Praying for America

Nov 7, 2016 by

Six months ago yesterday I took a weird fall while stepping onto an upside down door mat in Boyd Hall on Auburn University while picking up my daughter from the end of her freshman year of college.  A week later I went to see a chiropractor here in Mesquite, Texas. The man I saw was not licensed at the time he treated me and from records from the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners, he was not under anyone’s supervision at the time either.

Following that visit, my back has not been the same. I’ve been through a three-level laminectomy of my lower lumbar, had an epidural, had two hernias repaired, had injections in my hip as a diagnostic check to see if I have meralgia paraesteticas (which I don’t because one week after injections I hurt as much more or more) and this week I have an EMG (they’re going to stick fine needles into my thighs and see which nerves are damaged and which ones are working) and next week I’m slated for more injections, these into the facets of my vertebrae in my lower back.

I’m on Fentanyl patches–funny/not, last year I ended a draft of my second novel by having the lead character return to his childhood home, devastated by the changes and ruin that have happened in his life, and end it all, with cancer by pouring the contents of his F patch into lemonade and drinking it–(I do not recommend nor am I planning to actually do this myself), and a high dose of Percocet every eight hours. I’m in constant pain. Doctors can’t figure out what to do. My spine surgeon wants to do rods and screws and fuse my spine, a neurosurgeon wants to go another route. Two specialists at 180 degree polar opposites. (I will save a rant for the value of second opinions for later.)

In this time of agony I’ve learned a lot about pain. Millions of Americans suffer from it. MILLIONS. When I booked an appointment for my pain management doctor in June his office said they receive 50 referrals a day–FIFTY–for people in pain.

THE POWER OF PRAYER

This whole experience has brought me closer in my walk with the Lord, albeit I do less walking today than I could ever want. I’m going loopy being stuck in doors, unable to drive because of my pain and the meds I’m on.

But I’ve found a ministry I can do that is making a difference. I pray for my friends–ones who seem to be doing better at life right now than I am. Before church services each Sunday I’m either texting or emailing those who lead me and letting them know I’ve been praying for their words and actions and songs and worship and praise to make a difference in the lives of those sitting there in front of them, and as important, maybe even more, to those at home who are unable to attend either because of illness or the geography between the church and wherever in the world they may be.

This has also led me to texting friends and telling them I’m praying for them, understanding their woes, and lifting them up before God and asking for their forgiveness, their healing, their recovery, or their improved walk with the Lord.

I find this is one of the best uses of my time and I’ve been learning to concentrate on doing more and more of it each day.

A TURNING POINT

Yesterday I sent such a text to a friend of mine from yesteryear, one who unfriended me a few months ago on Facebook because I happen to believe that Donald Trump will make a better president than Hillary Clinton. I’m not that big of a Trump supporter, but I know that if my father, who served 22 years in the US Air Force had handled classified information the way Mrs. Clinton has, he’d be headed to Leavenworth, Kansas and their federal prison.

After telling him I was praying for him, I said that if he’s even close to being in the area at Christmas, I’d love to see him, even just to shake his hand. His response was saddening. He said that because I’m a supporter for Trump, and because of Trump’s views toward minorities and women, that he doesn’t associate with racists and sexist people who support him.

My reply was simple, I will continue to pray for this friend.

America was founded on the principle of freedom of expression. So I’m thankful my friend has the ability to express such narrow-minded opinions. But I’ll be damned if I’m a racist or sexist because he/she has decided to lump me in with a narrow band of those who are. When did it become a condemnation to not agree with someone else’s political views? My decisions about whom I vote for are based on more than the color of skin or gender.

I despise what we have become in America. Those who claim they’re in support of tolerance are tolerant as long as you agree in lock-step with their ideals–many which are contrary to Judeo-Christian principles we’ve held in this country from the beginning. It is disgusting to be called a bigot because you don’t agree with someone whose views run contrary to Biblical teachings. But such is the walk of a Christian, I suppose.

On Election Eve 2016, I will continue to pray for America, for our “leaders,” and for those who preach tolerance and practice so little of it. America deserves better than what we’re giving her, on all levels, and I’ve decided the only way to make it better is to be accepting of other views, not condemning, not stereotyping, and being mindful that words are pretty powerful stuff.

We are headed for a deeper, more hate-filled four years no matter who wins tomorrow. And it’s disgusting to watch.

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The Day After The Snowden Interview

May 29, 2014 by

The Day After The Snowden Interview

Like many Americans, I watched the NBC hourlong show about Brian Williams‘ interview of Edward J. Snowden from last week in Moscow with great intrigue. For almost a year now, we’ve heard him being defined by others (In public relations and political campaigns that’s something you never want to let happen) but last night’s interview basically amounted to this–he handed President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the NSA, White House officials and members of Congress who have tried to characterize him in whatever bad ways they could their asses.

I remember years go listening to Rush Limbaugh and him talking about the shock that Ross Perot had from doing a network interview and thinking it was going to be fair going and coming out on the other side with Perot’s ass being handed to him. Before watching last night, I wondered if the same thing wasn’t about to happen to 30-year-old Snowden.

Remarkably, however, he got almost an hour of prime time to say what he wanted to say, and calmly, collectively, dissecting what’s been said about him and then launching an all out offensive attack on those who have sought to demonize him. And you could tell, what he said affected Brian Williams and the confidence of Snowden in the interview I have no doubt affected how NBC portrayed it last night. In other words, Snowden gave them little opportunity to tear him down with what he said. He was holding court and all the cards.

Secretary of State John Kerry telling Edward Snowden to Man Up and come home and face the music.

Secretary of State John Kerry telling Edward Snowden to Man Up and come home and face the music.

John Kerry

I saw the huff and puff interview that Secretary of State Kerry gave about how Kerry should come home and “face the music.”  NBC chief political reporter Chuck Todd said he was “Angry.”  If you think about it, it plays like President Bennett, played by Donald Mofatt in Tom Clancy‘s movie Clear and Present Danger telling Jack Ryan “How dare you come into this office and bark at me like some little junkyard dog? I am the President of the United States!” Mr. Kerry’s comments almost sounded the same way, same voice, same words. Except to me, if Mr. Kerry is angry, he needs to step up the intensity of it.

The Problem In Deciding Who Is Right

Here’s where I’m presently with all of this.

The government says that Snowden has jeopardized all sorts of assets, systems and people because of what he’s done. Yet Catch 22 says they can’t say exactly what because it’d further compromise national security, but then again, would it?  We just don’t know.  We can’t know.

Snowden says the government can do things like turn your phone on when it’s off and listen to and watch what you’re doing thru the microphone and camera on it. But he hasn’t cited any examples, (at least none have been released) that they’re actually doing that on any regular basis to random citizens. There are accounts where the FBI has done this in drug and conspiracy cases, but that’s different than saying they can do it to anyone. If I own a gun I can shoot someone with it, too. That doesn’t mean that’s what I’m doing with it day in and day out.

Response In Washington

I noticed that The New York Times buried the story about Williams and Snowden way down on their front web page today. CNN is back to MH 370.  The Washington Post has a photo of Snowden and Williams and a story, but it’s not lead. The LA Times is worried about greenhouse omissions. The Dallas Morning News‘ website’s top story today is a column and a story about when a man should pay when going on a date.

So either the White House has launched a highly successful suppression campaign, other networks don’t want to hype what happened on NBC and not their air, or the Snowden story isn’t that important.

And that’s a shame because this is something that has an impact on all of us. And we all know Washington politicians aren’t going to do a darned thing unless their phones start ringing.

Glenn Greenwald

The other thing I was glad about last night is that the focus didn’t get to be about Glenn Greenwald and just his book. Can you imagine how he must feel, ego aside, he flew again all the way to Moscow to be on TV for 20-30 seconds, maybe a minute.  That’s not a great use of time to be running around selling his book….

 

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Writing A Novel: The 10 Best & Worst Things That Have Happened To Me

May 9, 2014 by

Writing A Novel: The 10 Best & Worst Things That Have Happened To Me

Today is Friday, May 9, 2014 and things are wrapping up for the big Mother’s Day weekend here in America.

So as we’re reflecting about life and the sacrifices Mom has made in your life, here’s today’s writing exercise.

The recommendation is to write these out on 3″ x 5″ notecards, but really, any place you want to write them out and think about them is fine.

The idea behind this exercise, those previously mention, and those to come is to help give you a wealth of material to consider if you’re writing a novel, or, if you’re just in a reflective mood about your life in general.

TODAY’S EXERCISE

So take out a sheet of paper, notecards, even your Notes feature on iPad, iPhone or Mac, etc. and think about these next two questions.  It calls for 10. Maybe that’s enough.  Maybe you can/need to do more than that. Either way.  I encourage you to do these exercise in quiet reflection. There are no right or wrong answers. And no one has to see them. This is for you. Did you know that according to mental health experts, most people among us never sit down and do anything like this at any point in their lives? Here’s your chance to do something few others will ever do.

What are the 10 worst things that ever have happened to me?
What are the 10 best things that ever happened to me?

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Writing a Novel – Daily Exercises in Self-Study

May 7, 2014 by

Writing a Novel – Daily Exercises in Self-Study

My apologies. I’ve been neck-deep in work-related projects associated with books for iPad the past couple of days. And I’ve been doing work on what will become my first novel. I hope.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing daily posts on suggested self-study exercises that can be helpful in writing a novel, but also as a self-study in getting to know oneself a little better.

So since I missed out on posts on Monday and Tuesday, I’ve lumped those questions in with Wednesday’s post.

What you’re supposed to do, is take out a stack of 3″ x 5″ notecards, title them, date them and number them, and then make a list of the answers you come up with for each of the day’s questions.

If you would go back to Monday’s exercise, it is:

I’m glad I did _____

Tuesday’s exercise is:

I wish I had NOT done ______

And the exercise designed for today, Wednesday, May 7, 2014, is simply this.

If I died right now, what would people say about my life?

Maybe that’s not something that just goes on a notecard, but instead of writing long sentences, maybe you should start by jotting down a few words. And be honest with yourself.  If you were to keel over right now and someone were to have to deliver a eulogy about you using only a series of one word thoughts, what would they be?  I know. That can be pretty sobering, but let’s go.  Might give you some things to work on even if you don’t end up writing a book….

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Writing a Novel – What Do I Dislike?

Apr 28, 2014 by

Writing a Novel – What Do I Dislike? 

An essential part of a good story is being able to add conflict into the lives of your characters. I’m finding that’s much easier to come up with based on this series of exercises about ME.

Now as I have been saying, these exercises could be helpful to people writing books and all, but as importantly, they might also can be helpful and beneficial to someone who just wants to learn a little more about themselves.

Last week we began this series and did some exercises. Saturday’s was to get a stack of 3 x 5 notecards and write about things you like.

To do the exercise, just fill out the top of a card with a heading, in the case of today’s exercise–Things I Dislike–and then number the card in the top right corner. I also like to add the date somewhere so that two or three years from now when I come back to these, I’ll have a better frame of reference as to what was going through my head now versus then. When you fill up a card, start a second, third … as many as it takes.

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

And if you’re doing these exercises for the benefit of your future characters, think about situations they might need to get in where they have to face these aspects. If you’re writing about something you don’t like, chances are your characters won’t either, but more importantly, chances are your READERS won’t like them either, and then you have the opportunity to either have your character address the issue or run from it, both good story lines….

Okay, so here’s today’s exercise. Later in the day there’ll be a post about Netflix’ House of Cards and the characters in that series….

EXERCISE

What do I dislike?

Collaborative writing exercises—such as the cl...

Collaborative writing exercises—such as the clustering shown here—can be used for development of ideas. Colored tabs of paper—attached to the large page—are used in a collaborative voting exercise to gain consensus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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