderful vacations, dress her family in fine fashion; and support more than thirty non-profit organizations in more than a dozen different countries, giving away more than $100,000.

Isn’t that the kind of transformation to a rich life that you want?

Living Rich for Less helps anyone get there in our taxed-out, maxed-out times. Because financial security doesn’t mean just genuine prosperity, but being able to live luxuriously, give generously, and care for yourself as well as the others around you.

Why keep up with the Joneses when you can be them?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vatican Sexy Priests Calender 2009

Okay, what were they thinking?

Review: Living Rich for Less by Ellie Kay


Living Rich for Less
By Ellie Kay

BLURB
With lively humor, proven know-how, and practical principles for financial health, Living Rich for Less helps you stretch your dollars to realize the lifestyle of your dreams. Ellie Kay’s entertaining and enlightening examples show you simple steps to save, spend, and give smart, and her three main principles are undergirded by dozens of effective rules and hundreds of Cha-Ching Factor™ tips that keep or put money in your pocket.


My review is up at blogcritics

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CFBA: Where Do I Go? by Neta Jackson


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Where Do I Go?

Thomas Nelson (December 9, 2008)

by

Neta Jackson



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books. In addition to writing several books about Christian community, the Jacksons have coauthored numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of a multi-racial congregation in the Chicago area.

They're trying something new! Not just new for them, but something completely new in Christian fiction: “Parallel novels,” two stories taking place in the same time frame, same neighborhood, involving some of the same characters living through their own dramas and crises but interacting with and affecting one another … just the way it happens in real life.

It’s something that only a husband and wife writing team could pull off. While Neta has Where Do I Go?, her husband Dave has written Harry Bentley's Second Chance.



ABOUT THE BOOK

A story of seeking-and finding-God's will in unlikely places.

Gabrielle Fairbanks has nearly lost touch with the carefree, spirited young woman she was when she married her husband fifteen years ago. But when the couple moves to Chicago to accommodate Philip's business ambitions, Gabby finds the chance to make herself useful. It's there she meets the women of Manna House Women's Shelter; they need a Program Director-and she has a degree in social work. She's in her element, feeling God's call on her life at last, even though Philip doesn't like the changes he sees in her. But things get rough when Philip gives Gabby an ultimatum: quit her job at the shelter or risk divorce and losing custody of their sons. Gabby must take refuge, as in the song they sing at Sunday night worship: "Where do I go when there's no one else to turn to? . . . I go to the Rock I know that's able, I go to the Rock."

Romantic Times Book Reviews says, “Exquisite characters coupled with God's mercy and love emanate from each page.”

Publisher's Weekly adds, “Jackson's Yada Yada series has sold half a million copies, and this new offshoot series ... promises the same.... The book's dramatic ending ... leav[es] readers eager for the next installment in the series.”

To read the Prologue and first Chapter of Where Do I Go?, go HERE

Christmas gleanings from the net

Check out this review of a new Bible translation on Subversive Influences

Jason over at Spoiled for the Ordinary has been doing some posts on alternate Christmas gifts

Christianity Today's Top Ten Theological stories of 2008

Chris from Stuff as Dreams are Made On has a post on a Christmas book he read.

He also has another post on Christmas books and films

Scary Film Review is doing a search for scary Christmas Horror

Gospel.com looks at the unknown meaning behind several famous Christmas hymns

Sci Fi Catholic has a Keep Mass in Christmas Campaign

The folks at A Book Inside have a list of writer freebies on the net

The African American fiction blog APOOO has tons of twelve days of Christmas giveaways.

Biology in Science Fiction has a list of bio science fact books on their Christmas list recommendations

Gospel Com is working on a mobile Bible gateway blackberry

The folks at Enduring Romance are doing lists of their top ten

Tracey Michae'l Lewis has a neat meme which might make us ponder what we have done with our lives already.

Ozark, Suz Elgin Haden the great linguist and scifi poet has a great Holiday poem up on her lingustics site over at live journal

White Readers Meet Black Authors has a post for recommendations on Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa books by Black writers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend Movie Viewing

Saw National Security with Steve Zahn whom I usually love and Martin Lawrence. I don't know why but Martin always has to play angry dangerous black man and to me anger isn't funny. Seeing a buddy flick where the guys totally hate each other and their anger is supposed to be funny...well, it gets me uncomfortable. Hey, I don't mind anger in movies but there's a point in certain comedies where it gets so odd and mean-spirited I simply can't deal.

Saw Rumble in the Bronx. Okay, this is the very first time I've ever seen this flick. Yes, yes, I know... considering how much I love Jackie Chan and Jet Li and Asian martial arts or arty films I really should have watched this. Well, imagine my surprise when I see an old Asian guy -- the uncle of Jackie Chan's character-- married to an older Black woman. I was like, well, this is interesting! So I kept watching it but I found myself cringing. Yesh, like when I cringed when Michael Jackson kissed Lisa Marie Presley on MTV. It felt very odd. I seem to have an extra sensitivity to interracial relationships used as a kind of ploy or stunt.

Watched The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. Okay, I've seen this before and I kept wondering what it was about this flick that kept me wanting to avoid it so much. Okay, the plotting is obvious sometimes and the scifi stunts are pretty crappy but I'm easygoing. Any lover of scifi can endure bad CGI. But what annoyed me during this flick was the subtle and not so subtle cracks at Judeo-Christian beliefs and the Bible. When you have a character searching for the name of God and suddenly realizing the answer is "me" because "God is inside all of us" or praising Buddhism but saying stuff like, "Well, with this discovery we will have to totally rethink the Bible." Well, there is a point. After that was Librarian: Solomon's mine and Librarian: Judas. And honestly, I just didn't want to see my faith annoyed even more.

YEah, I was jumping all over the place. Hey, I was stuck in bed trying to catch up with sleep. Watched the Kraken. I endure the bad CGI./ Scifi Channel is especially bad at this kinda thing. The production companies they buy their films from are....well, when their effects get used on clip shows like The Soup or Best Week Ever. You can tell. but hey, I liked the Kraken, it was the most fantastical of the Water Creatures Sunday pick., I simply did not want to watch Shark 3: Megalodon.

The best flick was Borrowed Hearts starring Roma Downey. Okay, I'm a wuss. But I was totally touched. It's about a single mom whose rich boss needs to pretend he's married because he's trying to sell his company to a Mexican businessman (played by Hector Elizondo.) Roma Downey's character is really sweet and she has a daughter who is a good actress except for those moments where one feels the director told her to try to look cute and sentimental. There's also an evil selfish ex-husband in the background.

I've heard casting folks talk about an actor's gravitas. I totally understood it with the Elizondo roll. I knew his character had integrity before he opened his mouth. But I'll say that the screenwriters playing around with the child's notion that "mommy, he's an angel" pretty much hinted at "faith is subjective. He may or may not be an angel but this is what she believes so yes, it's true. "FOR HER". That was annoying and subtly messy theologically for me. Childlike Faith is often shown as sweet sentimental delusion. Which it isn't. Childlike faith is pretty hard to have. A couple things that also annoyed me in this otherwise really sweet movie was a black woman co-employee is kinda put into the scene to be a symbol of the good working poor American woman who will lose her job if the company goes overseas. I know, I know. Poor white screenwriters. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. But I'm sorry it felt like tokenism. I suppose I should be glad there's a part for a black woman. Another thing that bothered me were plot silliness. When the pretend wife and husband are supposed to have their first real I'm-falling-in-love-with-you-for-real kiss, the little girl shouts from her pretend room, "Mommy, come! I'm scared!" Totally wrong line. Heck, the little girl is never scared. The screenwriter could have written something like, "Mommy, come and tuck me in!" That would've worked better. There's another instance too of this kind of plot silliness that could have been made better with a little tweak. But on the whole I loved this film.

Also saw Anchorman with Will Ferrell. Okay, I love Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Ben Stiller, Steve Carrell, Owen Wilson, Seth and all those Judd Apatow folks but I didn't think this was funny. Instead of commenting on old-fashioned sexual mores they should've had a plot about all the news groups competing for ratings or something.

A movie I looked at but didn't finish was Holiday Switch about a woman who is married to a poor guy and they have no money for anything and are always getting bill collectors. But he's a good soul. She switches her life via a clothes washer and ends up married to the rich guy...and of course she soon regrets her wish. I wanted to like it but ... it was predictable in a bad way. And weirdly, there were very few black folks in the flick. Okay, I know...I said earlier that black folks shouldn't be used as tokens but honestly, all the maids and secretaries in this flick are hispanic. Probably is really like that in California but it did kinda bother me. Made me think about poor black women with no jobs.

-C

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Michelle, what have you wrought!

Okay, since Michelle Obama is now First Lady Elect, all sorts of stuff has been popping up on the internet about black female beauty. (Okay, more stuff than usual.)

On White Men Who Love Black Women

On Black women blow the trumpet

On marriage.about.com

On What Fresh Hell is This

On Claire Light

The Michelle Obama song



And please check out the I want me some Michelle Obama video On Divided House

On Rawdawg (Okay, this was from january 08)

Hey, maybe with a powerful woman in the white house they'll stop thinking of us as slave women with no beauty.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bad Sex award short list

For your enjoyment

The Bad Sex award shortlist


And the winner was:

eye of a needle

Needle Sized Art
Very incredible story! Not only is this mans art cool but he got a ton of cash for it!

Some John Day Videos

Okay, guys, a musician friend of my ebuddy needs some bucks. He does Christian acoustic songs. A CD costs about $15.00

This is the Song America from the album "I Paul"

If you like what you hear, get in contact with Specilum at youtube or John Day (his addy is at the end of the video) and they'll set ya up with a cd.

Send money to musicman81indie(at)yahoo.com by paypal



Monday, December 08, 2008

CFBA: Quills and Promises


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Quills And Promises

Barbour Publishing, Inc (May 28, 2008)

by

Amber Miller



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my 30's, married the love of my life in July 2007, and live in beautiful Colorado just east of the Front Range of the Rockies, but I love to travel and visit new places. Ultimately, my dream is to own horses and live in a one-level rancher or log cabin nestled in the foothills of the mountains. For now, I will remain where I am and do what I love—design web sites and write.

Amber's very first book, Promises, Promises, released in February 2008. It's a historical fiction set in Delaware during the Colonial period and the Great Awakening. The other 2 books in the series are this current one, Quills And Promises (July 2008) and Deceptive Promises (December 2008). In 2009, they will be repackaged for a state set entitled Delaware Brides. She has also sold another series set in historical Michigan during the Industrial Revolution. The 3 books in that series will begin releasing in May 2009 and will be repackaged in 2010 as Michigan Brides.


ABOUT THE BOOK

-- Separated from Madison when he leaves to fight the French and Indians, Elanna Hanssen must choose between her heart and her head, especially when Madison's integrity is questioned. --

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not until thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Innocence paired with wisdom beyond her years. With these traits, Elanna Hanssen unwittingly captures the attentions of Major Madison Scott. Her honest desire to understand the war fascinates him, and he resolves to get to know this perspicacious young lady better. When his military duty separates them, they begin a correspondence, cautiously baring their hearts to each other. Elanna has never known emotions like this before, but she is drawn to the integrity she sees in her major. When a local news reporter questions the major's credentials and activities, however, will she allow her heart or her head to rule? Can true love grow over such distance and around such obstacles?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Quills And Promises, go HERE.

Weekend movie viewing

Well, it's Christmas and Lifetime is having its yearly Christmas Romance movies. Every day a zillion romantic movies occurring around Christmas trees and all that Christian sentimentality.

First, the obvious: None of these movies specifically are about faith in Christ. At the most, very rarely they are about faith in God. But for the most time it's more of a faith in faith, faith in the power of belief, the power of love, the power of dreams. None of this is particularly bad but it's not particularly Christmassy either...except for the ubiquitous Christmas trees.

One could actually go through the 30 days of December and never get even a whiff of the Christmas story of Jesus.

But moving on to the movies. Well, first of all I have to say the magical negro was everywhere. Even if a kid doesn't know what Christmas about, by the time he has finished watching christmas movies he'll know that angels are sweet hipster black and male.

Okay, okay, the movies: The best was Eve's Christmas. A working woman goes back in time (via her helpful black angel) to marry the man she should have married instead of ending up in the evil city with wealth and power. We all know how that goes.

The worst was (Dang, I forgot the title! but it was ) about a widowed doctor's wife who is supposed to marry a nice sweet solid attorney but she meets a handsome store clerk and has qualms. Of course she goes off with the handsome store clerk because he is uh...well... handsome. These things happen. The plot is so horrible and it basically seems as if we are supposed to believe this guy is right for her simply because he is hot and funny. (Okay, I didn't think he was funny or representative of her wild and free side but I was supposed to.) Weird plot stuff aside, and zippo lack of personality traits, the worst thing is that the story gets rid of its premise half an hour after it starts. I mean: wouldn't it have been best to keep the handsome stud as poor instead of making him an architect/stock owner who gave up his evil money-making job because it wasn't noble and fulfilling enough. It just totally messed up the premise by making him rich. But I guess that's part of the entire romance genre. A good woman doesn't marry down.

The oddest film was Noel. Talk about angsty. Okay, typically some Christmas films are way full of angst. But dammit, this was way overdone. And there was even a priest who had lost his faith. (Do not let ngo on about how annoyed I get with the Robin Williams humorous outsider as wise-man schtick!) Why is humor euated with depth btw? But there was also this odd gay thread in it... which didn't go anywhere. I think basically the film -- which had tons of stars in it-- was trying to remake the typical Christmas film but didn't have the nerve to go all teh way. It was supposed to be bittersweet but it was just plain rancid.

There were some pretty dragony movies on Scifi Channel. Most were okay for the most part but Rock Monster was unintentionally humorous. It's hard to fear a rock when one keeps thinking they swiped him from Galaxy Quest.
C

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Enjoyment

Consider the words of C.S. Lewis:
"If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and to earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I suggest that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased."

In Memoriam: My mother Louise Stewart -1933-2004



Yep, every year I remember her on her birthday.

I have to admit something. I used to hate mother's day in church. I don't know. I think it was because it was so dang sentimental. The giving of the flowers to the mothers, the corny sermons, etc. Whenever I realized that a sunday was going to be mother's day Sunday, I'd just avoid it and simply not turn up to church.

So yeah, I hated sentimentality. In the Bible we are told over and over to "remember when the lord did such and such." Remembering is a big thing in the Bible. In the world atheism is equated with being so intelligent and rationale and deep. In the Bible it is the "fool" who says in his heart that there is no God. And not believing is equated with not remembering. I think it was Psalm 73 --0r was it Psalm 78-- that we should remember. (actually it doesn't matter cause the Bible is full of all these admonitions to REMEMBER.) So the Bible even has David writing a book of remembrance.

To God, we start losing faith in God and the spiritual realm when we forget what God has done for us. Remember how the Lord they God did this great deed or delivered etc.

Well, thinking of my mother, I remember all the things she told me about what God did in my life as a kid...and what God did in her life. And isn't that what God tells us to do: we must tell our children and our children's children what God has done for us.

I suspect I didn't much like mother's day because I hadn't lost my mother. Yeah, yeah, the old thing about never appreciating until a person is dead. I look at my hubby and I appreciate him. I look at my friends and I appreciate them. So maybe I've gotten older. I suspect many kids might just have a problem appreciating what and who they have.

When my mother died, I was so distraught, I said to God, "If I had known, I would've tried to buy a new house so she could've lived with us. Oh, I didn't know she was so old. Not really. Oh, I wish I could have done so much for her to show her how much I love her." Know what God said? Yep, I heard it deeply and clearly as if He was standing beside me and saying it! I heard in my spirit: "Don't worry. In heaven you will have many days to do wonderful things for her."

That made me so happy. To think! In heaven we will not only be receiving God's love...and my mother is not only receiving God's love now. . . but we will be able to surprise those we love with wonderful gestures of love and giving!!! Our God truly knows how to comfort. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that in heaven I'll be able to do so much good for my mother. Giving is a keep part of appreciation and it's good to know that in heaven --although God is the ultimate giver-- we can still give to those we love. Magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His Name together. -C

Saturday, December 06, 2008

GREAT BLACK BOOKS ‘08 / RAWSISTAZ FAVORITES

GREAT BLACK BOOKS ‘08 / RAWSISTAZ FAVORITES

January Features:
· Sweet Georgia Brown by Cheryl Robinson (Fiction)
· Murder, Mayhem and a Fine Man by Claudia Mair Burney (Mystery)
· Passin’ by Karen E. Quinones Miller (Fiction)
· Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell (Speculative Fiction)
· Where I Want to Be by Maryam Diaab (Romance)

February Features:http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=12177793#
· Not Even if You Begged by Francis Ray (Fiction)
· Hotlanta by Denene Millner & MItzi Miller (Young Adult Fiction)
· Even Numbers by Barbara Grovenor (Fiction)
· Interceptions by Staci Robinson (Fiction)
· Choices by Skyy (Fiction)

March Features:
· Jezebel by Jacquelin Thomas (Christian Fiction)
· Faith Under Fire: Betrayed By A Thing Called Love by LaJoyce Brookshire (Memoir)
· The Mpire: In Search of the Lost by T.L. James (Fiction)
· Them by Nathan McCall (Fiction)
· Three Wishes by Janice Sims (Romance)

April/May Features:
- Long, Hot Nights by Candice Poarch (Romance)
- Like Never Before by Sylvia Lett (Romance)
- The Trophy Wife by Ashley & JaQuavis (Street Fiction)
- Dynamic Diva Dollars: For Women Who Aren’t Afraid To Be Millionaires by Elon Bomani (Self-Help/Business)
- Naked Love by Darnella Ford (Fiction)
- Sacrifice: Demon Hunter Series Book 2 by T.L. Gardner (Paranormal)
- Deception’s Legacy by Jacqueline G. Randolph (Fiction)
- One Dead Lawyer by Tony Lindsay (Mystery)
- Sexcapades by HoneyB (Erotica)
- The Knees of Gullah Island by Dwight Fryer (Historical Fiction)

June/July Features:
- Ivy’s Twisted Vine by Latrivia S. Nelson (Fiction)
- Too Little, Too Late by Victoria Christopher Murray (Christian Fiction)
- Money Power Respect by Erick S. Gray (Street Fiction)
- Forever The Fat Kid by Michael Boyd (Memoir)
- Love Tornado by Mable John and David Ritz (Christian Fiction)

August Features:
- Motherless Child: Stories of A Life by Sarah Gordon Weathersby
- Just Too Good To Be True by E. Lynn Harris (Fiction)
- You Gotta Sin To Get Saved by J. D. Mason (Fiction)
- Shameless Hoodwives by Meesha Mink and De’Nesha Diamond (Street Fiction)
- Orange Mint & Honey by Carleen Brice (Fiction)

September Features:
- Crown’s Jewel by Cynthia D. Toliver (Fiction)
- Seeds of Bible Study by Carol McDonnell (Non-Fiction/Religious)
- Three Doors Down by Michele Sudler (Romance)
- Taneesha: Never Disparaging by M. LaVora Perry (Young Adult)
- Broken by Robin “Robbie” Ayele (Mystery)

October Features:
- Sinful Too by Victor McGlothin (Fiction)
- Harriet Tubman: Imagining A Life by Beverly Lowry (Non-Fiction)
- Floss by Monica Marie Jones (Fiction)
- Lady Preacher by K. T. Richey (Christian Fiction)
- Charlemagne Mack: Rise of the Queen, Personal Journal #1 by Stephen M. Jones (Young Adult)

November Features:
- Uncle Otto: A Novel by Winifred Cook (Fiction)
- So Good It Hurts by Na’Kisha Crawford (Self-Help)
- Rhythms of Grace by Marilynn Griffith (Christian Fiction)
- In The Night of the Heat by Blair Underwood, Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due (Mystery)
- The Shadows by L.A. Banks (Paranormal)

December Features
- This Life Isn’t Perfect Holla by Sandra Foy (Romance)
- Ruby and the Booker Boys: Trivia Queen, 3rd Grade Supreme by Derrick Barnes (Young Adult)
- Reflections of A Mississippi Magnolia: A Life of Poems by Patricia Neely-Dorsey (Poetry)
- Blackbird, Farewell by Robert Greer (Mystery)
- Family Skeleton: A Brother and Sister’s Journey from Murder to Truth by Sabrina Carmichel-Yaw and Aurora (Memoir)
- Southside Nefertiti #3 by Mike Sales (Comic)

————
The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers (TRR) are the team of reviewers for RAWSISTAZ Literary Group (www.rawsistaz.com) and are committed to supporting and spreading the word about African-American titles. Since inception in January 2001, they have reviewed approximately 4,500 titles, been published in numerous print and online magazines, and provided online newsletters for book lovers worldwide.
For more information visit www.blackbookreviews.net or www.therawreviewers.com.

http://readersrooms.com/?p=1625

Friday, December 05, 2008

Active Sharing on Youtube

Well, it's my 49th birthday!

All is well here. God is good. Trying to stick to a very rigid diet. Aaaargh. But I sleep better when I do. Much mid-life crisis regret about health, life, child's health, but I feel God is telling me to endure and to expect great things. So am trying to understand Jesus and God as restorers. . . that perhaps life for me in my latter end will be better than it's been the past 49 years. Tough to learn to look at hope when life has been such a trial for so long. But I'm growing in my knowledge of how truly great and loving God is.

What else? I'm becoming more and more myself. . . whatever that is. An example:

So I've been on active sharing on youtube for about two months now and let me tell you it's the most public conscientious activity I have ever done.
"Really?" you ask.
"Yes, really," I answer.

The trouble is I am what many Christians would consider a "carnal" Christian. Granted, I don't think I'm that carnal. At least I'm not carnal in the way St Paul meant it. When St Paul described carnal Christians in 1 Corinthians 3:3-4 and 2 Corinthians 10:4 and Hebrews 9:10 he was talking about the type of Christian who walks by sight, who actually believes in and fights about earthly stuff such as denominations, who actually think following external rules of eating drinking clothing etc are signs of holiness. That's not me. But most Christians will think I'm carnal because I do have that horrendous crush on Cloud from Final Fantasy and I actually listen to music and watch movies no Christian would be caught watching.

So here's the problem. When you do active sharing on youtube, ALL your youtube friends can see what it is you're actually watching. They see what you've rated, what you've favorited, what you've uploaded, etc.

So my youtube friends can see that I've favorited the (somewhat potty-mouthed) Canadian East-Indian comedian Russell Peters. And Chocolate News. And . . . well, everything I've done.

This wouldn't be so bad if I had only one kind of friends. If say, I had only secular non-believing friends, they'd see my proclivities and all the religious stuff I rate and favorite and think I'm odd but they'd probably not think I was being sinful.

But the problem is with my Christian friends. One of them is quite cool and easygoing. But the other...well, I like him but I find myself wondering. Okay, he's white Christian so he didn't vote for Obama. I see him rating and favoriting stuff against Obama, but do I care? No! I'm cool. I let things go. I don't think he's a racist. But what does this guy think when he sees the stuff I've been seeing? Lord knows. He hasn't been talking to me in a while. Hasn't returned my emails. Ahem. So. . .uhm. . .I shouldn't assume anything. He's probably just off on vacation. But my history with Christians make me worry that he saw one too many "Cloud is so sexy" video on my favorite list and dumped me.

Of course I had the choice of taking myself off active sharing. But I did not. Why? Because I am trying to be myself without fear. Yeah, stupid reason and stupid thing to do when you know how easily some Christians judge. But I put myself and my heart on my blog and I'm not going to start hiding aspects of myself. A true witness delivers souls, as the Proverbs say.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

RIP: Odetta

CFBA: Dark Pursuit


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dark Pursuit

Zondervan (December 1, 2008)

by

Brandilyn Collins



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Brandilyn Collins is known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. She is currently working on her 20th book. For chances to win free copies of her work, join her Fan Club on Facebook. Here’s what Brandilyn has to say about why she wrote Dark Pursuit:

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost Satan’s followers, kicked out of heaven, boast about storming the gates and reclaiming their territory. Beelzebub scoffs at their boasting as merely “hatching vain empires” and suggests a different revengeful scheme: seduce mankind away from God. So Satan visits the Garden of Eden to teach humans the very thing he and his cohorts have learned to be futile—the dark pursuit of hatching their own vain empires instead of following God. He presented man with this “gift” of death, disguised as life. And man fell for it.

Upon this theme of man’s fall and spiritual blindness, I created the characters and events in Dark Pursuit. The story clips along at a fast pace, with much symbolism running underneath.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Dark Pursuit—A twisting story of murder, betrayal, and eternal choices

Novelist Darell Brooke lived for his title as King of Suspense—until an auto accident left him unable to concentrate. Two years later, reclusive and bitter, he wants one thing: to plot a new novel and regain his reputation.

Kaitlan Sering, his twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, once lived for drugs. After she stole from Darell, he cut her off. Now she’s rebuilding her life. But in Kaitlan’s town two women have been murdered, and she’s about to discover a third. She’s even more shocked to realize the culprit—her boyfriend, Craig, the police chief’s son.

Desperate, Kaitlan flees to her estranged grandfather. For over forty years, Darell Brooke has lived suspense. Surely he’ll devise a plan to trap the cunning Craig.

But can Darell’s muddled mind do it? And—if he tries—with what motivation? For Kaitlan’s plight may be the stunning answer to the elusive plot he seeks...

Read the first chapter of Dark Pursuit, HERE.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Angelia Vernon Menchan: Author







Schae's Story
Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: acVernon Menchan (December 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0978783557
ISBN-13: 978-0978783556

Here's the blurb:

In SCHAE'S STORY: A Woman's Transformation, readers will see the unveiling of a woman everyone thought they knew. We will be exposed to how difficult it is for the people around us to accept our desire to change. Also, that while many people preach that God will change someone’s life they really do not believe it to be true. Schae’s Story will also expose the many ways in which love manifests itself in a woman’s life, family love, community-love and most importantly the reciprocal love of God.


SCHAE’S STORY: A Woman’s Transformation….NOW AVAILABLE on amazon

Signed copies at www.angeliavmenchan.com



Angelia Vernon is also the author of IS NO NOT CLEAR ENOUGH FOR YOU
Blurb:
Is No Not Clear Enough for you tells the story of a young, spiritual emerging woman who knows at sixteen how important it is to own herself. Malaaka Green is spiritual, young, smart and beautiful. And one thing she knows for sure is that she is not going to do anything for or with anyone that is in conflict with her spirit or her future. Surrounded by a supporting cast of family, friends and foes, we get to see what the possibilities can be when a young woman owns her own destiny.


180 pages
Publisher: acVernon Menchan (December 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0978783530
ISBN-13: 978-0978783532
Angelia blogs at http://acvermen.blogspot.com/

Then Along Came An Angel Book Tour


Then Along Came An Angel
by Julie Bonn Heath
is a collection of stories about true-life encounters with angels. Yours truly has a story in it.

Joan Wester Anderson, the popular bestselling author of multiple angel books, sent her comments on "Then Along Came an Angel":
Then Along Came an Angel" is a wonderful book, great stories. . .(I know you didn't ask for a critique but I had to put my oar in. I get very excited about good angel books. They fill a tremendous hunger, and keep the topic alive, and we can't get too many of them)...ALL the stories are GOOD
… Joan Wester Anderson

Here is a part of my account.
THAT SMILE


I was only 16. I was studying the Bible. During those times, I had horrendous nightmares of being pursued by a "Godfather" type figure who seemed intent on harming me. C.S. Lewis wrote that many people don't believe in God simply because they do not want to have another Father. But then it hadn't occurred to me that my inability to trust in God was rooted in the fact that I had no real father. Nor did the fact that the nightmare "Godfather" might be the same Person I referred to in my prayers as "God, Father in Heaven."

But there I was, reading the Bible and lying in bed when for no reason at all, I turned towards the wall. That was when I saw a being standing there. To say I was surprised is an understatement. The being whom I saw was a far cry from the typical angel one might see in greeting cards. There were no feathers, for instance, no wings. The being was plain and simply made up of light. It was as if someone had taken a fine-point pencil or chiseling tool and drawn a pencil sketch on the wall. Except that instead of dark still lines, what I saw was living moving light, a fine-featured being finely-etched like a drawing but quite real. The being wore a crown and except for a smile did not seem to move. And it is this smile that I will always remember.
It was a smile that seemed to say he understood everything about meB good and bad yet loved me anyway. I don't think I can adequately describe the feeling of intimacy and personal attachment that this person seemed to feel for me. It was as if we were old friends, as if he had always been there with me and would always be there with me. Here was a being to whom I was completely known and completely loved. A being with complete good humor and a sweet conspiratorial kindness in his eyes. All I could do was smile at him, as if to say, "Oh, it's you!"

The funny thing was that this angel did not say anything. He didn=t tell me any great spiritual truths about my life or the world. But his very presence showed me that there was a world where good and love and God existed. During the following years, I have endured several trials. During these times I have asked myself, "How could God allow this to happen to me if He still exists?" I have asked God to send his loving angel to me several times to comfort me. That request has not been granted and the angel has never reappeared. But, with the help of the Bible, this visitation has healed my past fatherlessness and has been a healing balm to the lovelessness of my earlier life. Whenever I am about to fail under the strain of the trials in my life, I remember the sweet sweet smile of that being from another country. The memory of a person I have yet to truly meet has stayed with me. And every thing in me longs for that wonderful loving country that is and has always been my Home.

Anyway, check out the tour of the book! Buy it for Christmas!

Monday, December 01, 2008

I need Africa more than Africa needs me.

First, let me give you a quick reminder of what I posted last week and let me encourage you to go to the Mocha website to check out the new campaign!

As I wrote on Nov 24th, I need Africa reminds me that we all need people. The west has really messed up the idea of families and kinship. We in the west suffer a lot of loneliness and isolation because of this silly nuclear family stuff. It's a western concept that is too rooted in individualism, property, etc. Also, I suspect that most Africans show us what human interaction really is. As humans we are people who like joy, who need love, etc. But the west represses us. Emotions aren't readily shown. Not that everyone in Africa is a free-spirited soul. I'm sure there are stiff-upper-lipped Africans in Africa. But when I look at documentaries about Africa and other indigenous people, I see that at heart we humans are simply loving, uncomplicated, un-gameplaying folks. I somehow feel we westerners have so many silly priorities and ideas of behavior going on that we have lost touch with what it means to be authentic humans. We westerners are often not genuiune. I also think the African world is quite aware of some spiritual truths we westerners don't want to think about. Yeah, yeah, I know. All that spiritism stuff.

Now, this is what Barrett Ward, the creator of this I NEED AFRICA MORE THAN AFRICA NEEDS ME campaign says:

When I think of Africa, the following images immediately come to mind: Starvation. AIDS. Child soldiers. Genocide. Sex slaves. Orphans. From there, my thoughts naturally turn to how I can help, how I can make a difference. “I am needed here,” I think. “They have so little, and I have so much.” It’s true, there are great tragedies playing out in Africa everyday. There is often a level of suffering here that is unimaginable until you have seen it, and even then it is difficult to believe. But what is even harder is reconciling the challenges that many Africans face with the joy I see in the people. It’s a joy that comes from somewhere I cannot fathom, not within the framework that has been my life to this day. Read More


Other blogs participating in this campaign can be found at Mocha Club's blog

"I need Africa video" IS UP AT
YOUTUBE or click here.



CFBA: One Perfect Day


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Perfect Day

FaithWords (October 22, 2008)

by

Lauraine Snelling



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Today, Lauraine Snelling is a member of the more than Two Million Books In Print club, but when she first began, she was a mother of three teenagers with a simple dream to write “horse books for kids.”

All told, she has over 50 books published. She thinks. She’s not sure. She’d rather write them than count them. Lauraine’s work has been translated into Norwegian, Danish and German as well as produced as books on tape.

Awards have followed her dedication to “telling a good story”: the Silver Angel Award for An Untamed Land and a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart for Song of Laughter.

Helping others reach their writing dream is the reason Lauraine teaches at writer’s conferences across the country. She mentors others through book doctoring and with her humorous and playful Writing Great Fiction tape set. Lauraine also produces material on query letters and other aspects of the writing process.

Her readers clamor for more books more often and Lauraine would like to comply, if only her ever-growing flower gardens didn’t call quite so loudly over the soothing rush of the water fountains in her back yard and if the hummingbirds weren’t quite so entertaining. Lauraine and husband Wayne have two grown sons and a cockatiel named Bidley, who loves to tease their Basset Hound named Chewy.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Two mothers end up more closely connected that they could dream...and yet they are strangers to one another.

The first has two children--twins, a boy and girl, who are seniors in high school. She wants their last Christmas as a family living in the same home to be perfect, but her husband is delayed returning from a business trip abroad. And then there's an accident--a fatal one involving a drunk driver.

Meanwhile, the other mother has a daughter who needs a new heart, and so the loss of one woman becomes the miracle the other has desperately prayed for. While one mother grieves, and pulls away from her family, the other finds that even miracles aren't always easy to receive.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Perfect Day, go HERE

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Borders 2008 Original Voices Awards

The nominees for the 2008 Original Voices Awards are:

Fiction
-- "Dear American Airlines," by Jonathan Miles (Houghton Mifflin)
-- "The Cellist of Sarajevo," by Steven Galloway (Riverhead)
-- "The Good Thief," by Hannah Tinti (The Dial Press)
-- "The Lace Reader," by Brunonia Barry (William Morrow)
-- "The Somnambulist," by Jonathan Barnes (William Morrow)
-- "The White Tiger," by Aravind Adiga (Free Press)

Non-Fiction
-- "The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the
Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler,"
by Thomas Hager (Harmony)
-- "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese
Food," by Jennifer 8 Lee (Twelve)
-- "The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in
the World," by Eric Weiner (Twelve)
-- "The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood," by
Helene Cooper (Simon & Schuster)
-- "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a
Great Victorian Detective," by Kate Summerscale (Walker & Company)
-- "We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken
Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Change Their Lives Forever," by
Benjamin Mee (Weinstein Books)

Young Adult/Independent Reader
-- "Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go," by Dale Basye (Random House Books for
Young Readers)
-- "I Am Apache," by Tanya Landman (Candlewick)
-- "The Patron Saint of Butterflies," by Cecilia Galante (Bloomsbury USA
Children's Books)
-- "Tunnels," by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (The Chicken House)
-- "Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines," by Nic Sheff (Ginee Seo Books)
-- "Wake," by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse)

Children's Picture Books
-- "Do You Do a Didgeridoo?," written by Nick Page and illustrated by Sara
Baker (Make Believe Ideas)
-- "Ladybug Girl," written by Jacky Davis and illustrated by David Soman
(Dial)
-- "Little Bunny Kung Fu," written and illustrated by Regan Johnson
(Blooming Tree Press)
-- "Those Darn Squirrels!," written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by
Daniel Salmieri (Clarion Books)
-- "Wave," written and illustrated by Suzy Lee (Chronicle Books)
-- "What's Under The Bed?," written and illustrated by Joe Fenton (Simon &
Schuster Children's Publishing)

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