Thursday, October 30, 2008

Al Qaeda Web Video

I'm sorry...but the political scene just keeps turning up these bits that are so fascinating to me, they turn into blog posts.

Like this piece that appeared in Reuters today, reporting that al Qaeda wants Republicans and Bush to be "humiliated." Some guy named Libi put up a web video stating as much. (Interesting that it wasn't some guy named Osama) I know al Qaeda has long hated Bush, and thought him the Great Satan; I didn't realize the rest of us Republicans were included until now.

Here's the first part of the piece:

An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be "humiliated," without endorsing any party in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to a video posted on the Internet.

"O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him," Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.

Libi, one of the top al Qaeda commanders believed to be living in Afghanistan or Pakistan, called for God's wrath to be brought against Bush equating him with past tyrants in history.

To read more (unless they take it down before you read this), click here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Guidelines, not a Schedule

Hmm. What happened? How did I manage to "forget" to blog three days in a row?

My husband has been out of town for a few days, and last Friday I felt like maybe I should make a schedule. Not a schedule, really, more of an assessment. The problem with making a "schedule" in the past has been that after I make it, I turn it into a god. An idol -- it becomes my master. I have to obey it. If I don't, wrath and disaster will descend... etc, etc.

But what if they were just guidelines? And more than that, what if I do miss the deadline? Am I going to drop dead? Will the book tank because of that? Where does God fit in this picture? Well, He doesn't. I've not used a schedule for months now, because I haven't been able to figure out how to do it without getting all anxious and frantic. And also maybe because I hadn't reached a point where it would be remotely accurate.

I might have turned a corner. Or maybe it's been the Lord's guidance that led me to do it. I did ask Him if I should, and the notion remained. It was something I wanted to do. Maybe it really was time.

So on Friday I took the number of chapters I have left, plus 5, and plotted them onto the number of days I have left. If I complete roughly a chapter a day, I should reach the end by Nov 30, which was my deadline. I know that I will not do what my schedule has outlined, but that's okay. I can still use it. It's a goal, a guideline, I'll do my best to follow it and if I get too far off, I will make a revised schedule.

Right after I had decided to make this thing my editor called to say she was coming to town this week and we could go to lunch. I jokingly noted the coincidence that I'd just been thinking about calling her for more time, and here she called me! Right away she said that if I thought I might need another month, she'd speak to the powers that be before she left and... I have December now. That means The Enclave will not release until summer, but really that's not looking like such a terrible disaster. A disaster would be to publish what I have right now...

And anyway, as one of my friends said, "Is continuing to be published something you believe you have to maintain? If you lost all your contracts, do you believe that the Lord wouldn't give you a new one if He wants your books published? Are you afraid that you can blow this deal? Because I don't believe that if getting your books published is from the Lord that it's even possible to blow it."

I think she's right. After all, He's able to "equip me in every good thing to do His will, working in me that which is pelasing in His sight..." And wants to. It's a verse which has been repeated often in class over the last week.

So. I have some guidelines, I have a new deadline, one for the first time I actually think I can achieve, AND things have finally started to move somewhat consistently. Since my husband was gone, I could concentrate more on writing and completed chapters 16, 17 and 18 and today worked on 19 and began to think about 20. Which is a big reason why I forgot to blog.

Oh, yes, and I've, um, been reading news sites maybe more than usual with all that's been going on...

Lunch with my editor was wonderful. The weather was perfect. We ate outside on the patio of Tohono Chul, drank apricot tea and talked. Turns out editors really do get it that writing is not like picking peas or making pots. You can't necessarily force it. And when we can't make the deadline, they can handle it. In fact, I'm not the only writer who's having unusual trouble getting her book to move.

Other tidbits of interest:

Light of Eidon is actually still selling quite nicely.

There's a remote possibility that BHP might repackage the Guardian King books in new covers....

And female faces on the covers of books sell better than male faces do.

Or so I'm told.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Interview with the Palin's - NOT

Hey, it's election time. Politics is beating at the doors and windows. You can't turn on the TV without being told to vote for this one or don't vote for that one. Nor can you drive down the street without being reminded that some people are for Obama and (around our neighborhood) very few for McCain/Palin. So I guess I can be excused for putting up a few posts on the subject ...

Except that everything seems to be going wrong. Neither of my last two posts, the one Tuesday on Barak Obama as Messiah, and the one Wednesday on Biden's warning that if Obama wins he'll be tested, went out through Feedblitz. I didn't get either of them in my Inbox, and neither did one of my friends. Though of course it's always possible we were the exceptions, rather than the rule.

Then tonight, when I went to post the bit I'd already written about excerpts from the People Magazine interview with the Palin's, Todd and Sarah, which I'd enjoyed, I discovered that it had been really excerpt-ized and they didn't even have the pictures that had been half the fun.

I'd really liked the things she said. I like them both, actually. And while some people say that with politicians you can't believe anything they say, there are some politicians that say things I can't stand, totally disagree with, find abhorrent and evil -- especially when they say them as if these are great and good ideas or policies -- and others who say things that I totally support and affirm. So whatever lies behind, at least I can support the surface.

Anyway, I wanted to share it, but now it's gone, and the only place I could find it was here, on People's site where it was broken down into ten pages of teeny snippets surrounded on all sides by ads, other links, pictures of other people, other stories... very distracting and annoying. And no pictures.

To make matters worse, when I tried to see if someone else had posted it, I only found the blogs of snippy liberals making fun of it. It's a "puff" piece, heaven forbid. "Can you believe she actually thinks she's intellectual? Ha! She couldn't even name one magazine or newspaper she read!" (She named the book she was reading, and probabaly had she named anything else the blogger wouldn't have heard of it anyway) "She says she's only bubble-headed when she acts like Tina Fey.Ha!" Their arrogance and condescension really is amazing.

In fact, so amazing that instead of the People interview, I'm going to link to another article I read recently in, of all places, the Boston Globe. It's on The Dangers of Liberal Bias by Joan Chevalier. It expresses a lot of what I just discovered.

Enclave update: I went back to ch 14 today, and reworked and reworked and reworked it, trying to get Cam's motivations right. Why does it all have to emerge sooooo slowly? But I've got it half done. Now just have to finish up the last scene to make it fit with the new stuff. Then I can hopefully get on with ch 17, which is what sent me back to 14 in the first place.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

He Will Be Tested

You've probably heard by now that Democrat Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden said at a Seattle fundraiser last Sunday that, should they win the election, in the first six months of his term, Barak Obama will be tested by "a major international challenge." Could that be... terrorists?

"Mark my words, within the next -- first six months of this administration, if we win, they're going to -- we're going to face a major international challenge, 'cause they're going to want to test him, just like they did John Kennedy, they're going to want to test him, and they're going to find out this guy's got steel in his spine.

"He's gonna need help. The kind of help he's gonna need, he's gonna need you," Biden said, speaking to potential donors. "We're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community to stand with him 'cause it's not going to be apparent initially, it's not going to be apparent that we're right."

Wow. Of course, it's all over the Internet. McCain pounced upon it, Biden's been removed from campaigning for a few days...I have two thoughts about it -- yeah, I already figured we're going to be hit should Obama win. That's just logical. He's already said he'll sit down and talk to our enemies. He opposed the Iraq war. He opposed the surge. He opposed everything except talking. I don't really think our enemies -- terrorists, Iran, communist thugs from China, North Korea, and, more and more, Russia -- are going to be remotely swayed by talking. They operate more on a "taking" basis -- them taking shots at us, then taking over. Islam is hardly a peaceful religion. Their Koran instructs them to kill the Infidel. Which we are.

In fact, all our new presidents have been challenged. Here's a quote from Rush Limbaugh the other day that sums up the challenges and the results:

"Al-Qaeda has a history of testing all of our new leaders. At the World Trade Center, 1993; Al-Qaeda tested Clinton. We failed. Mogadishu 1994, Al-Qaeda tested Clinton. We failed. Khobar Towers, 1996; Al-Qaeda tested Clinton. We failed. The Kenya-Tanzania embassy bombings, Al-Qaeda tested us. We failed. The 2000 bombing USS Cole, Al-Qaeda tested Clinton. We failed. On 9/11, Al-Qaeda tested Bush; we passed. We haven't been hit since. March 11th, '04, the Madrid bombings; Al-Qaeda tested Spain. Spain failed. August 2008, Al-Qaeda tested Canadian Steven Harper, killed Canadians. He announced a pullout from Afghanistan in 2011; Canadians failed. August 2008, Al-Qaeda tested Sarkozy by killing 11 French paratroopers. Sarkozy passed and said he wouldn't surrender in Afghanistan."

So yeah, if Obama wins, we're going to be hit. It's less likely we will be if McCain wins, because he's already perceived to be like Bush. I don't think he'd take any guff, and they probably know it. Which is why they've endorsed Obama.

My second thought is that if we actually have enough people in this country to elect someone like Obama, who so represents the opposite of every one of the laws of divine establishment (freedom, marriage, family, nationalism), who will most likely turn on Israel, and who actually allows his followers to make those disgusting Messiah comparisons... we are heading into apostacy, if not already there. Which is something the Bible says will happen in the end times.

If the Rapture is indeed coming very soon, and the Tribulation right behind it, then God in His grace will do everything He can to warn and persuade people of their need for salvation so they can avoid the latter, which is said to be the most terrible time to be alive on the earth. Another hit like 911 will do just that.

"In the last days, difficult times will come. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy..." It will even extend to the church, where people will "hold to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power." How much of that is already in place?


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

False Messiah

I'm starting into Ch 17 today, and it's the slow going phase again. I got in my four hours of concentration, but no more, really (maybe a little less, if I were able to accurately account for all the hours.) But today after I did my stints I spent some time on the Internet and turned up a couple of interesting sites about people who are promoting the idea that Obama is the Messiah. Now I've heard Rush refer to him jokingly as such for some time, and was aware of the over-the-top orgasmic type reactions some of Obama's supporters were having toward him early this year, but I didn't realize that they actually call him Messiah.

World Net Daily ran a piece last week primarily on a February 24, 2008 speech given by Louis Farrakhan, the current leader of the Nation of Islam (which is apparently repudiated by the "real" muslims as not really being muslim. But that's another post). It's title? Farrakhan on Obama: The Messiah is absolutely speaking

"You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn't care anything about. That's a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking."

Apparently the man Nation of Islam followers refer to as "the Savior," Fard Muhammad, had a black father and a white mother, just as Obama did. Which somehow makes Obama a savior, too.

"Would God allow Barack to be president of a country that has been so racist, so evil in its treatment of Hispanics, native Americans, blacks?" Farrakhan asked. "Would God do something like that? Yeah. Of course he would. That's to show you that the stone that the builders rejected has become the headstone of the corner. This is a sign to you. It's the time of our rise. It's the time that we should take our place. The future is all about you."

The article also references a blog called "Is Barack Obama the Messiah?" which is rather stunning. It's subtitled with a quote from an Obama speech given in Lebanon, New Hampshire on January 7, 2008.

"... a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany ... and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Obama" - Barack Obama

It also has a really creepy beatific poster of Obama with a halo of light rays streaming away from his head, with the words "The Dream" underneath his portrait.

If you scroll down a bit, there's a picture of Obama, the man who is so concerned about the little guys and "spreading the wealth" at a fundraiser (he's raised more than half a billion dollars -- no typo, half a billion -- which is more than any other candidate in the country's history) at the HOME of Steven and Judy Gluckstern... which is quite a home... where he appears to be descending on a lighted stair from on high... The title of this post is "The Transfiguration."

The next post says "I'm Asking You to Believe..." and then a picture of graffiti saying, "Obama is God."

It goes on from there. "He is the Alpha and the Omega," and there's the video of the creepy youth brigade chanting/marching/dancing in unison to him. Next comes the creepy video of the "precious children singing to our leader." Then a photo of a scene at Obama Campaign HQ where workers are grasshopper-ized by a humongous picture of Obama's face on the wall, rather like those gargantuan portraits of Lenin and Mao looming over crowds of followers. I was shocked to see it, but then realized that since Obama is closely aligned with avowed communists, why be surprised?

There are quotes alongside the text from various celebrities such as Halle Barry, Gary Hart, Deepak Chopra, Toni Morrison, and Chris Matthews. Here's one I find especially intriguing from Ezra Klein (who is a writer for the liberal American Prospect) (though I had to Google his name to find that out):

"Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. . . . He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh . . . Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves."

So... his finest speeches don't excite, inspire or inform... but they elevate? What is that supposed to mean? The words mean nothing, but something else is at work? And that stuff about him not being the Word made flesh, but the word triumphing over the flesh? What does that mean? How is he triumphing over the flesh? I'm not sure he even knows what the flesh is.

It's an interesting, but creepy site and I couldn't figure out if it's supposed to be a joke, a parody of Christian beliefs or genuine adulation. Though why there would be so much use of familiar words and phrases that specifically refer to Jesus Christ being used by people who mostly don't believe in him, is befuddling.

But back to the original article at World Net Daily, which also quotes a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mark Morford, who says,

"Bill Clinton, with all his effortless, winking charm, didn't have what Obama has, which is a sort of powerful luminosity, a unique high-vibration integrity," Gladnick says. "Dismiss it all you like, but I've heard from far too many enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people who've been intuitively blown away by Obama's presence - not speeches, not policies, but sheer presence -"

Hmmm. That's pretty creepy too. Almost makes you think Obama might be demon-possessed... But more than anything it speaks to the matter of end times. This sort of fake Messiah thing is telling. I don't think Obama is the Anti-Christ (since as far as I know he's not a Jew) but the word does say that in the last times there will be false Christs and false prophets galore. And advises:

"Then, if anyone says to you, 'Behold here is the Christ,' or 'There He is,' do not believe him." Mt 24:23


Monday, October 20, 2008

Chutes and Ladders

Last Thursday I woke up down in the dumps, filled with a sense of futility, frustration, apathy. I didn't know why. This has been happening relatively often over the last few months. I go to bed fine, and wake up depressed. Once I get up and get working it tends to go away, but sometimes when I get ready to start writing, it comes back...

As I lay there asking God why I was feeling this way and what was wrong, He drew my attention to the dreams I have been having. I don't often remember my dreams, but lately I had been, and they were all the same: I was trying to go somewhere and/or do something and being hindered, pulled away, obstructed, distracted. I never managed to get to where I was going or do what I was trying to do before I woke up.

There are many things in my life I would like to change and cannot, and some of that is probably reflected in the dreams. I read about a dream study once that suggested we have several different types of dreams that can determine our mood when we wake up. In one type, we wrestle with a problem and finally solve it. In that case we wake up feeling good. In another type, we just cycle through the same situation (which may or may not bear resemblence to our conscious problems), never solving it. In which case we wake up feeling down.

Well, the latter seemed to apply to me. Obviously I wasn't having dreams of any kind of resolution. But I thought I had handled the frustrations and obstacles that were so often cropping up to hinder my day. Why, then, was I still having the dreams that go nowhere, and waking up depressed?

The Holy Spirit suggested to me that dreams come out of the subconscious, and thus, somewhere in my subconscious I had this viewpoint that there should be no obstacles or hindrances in life. That those were all "wrongs" that needed to be made right. A "right" life was one that had no problems, obstacles or hindrances.

Well, I knew right off that was ridiculous, especially for a Christian. The Bible teaches the exact opposite. We are going to suffer, it's been appointed to us to suffer for His name's sake. We do it for our growth, blessing, perfection, and to bring glory to God.

At that point I was reminded of the children's game Chutes and Ladders. The chutes are designed to be there. You are supposed to go down them. Yes, it's a setback, but without them, the game would be boring. The problem is that when I played Chutes and Ladders, my focus was so strongly on the goal of winning, that the chutes were not fun parts of the game. They didn't seem to me even to be necessary parts of the game, but rather great threats that had to be avoided. It was a "terrible" thing if you happened to land on a square that sent you sliding back down to another row.

I had the same underlying approach to life. I wasn't really seeing the obstacles and hindrances and frustrations as an integral part of the plan. Instead, they were "wrong," something outside the plan that needed to be avoided or "fixed." But we know that all things work for good to those who love God. All things. We're constantly being delivered over to death for His sake.

The obstacles are not things that keep us from getting anywhere, they are the things that actually take us where God is trying to take us. To conform us to His image. We should embrace them, not look at them as things designed to keep us back, or down, even though they might be implemented by the Kingdom of Darkness for this purpose, or though the people sent by that same kingdom might have this desire. Regardless, it's God who's allowed it. Not to keep us down, but to conform us to the image of His Son, and to bring us to new life.

I barely had time to jot down the above notes about this new understanding, before I had to go about my day. But I was more relaxed, throughout and The Enclave was (and is) really starting to move.

That evening (Thursday) I had the ordeal of preparing for the colonoscopy then the procedure itself on Friday, which left me loopy and very tired so I had no time to write my thoughts out. I even missed my usual Friday night message and didn't listen to it until Saturday. But when I did...


You know those pictures where someone opens a door and a violent wind and light rushes out at them, almost knocking them over? That's what it was like. It addressed the very things I'd started thinking about on Thursday, and tens of other questions and issues I'd been struggling with over the last few weeks and months. An amazing message. I took 8 double-sided sheets of paper worth of notes, stopping the recording every few seconds to get the whole thought noted. Then I went back and highlighted the "really good" parts. That was nearly the entire eight pages.

The link is here, if you want to hear it. In the upper right corner are options to watch it as video, download the video, listen to audio with class notes, or download the audio. It's 90 minutes long (there's a 10 minute break in the middle which you can let run or fast forward through). I know there's been a lot of groundwork laid for this material over the last few months so it probably won't have the impact for everyone the way it did for me, but I was just... set free.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marketing Questionnaire

Well, the colonscopy went very well. I have a normal colon, complete with pictures. The preparation for the colonscopy is something I am glad I will not have to repeat for ten years, by which time, I suspect that procedure will not be something I'll ever need to bother with again.

Got in some good work on Saturday. I'm now to ch 16 and for the first time ideas are starting to flow. Today I had to work on a Marketing and Publicity Questionnaire for the Bethany House M&P Department to use in selling my book.

I've had to trust the Lord to guide me on this. As may be obvious to consistent readers of this blog and my books, concise and pithy summations are not my forte. Here are some of the questions:

1. Why did you write this book?

2. How did you develop the initial story idea/plot line for this book?

3. Did you encounter any interesting challenges while writing/researching for this book? Please explain if so.

4. Did the book involve special research? Please explain if so.

5. What is the underlying theme/message of the book? Is this what you set out to write?

6. What is the take-away message you want readers to receive after reading your book?

7. Almost every author puts a little of themselves into their stories—what did you put of yourself into this one? (personality traits, life events/jobs, settings, characters based on people you know, likes/dislikes, etc.)

There are twenty of them in all. As I was pasting them in here, I thought... hmmm. Maybe my blog readers would also be interested in the answers I gave. Perhaps I should use these as blog posts...

I'll have to think about that. I already have my post for tomorrow written, however, so it won't be till after that.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Modern Medicine

Tonight I am preparing my colon for a colonoscopy tomorrow (my first). What fun. Not. But I can't help thinking what a strange world we live in, that we will deliberately drink a solution designed to give us diarrhea.

I guess there've been worse things in the past -- trepanning, blood-letting, leeches...

I have to drink it in two sessions, one today (at 5pm) and another tomorrow, when I have to get up at 4:50am to do it. I comfort myself with the reminder that long before this time tomorrow, I'll be done with the whole thing.

Despite the weirdness of being on a liquid diet all day, it was a good one. I am very slowly learning just how it is I'm to trust the Lord, in all areas, and relax. Just let Him take my hand and guide me and when some giant rears up to threaten me, not to run away but stand there, letting all the confusing, conflicting thoughts swirl around me until finally they fall away and He shows me which one I need to focus on. I've wanted to know which one too soon, I think. Anyway, I've finished chapter 14 and am on to 16 (skipping 15 for now to attend to when I work through the other plotline/pov)

So it's off to bed. More or less.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Hound

Life the hound
Comes at a bound
Either to rend me
Or to befriend me.

I cannot tell
The hound's intent
Till he has sprung
At my bare hand
With teeth or tongue.

Meanwhile I stand
And wait the event

~Robert Francis

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Splinter and Other Things

I made my 4 hour goal of (mostly) 100% concentration on writing. Considering I pretty much had the whole day to do it, that's fairly pathetic, but I did it. Despite the fact that things went awry at the start. I had chores left over from yesterday to do, which included mopping and vacuuming. Before I did those, I noted that the porch connecting the back door to the back yard needed sweeping. In the process of doing that, I picked up a rough wooden block in order to move the door mat and a splinter slid into the middle finger of my left hand.

So then I had to get it out. By myself. It was teeny. I had to have a magnifying glass to see it, but I had to hold the magnifying glass in the same hand I was digging the splinter out of, and still see it. This was a challenge. I wrapped the handle in a towel, which helped to position it, but the splinter was in there pretty deep. Pretty soon I had a small, bloody excavation, but the splinter was still in there. Then I found a spot of sun by the window and brought my little operation over to the window sil. Not exactly comfortable.

After a long time (15 minutes?) I began to think I wasn't going to be able to do this alone. So I went to the Lord. I can't do this alone, Father. I need some help. I don't want to wait all day for Stu to come home, so could you please do something now?

I went back to my spot of light on the window sil, and shortly discovered it was fading. But a new spot appeared on top of some file boxes. Much more comfortable. Brighter. Within minutes I had the thing out. So. Some could say I would have gotten it out anyway, but I know I had help. In fact, I'm sure of it. I'm suspecting my guardian angel of having a hand in it, because the splinter was really tiny, really in deep, my hands were clumsy, I could hardly see and somehow, it just came out.

After that I did do the mopping and vacuuming, but left the bathroom for another day. By then it was 9:30 and I still hadn't eaten. I thought I would work while eating. And did. Sort of. Until I decided I needed to write in my journal.

Long story short, I didn't start until 10:17 and worked until 12:20. Then I did another stint from 2 to 4. Sort of. I think I did some Internet reading during that last bit. It was hard today. My brain didn't want to work. When I was getting ready to begin, the resistance was great: "It's too hard, I don't know what to do, I can't even think about it without getting a headache, I'll never get it done on time, I have to go faster, I don't have the vaguest idea how to fix anything... I just want to run away."

But I didn't. I told myself the old standby -- just read the chapter. You don't have to change anything. So I did. I changed some things, moved some things around, left some really awkward confusing spots because I didn't know how to fix them but I did work. Not fast enough. Or rather, I don't feel like I made as much progress asI would have liked, or as I "should" have (except only God really knows how much that is). But I'm going to be happy that I did work through it, and take comfort in the "Progress not Perfection" slogan of I definitely made some progress. Now I'd better quit and go to bed so maybe tomorrow my brain will be clearer and sharper than it was today (Today was better than Monday, but I was still pretty foggy).


Monday, October 13, 2008

Not a Wasted Day

Well, tonight I'm even more tired than I was last night. I wrote the beginnings of a post this morning, but now I lack the mental clarity to edit it sufficiently to have it make sense.

Actually, I was tired most of the day, which is probably partly why my first day of trying for 4 hours of 100% concentration on writing was a total bust. I didn't even get in my former goal of two. Things did not go "right" this morning.

I had some spiritual issues to deal with. Also, Quigley started chewing on various fence boards which are in a pile in the back yard, some of which had nails and screws in them, so I had to take those out. (The boards are to stay there in the pile -- it's not my pile). In the process of taking the nails and screws out, I broke my hammer. :-( Had to find a new one.

I did a bit of dusting. Then decided that it was time to get to work (about 9:30) and I'd just let the other stuff go. But I couldn't get to work, was all out of sorts and had to address the spiritual issues, because what good is the work if I'm out of fellowship? It took me awhile to figure out what was going on.

Simply put, I had my eyes on the things of this world, rather than the things above. And since I didn't like the particular things I was contemplating and concentrating on, well, I was reacting to them. Which means sinning. Resentment, complaining, self pity, fault finding... arrogance... fear... Confessed them all, and recalled to mind that whatever my circumstances, ultimately they are the way they are because God has chosen them for me, decided in eternity past to place me in them and everything about them ultimately comes from His hand. Thus they provide an opportunity to bring glory to Him by acknowledging that fact and living as if it is true. If they are wearisome, frustrating and difficult, so be it. They're from God and I will accept them. Embrace them even, as an opportunity which is only available on Earth in time.

By the time I worked through that, I was hungry. While I ate lunch though, I went through my notes for Chapter 14. But then I got really tired. My brain felt scrambled. When I tried to think of what I was doing no thought led to any other logical thought. I went to take a nap. One thing led to another and that was the end of my writing for the day.

No matter. Tomorrow is a new day and I will try again. Four hours. I think I'll set 10 o'clock as my start time, and work til 12. Then try 2 to 4.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Autumn Memories

Where did the weekend go? I spent the day, after church anyway, finishing up my autumn cards and now I'm tired. So that makes it a great time to put up a picture of fall. This is one of my watercolors, done from a picture of my son on a camping trip to the White Mountains. Every year in October we would take my mother, sister, Adam's friend Ben and our dog/s and head up to Northern Arizona for 4 days of camping and to enjoy the aspen.

This picture was taken when we were still going to the Double Cienega area, near Hannagan's Meadow. The moutains were ablaze with the yellow aspen. We used to hike through groves of aspen where the leaves would fall around us like rain and turn the light all yellow. It was magical.

Which is no doubt why there's a scene in The Shadow Within that came directly from those experiences. On p 261, where Carissa is on her way south from Highmount Holding, her party has stopped at Owl Creek to drink and refill their waterbags. As she is standing beside the stream, Elayne assures her that Eidon will make them a way, despite the dangers they face.

At that, a puff of wind coursed down the rocky streambed, rustling the evergreens and showering them in fluttering gold leaves shaken loose from the aspen on the riverbank behind them. The world turned briefly golden, and for the first time in days Carissa felt that sense of promise she'd known so briefly back in Highmount, as sure and compelling as it had been that night...

I always look back on those times at this season. The blue sky, the chill air, the campfire. The cattle in the fields, the elk bugling in the night. One time, Bear's first in fact, it snowed and we had to stay in a motel. Another time the snow was so bad we kept driving to the next town and the next town to find a place to stay indoors and ended up driving a giant loop around the state and home again within a day.

We won't be taking any of those trips this year, I'm afraid. I have a book to finish! And today the Lord informed me that it's time to rev up my rate of working. I am going to try to go from two hours of 100% concentration/sacred time to four hours. This morning, for the very first time since I started writing this book, I woke up thinking about it. That's an excellent sign that things are starting -- finally! -- to percolate.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Heaven Forbid! Bibles in Barnes & Noble

I was in the Barnes and Noble today, looking for a new journal and as I was examining the various offerings I overheard one of the clerks say to another, "Boy, some of my customers are really going to get upset about these."

Curious, I looked over at what he was doing -- hanging up new bookmarks with a large, decorative cross on them, these amidst the fluffy white puppies, cute kittens, nature offerings and various bookish and avant garde designs. Hmm. Did he really mean what I thought he did? Did people really come into the Barnes and Noble and complain that they are selling cross bookmarks?

I stayed around in the adjacent aisle even though I'd already determined it didn't have what I wanted and continued to eavesdrop.

The other clerk came over to see what the first one was talking about and offered a story of his own. Apparently elsewhere in the store they had some teen study bibles displayed on an endcap that had set customers off, as well. They didn't think those bibles should be there at all, but especially not in the nonfiction section. If anyplace,they should go in the fiction section.

"Well, I think they have a case, sort of," said the first clerk.

From there the conversation continued but I couldn't follow it -- the first clerk said something about why the bibles were on the end cap, and added the fact that some people (not sure who) couldn't see the sign that said 'study Bibles.' I'm not sure what effect their seeing that would have had on the situation, largely because I'm not sure what situation he was referring to.

Was it the one where people looking for the bibles couldn't see the sign and so couldn't find the bibles, thus necessitating the end cap which offended the other people who apparently don't think bibles should be sold in a secular book store?

Or the one where people objecting to the bibles couldn't see the sign and so didn't know that they were study bibles and as such really did belong in the nonfiction section.

What was of greatest interest to me was that it was an issue at all. I was astonished to learn that people actually go into a general book store and complain about the sorts of books it sells. Of course I could see complaining about pornography, so maybe I shouldn't be so astonished. It all depends on your scale of values. And sadly more and more people in this country seem to be holding to a scale of values that not only excludes the Bible, but actively opposes its principles.

This was recently illustrated for me by a "much forwarded" email of an editorial piece on Sarah Palin written by Indian spiritualist Deepak Chopra. In it he took many of my values and turned them around as being evil. Small town values = "petty, small minded parochialism"; family values = "code for walling out anyone who makes a claim for social justice"; patriotism = "the usual fallback in a failed war."

Oh, yeah and Sarah Palin is the evil shadow of Barak Obama.

Wow. If you want to read this editorial, it's here. Not that I recommend it, since in my opinion Deepak Chopra is heavily influenced by and promoting doctrines of demons. But I think there are many who apparently adhere to the viewpoint, so from that angle it is interesting.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Link: Elitism

I promised another essay today, again from Victor Davis Hanson, this one on elitism. This one was published on Sept 28, 2008. It's called Culture wars and the campaign. What I liked about it is that it answered some questions for me, one of the main ones being why do people who claim to like "women who do things", despise Sarah Palin?

People -- liberals, to be sure -- that I thought would surely appreciate her, instead find her "scary" and bumbling, clueless and absolutely inept. That completely befuddled me. In fact, one blog I was reading, by a person who I could somewhat relate to in other areas, railed on to the degree that I realized not only was Palin anathema, but so was I. But why? The writer did not say, beyond hurling derogatory adjectives and adverbs. It made no sense until I read this essay by Hanson.

So, here is the beginning of Culture wars and the campaign by Victor Davis Hanson:

You are a damn elite, not me!

That sums up the current political debate — whether we look at charges that John McCain has so many houses he can’t remember any longer the actual number of them; or that poor Barack Obama is depressed at the soaring price of arugula; or that Fightin’ Joe Biden once bootstrapped himself up at ten in Scranton; or that moose-hunting Sarah snowmachines as naturally as Barack Obama trips over himself in a bowling lane.

A nation of wood-cutters

In short, we remain log-cabin America, formed as the frontier antithesis of Europe. Apparently, we are determined, at least in mind, to stay that way — rightly or wrongly sneering at both natural Francophile John Kerry’s spandex, and also poor forced and uncomfortable duck-hunting John Kerry, decked out in camouflage, and looking as uncomfortable with a dead duck as Mike Dukakis in a tank helmet. We don’t like snooty elitists, and don’t give them a break when they clumsily try at election time in the eleventh hour to morph into one of the people.

A state of mind

So what is elitism? And who is an elitist?

Read more here.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Hair Clip Kibble

Quigley ate one of my hair clips on Sunday night. It's about 2 1/2" long with about seven tines on a side. I found part of the tabs that you use to squeeze it open, the spring and a few tines. I guess he thought it was kibble.

I am sorry to say, that even after all my practice slamming things on the Lord my first reaction was not good. Later though, I got around to realizing there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. If some tine were going to perforate his intestine, well that was in God's hands. I think it was God the Holy Spirit who brought to mind pictures of the droppings of some of our former dogs that had rocks in them. If rocks could pass through, the small pieces of plastic probably could. So why think about it and torture myself with worry? How about I pretend it never happened and just go on?

Anyway, so far, he seems to be fine. He was very ... um... active today. Very pushy, willful, playful, intense. He barked at the dog next door until I had to bring him in. Later he barked at the neighbors behind us who have recently moved in and started some sort of landscaping improvement project (they're cutting down the jungle of weeds in the yard). He's also got half a dozen excavation projects going here and there. And the wind kept blowing weird things into the yard or onto the ground, which of course he found and had to eat. I have no idea why he was so ... mischievous. Maybe it was the wind...

Last weekend was a three day weekend for my husband. The Mondays after 3-days I'm always especially tired. We also had our monthly communion and pot luck on Sunday. I'm usually tired after those, too. Together I figured I'd crash yesterday, but I did pretty well. The crash came today. I crash weirdly. Instead of dozing off or collapsing into a nap as would seem logical, I just want to putter, don't want to get down to work, want to drift from activity to activity...

I did manage to get in my two hours of work (though I was hoping for more) (actually I think it probably was more. Maybe three hours). I'm on chapter 13 now, and in a tinkering phase. This is where I look at the section that needs fixing, have no idea what to do. Add a few things, take some things out, move other things around, put some of the things I took out back. Take out some of the things I added. Print it all up and put it in a folder for tomorrow. When I'll do more or less the same thing.

The progress is slow, incremental, spiraling. I think someone called it noodling. You go from complete chaos and "wrongness" to a gradual improving of the scene or sequence, one small area at a time. I keep getting ideas for things I've already written, too, so I have to go back to take care of those.

We took Quigley for his three mile walk, and though I started out wondering if I'd have to be carried back, I think it actually woke me up. I've just finished dinner. Now it's time to stretch and go to bed!

Tomorrow... an article about elitism.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Link: America's Nervous Breakdown

To go back to my evidences that we are indeed in the Dispensational end times (that's specifically the end times of the Church age and the seven years of Tribulation which follow the Church age's completion and can be construed to make up the end of the age of Israel with the second coming of Jesus Christ as their Deliverer), I direct your attention to this excellent essay by farmer/military historian Victor Davis Hanson, who is also Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor emeritus at California University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. It's from his commentary page and is called America's Nervous Breakdown--And the World's.

Here's how it begins:

Ancient thinkers from Thucydides to Cicero insisted that money was the real source of military power and national influence. We've been reminded of that classical wisdom these last three weeks.In a manner not seen since the Great Depression, Wall Street went into panic mode from too many bad debts. The symbolic pillars of American monetary strength for years — AIG, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Shearson-Lehman and Washington Mutual — in a matter of hours either went broke, were absorbed or were reconstituted. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed like the house of cards that they were.

Even though the U.S. government rushed to restore trust, hundreds of billions of dollars in paper assets simply vanished. Friends and enemies abroad were unsure whether the irregular American heartbeat was a major coronary or a mere cardiac murmur. How strong really was the world's greatest economy? Was this panic the tab for years of borrowing abroad for out-of-control consumer spending? Had America finally gone too far enriching dictators by buying energy that it either could not or would not produce itself? Had the chickens of lavishing rewards on Wall Street and Washington speculators rather than Main Street producers finally come home to roost?
You can read more here. It's longish, but worth it for the conclusions he draws.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

He Doesn't Realize He's Only a Dog

Yes, Quigley is finally all better. He got us up Friday morning at 3 am, again, with squirting stools, again, and my husband decided we should take him to the vet. Since I had to take my mother to see her radiation oncologist that same day, I knew the only way I was going to fulfill that obligation and get the dog seen, was if the Lord worked it out. So I gave it to him (after some silly, angsty ruminations at 3:30 in the morning) and at 8am called the clinic. After describing the situation to the receptionist, she said they would have to get him in that day.

"Can you be here by 9am?"


So we saw the vet and I took my mother to her doctor's appointment. At the vet, I learned that Quigley weighs at least 73 pounds and is not yet done growing. He's going to get bigger, broader and stronger.


I also learned that he is a very unusual dog with unusually dominant traits. As in, maybe we should work with a trainer. (I'm thinking, yes, we need to run him through an obedience class... or rather, I do, and I don't have the time right now. I have a book to finish!!) (And trigger finger which means no gripping strength in my right hand). He is a handful, she confirmed.

Indeed. When we arrived, after weighing him, they brought us to a large room with a bench in one corner and counter with computer on it in another and nothing else in the room. The walls had chest high wainscoting on them, and above that were various framed pictures. There was also a little dog's-hind-end hook by the door where you could hang leashes on the upraised tail. Well, after smelling the entire floor thoroughly, Quigley decided he needed to examine the artwork, up on his hind legs to get a closer look at every one of the photos and especially the dog bottom hook. When the animal technican came in, of course she was rudely mobbed. When the vet came in a similar interaction ensued.

Sigh. I felt like a helpless mom with a total brat. Of course that's what I have. And ADHD doggy who just gets completely out of control when he gets excited. He's not that bad at home with us, but he's still a pain with other people.

So, while I felt a bit embarrassed by my overbearing pooch, I also felt vindicated. He is weird, he is difficult, he is very strong, very intense... I'm not making it up! (Stu says he doesn't realize he's only a dog!)

Even better, they discovered that whatever had caused the original diarrhea, mostly likely something weird he'd eaten, that was no longer a problem but he did have a secondary infection caused by the diarrhea itself. She gave us a tube of Fast Balance-GI for dogs and horses. I was to give him two doses a day for two days. By Friday night we were already seeing some improvement. By Sunday night he was completely normal.

She told me I didn't need to do all that rice and chicken stuff. Hallelujah! No more cooking rice! No more cleaning dishes, and going to the store for more rice and more chicken. No more wondering if I should be feeding him more chicken, or more rice, or more kibble. Was I causing this problem? No. It was an overgrowth of normal intestinal bacteria. For which he's still taking pills, but beyond that, all has returned to normal.

So that's over for now. But I want to see if I can get some of the Fast Balance stuff to have on hand for the next time. I'm sure there'll be a next time. Quigley is incredibly indiscrete when it comes to his dining choices.

I've also made some very decent progress on The Enclave. Not so much in pages/chapters (though I am currently working on ch 12) as in conception, characterization and plot coming together to make something I'm actually starting to like. Of course, I finally started praying that the Lord would either give me something to like in the story, or show me what's there that I can like. It's nice to finally be getting a bit excited about it.

I've been holding more or less to my two hours of sacred time, though when I overslept this morning, that messed me up a bit. More from the standpoint of me telling myself it didn't matter if I started late because I got up late. Except that after I let myself get away with that, I wasn't very happy and realized that I wouldn't do that with a doctor's appointment, so why was I doing that with this. What didn't I understand about "sacred" time? But you have to go through these things to really get them cemented and I like this plan.

Speaking of, I'd best get to bed so I don't oversleep again.