Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dark Parables: three dreamlets

The first: I was describing to a friend -- a fellow writer-- how I did something. Very simple to do but hard to describe. But she just didn't get it. I had to model it for her. This is a friend who is diagnosed with colon cancer. We writers often have an idea in our minds and we see it but to get a description of that position or idea onto paper...or to actually describe it in words -- very hard. Also, autistic kids often have to be shown how things are done -- it's call modeling. Have been trying for years to show younger son how to kiss folks on the cheek. Also, I suppose religious folks are to show things sometimes..instead of describing it. Trying to figure this out. The second: I was talking to a reality show bad boy called Chance. He had a tiny pearl in his mouth that he had found in a box of china or stoneware. He was moving it around in his mouth. He gave the box of china to me and said, "Go ahead and look around. You might find something great in here. Today is your lucky day." He seemed to be implying money. The third: Dreamed of James Earl Jones. Forgot what he was doing. But I always think of him as someone who couldn't speak well and then too speech classes and now speaks so well he is actually blessed by that voice which was once his trouble.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Some of God's Prophecies that Failed

I'm always amazed when I hear people talking about God being sovereign and "nothing can happen unless God wills it." What a crock! That's not in the Bible. The Bible tells us that we are co-laborers with God. We are told God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKS IN US.

God wills and prophecies stuff but it is up to we humans to help to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. 

Consider the situation with Moses. God told Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved in Egypt for 400 years. In the fullness of time, God raised up Moses. Moses was all set to be a deliverer. The four hundred years were about to end. But then what does Moses do? He kills an overseer -- sooo not the thing to do. Then he has to wander about in the desert for 40 years. So, the Israelites leave Egypt 420 years later. Two years after the prophecy. 

God prophesied through Samuel to King Saul that King Saul would have a great destiny and would become a father of kings. Saul didn't believe it. He didn't trust that God would use him. God's prophecies failed with Saul because Saul was insecure and didn't trust that God would work within him to do what was necessary. We co-labor with God by trusting that Immanuel --God with us. We trust that the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us.

Jonah prophesied Yet 30 days and Nineveh will be destroyed. Clear prophecy. But the Ninevites co-labored with God and this particular prophesy failed.  Which is what God wanted. Then the ninevites went off track. 

Daniel was reading the book of Jeremiah when he realized that the days of the fulfillment of prophecy was supposed to be coming. This worried him. He prayed and fasted and God explained the meaning of Jeremiah's prophecy to him.  Even better, Daniel got some really great clarification of the end times. What if Daniel had decided to do as Moses did or to attempt to take matters in his own hand? It would've been the wrong thing to do. We co-labor with God by praying and fasting and discovering the right thing. 

Zechariah was told by the angel Gabriel that he would have a son. Zechariah didn't believe. Gabriel had to make Zechariah mute. Or else Zechariah would've spoke all sorts of unbelief and not co-labored with God. We colabor with God by speaking the word of faith and not speaking our doubts.

Jesus told Peter: Your name is Reed (Simon). I'll call you Peter (Rocky.) Peter was a wuss in the beginning, being blown here and there by people's opinion, betraying Jesus when the time gets hard. Peter gets baptized in the Holy Spirit and later has enough strength to preach on the steps of the temple after Jesus ascension. But what does he do later? He wimps out when certain men from James came and saw him eating with the gentiles. This is Peter? No, it's Simon. He managed to die as a rock but Jesus prophecy about Peter's name change never fully got hold of Peter until Peter's death. Peter could die for Jesus but when it came to standing outside the herd, he definitely had a lifelong fight against giving in to people's opinion. Luckily, by the time he died he was co-laboring with God by dying to self.

God is always giving us prophecies. His Bible has the best general prophecies for our lives -- sure and certain promises. But he also gives us dreams -- as in hopes, but also as in nightly dreams-- to show us what he has for our lives. God knows the thoughts he has for us -- thoughts of good and not for evil, to give us a future and a hope.

But we must believe. We must pray. We must co-labor with him. We must speak his affirming word. We must die to self so that we can prove what is that good perfect and acceptable will of God for the lives of His people. I'm not talking about wealth and mansions. But if God has given us a dream, we must remember what ST Paul said to Timothy, "We wage war by the prophecies we receive." When we feel we'll die before our work on earth is finished, we must remember the prophecies God has told us. If it's even something as small as: "you will write a great short story" or a general promise such as "You will live to see your children's children" we have to hold fast to it. The redeemed of the Lord must say so. We must "order our conversation aright." We must remember what James said "death and life are in the power of the tongue." We must trust God and speak and act as faith-filled people.

Psalm 134

Wow, those who stand by night! As David would say, "Selah -- Think about that." 

To bless the Lord in the dark night. 

Psalm 134

 1Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.
 2Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.
 3The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WTF Moment in Bible Study: Inferior

The world has standards of good and evil. But as Christians we are called upon to walk in grace...which means we must go through life forgetting that we know the knowledge of evil. The book of Job is the oldest book of the Bible, written before the Law was given to the Israelites, but.... after the world knew the knowledge of good and evil.  That's important to remember.

Here is Job, enduring all his know-it-all friends. They're telling him that certain people (hint, hint: like you, Job) get punished for their sins...and that certain other people who know the truth (hint, hint: like us wise ones) must enlighten these sinful people who're being punished for their sins.

Job's reply:
Job 12:2-4 (King James Version)
 2No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.
 3But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?
 4I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

Job's friends go to "enlightening" Job again. And again he says,

Job 13
 1Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.
 2What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.
 3Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.

When this word "inferior" pops up, it jumps up at me. Why? Because this English word "inferior" means certain things to the modern human ear. The King James translators used it four times in the Bible. The other two times is when Daniel talks about an inferior kingdom and when Paul tells the Corinthian churches they are not inferior to other churches.

I couldn't find my Vine's Dictionary to figure out what Hebrew or  Greek word was being used but from what we see in the above passage, (via the English translation) Job is dealing with people whom he thinks are behaving as if they know more about God and Job's own life than Job does. (Sorry about the length of that sentence; it's early morning.)

Job's comment reminded me of what the prophet Isaiah said about those people

 4Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
 5Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

Isaiah 65:4-6 (King James Version)

In the case of Isaiah, the people who think they're holy are hypocrites. They're eating ham etc and shellfish et al ...yet they're still insisting on their holiness and on their being holier than other people. In Job's case, Job's friends are without the law. They're also Edomites. So they can only go on their own idea of what God is and how perfect they are by their own philosophies. They all have subtly different theologies and if you don't read carefully, you might be tempted to think they all have the same philosophy/religion. All the same, they pretty much all agree that Job needs enlightening. As Job calls them, "Miserable Comforters." But we can't really call Job's friends sinful. They didn't have the law and as St Paul said, "where there is no law, there is no imputation of sin." But they are definitely a might on the rude side.

Another instance of spiritual people behaving badly towards those suffering and who think they know what is going on in someone else's mind is in this parable that Jesus.

Luke 18:10-12 (King James Version)

 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
It shows that it doesn't really matter what religion or non-religion a person professes, there is this weird thing in the human soul that likes feeling superior to someone else. And this weird thing in the human soul tends to come out -- weirdly-- when another person is suffering. How strange we humans are!

The weird thing is that Job was spiritually okay until his friends showed up. If his friends hadn't attempted to "comfort him" with their platitudes, he probably wouldn't have gotten so bitter. From the time we humans learned the knowledge of good and evil, we have learned to see the evil in other people. Once that happens, both the offended and the offender have fallen into trouble. The spirit of legalism -- the law-- leads to the leaven of the Pharisees which is this is right, this is wrong. It leads to criticism. But in the offended person, it leads to bitterness and offense.  The bait of Satan is offense. Offense occurs when we tell someone they are not doing something according to our knowledge of good and evil. Cain was offended. Job was offended. I have been offended. The ability to see the wrongs in other people is just as bad as lust...and so many people who spout platitudes think they're comforting when what they're doing is adding offense.  As people under grace, we have to avoid giving offense. And we have to avoid anger and bitterness when others offend us.

Romans 14: Who are you to judge God's servant? God will enlighten his servants.

Something to encourage us praying folks

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I dreamed of being in a church in India... a church based on the gnostic gospel of St Thomas, which is what many churches on India are affiliated with. I went outside and there was a traffic light system which was controlled by demons. They would play with the traffic light in such a way that they ruled the way people drove. Speeding pedestrians up, speeding drivers up. They controlled everything and the walkers and drivers were really affected by it. I felt the traffic system meant/symbolized the law and I was being shown how trapped legalism and the law makes us. And the only way to be out of that satanic loop was to truly be gracious....and to not fall into judging one's neighbor or being too proud of one's works. This connected to me in that I really have an issue with forgiveness. The present novel i'm writing really is making me understand my tendency to not say anything to anyone who hurts me. What I do is simply not say anything but I become cold to them in my heart. Am really working on this. 

I'm gonna be 50 in less than two months. One of my greatest flaws is a tendency to snideness -- defined in one of my dictionaries as oblique maliciousness. I am very snide. The reason is -- no excuse here-- that cruel people tend to be bold. And wimpy wussy people like myself tend to be passive. So if someone comes to me and says, "Your son is so weird" or "your house is messy" or "if I walked in your shoes, I would wear them better." Or some know-it-all comparative mode thing... I generally don't say anything. I just feel stepped on. I'm so repressed I don't even cry about it. But I make a snide comment.

So if someone says a stupid or heartless platitude -- you can't judge anyone until you walk in their shoes,  or God doesn't give you more than you can handle or You're growing from all your troubles-- I am never honest with them. Everything in me wants to say, "You have wounded me. I am in such emotional pain about this situation with my son, but you are taking this opportunity -- which could have been a caring one-- and using it to show how spiritual you are" But I don't say that. Fear of being a sensitive black woman? I could also say, "You go around the country giving religious talks and you know zip about compassion aXXhole! Don't you think you're a bit uneducated or perhaps you're just kinda being christianish or spiritualish...but in spite of your so-called spirituality it is apparent to me that you don't know squat." But then there's the fear of being the bitter Christian woman and/or the angry black woman?

But I never tell my anger or my woundedness. I'm just snide. Of course the malicious cruel person is utterly clueless. So what does all this snideness of mine in return serve?

Ah, the joy of fiction! Onion is teaching me a lot. Realized my main character does this a lot. She simply drops cruel people and they don't know why she drops them. And she finds it pretty hard to cry as I do.

So, yeah, Onion is helping me deal with this issue. And the sooner I become more honest -- and less snide-- the more I'll free myself from unforgiveness and will free younger son and me from our illness. Yes, I just have to be more honest with cruel people. And I must be honest EVEN IF THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW THEY HAVE WOUNDED ME, EVEN IF THEY ARE HEARTLESS AND SO FULL OF THEMSELVES, THEY CAN'T HEAR THE CRY OF MY HEART. I must step out into the light and be real.

I'm glad of this dream. I've been a bit sick and stuck in bed. Sleeplessness issues. Slept about ten minutes last night. And no real sleep for about two weeks. A bit trembly. So this dream really means a lot to me. It challenges me to not fall into a demonic loop of legalism and judgmentalism.

Other than that, Onion is bringing up a lot of my emotional issues-- which i suspect is good. Am trying to deal with my repression and my various hurts and rejection issues. Deep rejection issues in yours truly. But then I don't really share my heart, do I? So folks don't know. Anyway, onion is reallyl helping me see what being raised by a repressed minister grandfather and being raised in a strange racially tense community did to me. It's coming along.

Lord, have mercy on me. Readers, wish me luck.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Life slowly returns, seeping into my body.

Why does it seep? Shouldn't it just overflow us and overwhelm us? Shouldn't life just overpower us?
But no, it's all about seeping and slow flows!

All the same, I'm doing better and younger son is doing better. Trusting God. I must really catch up on the psalms. Tomorrow (Deo Volente) I begin again with finishing them. Ah, am in a word-play mood it seems.

  A couple of days ago, I heard a wonderful testimony and was really touched by it just downloaded it from  an an australian website. A woman telling of her ordeal with cancer and how she had to forgiveAnd as she spoke, a great anger and resentment came up in my heart. And it was as if all the anger I had against pious sounding Christians just came to the fore. It was as if God was saying to me..."You really have to deal with this anger, Carole. It is important. Very important."

 I realized that Onion is about my bitterness -- oh this poor book! I had wanted it to be light and quick so I couldn't become too attached to it, but no!!!! It has to go and take on my issues! Honestly, this is the same thing that happened with Wind Follower. i put aside my ten-year and going novel and decided to whip out Wind Follower which i'd been working on for seven months. I figured I wouldn't get too attached to it. Next thing you know. So now, onion...a book written in three weeks...and now all these issues. And worse, I'm actually loving this book. 

So seeping through its pages are my plaints such as my bitterness against pushy people who tell folks what to do, against Christians who say stupid platitudes that they haven't thought out, against racists, against so-called normal  folks who pride themselves on how normal they are.  

Anyway, I really have to work on this issue of bitterness against Christians. (Actually, it's probably against all mouthy people who consider themselves spiritual because Buddhists, New Agers, and even "spiritual atheists"  all seem to have the problem common to all mouthy people: they think that if they had your shoes to wear they would wear it better. It's some weird comparative mode thing we humans get into.)

And of course I have to work on it in the book. I so feel God wants me to work on this. For Gabe's sake. For my sake. To work on this unforgiveness will help unblock my healing. But really I have to work on it for that is what God would like me to write about. We must take care of our health, Rabbi Hillel says, because the world may need us. And I totally believe the Christian world needs me. Sounds arrogant but I do not think any other Christian but me could have come up with Wind Follower. The typical christian would've wanted to avoid the sex or wouldn't have honored pagan spirituality as I did. And the typical christian would've made it way more preachy than I did. Now, in Onion, there is this weird balance of religion and teen sexuality and a love for the outsider. Modern Christian literature is not good with the outsider status. They just aren't. (Not being arrogant speaking the truth. I mean everytime some Christian tells me she's going to write outside the box, I'm tempted to say: "But you don't know the size and shape of the box. You won't write outside of it." And bingo, as I predicted, the book falls into that weird dichotomy modern Christian lit tends to fall into.)  Plus Onion has the anger issues. 

The weird thing is that Job was spiritually okay until his friends showed up. If his friends hadn't attempted to "comfort him" with their platitudes, he probably wouldn't have gotten so bitter. From the time we humans learned the knowledge of good and evil, we have learned to see the evil in other people. Once that happens, both the offended and the offender have fallen into trouble. The spirit of legalism -- the law-- leads to the leaven of the Pharisees which is this is right, this is wrong. It leads to criticism. But in the offended person, it leads to bitterness and offense.  The bait of Satan is offense. Offense occurs when we tell someone they are not doing something according to our knowledge of good and evil. Cain was offended. Job was offended. I have been offended. The ability to see the wrongs in other people is just as bad as lust...and so many people who spout platitudes think they're comforting when what they're doing is adding offense.  As people under grace, we have to avoid giving offense. And we have to avoid anger and bitterness when others offend us.

So...yeah, adelante! really fine-tune it in Onion. I totally, totally revamped the ending. Yeah, weird, weird. But I figured I am a lit major and an arrogant little bitch...and arrogant little bitches just don't write certain kinds of endings. I had to write a more devastating complex ending. Will see. Am trusting God to make me perfect this little novella. I want it to be lovely. So yeah, my anger and snippiness will be in the thing...but also -- I hope-- much of my loveliness (of which I have much.)

Off to bed.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Christianish: What If We're Not Really Following Jesus at All?

Mark Steele,
What If We're Not Really Following Jesus at All?

(David C. Cook, 2009)

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434766926
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434766922

Here's the blurb:

Somewhere between cold faith and hot pursuit lies lukewarm spirituality. And in the median between the wide path and the narrow road we find the middle ground of the spiritual walk. It's something not quite Christian. More like Christianish.

Christianish may feel like authentic faith. Yet it's often easy to settle for the souvenir t-shirt the appearance of a transformed heart instead of taking the actual trip through true life change. We find ourselves settling for a personal faith that's been diluted by culture and other people's takes on spirituality.

Christianish tells the story of one man's journey to move from the in-between to a life that's centered on Christ. Through stories and insight, Mark delivers a compelling look at what our faith is all about. Readers will be encouraged to become true Christ-followers, and to just ditch theish.

Here's a review over at rambles

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So that's where that comes from?

So there I was having a WTF? moment! I realized that my main character in Onion got beaten and had his face slashed and facial structures broken. Just like Loic in Wind Follower. It was so weird.

I thought: uhm, do I have a thing against beautiful men?  I pondered and pondered then let it go.

Then I happened to see a pic of my younger son.  This isn't the one -- too lazy to take it from its frame and scan it, besides son is home from school all these many days because of health issues-- but you get the picture. This was before the autism happened.

We were in the car once and a cop said, "What a beautiful little girl!" (Yeah, we didn't have our seatbelts on and the cop got us.)

He had such a beautiful smile.

Then the autism happened. And the health issues. And the congestion. And the congestion affected his palate. And the health issues affected his movements.

I realized that my depiction of beautiful faces destroyed by evil forces is probably from some deep place -- deeper than my love for beautiful men, apparently. I was bewailing the destruction of my son's great beauty.

His brother is hot. Gorgeous. I know with every fiber of my being that Mr Gabe would be way more lovely and far more handsome than his older brother. What to do with things as they are?

I was thinking today that when we ask God to restore us, he doesn't restore us to the way we were or even to the way we would've been before the attack -- rape, or illness, or whatever-- assaulted us. He repairs us and uses us as we are. We are repaired and yet not. We are like cracked porcelain. Put together wonderfully, each section reglued. Yet the crack is visible. The other cracked people can recognize us. Uncracked people can recognize us. God shines through the cracks but we are not quite healed. We go into heaven maimed.

i would like my son to be utterly repaired, utterly restored. Okay, if God wants, God can give son a bit of a lisp show the world that son was once cracked and once unable to talk. But really, who knows what I'll get when son's healing manifests? Will he be utterly sane? Will he be reclusive because he didn't know how to deal with people? Will he be prone to quietness? Will he have a trace of sadness? Will his beauty return? Who knows?

I'm a whack-job, but that's cool. And I can live with who and what I am now..compared to who or what I could have been if life hadn't thrown me some cruelties. (Okay, some male black writers keep wondering when I'm going to write a love story with a black woman and a black man. I kinda doubt I'll ever be sane enough to do that.) But on the whole I'm okay with who I am as opposed to saying "I would've written such lovely precious stories of black love if bad stuff hadn't happened." The me who I am has given the world wind follower. Not too shabby for a story from a cracked pot.

Am in a bit of pain. No sleep for about five days straight. And younger son hitting himself cause he's so frustrated with always being sick. Did do a little good for myself though: dropped all communications with silly people who spout know-it-all platitudes. There definitely is a divide between people with healthy kids and people with sick, dead, dying, or suicided kids. We don't go around saying stupid platitudes about life is yadda yadda and what doesn't kill you make you stronger and what all platitudes these spiritual types throw at you. Finally got sick of going to various network sites and seeing these platitudes being spouted.

Obviously, my soul has issues with this unfair cruelty toward my son, though. But it's good to know where this weird motif came from in my writing. Wonder what else I'll suddenly notice.

Psalm 133

Okay, trying to think. Totally couldn't concentrate on the previous psalm. 

Let's see: I guess the Psalmist is saying that unity is like an ointment, a prophetic ointment. It flows to the entire body and congregation of Christ. It heals and brings a blessing to God's people. Faith works through love. One day Christians will live this, I think. Now we're so divided by race, class, status, education, wealth. 

Psalm 133

 1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
 2It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
 3As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Psalm 132

Psalm 132

 1Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions:
 2How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;
 3Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;
 4I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,
 5Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
 6Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
 7We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
 8Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
 9Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
 10For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
 11The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
 12If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
 13For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
 14This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
 15I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
 16I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
 17There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
 18His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Movie-Viewing -- The normalcy edition

Watched Jackie Brown. I love this movie. It's one of those movies I could watch every time it's on. Sure it's a heist flick and a story about a close-knit (kinda) bunch of thieves.  I love all the relationships in this movie. The friendship between petty criminal Lou and "bigtime" gun seller Ordel. We don't really see how normal folks love in this movie. All we have of normalcy are the ATF guy and the cop. And we don't see much of them. Even when Ray eats dinner with Jackie Brown we're not quite sure what he's up to. Perhaps he's attracted to her, but he's upstanding and decent and not going to let emotion take him over. Law and Order rules his emotions. It's weird, but I find myself not being able to look at one particular scenes -- because the scenes hurt. Not because of the gun being used but because of the crime of betrayal. When Ordel kills Beaumont Livingston, I just couldn't look. Because it implies someone being taken off guard and betrayed.

I think part of my unease has to do with my friend Maxie, whom I knew as a kid. He got in with some bad kids and they set him up and killed him. That has always stayed with me...I'm always thinking: "What did Maxie think when he saw his friends pointing a gun at him and knew that was his last moment on earth and that his friends had betrayed him?" As my mother would say, "Those Jamaican drug gangs are no joke!"

Jackie Brown's full of all kinds of odd unspoken relationships. People take each other as they find them. They understand each other instinctively, even if they know they don't trust each other. Anyway, the relationship that is the best if -- of course-- the one between Max Cherry and Jackie Brown. Just one of the best depiction of sudden love hitting a middle-aged guy who didn't quite think about love at all. And it's done so well. When he does the bad thing you know he's doing it for her and would never do it if it weren't for her. It's a world of textures, shades, hues of morality. Ray's partner is pretty white bread and perfect on the list of perfect goodness. We see only one aspect of his personality. Not that there's only side to his's just that in his dealings with Jackie (which is all that we care about) that is all the audience sees.

You see Jackie being normal with Max Cherry-- Interesting name cause Cherry always implies something of a wuss...and he isn't (at least not in the movie...not sure about the book which I haven't read.) Normalcy is the height of friendship and love, I think. She gets all dolled up when eating out with Ray (incidentally, we aren't really sure she's going out with Ray the first time she mentions it. We aren't sure if she's playing Max or Ordel when she talks about their dinners...because we can't believe what we don't see...cause being slick is what surviving is about.) Jackie wears normal clothing when she's with Ordel. And she has no make-up. But with Max she dresses in denim overalls. And it's like the sexiest scene. She's always sexiest with no make-up. This is just one of the best Tarantino films.

Also saw Knocked Up.
Normal guys again. This time, normal loutish fellow knocks up a one-night stand.

I love all these movies made by the Seth Rogen/Paul Rudd/Steve Carrell guys. 40 year old virgin. Et al. All their flicks. There's just a sweetness about all these guys, a goodnaturedness about them. Just really good people. It's pretty pro-life without being preachy about it. Delicately and wonderfully and subtly done. Christian film makers would've gone all weird and overly obvious about it. In this case, the filmmakers merely show a sonogram of eight-week old baby and says: there's the heart-beat. Enough said. See, Conservative Jewish filmmakers know how to do pro-life and family values pictures without being so in-your-face religious. Liked this  a lot. Now I've got to see "I love you man." Gotta admit that I hate sharing Paul Rudd. Back in the day I was one of the few people who knew about this guy's existence. (Loved you, Paul, in Shakespeare's Tempest!) Aargh, I remember the day when Clive Owen and James Spader were mine alone as well. Oh well, the price of their greatness alas: They must let go of Carole's solitary love and get greater fans.

Basically, seeing movies about friends made me smile.  Made me smile too at my new YA. Friendship is a concept that needs exploring. Especially adult friendships. Heist flicks tend to explore them but not a lot of other flicks that do that.

Exposure by Wilfred Owen

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thank You, Jesus for this glorious day

Psalm 131

This is one of the first psalms my grandfather taught me. I really have to think about this. Even after all these years. For one, I can't really say this with a straight face. 

For instance, my heart is not really haughty -- unless someone else is haughty to me. And even then I'm not really haughty to them...I just kinda seethe haughtily being their back. Which makes me wonder: does God want his people to be stepped upon by abusive folks? So we have to find a place where we don't have wounded spirit but at the same time haughtiness is not a good response to cruelty. And in any case we really shouldn't be haughty. Humility is where it's at.

Then there's the lofty eyes. I'm pondering that. Do I have arrogant eyes? Or is God saying we shouldn't go around thinking too much of ourselves? 

And what is this weaned child quieting itself thing? Yep, I've studied this psalm for years...and I still have to ponder it. No help here, alas.  But it's still a favorite.

Psalm 131

 1Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
 2Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
 3Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Psalm 130

Wow, what a psalm! De profundis! Out of the depths!! I gotta admit it's so hard to cry to God out of the depths. The depths tend to silence a person. The mind goes paralyzed. The heart wants to cry but the eyes just can't do it. It's all very still and paralyzing...but one should cry out. One has to cry out. Sometimes one has to cry out. 

The psalmist says: "Oh Lord, if you mark iniquities, who will stand?" Totally  friggin scary question. And the trouble with calling out of the profound depths is that by the time one has ended up in the depths, one has seen some cold uncaring people on one's way down. Forgetting all my other sins (for the nonce) there is the ever present the sin of forgiving people of all kinds, ilks, persuasions, etc.

But I hope in God's word. Sometimes there's nothing else to hope in. All one can do is lippin to God's word, hold on to it like a straw for dear life and be quite aware that that is all one is hoping in: God has said this, therefore God will do it because God is not a man that He should lie. Has he promised something and not been able to accomplish it? Is His hand straitened that it cannot save?

We do wait for the Lord more than those who wait for the morning. We wait for the morning of our lives to begin at last. 

Psalm 130

 1Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
 2Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
 3If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
 4But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
 5I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
 6My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
 7Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
 8And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Confessions of an RX Drug Pusher

Gwen Olsen
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (August 31, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0595357636
ISBN-13: 978-0595357635

Here's the blurb:
The United States health care system is killing Americans at an alarming rate, even though we spend over fifteen percent of the Gross National Product (GNP) on health care. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, our health care outcomes ranked only fifteenth among twenty-five industrialized nations worldwide. Adverse effects from prescription drugs have become the third-leading killer of Americans. Only heart disease and cancer claim more lives. We trust our doctors to inform us and our government to protect us from medical malfeasance that may put profits ahead of consumer health and safety. But the fine line walked by the FDA between the interests of the pharmaceutical manufacturers and the American public has continually been crossed. The result is the unleashing of an unprecedented number of lethal drugs on the U.S. market!
Gwen Olsen learned firsthand the danger that lurks in every American’s medicine cabinet, working in the pharmaceutical industry. But her most poignant education would come as a victim and, ultimately, as a survivor.

Rigorously researched and documented, Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher: God’s Call to Loving Arms is a moving, human drama that illustrates the catastrophic consequences of a health care system run amuck!

About the Author
Gwendolyn Leslie Olsen spent fifteen years as a sales rep in the pharmaceutical industry working for health care giants such as Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Gwen is currently a writer, speaker, and natural health consultant. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, son, dog, and five cats.

Critters and Critics

There are many kinds of critiquers in the world but a working writer needs to have the following four types as beta readers:

1) The utterly clueless somewhat stupid person
2) The savvy skilled writer who doesn't quite get what you're aiming at and who may or may not agree with you
3) The savvy skilled writer who totally understands your work, agrees with your themes, and adores the ground you walk on.
4) The regular non-writing person who loves a good story and understands characters and motivations

The utterly clueless and somewhat ignorant person is needed because they will demand that everything be explained to them. This is a good thing because it will remind you to write down to folks and to make sure everything is immediately understood by a ten year old child.

The savvy skilled writer who may or may not agree or understand your work is useful because they help you to fight for your work, and by fighting for your work you see clearly what it is you're aiming for. This kind of writer friend can be a pain, most definitely. Especially if they don't like your religion or your politics. If one isn't careful, they can pretty much make you give up on a work of art. Why? you ask. Because they will fight you at the most unexpected times. A writer who thinks that the romance genre brainwashes little girls and is responsible for her bad relationships is not going to like your work if you write romance. A feminist who thinks anything written by a Christian should be analyzed for Christian judgmentalism is going to tear your work apart. This type of critter is often the hardest to reply to because if you tell someone who hates Christians that your character isn't judgmental, she (or he) will reply that you are being judgmental in judging her judgment of your character. But if one can survive such a writer, her comments can help you to learn to stand your ground and to make you clarify what it is you're aiming for....and might even help you do a story that even they will like.

The savvy skilled writer who totally gets you and adores the ground you walk on is great for the reader's soul. Because they understand what you're aiming for, and because they love you, they make you believe your work is important and the world is simply waiting for it.

The regular person who doesn't write is an honest reader who will not allow you to get away with bull or with silly writerly games. If a character fails, or a story moves into boring territory, this person will tell you. You can't get away with saying all sorts of writerly stuff.

The kind of critters you should not have anything at all to do with are
A) The writer who cannot (or refuses to) learn and who challenges you on the simplest thing. This goes doubly for the writer whose characters are stand-ins for her totally perfect self. It's stressing to deal with this kind of writer because every comment on her story hurts her in some terribly deep already-wounded place.

B) The selfish critter who will ask you to critique all of their chapters a zillion times but who always has an excuse for not critting yours. I'm not saying this because it's about tit for tat; I'm saying this because we all need help. And there is just so much time in a writer's life. One simply cannot spend a great deal of time helping someone who doesn't return the help -- when one also needs help.

Happy creativity!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Psalm 129

Since Israel's beginnings, the world has fought against. The Philistines, Pharoah, The Babylonian Empire, The Assyrian Empire, The Greek Empire, The Roman Empire, The Holy Christian Empire,  the German Reich, and now Hamas and El Qaeda.

YET Israel's enemies have not prevailed.

As a poet, the line that jumps to me today is: The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.
What an imagery! I feel like just pondering that for a while. I'll add a "Selah" of my own: Pause and consider that. Meditate on that. 

Enemies are relentless. They make long furrows. They dig deep. They aim to wear us out and to break us down. 

But God is faithful.

Psalm 129

 1Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say:
 2Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.
 3The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.
 4The LORD is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.
 5Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.
 6Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:
 7Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.
 8Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the LORD be upon you: we bless you in the name of the LORD.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Donations sought for two writer friends

Help Baby Jaeli

Jaeli was born with a rare chromosome disorder causing multiple health problems and and an uncertain future: She is one of four known people with this class of chromosome disorder. There are many expenses. Please help. 
To Follow Jaeli’s Story: Rare Chromo Baby group is how Jaeli’s mom sends updates and prayer requests. 
Angela  posted this info on her website
There is a donation button in the side bar to click and send the money or paypal it to  ang DOT england AT yahoo DOT com

Dear friends,

My dear friend Rodlyn Douglas    whose work appears with mine in W W Norton's Lifenotes (along with Sapphire's and quite a few others) needs our prayers and financial help. Please try to send them both, as much of each as you can...she asked me last night to send her light. The cancer from 3 years ago is back in full force.  The seriousness of her illness is further emphasized by the doctors who have sent her home without surgery and without chemotherapy.

On Tuesday Rodlyn and her husband John are going to Mexico to the Gerson Institute     (see description of the Gerson Institue on the web site below)

Rodlyn will be sending us messages on the blog on her web site to let us know how she is doing.

NOTE:  Some of the tabs on her web site (like make a donation or read her writings) will open to anyone.  The tab for making a comment seems to necessitate your setting up a user name and password.  If you have trouble doing this, I have no problem with my friends using my name and password (coras.....serenity)

There are two ways to make a donation....

1- go on the home page of the site and click on 'make a donation' and use the pay pal instructions
2 - send a check to Rodlyn's brother in Canada THE CHECK SHOULD BE MADE OUT TO:

Lynrod Douglas (in trust for Rodlyn Douglas) .....USE THE parentheses!!!

Send the check to:

Lynrod Douglas
27 Gardiner Crescent
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

his email address is above  info (AT)

If you want to send Rodlyn a message but can not navigate the site, please send it to Lynrod.

Thanks so much. I love Rodlyn very much

Psalm 128

Our God is not holy. He is not holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. Consider that.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. 

Let me just scare myself a little bit more. Let me terrify myself at pondering this very very very HOLY HOLY HOLY God. I wonder... is it possible that we aren't as fearful of God as we could be?  Too scary to ponder.

When I hear people talking about God saying "no" to our prayers, I ask myself... "Have we really prayed?" "Have I really prayed?" Sometimes I'm in tears for my son and for my health and I pray -- an hour, maybe. And I know I pray everyday and read my Bible everyday.

But Jesus who was holy and sinless prayed all night MOST nights -- (No wonder he fell asleep on the boat...just kidding.) But really, the ancient church would pray for three or four hours a day. And in places like Korea and in certain places in Africa, prayer can go on for that long or longer. So how do we know -- how do I know-- that God has told me he won't answer our prayer?  Have I even prayed?

If someone has an illness and prays one hour a day but watches four hours a day of television and never reads his/her that praying? Can the person who has a terminal prognosis who prays for ten minutes a day  and watches TV the other eight hours actually say -- with a clear conscience-- that he or she has prayed and God hasn't answered?

I think about that dream I had of the Laodicean Church. It was really only a dreamlet.
A two-headed mermaid swimming in shallow shoals where hot and cold water met.
That's so us. That's so me. If the mermaid represents the Christian -- <>< being the sign of the church. And also part human. And if the hot and cold water imply lukewarmness. And if the two heads imply being double-minded. And the shallow water representing our lack of can I say I have prayed and befriended and really clung to this holy holy holy God?

Lord, help me!

Psalm 128

 1Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
 2For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
 3Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
 4Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
 5The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
 6Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dark Parable: dream of snake-lion and resuscitated bone

I dreamed my mother or grandmother had not been buried properly so we asked another guy to bury her. We were going to bury her in front of a house (not really a legal place, in the dream) But then the new buryer made matters even worse by burying her on the roof of the porch of the house. It was only a matter of time before her body would be discovered. So we had to move it. Across the street my husband found an animal bone and resuscitated it. We didn't know what kind of animal it was but when it was resuscitated it became an animal that was a lion at some times and a snake at the others. It was very friendly when it was a lion but it still bothered me because I didn't know when it would slither around. ..and was nervous to have such a pet. Besides we also had another pet snake...a very dangerous snake. Dreamed we decided to go to the shopping center on foot rather than take a car.

Weekend Movie Viewing -- the crime, punishment, and speculations edition

Even So, I Didn't Do It
Soredemo boku wa yattenai

Innocent Man accused of groping a 15 year old student on a crowded train. If he simply lies and says he didn't do it, he'd pay $500 but if he defends himself, then... I'll just say this was so harrowing to watch I couldn't sit through it and sped up to the end. Scary. 

Body Number 19
Thai Horror flick
Student named Chon keeps finding himself in weird places without knowing how he got there. He keeps having dreams and encounters with a dismembered woman and a fetus. Also a weird supernatural cat. Not really scary but unsettling. Very complicated story about a murdered woman, mutiple personality, hypnotism, vengeful ghosts. Could not sit through it. 

A history of Violence
Man kills bad guy who comes to his store. This story is sent all across the airwaves and some evil guys see it and think they know our a hit man who did them wrong. It's weird watching a hollywood movie after so much Asian movie watching...Will just say that my crush on Viggo Mortenson is still intact.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

You Raised Me Up -- DBSK and the little blind girl

Okay, I'm loving them even more.

Psalm 127

This psalm was one of the first psalms my Methodist grandfather taught me. It might even have been the first. A strange little psalm to teach a child, uh? I like it and it's memorable and the theme is an interesting one for a child to ponder -- that it is God who works in everything and everyone, that all work, all being, all doing comes from God. And without God there is nothing that can do, nothing can be done. In God we live, move, and have our being. 

So the idea is that we should chill, we should learn to let God work through us, we should rest in God working within us and working in the world. It's a deep thing to ponder.

The psalm also reminds us that children are a reward, never a burden. God gives them as joy. In a world where many Christians get an unplanned pregnancy and doubt God will help them feed their children, it's good to remind that. Too many Christians having abortions, alas.

My sons are rewards. God sent them to me to be the joys of my life. 

But today I'm also thinking of why I didn't teach my sons this psalm. I guess we all have our favorites and we all have the ones that stick with us and the ones we consider important for kids to know.

Psalm 127

 1Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
 2It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
 3Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
 4As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
 5Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sensual Longing, Carnal Concupiscence, and Gorgeous Characters

So here I am, writing my Young Adult novel. But at the same time, am bravely attempting to examine my love of male beauty. I suspect there's something very sane -- and insane-- about this. Not to mention -- irreligious.

First, let me say it loud and plain: I love men. I love beautiful men. Very beautiful men.
Now there isn't anything too abnormal about liking cute guys, but I do wonder if it's not something I should've outgrown in my younger days. I'm thinking there's a bit of the Cinderella complex going on here, along with what St Paul calls "loving the creature more than the Creator."

Okay, being a romance writer ---well, one deals with perfect men. Ideal men. Or at least men who are ideal for the main character.

In our culture -- probably in all cultures-- the basic idea is that like loves like. Gorgeous man marries gorgeous girl. It's one of the basic rules of life and love. That's why so many love stories have gorgeous women as well as gorgeous men. I've read many stories by black women who take this a bit far. One friend of mine who was as dark-skinned as I am and who has brown eyes  ALWAYS created female characters with green eyes and who had some mysterious white parentage and the usual attending mulatto sensitivities. Which kinda freaked me out. I was struggling with my black self-loathing, my weird father issues, and she had simply bypassed all that in her life and decided to jump into the fictive dream unchallenged and unchallenging.

This makes me wonder...should I really challenge my own issues? In my stories, I glance and dance along the edges of my issues. I just can't allow the fictive dream to go on without tweaking it a bit and trying to search out some truth. My main characters are never really as sane and as perfect as they should be. The love story is never quite perfect. In Wind Follower, I made the main female character dark-skinned in a world where dark-skinned women were considered unmarriageable. I gave her the light-skinned Asian-Native American type husband...and I made them love each other deeply. Kinda. Well, do they really love each other equally? The French have a saying: "In love affairs, there is always one who kisses and one who turns the cheek." Loose translation: one person always loves more than the other. In Wind Follower, we really aren't sure of Satha's love for Loic. She is married and wealthy and loyal to him. That is all that matters in the long run. Yes, money and beauty.

So then, this sensual longing reared its head in the first pages of Onion. Main male character is mega-hot. I put it out there. Main female character is not. (Yes, I know...but I've got issues still with me from school days when I was beaten up and bullied by racist white kids and by black kids who thought I was too "white" because I didn't behave as a black girl "should." Then there was my half-sister who told me my father liked her more because she was light-skinned and her mother was east Indian. Hence my group dynamic issues and my beauty issues.) Ah me! The only folks who totally accepted this little eccentric black Christian girl -- and the only folks she dated back in the day-- were extremely gorgeous white bisexual or gay guys! Hence, Carole's issues!

I love this main character...and the romance writer in me wants my female character to get her man. But the nihilist in me is thinking: make the story a sad one -- make him die or maimed. (Hey, Jane Eyre only got Mr Rochester when he became disabled.) And another part of me is saying, be honest: These are kids. Kids are shallow. Make main male character shallow...which means he should not fall in love with main female character.

But I can't do that, can I? For one, I'm responsible to all the wounded little girls out there. Why can't they dream of getting a rich handsome guy? But for two, I'm responsible to myself. My heart wants the love story to be a wonderful one. Why the heck do I have to be realistic?

I want to explore this relationship. I want to explore our -- MY-- attitude toward beautiful men. I want to explore the longing -- the painful longing-- we have when we love something of beauty that may or may not return that love. Will see how it all ends. I know how I want it to end. But I also know stories have a mind of their own and that I don't always get what I want.

I've wanted to explore lust for a while. My own. My lust map versus my love map. Guys I want to sleep with as opposed to guys I fall in love with. (Aargh, shouldn't our lust map and our love map kinda overlap?) Not this novel alas, but at least I'm working on  honoring my eccentric friends who helped heal my soul. And am ridding myself from this sensual longing and this attachment to beautiful men. With God's help and prayer. -C

Blog Archive

Popular Posts