Category Archives: Just my Opinion

Fear Not, Love All, Don’t Give Objects Power

Hatred
End product of fear
Seeds scattered on the winds
Seeking soil readied by the rhetoric
Of discord, no one truly safe
From its sprouting–

for all of us stew over something unfair–

For in our brokenness we will fear what we do not understand

or what threatens

or offends

nor are we beyond 
Becoming a conduit of proliferation of fear

Because we want others to see the danger

or offense, or injustice, or to fear what we fear 

and nurture that fear until it morphs into either quivering in a corner

sure THEY are out to get US or into a RAGE that topples anything or anyone

even remotely identified as THEY.

Fear the Bible says is the opposite of Love
While also saying the fear of God is the
Beginning of wisdom and that God casts
Out all fear of anything that is not love

For God is Love.

So if I fear God
Will that fear not bring forth
A harvest of hatred for all misplaced fear
That points fingers, throws sticks and stones,
Or bullets or angry words or destroys property,
Or drives a vehicle into human beings intent
On the destruction of others created in God’s image
Or gives the idols carved by human hands POWER
To turn people’s fears into actions

that should
Make all of us like the five year old child
Watching the violence on the news, recoil and scream
‘Make them stop! Where are their Mommy’s? Where are their Daddy’s’
Where indeed?

Seeds of fear scattered on the winds
Find places to root and grow
When I fail to fear God
Who says Love others, even those who
Have let fear grow into
Hatred.

BAREFOOT BOOK CLUB: SUMMER, 2017: SO MANY BOOKS SO LITTLE TIME


School
 is back in session here in Western Kentucky.  I love this time of year, although I recall it used to start in September.  I may have mentioned, I loved going to school!  I loved it so much that I was still going until I was almost 35 years old and then my husband went back to school, so I lived the dream vicariously through him until he finished seminary, through my children–hockey, football games, marching band contests and parades, through my grandchildren, soccer, baseball, essays, cheerleading, basketball.

Summer is drawing to a close.  Teachers somewhere are assigning written essays.  So here I am looking back on what I read this summer.  You know the old saying, “A Day without a Book is….something I have no clue about.’  Reading has taken me everywhere, made me a time traveler, captured and held me in awe.  SO

WHAT HAVE I READ THIS SUMMER? 

Dis

Fiction:

1. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Perfume River, Butler—By far the best fiction book I read this summer. The author is a professor of creative writing at Florida State University. His capture of generational family dynamics and the decisions made, the words spoken and the secrets kept beginning with the protagonist facing his nightmares of Hue, Vietnam and his father’s imminent death delivers an emotional wallop…but then there is homeless Bob and the protagonist’s brother who defied their father escaping to Canada to avoid the draft. Complex, but aren’t all families. Terry and I had deep discussions about this book and the characters which were delightful.

2. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Chilbury Ladies Choir, Jennifer Ryan—A book set in 1940 Great Britain as men march off to war and women are left to carry on and support the war effort. Told by different characters from young to mature in a series of letters and journal entries. The only WW2 book I read this summer, believe it or not. Terry loved this one also.

3. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️A Murder in Time, Julie McElwain

4. ⭐️⭐️⭐️The Practice House, Laura McNeal  

5. ⭐️⭐️⭐️The Book of Polly, Kathy Hepinstall

 

 

 

Books in an established series: Suggest that if you want to read any of these author’s series that you start with earlier book in the series. I highly recommend any of these authors but especially Nesbo, Iles, and Silva, but I enjoy all of them.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Thirst, Jo Nesbo–Norwegian author–First book in Harry Hole Series is THE BAT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Mississippi Blood, Third book in a trilogy set in and around Natchez, MS, Greg iles First Book in this trilogy is NATCHEZ BURNING, but Penn Cage, the protagonist and his family are in earlier Iles Books.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Garden of Lamentations, a Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Jones Novel, Deborah Crombie

⭐️⭐️⭐️The Likeness, Dublin Police Squad 2, Tana French

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️House of Spies, Daniel Silva

 

 

 

Non-Fiction:  Devotional, Inspirational, Memoir

⭐️⭐️Hallelujah Anyway. Anne LaMott

 

Audio books: What we have listened to in the car—Listed in order of preference. Highly recommend any of these. Good stories, Good narrators

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️🌟Beneath the Scarlet Sky, Mark Sullivan—A large portion of this book is fact taken from interviews with some of the principals and also much research by the author, some that went on after the book was completed. Some of it is the author’s imagining of conversations, transitions, etc. Once again a little known story of heroism, war, and love. Well worth listening to or reading. It is set in Italy beginning in May 1944 in the city of Milan. Mussolini has lost his grip on Italy and lives with his mistress in a fortress castle protected by the Nazis who have invaded and placed what they hold of Italy under German military law. The Allies are invading south and at the beginning of the book the first Allied assault of Milan from the skies occurs. Pino Lela is a 17 year old boy who loves music, women, and movies. His heroism saved multiple lives, but could not save all the ones he loved. Worth the listen or the read.

From Amazon: A Goodreads Best Book of the Month

“Exciting…taut thriller…Beneath a Scarlet Sky tells the true story of one young Italian’s efforts to thwart the Nazis.” —Shelf Awareness

“Meticulous research highlights this World War II novel of a youth growing into manhood…a captivating read…” —RT Book Reviews

“An incredible story, beautifully written, and a fine and noble book.” —James Patterson, New York Times bestselling author

“Sprawling, stirring, like the richest of stories, and played out on a canvas of heroism and tragedy, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is like one of those iconic World War II black and white photos: a face of hope and tears, the story of a small life that ended up mattering in a big way.” —Andrew Gross, New York Times bestselling author of The One Man

“Action, adventure, love, war, and an epic hero—all set against the backdrop of one of history’s darkest moments—Mark Sullivan’s Beneath a Scarlet Sky has everything one can ask for in an exceptional World War II novel.” —Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of Playing with Fire

“This is full-force Mark Sullivan—muscular, soulful prose evincing an artist’s touch and a journalist’s eye. Beneath a Scarlet Sky conjures an era with a magician’s ease, weaving the rich tapestry of a wartime epic. World War II Italy has never been more alive to me.” —Gregg Hurwitz, New York Times bestselling author of The Nowhere Man

“Beneath a Scarlet Sky has everything—heroism, courage, terror, true love, revenge, compassion in the face of the worst human evils. Sullivan shows us war as it really is, with all its complexities, conflicting loyalties, and unresolved questions, but most of all, he brings us the extraordinary figure of Pino Lella, whose determination to live con smania—with passion—saved him.” —Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Suspicion

 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Home, Matt Dunn

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Woman on the Orient Express, Jayne Lindsey Ashford–fictionalized account of Agatha Christie’s journey on the Orient Express after her mysterious disappearance and divorce from Archie..an excellent listen and sent me searching out more about Agatha.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️The Lake House, Kate Morton

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Camino Island, John Grisham

⭐️⭐️⭐️The Ladies Room, Carolyn Brown

⭐️⭐️⭐️The Late Show, Michael Connelly

Terry and I joined a book club—Listed in order read for Book Club

1. MAY—Victoria, A Novel of a Young Queen, Daisy Goodwin—Historical Fiction Excellent account of a young queen and her relationship with her Prime Minister and later with the man who would be her husband….also a PBS series.

2. JUNE—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💥🌟The Killing of the Flower Moon, David Grann—Nonfiction History—NUMBER ONE for this summer. If you come from Oklahoma which I do, you were required back in the day, at least as far back as my daughter’s day, to take Oklahoma History to graduate from high school. I SWEAR I made an A in that class and yet never knew this bit of history. I lived in Tulsa, OK 27 years before we moved to Kentucky….Tulsa County butts up against Osage County, the Osage Hills. In the early part of the 20th Century the Osage Indians were the wealthiest people per capita in the world. Oil, black gold and the fore thought to retain all rights to underground reservation, made those with head rights and their descendants wealthy. Sometime in the early 1920’s mysterious deaths began to wipe out whole families. Enter J. Edgar Hoover and his new FBI to investigate. A conspiracy that reached enormous proportions began to be uncovered. This book grabbed me from the beginning but it took Terry a little longer to get into it. Nevertheless, he loved it. As he closed the book, he looked over at me and said, ‘It was genocide and no one ever told me about this.’

From Amazon:  An Amazon Best Book of April 2017: In the 1920s, the Osage found themselves in a unique position among Native Americans tribes. As other tribal lands were parceled out in an effort by the government to encourage dissolution and assimilation of both lands and culture, the Osage negotiated to maintain the mineral rights for their corner of Oklahoma, creating a kind of “underground reservation.” It proved a savvy move; soon countless oil rigs punctured the dusty landscape, making the Osage very rich. And that’s when they started dying.

You’d think the Osage Indian Reservation murders would have been a bigger story, one as familiar as the Lindbergh kidnapping or Bonnie and Clyde. It has everything, but at scale: Execution-style shootings, poisonings, and exploding houses drove the body count to over two dozen, while private eyes and undercover operatives scoured the territory for clues. Even as legendary and infamous oil barons vied for the most lucrative leases, J. Edgar Hoover’s investigation – which he would leverage to enhance both the prestige and power of his fledgling FBI – began to overtake even the town’s most respected leaders.
Exhuming the massive amount of detail is no mean feat, and it’s even harder to make it entertaining. But journalist David Grann knows what he’s doing. With the same obsessive attention to fact – in service to storytelling – as The Lost City of Z, Killers of the Flower Moon reads like narrative-nonfiction as written by James M. Cain (there are, after all, insurance policies involved): smart, taut, and pacey. Most sobering, though, is how the tale is at once unsurprising and unbelievable, full of the arrogance, audacity, and inhumanity that continues to reverberate through today’s headlines. –Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review
Review
“The best book of the year so far.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“A marvel of detective-like research and narrative verve.”
—Financial Times

“A shocking whodunit…What more could fans of true-crime thrillers ask?”
—USA Today

“A master of the detective form…Killers is something rather deep and not easily forgotten.”
—Wall St. Journal

“Extraordinary”
—Time Magazine

 

3. JULY—The Other Einstein, Marie Benedict—Historial Fiction Do you know about the first Mrs. Albert Einstein, who was also a brilliant physicist and who probably contributed the mathematics for the 1905 Einstein paper that eventually won him the Nobel Prize?

4. AUGUST—A Thousand White Women, Jim Fergus –Period Fiction

 

I have read a couple of others, but these are the ones that stand out.  SO tell me.  I am always looking for a new read or listen, WHAT HAVE YOU READ THIS SUMMER?

A few others I have read since returning to KY from FL

You Are Not Making this Trust Thing Easy, God…but I am thankful You don’t give up on me.

Good Morning! Wednesday, January 20, 2016, Walden Shores, Lake Wales, FL

imageWatching the Today Show this morning, the news as usual, politics, terror attack in Pakistan, prisoner release from Iran, one prisoner notably missing from the release, Jamie Fox rescuing a man trapped in burning vehicle and impending snow and ice storms across the Midwest and East. In other words, business as usual in the World since we humans, the Crown Jewels of creation exercised free will.

If you are a little bit like me and mind you, I am not making any accusations here, but if you are then you have harbored at least a tiny doubt about just how trustworthy God is. I cringe when I hear unbelievers ask questions like, ‘If God is so good then why doesn’t he stop ______[fill in the blank, child killings, terrorism, destructive storms, etc.] or ‘If God is so powerful why does he allow ______[cancer, suffering, hunger, famine, racism, the mass murder of 6 million of the very people He chose to bear his name, etc.]. I cringe, because along with the seed of faith inside me there remains a tiny bit of root rot that I have been battling for years. I cringe because I don’t have answers that will satisfy their questions. I rage a little at God, having discovered some time ago that He can handle anything I sling at him. I become a bit presumptuous like Job and after my hissy fit, I feel the Holy Spirit wrap me in an embrace so powerful that it stops my trembling and comforts me, giving me hope and leading me to praise, scripture, the Body of Christ, and prayer.

One thing I know, when Eve entertained the silken words of the devil in the Garden as he whispered in her ear questioning the intentions and trustworthiness of God–God allowed it–He did not stop her. He did not stop Adam from following his wife into the same sin, which was essentially ‘wanting to be God’, the very sin that caused Lucifer’s fall. Free Will, a gift of God, comes with both blessings and curses. It is the very thing that rises up inside believer and nonbeliever alike when we think, ‘If I were God…’

For me there have been multiple moments when I would have liked to be all powerful and intervened, but one always stands out for me. I have written of this before.

Once I sat next to my daughter in a darkened ultrasound room as the technician gelled her pregnant belly and ran the magic wand over her womb, there clearly was Lydia, our first granddaughter, her form in fetal position and there was SILENCE. If I had been God in that moment, I would have reached in and restarted her heart.

But I was not, and God chose not to do that. That moment and the months afterward my relationship with God waxed and waned. I struggled, but ultimately came out stronger a woman with a mission, an advocate for all expectant mothers and fathers, for the unborn, for ordinary and high risk pregnancies.

The point here is not my ‘chosen prayer mission’, but my continuing quest to grow in faith and trust of God. It comes from acknowledging my own helplessness, to give up the idea that I just need to pull up my own bootstraps, and to let God be God. Easy??? Hardly. Natural??? Not if you are a stubborn control freak like me.

And yet, when I do, when I back off, when I pray and watch, amazing things happen in me. The pressure comes off my fragile shoulders and puts it squarely on God’s. Acceptance of whatever happens still does not come easy; however, I am able to glimpse God working in even the interruptions, the sickness, the tragedies as well as the joyful moments, in my own life, family, among my friends and in the world.

Well, God, You say You want to Comfort and Bless
That Your Nature is to Give
But sometimes in light of a world determined to stress
Not to mention my own struggles to live
Can I really trust You or the gifts in your hand?
Why, do I shrink or stiffen within
As You reach out to me, as You speak of your plan?
Your faithfulness daily always has been
So why do I find it so hard to be grateful?
Your overwhelming love, your direction, your gentle caress
When I open my self and my need, I come away full
Knowing in the moment your desire to bless.
Help me, Lord, to trust, to be less careful
To open my fists, to receive and to give you my stress
And please God, in whatever, Help me be more grateful. Amen

Not finished with me yet, because I still have a ways to go….Maybe you do, too. Just saying…

OBJECTIFICATION–The Fatal Flaw [An Opinion Piece]

The whole drive of western culture, the part of it which is serious, is towards an extreme objectification. It’s carried to the point where the human subject is treated almost as if it’s dirt in the works of a watch.

Henry Flynt

Objectification of Jews and others in Nazi Germany was one factor that led to the Holocaust

Objectification of Jews and others in Nazi Germany was one factor that led to the Holocaust

So it is that in order to become a “killing machine” whether like the shooter in Oregon, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut or like a soldier under orders in a battle zone, ONE must mentally detach from the victim(s) or the enemy.  Lapsing into seeing another as somebody’s sister, brother, child, parent, friend, spouse, identifying with another’s humanity even for a second might save lives in one situation or cost lives in another.

Discussions abound yet again in homes, schools, political circles, in local and national news following yet another horrific mass murder in an Oregon school.

Is the culprit

  • lack of effective gun control?
  • mental illness?
  • deficient parenting?
  • poor law enforcement of current gun control laws?
  • disintegration of faith, moral values, respect for authority?
  • racism, sexism, terrorism or any other “ism”?
  • the “Selfie” [tongue in cheek], by that I mean the desire for notoriety, fame, self promotion?

Or, Whatever??  the possibiites are extensive and all of the previous deserve consideration in this obviously escalating societal anomaly.

However, whether we realize it or not, unless the ‘anomaly’ strikes close to home, either literally or figuratively, each incident desensitizes us until the public rhetoric, survivors’ statements, expert opinions, and our own responses are more memorized than experienced.

Ultimately, we all are in danger of objectification either of other humans or by other humans.  We attach labels to individuals, groups, and nations.  We watch violence to others in the news, but even more frightening we watch it for entertainment.  I am not exempt from this…but when I pause to really think about what I allow into my mind today that would have shocked me 5 years ago, let alone 50 years ago, I realize my SHOCK and HORROR threshold has risen.

With that realization I acknowledge the danger to people as a whole.  I acknowledge the lack of empathy and compassion combined with a disregard for the value of human life and a burning undercurrent that would blame another person, group, or nation for everything from the broken window to financial collapse.  In the human heart and spirit that is a breeding ground for objectification.

Becoming a “killer” who unleashes a barrage on other humans, one must first stop seeing Oneself and Others as Human Beings.

FIVE THINGS CHRISTIANS ARE NOT AND FIVE THINGS CHRISTIANS ARE–Just One Christian’s Opinion

FIVE Things The World Should Know Christians ARE NOT (not an inclusive list):

image1. Perfect–The Apostle John wrote, “If anyone says he is without sin, he is a liar.” He did not write that to the WHOLE WORLD, He wrote that to CHRISTIANS.

2. Always in Agreement with Each Other (refer to number 1) A helicopter view of Christian/Church History and a perusal of Facebook and Twitter will bear me out on this one. I would be hard pressed to make a list of all the things Christians disagree about, but the one thing they do agree on is Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

3. Judges…although some may actually be Civil Judges and yet others Judgmental (refer to Number 1), ultimately Christians know there is only one Judge and it is not anyone of us. Again refer to Number 1 when encountering judgmental Christians or for that matter anyone of any faith, the media, or anyone else who is judgmental.

Alas, Number 1 refers to all humankind.

4. Completed…which is why Number 1 applies. Christianity is an inside out process that begins with the recognition of Number 1 and the inability to DIY [do it yourself]. It begins with a recognition of the need to be saved, fixed, and one day completed.

It begins with the recognition of who Jesus is and what He has done. ONCE and For ALL. But it doesn’t end until the Holy Spirit completes the inside housekeeping and makes both inside and out like Jesus. . .it doesn’t end until Heaven.

5. Exclusive…in spite of the fact that some Christians may be Number 1, Number 2, and Number 3, and Number 4. I challenge any non-Christians and Christians out there to read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for more information on the inclusiveness of Jesus of Nazareth.

He included tax collectors, adulterers, thieves, soldiers, prostitutes, fornicators, women, lepers, rich and poor, religious, pagans, alike…Did all them follow him? No! Still he ate with them, healed them, touched them, loved them…His last instruction to his disciples was, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Considering the fact that as a Christian I know his love led him to a Cross to die for me while I was still a sinner….Loving like Jesus requires ‘drawing a circle that closes others in.’  [paraphrase from Edwin Markham’s poem “Outwitted”]

So how in the world do Christians differ from Non Christians. Here are FIVE THINGS in my opinion that Christians ARE (not an inclusive list):

1. Forgiven…past, present, future sins. ‘Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ Romans 8:1 Due to Number 1 and Number 2 from the “Are Not” list Christians may interpret this differently but bottom line….NO CONDEMNATION for those WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS! The key, of course, is WHO they are trusting…beyond that it is between the individual and Jesus…whose grace is sufficient.

2. Followers of Christ. Admittedly, sometimes we get off track here and follow other Christians, the culture, or our own sinful inclinations…refer back to the “Are Not” list to Number 1. Still, Followers, Christians are. The standard for this is the whole scripture of God, Old and New Testament, especially as lived out by Jesus of Nazareth…again read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for more understanding of the Son of Man, Son of God.

When the crowds were turning away from Jesus, because of some of the radical things he said and did, He looked at the few remaining, the Apostles and a few others still following. “Will you leave me, too?” he asked. Peter, ever the spokesman for the others, baffled and yet clinging said, “Where would we go, Lord, for only you have the words of life.”

Ultimately, real Christians and yes, there are a few pretenders, come to a crisis of faith–maybe more than one–when they must choose between following Jesus, the preacher, the crowd, or their own desires. In my experience I have not always made the right choice…refer to both Number 1’s for further explanation.

However, that is one of of the jobs of the Holy Spirit…who will tirelessly work within to convict, bring confession, and restore SO-O-O that ultimately the Christian will be complete.

BOTTOM LINE: GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE A CHRISTIAN ALONE ON THE WRONG PATH. HE WILL HOUND THEM, LOVE THEM, DISCIPLINE THEM, BUT NEVER, EVER LEAVE THEM…even if the Christian begs him to go away.

3. Faithful to the Gospel of Christ in so far as they seek it, see it, and allow the Holy Spirit to make it real in their lives. Again refer to Number 1, Number 2, and Number 4 on the “Are Not” list.

4. Fruitful and on this there can be no equivocation. Anyone who is a Christian is producing good fruit or their graft onto the vine needs attention. Jesus said he was the vine, we were the branches. If Christians don’t produce fruit, they will be pruned so they can be fruitful. The purpose of the pruning is always for the Christian’s benefit and to bring glory to God.

“… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22-23‬ NET)

The starting point after the grafting to the vine varies with Christians so fruit production also varies. AGAIN, Number 1 on the “Are Not” list.

5. Fragile, Filled and Welcoming–2 Corinthians calls Christians, clay pots.  Truth is Christians are not polished and fresh from The Pottery Barn clay pots, but rather clay pots  have been shattered by failures and betrayals, smashed on the walls of life; they are clay pots with pieces missing, so when glued back together by the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, Christians have glaring imperfections.

imageThe holes remind the Christian of her sinfulness, the cracks of his need for Christ and each other. In short the Christian’s shabby state should remind every believer that only the Light of the Holy Spirit, only the Grace of God, only the Sacrifice of Christ sets Christians apart from non Christians.

Even then the spark of light sometimes grows feeble as the Christian’s attention shifts off center. Sometimes Christians bank the fire leaving only a little glow, because Christians are afraid (refer to Number 1 of the ”Are Not” list) that they might  attract people they are not comfortable with.

Every jar is different, but together, no matter how weak the individual light within, Christians bear the LIGHT of the World.

THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NOT ALLOW THE LIGHT OF CHRIST TO BE EXTINGUISHED.  .  .

No one is at fault for any errors in this blog, but me.  REFER TO NUMBER 1 ON THE “ARE NOT” LIST.

WOULD BE WRITERS REMEMBER: ‘Amateurs Built the ARK, Professionals Built the Titanic’

I stole this title from a Twitter Post promoting ‘trying something new’….I am a huge fan of trying new things.  Also, I would prefer to build an Ark rather than a Titanic, but don’t plan to build either one.

Admittedly, I have not always been so open to new experiences,  AND, boundaries exist on what I am willing to experience–not bungy jumping, base jumping, hedge jumping or jumping off my back porch.  I will, however, jump in exercise class at Fitness Formula and might attempt jump rope.  Back in sixth grade I was not too bad at jumping rope with two people swinging the rope as I ran in and sang:

‘Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss her fellow. How many times did she kiss him?  1, 2 , 3 and so on’ until rope and foot tangled.

I started blogging in 2013 and much like jumping rope, I have gotten tangled and tripped a few times.  First, I spent a lot of time just trying to figure out how to manage the mechanics provided by Word Press.  Second, I stumbled over inconsistency,  misdirection, and lack of closure.  Third, I discovered the incongruity forced on me to have ONLY ONE VOICE bound my writing with unrealistic expectations.  It is not that I have multiple personalities, but that even with one personality I have many faces…. TRUST ME, THERE IS ONE YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE!   And, I have many VOICES.

I am ONE person but I have MULTIPLE Faces and Voices.  To hide one diminishes ALL.

Writing is often lonely, looney, and lacking in feedback.  Amateur writers like myself live with a good measure of doubt and insecurity.  I cannot speak for all writers, but I do know that I feel a day is incomplete, if I have written nothing.  BUT putting it out there for others to read, takes a different set of steps on this jumprope called writing.

Perhaps that is why I appreciate the rare early meaning of an ‘Amateur’  as a person who did something for the pure pleasure, love of doing it. Over the years in the worldly quest for degrees, licensure, and financial compensation as proof of accomplishment, the title amateur has been reduced to a semantic state synonomous with unskilled, unqualified, and non professional. While professional elevates one to expert status.

I have been a professional…although not in the big bucks category…not even the middle bucks category, but I had the degrees, certification and licensure in frames on the wall.

Now I am an amateur and I love it.

Even if I were ever to earn money from the things I do for pleasure…I would rather be known as an amateur. In fact, I feel certain there are others who consider themselves Professional Amateurs, because they love what they are doing

Lately I have been reading other writer’s blogs and I want to recommend two of them to those of you who desire to write.

The first one is The Positive Writer  is written by Bryan Hutchinson and some guest writers.  Bryan’s work has been published published in newspapers, national magazines, books, on famous blogs, and as it says on his ABOUT PAGE “on toilet paper. (So, yes, I guess my work’s been flushed.)”

As he says, “I created Positive Writer for fellow writers who are stuck like I was, stuck in doubt, uncertain of their abilities, and yet, have an overwhelming desire to create work that matters.  I overcame Writer’s Doubt, and you can, too!”

I get daily email notifications of The Positive Writer which serve to encourage and challenge me.

Additionally, recently I ran onto A Little Bird Tweets, a blog created and written by Donna Henderson.  Donna’s specialty is original flash fiction, especially of the psychological thriller/horror genre, but also touching romance and science fiction.  She is self taught and published.  Check her blog out.

One thing I really gained from was her page called ON WRITING which contains writing prompts, so we amateurs can add new steps to our jump rope routines.  I also checked out her links to her monthly writing group, which contained lots of helpful hints and ideas.  Loved it, Loved it, Loved it.

AS I said CHECK OUT Donna’s Blog. If for some reason my link does not work try http://alittlebirdtweets.com.

Having the encouragement of other writers while discovering more about them really dispells some of the loneliness and need for feedback…giving feedback involves writing.  Looniness just comes with the territory.

Now Because I found them so intriguing, WRITER Friends, Here are some of Donna’s Change of View Point Prompts:

  • What if Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction had special powers and used them to try to win Dan’s love?
  • What if The Terminator’s goal was to fall in love with Sarah Connor?
  • Imagine if Rainman had been a serial killer and had hid behind his condition so that he wasn’t discovered?
  • Imagine if Norman Bates in Psycho had existed during Victorian London, alongside Jack the Ripper?

Have Fun.  Try Writing. It is a lot like Jump Rope, timing and foot work compared to timining and mind/finger work, unless you type with your toes, which is perfectly fine with me.

More from the Free Range Mimi Chicken: Puberty is a Piece of Cake Compared to the Golden Years

FREE RANGE MIMI CHICKEN

FREE RANGE MIMI CHICKEN

1950 Something Edition

1950 Something Edition

When I was nearing puberty, my mother gave me the “talk”–a fairly disgusting scenario, if I remember it and I DO!  She also gave me a book, ‘So You Are a Young Lady Now’, even though, based on the aforementioned “TALK”, I had decided being a young lady might be the last thing I wanted to be.  Trust me on this, I decided then and there that Peter Pan had the right idea…never grow up.  But as the hormones kicked in, I slowly fell in line with the ‘growing up’ agenda.  I furthered my education in the classic manner of the time,  discussing IT with my girlfriends.  From the bounty of thirteen/fourteen year old wisdom,  I learned a lot more than that book or my mother told me….although time, life, and experience have proved some of that information to be erroneous if not erogenous.  I figured I had better get in step whether the idea appealled to me or not.

So I checked my chest daily for any evidence of the promised budding bosom.  At the first sign of any advancement in that area, I coercered my mother into buying my first bras, which I stuffed with bathroom tissue, giving me a rather lumpy set of boobs…and I wager to say NOW, that I was not the only one doing this.  However, in algebra class I sat across the aisle from the female in our 7th grade class who had blossomed early and beautifully.  I matured slower than some…ok, most other girls in my class, both physically and socially, shedding bathroom tissue falsies in my wake.

imageBack then, thirty seemed to be the edge of OLD AGE, while ninty seems more like it now. Even saying that, I realize that I have a friend whose mother is 96, active mentally and physically, still riding her exercise bike 30 minutes a day.  Our exercise class Forever Fit at Fitness Formula boasts a regular participant who is 96 and makes some of us 70 year olds look old.  My husband’s Dad and both his grandmothers lived well into their 90’s and my Mom was 89 when she died. And good grief! Some woman in Germany just gave birth to quadruplets at age 65.

Still at 70, I think a new book should be written…so you writer folks out there get busy…‘So Now You Are An Old Lady’,  a book full of fun facts about bones, joints, sagging boobs, no underarm hair (that is a relief), turkey necks. other body changes.  A book that talks about how to deal with embarrassing issues like old age multitasking, laughing, sneezing, farting and peeing all at the same time.  Few sane women past 55 would even consider going ‘commando’, trust me on this. I cannot speak for the gents with regard to going ‘commando’, in fact, I would be interested in hearing how some of them would define the concept.

Where is the book that talks about issues like ‘hot flashes’ with remedies short of ripping off every shred of clothing no matter where you are when the heat rises.  A book that acknowledges that OLD People still have a sex life, but doesn’t pretend it can be just like it was when you were kids. . .in all honesty, it can be so much better. I can think of two reasons why from my own experience more romance (him) and fewer hysteromics (me). A book that encourages activities that keep you moving, thinking, praying, laughing and loving.  A book that starts something like, ‘Your body is changing and you are entering the Twilight Zone Golden Years of Life.  Just like in puberty there will be new surprises everyday.  This book’s design focuses on what those changes might be and how to handle them.  Over the years, hopefully, you have been acquiring tools that will assist you in navigating the perils of aging.’

Just like I could not stop the onset of puberty, I cannot stop the aging process.  There is no beauty regime on the planet that will reverse the thinning skin, wrinkles, the effects of gravity on every body part or the atrophy of the brain. . .although I still try.  My life like everyones has been full of ups, downs, joys, sorrows, but thank God for the experiences I have had and the ones I still have before me.

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