Monday, October 29, 2007
EEEKS! I still have a stack of papers on my work desk. Slightly smaller than it was on Friday, fortunately… Slow and steady wins the race. (Actually, more like quick and steady wins the race around here!)
The weekend was quiet. I insisted. I skipped everything – soccer game, church, dinner at Jackie’s – and just rested, except for walking five miles on Sunday and watching some TV. (Hallmark Channel and Daystar, mostly). I needed it.
I highly recommend Joel Osteen’s daily program on Daystar or TBN. He’s easy on your psyche (unless you’re clinically depressed) and always has great messages. He’s always good. Watch him for a week and see if it doesn’t lift your spirits and give you all kinds of hope. He has some really great books out, too. (LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE NOW and BECOME A BETTER YOU.)
He’s called The Smiling Preacher for a reason. I’m not sure he knows how to frown! He said he wound up in emergency as a kid with a big hole in the back of his head. When his family got there, they found him still grinning ear to ear! He lifts people’s spirits. If you’re depressed or pre-disposed to it, give him a try! He might turn you into the Smiling Watcher!
Jackie is out and about this evening looking at another rambler. I still haven’t heard anything on the condo sale. I hope to have an update when I get home tonight on my voicemail. I’m at the point now where, if it doesn’t sell to this gal, I’m going to give it up and just live in it until the market rebounds again in a few years. Jackie will have to find her own way and get a duplex and rent the other side out to make ends meet until I can get out of my condo what it’s worth. I need a home to rely on through the winter. This casting about is making me crazy after all this time. Halloween is my deadline for dealing with condo sales and home buys. I’m too weary to do everything that neds doing at work and STILL keep looking and maybe moving…
Saturday, October 27, 2007
There’s a stack of papers on my desk at work (www.onholdconcepts.com) about an inch thick representing the fifteen or so clients who haven’t come back to me with their instructions for holiday (or other) on-hold programs.
I’m the type of person who doesn’t like a stack of papers on their desk at the end of a work day. I can’t do a blasted thing about it, of course, so I have to take a “chill pill” and realize that the world will not end because I’m not “all caught up.”
Others might call a stack of remaining papers “job security.” I call it “Something left undone…” and it makes me crazy!
There. I’ve admitted it. I’m still a bit of a perfectionist/control freak. Guess that’s why I’m a good employee, huh? I ride herd on “my” clients as though I’m a trail boss and anything I let stray will get eaten by a wolf!
Dunderhead… that’s what I am!
“It’s all right, Kris.”
Considering we probably served 300 clients this week alone, the few that didn’t get back to us doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. We’ll get ‘em Monday or Tuesday. They don’t need the holiday programs until the day after Thanksgiving anyway… But getting them done early is my plan… because if they all came in the week before they were due to run, we’d be in a heap o’ trouble!!! We’re a small business, not a huge corporate conglomerate, and what we do can’t be farmed out at the last minute to make a deadline. So we chew off as much as we can every day with the goal of having everyone handled and happy well in advance of Thanksgiving…
That’s the plan. We’ll see how well it works along about November 14th, just a couple weeks away. It makes me nervous ‘cause I haven’t been at On-Hold through a holiday season yet. Those who have are knuckled under (as I am) are talking about the Kobayashi Maru scenarios… the scenarios we are intent on avoiding by working in advance with all deliberate speed!
The lady researching my condo is a first-time home buyer and has a disabled mother who either visits often or lives with her. My Realtor is throwing in a one-year home warranty to calm her worries about owning a home. My condo has NO worries: I ironed them out when I moved in and this place has been a dream to own. So I believe that the lady's "one more" visit this morning at 10 am will seal the deal. Jackie is getting bids on converting the RV garage to a place for me at the home we love, and the seller has agreed to come down on the price, hopefully enough to make our budget work. This is a good solution because its location is close to both our work places and I could "store" the cats in the RV space or double car garage until the RV conversion is completed, which shouldn't take long.
So keep us in your prayers!
Okay, gang, I don't usually do this, but this time of year I'd be remiss if I didn't! So, here goes!
Did you love one or all of the books I've written to date? (Another is on the way in 2008: THE ENDURING LEGACY OF DeFOREST KELLEY: ACTOR, HEALER FRIEND. I'm still accepting submissions for it until March 5, 2008, so get your manuscript to me prontomundo!)
To repeat: Did you love one or all of the books I'v written?
If so, please think about others who would enjoy having their own copy , inscribed by me and nicely wrapped in a package for Christmas or Hanukkah... or a birthday any other time of year. If you will buy it, I will send a sticker to you in an envelope, inscribed to whomever you want it (and saying whatever you want me to say, if you have ideas). Logon to my book website...
... and follow the links to reviews and purchasing at Amazon or at Authorhouse.com.
Note: You'll save several dollars buying at AuthorHouse, but if you're more comfy with Amazon, don't let me dissuade you from that plan (Amazon is a Washington State company like Microsoft and I'm all for encouraging "local trade"!) ... it's just that fulfillment of your order may take longer at Amazon, since all my books are Print On Demand and Amazon doesn't keep a huge stack of them warehoused... and this is the time of year when there might be a run on them...
Turnaround time for softcover at AuthorHouse is 7-10 days; for hardbound, two weeks. I suggest the hardcover (although I don't make a dime more if you go that route). Many fans have told me they bought the softcover and then loved the book so much that they turned around and bought it again as a hardbound. So I'm just thinking ahead and, again, hoping to save you money down the road.
Remember: If you are ordering for the holidays for others, send me your snail mail address (my email address is KRISTINE M SMITH @ MSN DOT COM, without the spaces) and I will personalize a sticker that you can place into the book when you get it from whichever distributor you choose. (I don't have extra copies of the books here. Remember, they're print on Demand so I only get copies when I'm scheduled to appear somewhere and talk about De to his still-adoring public.)
Animal lovers will love LET NO DAY DAWN THAT THE ANIMALS CANNOT SHARE.
The Hollywood-crazed who love humor will love FLOATING AROUND HOLLYWOOD AND OTHER TOTALLY-TRUE TALES OF TRIUMPH.
Christians and other seekers who haven't yet decided on a faith to follow will enjoy PURPOSEFUL CHRISTIANITY, Sharing the Verve and Value of the Prince of Peace.
You'll even find out more about the Kelleys in each the three other books -- stuff that wasn't in the book about De, DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES. (De wrote the foreword of the animal book and a back cover blurb about the Hollywood book) So, mystery fans... if you want to read additional stories about the Kelleys (short but sweet), get the other books, okay?!
How many chances do you have in life to send a book by someone you know to someone you know? Isn't that, in itself, a kinda special thing?
Support your (ahem) favorite author who writes you blogs and emails for FREE! That would be ME: Kristine M Smith!!!
If you were blessed by one of my books, bless someone else with it this year. That's all I ask.
Oh! No, it isn't! I just thought of one more think to ask:
PLEASE tell more of your friends about this blog! And family! And business associates! The more, the merrier! How about sending the blog link.... (here it is!)
... to ten other people this week?
That would be MAHvelous!
Friday, October 26, 2007
Valerie (God, I love that name!) Barrett paid me a compliment in an email that I really shouldn't repeat, but will anyway -- because it gives me a starting point for a blog!
Val emailed to say she has harp CDs too and loves them. She says I'll love mine and they should work fine at work without putting me to sleep. And they'll keep me relaxed and peaceful during all future double-duty weeks at work (www.onholdconcepts.com).
To that I responded, "I actually kinda enjoy the frantic pace this time of year -- it gives me a chance to feel like a freakin' hero!"
To which she replied, "Baby you ARE a hero!"
Now, Val is a school chum of mine. We go WAY back to the 60's. She and I were gonna be actors (known as actresses back then, before the world became gender neutral) when we grew up.
To think that a dear friend considers me a hero is high praise...
I wanted to react, "Oh, C'MON!" but then remembered that I am supposed to accept compliments and say "Thank you."
Deflecting a compliment is rude to the one who offered it and also reflects that the one complimented doesn't hold herself (or himself) in equal regard on the point on which said compliment was made.
I suppose that's my problem.
I think firefighters, soldiers, teachers, and most moms are heroes. I think all those who consider others before considering themselves on a routine basis are heroes: pastors, volunteers, caregivers... the list goes on and on!
Truth time here: I don't routinely consider the needs of others before considering my own. Whenever my conscience (which is johnny-on-the-spot in many instances, for which I thank God) would crucify me if I didn't do something I "should" do, I do it, no questions asked.
Some of the things I've done for others truly have been a sacrifice (of a career, of time, of money, even of close friendships -- when I told a truth that had to be told) but my conscience wouldn't have allowed me to get away unscarred without doing them, so where's the "hero" in that? (God's Spirit is the hero in that! Just answered my own question. The Holy Spirit prompts my "conscience" to insist on the proper course of action!)
DeForest Kelley's biographer asked me one time why I sacrificed my career at Warner Bros. (at heavy expense to me -- it took until just this year to recover financially) to help the Kelleys when they asked me.
My answer? "It never even occurred to me not to help them when they asked. They were my chief encouragers and mentors for over thirty years." I can't, to this day, even imagine telling them, "No." I'd do it again!
Yes, I probably "should" use my brain as well as I use my heart at times! But the analytical side of my brain is semi-retired or semi-retarded or something. And I'm glad. It frees my heart to do what it knows is right, no matter what the consequences feel like "analytically" after the fact.
This year I invested significant time helping Aunt Tod after she moved up to Washington. There were times I was exhausted and really didn't "want" to help. But that's when Love (Christ in me) does His mightiest work! It's easy to help when you WANT to. It's when you're dragging that Love keeps you going like the Eveready bunny!
Me, a hero? Naw. I'm just a vehicle. The Hero is sitting at the right hand of the Father writing names into His Book of Life. According to His holy word, my name is in it because I'm so eager to acknowledge him as my Lord and Savior and to follow His urgings (my "holy" conscience).
What better way to say "Thank you!" than to reflect His love into the world as best I can?
That's my plan!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Thank God for our good fortune and for the great sense(s) of humor at On-Hold. We're scurrying madly, getting programs created or refreshed as quickly as humanly possible (while still turning out a great program for each client).
Our sterling reputation has been built and is protected by making sure we don't get into "cookie cutter" mode as so many other on-hold companies have done. I'm always amazed at the diversity of on-hold programs I hear when I call the clients I serve (30-50 clients daily) and am put on-hold as I await the person I need to reach. I'm never bored -- not a single program out there is identical to another (unless a client wants the same program in two or more different locations, as sometimes happens in auto dealerships and a few other places). How would YOU like to be put on-hold 30-50 times a day? Well, I love it! It reinforces what we do for people, to actually hear the programs and know they are doing a good job keeping callers feeling well-respected and informing them about the company they've called... services the company provides, products they offer, at times even trivia questions to keep the person engaged so they "forget" they're on-hold as long as some of them are. It's gratifying to know we're responsible for making callers' on-hold experience a blessing rather than a bother, ya know? Talk about a service that's both cost-effective (creating additional sales for clients using cross-promotion to recoup the very affordable cost of the service many times over) and a plus for both the client and the caller! It's what's known as a win-win situation!
I just ordered two CDs of harp music. Relaxing harp. Can't wait to get them. I may play them as I fall asleep at night or at work using headphones so I can work and stay on an even keel. IF they don't make me sleepy during the day when I play them. There's a fine line between "relaxing" and "time-for-bed" music. I hope I've chosen the CDs well so they can do double-duty. If not, hey, I'll use them in the car at noon when I cat nap and re-charge my batteries so I can give the second half of the day the same energy and alertness I gave the first half. A half hour nap works wonders that way and keeps me feeling a bit like a part-timer with a full-timer's paycheck! (Whatever works, right?!)
I received a prayer from a new blog reader the day I mentioned the California fires. Debbie left an extended, targeted prayer for the families who have had to flee in the face of the advancing flames. It's published in the comments section on the day of the fire blog. I hope you will all take a moment to read and to pray it. The firemen and women are beginning to get a handle on many of the fires and the Santa Ana winds are dying down, so in a few days people will be returning to see whether their abode survived the flames. Continue to keep them in your prayers. Far too many of them will be returning "home" to ashes and concrete slabs...
Must get out the door to work now. If there's any energy left when I get home tonight, I may blog again, but no promises until the weekend. Right now this blog is a "luxury" I can't always afford. My energy level is nearly all devoted to doing a great job at work and looking for a new abode in the event my condo sells in the next few days.
I'll be living with my sister if my condo sells soon so we'll be looking for our next "separate quarters" abode pretty much non-stop if that happens. I have cats and she's allergic, so I'll have to farm the cats out to someone willing to watch them for me until Jackie and I get settled into a new duplex or a rambler we can split up...
Pray for an easy transition for us, please! Thanks much!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Please keep everyone in your prayers who are affected -- the evacuees, the rescuers, the fire fighters, FEMA, Homeland Security... everyone.
Monday, October 22, 2007
What a day! There will be plenty more like it, too, before the holiday season rush is over. I didn’t get away for lunch until one and then I fell dead asleep I my car for a good fifty minutes. The nap gave me enough energy to get my arms around the rest of the octopus this afternoon, so that’s probably what I’ll be doing for the next two months – sleeping in the car at lunch time!
The sale of my condo sounds very promising, so Jackie and I are talking with builders to see if it’s feasible to build something that’ll work perfectly for us. Lacking that, I think we’ll get the place with the RV garage if we can get bids for it within our price range. Frankly, I’m tired of looking and freaked by the possibility of selling my condo and having to live with Jackie till we get something else. I have three cats and they can’t live at Jackie’s, so I’d have to store my stuff and board my cats, or find some kind soul in Tacoma willing to "cat sit" for me for up to several months. Neither the cats nor I would like either arrangement very much. Boarding would be prohibitively expensive, methinks…
All of this stuff coming due right around the holidays is a bummer, because the holidays are bust enough without this kind of stuff going on. But it is what it is and it’s only a short-term situation (in all areas), so guess what? I’ll survive and so will the cats!
I’m weary to the bone tonight, so this is all you get out of me for this time. I’ll be bouncier and more verbal on weekends until the holiday rush is over, probably – but I won’t stop blogging entirely. I know a number of you count on this blog being here every day. It touches my heart to know this… I won’t let you down any more than I absolutely have to, to remain sane and rested during the marathon I sense I will be running soon!
The above is a great idea for parents and grandparents!
Consider this: I got started writing because I was a huge Roy Rogers fan and RR comic books only came out once a month or so. I badgered Mom so often for another RR comic book, she finally said, "There aren't enough RR comic books in the world to satisfy you. You'd better start writing your own."
That's all it took. A light went on. I realized I could take my hero, Roy, and place him in situations where he could be a hero yet again! Revelation!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Church service was very emotional this morning. Jennifer Cuellar -- one of Church For All Nation's (CFAN) former (and we hope future!) administrative assistants -- and Wayne Mangan both mounted the platform with a three year old girl whose life was saved because of a bone marrow transplant that took place last year after a donor was found for her as the result of a bone marrow donor search drive which our church sponsored.
Jennifer Cuellar wore a surgical mask because she herself is fighting a cancer this year for which a bone marrow donor must be found if she is to survive. Wayne Mangan is also fighting leukemia -- has been for two and a half years. He has a life expectancy of about six months unless a matching bone marrow donor is found. He's 50 years old, with a heart of gold...
Next Saturday CFAN is again sponsoring a bone marrow transplant drive. CFAN broke the Pacific Northwest record last year when it "swabbed" over 500 people willing to find out if they were a match for any of the 36,000 people awaiting bone marrow transplants in the United States. CFAN wants to break its own record next weekend.
I urge everyone who reads this blog to get "swabbed" (a painless, cheek-saliva swab) at your clinic and see if any of you can help someone else survive... maybe Jennifer... maybe Wayne... maybe another child like the one who was saved last year. The swab test costs $57 and if you can't afford it, the Waybe Mangan Foundation will pay for the test.
Logon to http://www.churchforallnations.org/ and see today's sermon on "running between the living and the dead." If it doesn't convince you to get your cheek swabbed to see if you can save a life, nothing will...
Roberta Paulsen (my Realtor), Jackie and I went "home-hunting" all afternoon, looking at different options. Afterward Jackie and I went to Tea Leaf for dinner because we were famished.
We talked over some ideas for the next abodes. Jackie and I will be sharing them with a builder this week, and we're getting bids on what it would cost to remodel an RV Garage into an apartment for me at a property we really like. The property owner is willing to work with us if we get a bid we can live with and still remain within our budget.
I'm days away from finding out if this condo is going to sell. An interested buyer is researching the CC and Rs and the idea of a fence. That's all that stands between a sale.
I may ghostwrite a book the first several months of next year. That would be a first for me, but probably not a last! I look forward to hearing more about the project after the holidays when things settle down at work again.
I have been asked to give a testimonial regarding the recent women's retreat at church next Sunday evening, so have already let Jackie know I won't be joining the family for dinner that night.
What else? Guess that's all the new that's fit to print for tonight. Guess I'll shut up and go to sleep. It's only 7:30 but it has been one very busy day, and it promises to be a busy week ahead.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
It'll probably be a day or so before I find out whether I have a buyer for my condo -- she has to read the CC & Rs and ask if she can put up a fence (which shouldn't be a problem -- others have), but if everything checks out, it'll be a go!
The place we looked at and loved and had to say "no" to because it was listed too high for us to make necessary renovation changes and still remain within our budget -- the seller of that place is willing to come down $3oK to do business with us!
My Realtor says she knows of two places where builders will EXACTLY build what we want within our budgets, land included! So we'll be looking at those locations and options tomorrow..
There's a duplex we'll be looking at tomorrow to see if it's something we would like to own.
What does the Bible say about waiting on the Lord?
The good news is that On-Hold Concepts (www.onholdconcepts) has 140 new elder-living communities to create on--hold programs for. ("Don't end a sentence with a preposition, Kris." Thank you, English teachers across the globe. I know the rule. I break it to write the way people talk. )
The bad news is, they are all coming in like a tsunami. None of us got a breather once yesterday and probably won't until shortly before Christmas, when all the holiday and post-holiday on-hold programs for literally thousands of business customers will be fulfilled. Eegads!
But this is a GOOD problem to have! THANK GOD FOR OUR THOUSANDS OF HAPPY CUSTOMERS! Without them, we wouldn't have jobs we love -- creating riveting on-hold programs!
I loathe "samo-ol', same-ol' on-hold programs made by other companies. The 140 new elder communities we just got had an on-hold company that was just awful. I heard some of their programs while waiting to talk to the community's executive directors, and wanted to put my finger down my throat.
I don't know how most companies get away with the drek they foist on their callers... I really don't.
It's why YOU hate being put on hold, isn't it? You either get silence (and wonder if you have been cut off the moment you hear a click), a radio station (which is illegal and which more than likely runs commercials of the competitors you're calling), or you get cookie-cutter, almost Lily Tomlin-esque "operator" shtick that is far from funny (as Lily was!) or nowhere near riveting. You have to "endure" some on-hold programs. When you call On-Hold Concepts clients, you actually ENJOY the wait. Some callers have even asked to be put back on hold after their conversations so they can hear the cross-promotion of additional services the company provides! Now, THAT'S a successful, truly-riveting on-hold program! Why would a company put out money for an on-hold program and then settle for anything less? It astonishes me.
I guess they just don't know about On-Hold Concepts yet. Tell them, will you! Send them this link: http://www.onhold.concepts.com/. If the link doesn't ring their bell, their bell is without its clapper!
Okay, I'm jumping off my soap box now. I love what we do for businesses (can you tell?) because I've been so negatively impacted, as you have, by on-hold companies that do it so poorly.
I was pretty wiped out when I got home from work -- no kidding! -- so I just wrote an email or two and left it at that. No blog. Sorry. (My emails sometimes resemble blogs -- they can go on for a good fifteen minutes at times, especially when I'm passionate about a topic and "working on all thrusters", as I was last night.)
More good news is that someone is coming to look at my condo this morning at about the time I'll be watching Casey's soccer game (unless the game is canceled because of weather). Tomorrow from 1-4 there will be an Open House for the condo (I'll be out and about or at Jackie's then), and Tuesday there will be a Brokers Open House here. All good news!
I've decided to de-list the condo at the end of October if I don't get a buyer before then, so the heat is on. I'm so ready to have an ending to this drawn-out story (condo-selling, duplex-buying) it isn't even funny...
It would be nice if it were a happy ending, but you know what? I know God knows our future (my sis Jackie and me) and if He doesn't want us to get a duplex together for some unforeseen reason, I'm going to abide in His wisdom.
Maybe one of us are on the cusp of going to heaven and He doesn't want the other one burdened with renting out half of a duplex to people to stay afloat. I've seen renters -- too many of them trash places they rent, since it isn't theirs and they have animosity toward having to pay "exorbitant" prices for a roof over their heads without receiving any of the benefits of home ownership.
I don't know what the future holds -- but I know Who holds the future, and I trust Him to steer us wisely -- even if it's to thwart plans we make. "Man makes plans and God laughs!"
Update on Alison: Ms. Winters won't be flying to the U.S. this year. The person who wanted t0 buy her flat couldn't sell theirs, so she's back to square one.
This is distressing to Ali, but -- ta daa! -- God has a plan! I know next year after April will be a much better time both for a visit (I'll have time off coming then) and for making plans to find a job and stay in the US of A to work as an actor, should that bounty fall her way. And knowing Alison --and God! -- I have total faith it will, if she'll take this time to "prepare the way of the Lord" so He can get something done on her behalf that will bless His kingdom as much as it blesses her -- and the rest of us who will get to say "We knew her when"!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Ready, Aim, Fire?
That doesn’t sound very peaceable, does it?
But it got your attention, fer darn tootin’ sure!
Ain’t I a stinker?
Now I have to give you something worthy of your attention, or you won’t trust me anymore. WAAAHHH! That’s a scary thought…
OK. Let’s try this:
(Ooh, that’s a lie. IMMEDIATE loss of trust, there, Kris. You must not lie!)
It would have to be an immaculate conception for me to be pregnant now or at any other earlier time in my life – as I’ve never been exposed to the elements that make conception possible in mammals… (Why do I blush revealing this? Well… How many 56 years old virgins do you know who aren’t nuns? One. Exactly one. That would be – me.)
As far as I can tell, there has been only one – count ‘em, one -- immaculate conception in all history (in humans; some reptiles seem, on rare occasions, able to accomplish this), unless you consider that Abraham and Sarah had a baby at ages 100 and 90 respectively, or that many barren wombs became fecund after God said they would in the Old Testament… I’m believing that the Holy Spirit only planted His seed once, though, because that’s what the Bible says. Those other births occurred through human agency and human agency alone (most assuredly at God’s command).
Pastor Wolfson cracked me up one time when he "portrayed" 100 year old Abraham shuffling around on a cane after Sarah with a happy grin on his face saying, "God said! God said!" -- and Sarah shooing him away: "You’ve got to be kidding! At our age?! Are you on something?!"
It’s no wonder Sarah laughed, or that Isaac means "laughter." God has a wonderful sense of humor, methinks!
Okay, I’ve run that subject into the ground. And to think it all started with a lie: "I’m pregnant."
So, what else is new that’s REAL?
It’s pretty miserable weather here right now. It’s not dangerous, or impassible – there’s no snow or ice – but boy howdy, it is on the verge of buck-naked cold. And it’s wet. Monsoon-ish wet. Not a good day for anything but ducks and geese, methinks… oh, and fish, too.
I’m trying to fast today except for liquids. I’m nearly ten pounds heavier than I was two months ago and that’s because I have been eating "comfort food" for that long while this condo stuff goes on and on and on and on and on and…
I could kill myself with such "comfort" I’m giving myself! This has to stop!
So I bought some Weight Loss Shakes at Costco last weekend. Problem is, I like them so much that I’ve been combining them with sandwiches and TV dinners -- not a good strategy. They are supposed to substitute for meals, not complement them. It happens every time I get them. Or has. Until today.
Today I placed three shakes into my lunch carrier and put lots of ice around them. I plan to drink them when it’s time for the mid-morning snack, and at lunch, and for the afternoon snack… in lieu of the other stuff I’ve been bringing… which isn’t bad, but in combination with the shakes are over-kill, calorie-wise…
Maybe I need to join Celebrate Recovery at church on Mondays so I can celebrate my victory over Weight Loss shakes and hamburgers… Do you think people would laugh?
Hey, weight control is my issue. I don’t have addictions to drinking, smoking, sex, drugs or even rock and roll and TV. My sole stronghold seems to be in the eating-binge department.
Being overweight by thirty five pounds keeps me feeling not quite "worthy" to go forth and do great things. Why it should bother me as much as it does is a wonder – "super-sized" Pastor John Hagee has no such problem, nor does the amazingly anointed (and slimming down) TD Jakes.
But for some reason, my own personal weight challenge seems to "prove" (to myself) that I’m not 100% sold out in my faith walk or I’d have my eating disorder under control. Wouldn’t I? Are the yearnings of my stomach juices a false idol? I dunno.
As I say, I’m sure Hagee and Jakes are sold out to the Lord. Their bulk doesn’t negate that in my eyes in the least.
People come in all shapes and sizes and I’m okay with that for the most part, except when it comes to myself. I feel sorry for the morbidly obese, as I’ve been there in the past. If not for intestinal bypass surgery, I would still be there. Sure, it’s largely metabolic… always has been. Skinny dudes can be skinny eating three times what I eat.
But face it – Weight Loss Shakes and hamburgers do not create svelte bodies. Much of my problem is what I put into my mouth – and the amount I put in there.
What part of me is still empty, I wonder? My spirit is full of God. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life spiritually.
Maybe it’s my emotional side. Maybe physical. I feel happier when I exercise, but I don’t exercise much.
I will next spring. I’m buying myself a bike in November (my family is buying me biking accessories for Christmas) so I can join Jackie and the McNivens and all the kidlets on their bike treks in Orting and elsewhere. I will love doing that. But between now and then, nothing else in the exercise realm calls to me.
I love tennis but, can’t find anyone inept enough at it to want to play me…
I love swimming but YMCA costs too much moolah… My indoor exercise equipment is all crammed into the garage because – you know the story – I’m trying to sell the condo and the living areas need to be "staged" inside…
So there you have it. All the reasons I’m gaining weight and loathing every extra ounce that goes on.
I am dressing better. That helps me feel better about myself. People at work probably think I’m looking for another job, I’m dressing so much better.
But I’m not. I’m just over-compensating for feeling too heavy…
It’s a pickle.
Pray for me.
I mean it. "The prayers of a righteous man (or woman) availeth much."
Maybe I need an accountability partner.
Vernita! I think I’m ready to mall walk again before work!
If you know anyone else who does this -- male or female -- share this with them. I'm sharing it with a fellow copywriter at work...
Do not belittle yourself with your words. Your words create your world.
Don't believe it?
God created the world with His words. What makes you think you don't?
By Borys Kit Thu Oct 18, 12:59 AM ET
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Lord of the Rings" veteran Karl Urban is strapping on a stethoscope to play Leonard "Bones" McCoy, the Starship's Enterprise's medical officer, in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" feature.
Chris Pine, meanwhile, closed his deal to star as the young Captain Kirk. He had been in talks to play Kirk as well as a role opposite George Clooney in Joe Carnahan's "White Jazz." The two movies overlapped, and Pine was forced to choose between them, opting to make the "Trek."
Abrams has been furiously casting "Trek," with John Cho (Sulu), Simon Pegg (Scotty) and Eric Bana (the villainous Nero) joining the film last week.
Also on board are Zoe Saldana as the young Uhura, Anton Yelchin as the young Chekov and Zachary Quinto as the young Spock. Leonard Nimoy, who originated the role of Spock, also will be part of the film.
The Paramount Pictures project is expected to shoot from November to March.
Plot details are begin kept under wraps, but it is understood that the movie chronicles the early days of the Enterprise crew.
The character of McCoy, originated by DeForest Kelley, didn't trust advanced technology and frequently sparred with Spock in debates of logic vs. emotion. Bones also was responsible for several of "Trek's" catchphases, including "He's dead, Jim" and "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a . . .," ending in a profession in which he had no training.
Urban, from New Zealand, played Eomer in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. His feature credits include "The Bourne Supremacy" and "Pathfinder."
Amy Grazda from New York writes, in answer to yesterday's final question of the day on my blog about why it's so hard for people to believe that Jesus is the full meal deal and that "Jesus light" (pick your favorite Jesus, even if you don't believe he's at the right hand of the Father as we speak) is easier to swallow:
Good morning. I read your blog last night....GREAT WRITING!!! But you wonder why it is so hard for people to believe?? Well...easy answer....since I was an atheist a little over a year and a half ago, I know how it is not to believe!!
It is hard because in this day and age, everyone is into VISUAL things......If it is right there in front of you, it is easy to believe in. There are so many VISUAL distractions between computers, phones, TVs, yada yada yada.......people use these things as FALSE IDOLS, so why would they need to look for anything more, especially when you can't SEE IT!!!
To repeat again, you know the saying SEEING IS BELIEVING!!!
Just like Jesus when was resurrected, and he went and showed Thomas the holes in his hands to show that it was really him.....and when Thomas said he believed, Jesus then said, "It is easy for you to believe because I am standing here in front of you, but what about the people that won't be able to see me??" They are blessed by faith waaaaaaaay beyond sight! Their faith in Jesus is what saves them!
I think I have answered your question????
Indeed you have, Amy. Any other respondents to this puzzling phenomenon?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I’m shorn (sheared?) and shining (hair-wise). It’s Wednesday, which means it’s my day to do the production sheet at On-Hold Concepts (www.onholdconcepts.com).
The thought no longer gives me even a minor case of the nerves, after 20 or more times doing it. I have a new skill! (Not that it’s terribly transferable, but hey… it proves my brain is still working.) (Ohhh… I guess being an "award-winning" copywriter also proves my brain is working. Sheesh…)
Don’t ask me what kind of award. You know what kind of award. The On-Hold Concepts Traveling Trophy Award. I won it just yesterday – for being a good co-worker and representative of my company when I’m out and about (and within). I really should take a picture of it. It’s unique as only individuals can make it. It started out as a trophy that shows a man taking a bull by the horns and throwing it over his shoulder. Since its purchase, numerous things have been added: an On-Hold Concepts CD, tassels from a hula skirt, quotations from Tony Robbins and Ronald E Osborn, a pink plastic doll slipper, a teensy weensy bottle of Tabasco sauce, a stick-on smiley face, a keychain that reads, "You’re Number 1 With us!" – and the two things I added. It makes me smile…
I haven’t won any writing awards yet (much to my chagrin but not to my surprise.) Ought to win the most prolific blogger award, though. I can’t seem to shut up when I get home. After a long day of writing…. I just keep on writing!
It’s an obsession.
I’m gonna help the women’s ministry leader create this year’s Christmas publicity again. Vernita asked and I said, "You bet’cha!" Any creative work I can do for the church – yes, yes, and YES! I was given this writing passion by God, so using it to bless his church is perfect use of it. I’d like to do it more. Alas, they took the creative aspects away from me when I was there. Gave ‘em all to a fellow with a graduate degree in communications. Nice fellow. I like him. I don’t like that they gave him every single one my favorite tasks, but I like him! He’s a truly wonderful fellow!
It’s why I didn’t stay. I’m so freakin’ good as an administrative assistant that, in all earlier positions, I was always getting diverted to those tasks (same thing in Hollywood at the studios). I’ve had enough of administrative work for the rest of my life. Writing is my passion, so I figure it’s the thing I need to be doing till I croak. (Can I write in heaven, God?)
Jackie and I have another duplex to look at. I hope and pray this one is it – it’s well within our price range, and that means we’d have extra to fix it up if it needs it –- lawn irrigation, fence, what have you. Jackie will drive by it today and see what she thinks. (We’ll get inside later, if it looks good from the outside.)
I sure wish something would happen so we could settle in and feel truly "at home" again! That would be a good thing! But I do believe in waiting on the Lord. He’s working out a plan – if we jump the gun, we might shoot His plan for us in the foot… and that would be foolish to the max!
The last part of Jacob’s book (The Year of Living Biblically) was less satisfying than the first three quarters. He wrote at the outset that he felt that truly applying Christian biblical principles and praying to Christ as Lord and Savior would be negating his Jewish background and heritage, and he generally interviewed the more fringe/outlandish folks in Christianity (snake charmers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc -- but he did notice in every denomination how deeply and enthusiastically we love one another in church, the true test of a Christian environment). Maybe he did that in the first three quarters (visited the far out/most "weirdly" devout in the Jewish faith), too, and I just didn’t notice it because I’m not well-enough versed in that community of faith to recognize who’s mainstream and who’s to the right or to the left or beyond the pale. But without immersing oneself in the "culture" of church (or synagogue, or mosque) and interacting over a period of time with a core group of people, how can anyone truly be captured by the spirit of God that has captured them?
All this said, I must remember and repeat to y’all that AJ’s book is great for what it is: a book of humor. AJ wasn’t in the experience for a year to be captured…
But anyone with a true passion to interface with God will find Him. He’s not in the least bit elusive to those who seek Him – which is what the Bible reveals from Genesis through Revelation. God isn’t playing hide and seek – he wants us to find him. Playing at finding God is not going to win the prize.
But I still love AJ Jacobs. I just think that, like so many others, much of his agenda involves (as he revealed) staying in control of himself and of any situations he faces. Those who are rigidly in control of themselves rarely, if ever, find God. God is found when we get to the end of ourselves and realize there’s something more -- a whole lot more!
I’ll pray for him. I’d like to see AJ get a relationship going with God – Hebrew, Christian – I really don’t care which! Jesus was/probably still is Jewish -- but He loves every one on earth and wants us all to "get" what he did for all of us.
Why is this so hard to believe? Will someone please write in and tell me the answer to this puzzling question?
It stumps me utterly.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
My condo has been re-listed at rock bottom real estate prices for what it is. If it doesn’t sell by month’s end, I’m taking it off the market and living in it for several more years – or until I croak, whichever comes first.
If it doesn’t sell, I can bring stuff back into the house that I haven’t had ready access to in five months, and I will be able to park my car in the garage once again. For the winter months, that’s necessary unless I want to spend inordinate amounts of time scraping the windows, warming the car and, in general, making it habitable and survivable for the drive to work.
I put new tires on it. Just got the front tires replaced a week ago; the back tires were attached in January, so they’re almost new. (I don’t drive a lot.)
A week from today Alison Winter (http://senoritainvierno.blogspot.com) will be arriving at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (God willing and the creeks don’t rise). I will make her comfy a hundred or more De portrayals and appearance so she’ll have something to do during the hours I’m at work. That should keep her busy for a good three weeks straight unless she OD’s on De and cries "Uncle!" (Do Brits cry "Uncle?") Don’t know that she’ll be here three weeks, though: she appears to have plans for warmer climes during November and December. I’ll find out more about her "shed-jool" when she gets here…
This time of year I’m going to seem like a drag, methinks. The sky goes dark around 6 (by December it’ll be dark at 5:00) and by seven my eyelids are coming down around my shoe tops. During the summertime, I have a lot of energy because there are 17 hours of daylight – but in winter we’re lucky if we have seven hours. My circadian rhythms are definitely solar-powered. I’m even thinking that my moods and attitudes are solar-powered. I have been cranky twice this week – just briefly, because I kick myself and get out of them almost as quickly as they appear. I don’t recall being cranky even once all summer long. This is the time of year when isolation is good for me.
I’m not happy being a bear, but being a bear is kinda native to me fall and winter. But I fight it and am good actor, so in most cases the bear just peaks out upon occasion in language that is unbefitting a Christian woman. I believe I uttered the f word this morning when the timesheet wouldn’t come up to log into – for seven minutes. (Clarification: I didn’t say the f word for seven minutes – I said the f word – very quietly in an empty room -- at the mid-way point in the seven minute frustration, then repented and used much less foul words, like "sugar jets," a word I came up with as a kid that has served me well for a lot of years when frustrated…)
Terri tints and cute my hair tonight starting at six o’clock. Wahoo!!! Tomorrow at noon I’ll be going to Safeway to get a flu shot. (My co-pay is so high that I’ll actually save money getting the inoculation at Safeway.)
I’m going to sell a book to Terri tomorrow. She asked me about it last time I was in for a haircut. A relative of hers is a big TREK fan and she wants to give him my De book for Christmas.
Hey, gang – now there’s a thought! Do you know any other TREK fans (or animal fans, or Hollywood fans, or Christianity fans) who might enjoy receiving a copy of one of my books from you this holiday season? Put on your thinking caps. If you can’t think of anyone to get a book for, get my books for me!
Ain’t I shameless? Sometimes I astound myself. Hey, "If you don’t ask, you don’t get!" Carolyn (Mrs Kelley) always told me that. It’s even biblical. "Ask and ye shall receive…"
I am also going to leave a "lobby copy" of the De book at the hair dresser with the website address and toll free number attached to the back of it… in the hope people will pick it up and start to read it and get hooked and want to buy the whole thing… or get one for a friend or relative for Christmas. I made two other "lobby copies" out of the two others I have left over from the Vegas convention and am trying to pick the two best lobbies in Tacoma to put them in. Does anyone have any ideas? A medical lobby would be good…
Oh My Goodness! I just got back from the staff meeting. I’m taking my break now to tell you I was awarded On Hold Concepts’ (www.onholdconcepts.com) Traveling Trophy for "Employee of the Quarter"! I’m thrilled to the tips of my toes and up to my eyes in sighs because the award is given by my peers. That’s HUGE to me!
But now the pressure’s on: Winners of the Traveling Trophy have to add something to it before it goes to the next recipient in three months, so I have to come up with something "appropriate." If I had some Spock ears, I would put those on it. Everybody around here calls me the Trekkie. Imagine that. (Well, I suppose it’s worlds better than being called DE-Mented…)
I have a very stretchable rubber alien I’ll attach, and will cut out the photo of the transporter that was on my On-Hold Concepts post card at the TREK convention. That should satisfy those who think of me as their own personal space cadet.
That should satisfy their funny bones. Thinking about what else I might place there instead will give me a headache…so I officially quit thinking any more about it right NOW!
But quit thinking about the honor of receiving the Traveling Trophy?? Not on your life… Not for the rest of this week, anyway!
I’ll take a photo and put it into my archives.
Sigh upon sigh upon sigh…
I work at the best place on the planet!
Monday, October 15, 2007
I’m enjoying the stuffing out of The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs. It’s very funny and has so many good tidbits of Biblical insight and history throughout that it’s substantive as well as humorous – something I appreciate, since I’m not necessarily into humor for the sake of humor.
I adore Dave Barry and tend to write the way he does when I write humor. Jacobs’ humor is tamer than Barry’s, but no less entrancing and at-times juvenile (which is just fine in short spurts). There’s a kid in all of us and when that part of us gets delighted, there’s almost nothing more fun!
The first three quarters of the book is mostly concerned with aspects of Jewish faith, except for brief forays into visits with lesser-known and lesser-followed sects of Christianity (a creation museum, an Amish farm and family, a visit with a Jehovah’s Witness member who Jacobs’ apparently out-visited: after three and a half hours, the fellow excused himself and went home at 11:30 that evening).
What Jacobs finds wherever he goes are sensitive, good-natured, sold-out souls living for the Lord in whatever flavor their Lord comes in. He learns to value the hearts and sensibilities of others and makes a lot of friends along the way (as we do, following along on his adventure).
I love humor when it’s good-natured and self-effacing – and Jacob’s is all of that. There’s nothing cruel or insensitive about anything he says when he does make an observation or a joke. I think he’s a sweet guy at heart.
When he dances with Hasidic Jews ("who danced like David danced") he gets caught up in the "joy of the Lord" in a way that has never occurred to him before. It’s fleeting and at first embarrassing and perhaps a wee bit frightening, but he "goes with the flow" and finds himself enjoying the freedom of behaving wildly ecstatic as he praises with his body. It’s just terrific!
I worship at a non-denomination church with numerous Pentecostals, and have seen some wild gyrations myself. They always bring joy to me and a smile to my face. My shyness keeps me from joining those who worship this way, but my spirit absolutely loves and leaps at the wild abandon that Pentecostals display when praising the Lord.
There are also Lutherans at CFAN – and every other denomination. You can tell by looking around which worshippers came from which denominations, almost. There are those who stand stock still, thinking the noisier, gladder portions of the congregation have lost their ever-lovin’ minds… and those who are "catching the spirit" and raising their hands waist-high, shoulder high or as high as they can reach; there are the members of Jewish Dance, who dance to the Lord; there are the prone or the kneeling, who contact the spirit of God in those ways. The deaf church signs the songs and sermons, leaving the sighted often in tears as we watch the translator using hand signals that so-well capture the essence of a word ("spirit," "God" and "Hallelujah" in sign language are lump-in-the-throat hand movements).
But back to A.J. I think his book is important because people will read it for the humor and may decide to look into the Book he’s living by (or trying to, with varying degrees of success at every turn) to find out why so many people have endeavored to live by it. Any attempt to do so definitely transforms one’s thoughts, views and behaviors -- not a bad outcome at all…
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I rushed home from church to be here in time (noon) to reconnect with Billie Rae Walker (in New York) on the phone. (Billie Rae interviewed me for STARTREK.COM and STAR TREK MAGAZINE, as you may recall. We met in Vegas at the TREK convention in August after corresponding for almost a year.) Things have been so nuts with me here that we haven't talked on the phone since before the convention.
When I got home I had a voice mail from her. Her car broke down in the way to or from church; her brother and sister in law are en route to rescue her. She'll call again as soon as she gets home... Gads... I hope the weather is decent over New Yawk way. It's lovely here in the Pacific NW at the moment. We even have sunshine after a very foggy morning...
Sad news. One of the young men who went through our ministry course at Church For All Nations (CFAN) lost his life in Iraq this past week. His name was Jeremy Burris, and he was 22 years old, from Texas.
CFAN has been very blessed to have lost just one fighting man. Our congregation is pretty much jam-packed with soldiers and their families from the famous Stryker Brigade (and other military brigades Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy), so we have prayed for and sent many off to war. Until this incident, all of them have come back alive and well.
Jeremy was proud to serve, and said that if he lost his life there, he couldn't imagine any better cause to lose it for, as a devout Christian devoted to setting people free from oppression. To find out more about him, here's a link to his hometown newspaper, where he is remembered:
Pray for his family. Jeremy himself is now just fine, living with the Lord... ("To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.") That doesn't make it much easier for his family, but it does make it surviveable to know they will see him again...
I have two new books to recommend. The first is Lee Strobel's The Case for the Real Jesus, A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ. I was up until 1 am reading it. Bought it around 1 pm at Costco. Couldn't out it down until the last page. It's just fabulous!
The back cover reads (in part) :
"In this dramatic investigation, award-winning writer and former legal editor Lee Strobel explores such controversial questions as:
* Did Christianity suppress "alternative gospels" that portray Jesus more accurately than the New Testament?
* Did the church distort the truth about Jesus by tampering with early biblical texts?
* Have fresh insights and explanations finally disproved the resurrection?
* Were the essential beliefs about Jesus stolen from earlier mythology?
* Have new objections disqualified Jesus from being the Messiah?
Evaluate the evidence for yourself as leading experts grapple with the latest objections from today's foremost critics. Then reach your own verdict in The Case for the Real Jesus.
The six current and most-often voiced "challenges" to the veracity of the "Christ as Savior and Messiah" claim are these:
"Scholars are uncovering a radically different Jesus in ancient documents just as credible as the four gospels."
"The Bible's portrait of Jesus can't be trusted because the church tampered with the text."
"New explanations have refuted Jesus' resurrection." The cross examination.
"Christianity's beliefs about Jesus were copied from pagan religions."
"Jesus was an impostor who failed to fulfill the Messianic prophecies."
"People should be free to pick and choose what to believe about Jesus."
The book concludes with two appendices. Appendix A is a summary of evidence from Strobel's earlier book, The Case for Christ. Appendix 2 offers helpful websites to investigate the real Jesus, to help separate the wheat from the chaff that exists across the Internet and around the world within different major religions.
About the author, Lee Strobel: Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, the former award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, is a New York Times best-selling author of nearly 20 books and has been interviewed on numerous national networks including ABC, PBS, CNN, and Fox.
He has won numerous journalistic awards. He has a free e-newsletter. Access it at LeeStrobel.com.
If you read both LEARN THE BIBLE IN 24 HOURS by Chuck Missler and THE CASE FOR THE REAL JESUS by Lee Strobel, you will begin to understand why it's vitally important to join a Bible study, if you haven't joined one already. There are very real consequences to living "Christian Lite" and to ignoring the claims Jesus made about himself. You are in a position to save lives for eternity, but until you believe the facts about Jesus as they are laid out in the Holy Bible (Old and New Testaments), to the core of your being, the likelihood that you will become an eternity-saver for someone you love and want to be with in heaven is pretty close to nil.
The next book I want to recommend (even though I haven't read it yet -- I will start on it later today and take this segment away if I'm not as crazy about it as I expect to be) is The Year of Living Biblically, One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, by A.J. Jacobs. It has been recommended by Bruce Feiler (author of Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born), P.J. O'Rourke, Rabbi David Ellenson (president of Hebrew Union College), and Rev. Jim Wallis (author of God's Politics, a book I recommended a few months back for anyone who votes in this country).
The jacket cover reads (in part):
Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, AJ Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible at literally as possible for one full year... [including stoning adulterers!] The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal and will make you see history's most influential book with new eyes... He immerses himself in prayer, tends sheep in the Israeli desert, battles idolatry, and tells the absolute truth in all situations -- much to his wife's chagrin. Throughout the book, Jacobs also embeds himself in a cross-section of communities that take the Bible literally. He tours a Kentucky-based creationist museum and sings hymns with Pennsylvania Amish. He dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and does scripture study with Jehovah's Witnesses. He discovers ancient biblical wisdom of startling relevance. And he wrestles with seemingly-archaic rules that baffle the twenty-first century brain. Jacob's extraordinary undertaking yields unexpected epiphanies and challenges. A book that will charm readers both secular and religious, The Year of Living Biblically is part CliffNotes to the Bible, part memoir, and part look into worlds unimaginable. Thou shalt not be able to put it down.
"A hilarious memoir." -- Time
"Tender... Entertaining." -- Janet Naslin, The New York Times
"Inspired and inspiring." -- Vanity Fair
I expect to laugh and learn!
May as well get started... until the phone rings and Billie is there to say, "I'm home, safe and sound!"
Be well. Read! Let me know what you think of these two books after you've read them. Also let me know what you think of LEARN THE BIBLE IN 24 HOURS, which I have been recommending for months. Let's get a discussion going!
Friday, October 12, 2007
Whee! I got it all back!
I was in a low mood yesterday and had "none of the above" to animate what felt like a lifeless corpse. Very unlike me, wouldn’t you say?
I wanted to fight. Or take the day off. (There you have it: Fight or flight!)
I wanted to isolate and vegetate. (There you have it: Hibernation!)
I still do want to isolate and vegetate – but my mood and attitude about it are better today - and now that it’s Friday afternoon, I am very close to being able to do it! I shall become a reclusive curmudgeon all weekend. And no one will be any the wiser except those of you who read my blog! You’re in on the secret! Shhh! (Recharging my batteries so I can be human again on Monday.)
I don’t know how people do it who have to go home to boisterous families after a day at work. I think I would commit homicide or suicide if I had to be "on" all the time and never had any solitude time to myself… I burn the candle at both ends at work and at play, so when I get home, I collapse!
I’m emailing to myself a huge file of copy (messages) I’ve written for clients since arriving at On-Hold Concepts (www.onholdconcepts.com). Just got to thinking the other day I ought to have samples to share so that if someone contacts me about writing content copy for their website or what-have-you in my spare time (to earn extra cash), I will have a file to send them.
I’ve also emailed to myself a list of accomplishments and compliments from co-workers, clients and others so I can include those to show I’m a talented, quick turn-around individual who’s fun to work with. This blog and a number of Internet-based interviews are too relaxed and much too casual to serve as a "banner ad" for what I can do for a businessman or social activist. The folks who get ahead in this world stand up and show off… at least a little. I need to learn to do some of that… as much as the "shy" me resents and wants to reject the thought…
I’m nearly finished with Right Turns by Michael Medved. He lives here in the Pacific Northwest now, too. I’ll catch his talk show on KVI (or wherever) this weekend and see if I like it. I have truly enjoyed his book, even though it’s not kind to liberals – but then, what he says about them is true, and the truth often hurts. (As a lapsed liberal, I can say this with a degree of self-deprecation.)
I wish people would stop thinking of each other as "them and us" and just think about the many concerns we share. I think the "red state, blue state" mentality gets us absolutely nowhere.
It reminds me of the time when I worked as an animal welfare advocate. There was a show here called TOWN MEETING hosted by Ken Schram. I was working at the Animal Protection Institute at the time and one of the show’s producers called me to ask if I would be a "voice for the animals" as the show debated the question, "Animal Research: A Necessary Evil?"
I was all set to do the honors, but then the producer asked me, "Now, you are totally, 100% against all animal research, is that correct?" I said, "No, that isn’t correct."
Wrong answer! They didn’t want a moderate – they wanted a radical.
They got someone else who was 100% against animal research from another organization (PAWS) and had him debate a doctor who was 100% for animal research without reservation.
The result would have been a Circus Maximus of sorts, pitting two absolutely opposed opinions against the other with no possibility whatsoever of reaching a middle ground of concensus. I knew it would be just awful, so I drove to Seattle to be in the audience.
After the two opposing sides got in their licks against each other, I raised my hand and said, "I have interviewed animal researchers, and one of the most prolific of them said that 80% of basic animal research is utterly devoid of utility value, seeking results that will benefit neither humans or animals. What this tells me is that $80 of every $100 dollars spent for research is being thrown into the toilet and that 80 of every 100 animal lives are being wasted to benefit no one. So my question is this: Since it was proven 40 years ago that smoking causes cancer, why are we still making beagles smoke cigarettes in laboratories?"
Long, long pause as the information settled in. Utter silence. Then I said, "Instead of playing this pit-one-against-the-other nonsense, why don’t we work together, on both sides, and concentrate on the 80% of research and wasted animal lives that is doing no one any good, so we can invest more money in the research that actually benefits animals and humans?"
Applause. From animal welfare supporters and doctors.
Schram asked me if I was utterly opposed to animal research. I posed the thought: "Would I sacrifice my cat to save my nephew’s life? Of course I would. But it would hurt and I would cry. Most scientists regard animals as tools – like knives and forks - instead of as creatures with nervous systems, needs and a wish to be without discomfort and pain. This is where I have a problem with animal research. Honorable animal research should be with an eye on results that will make a difference and should be done on animals with a genuine need for the therapies being developed – not perpetrated on healthy ones."
I get so riled when people stand on each side of a chasm and shout at each other instead of throwing a log across and seeing if they can come together in the middle and agree not to throw each other off the log. Civilization rests on the ability of people to reason together.
What we see on most programs and in most of politics these days is hardly "reasoning together." It’s more like "throw momma from the train" and "throw those who disagree with us under the bus."
And it stinketh. To high Heaven.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I also have a few new music CD’s. Heard a fellow on TBN, Michael O’Brien, whose history (less-than-stellar till he was born again), voice and lyrics (angelic) all resonated immensely. I bought a few of his CD’s, used.
(Note: I buy everything used that I can. That way I can afford to get more and readily share those I bought. If I shell out $20 for a book, I’m much less likely to give it away to someone when I’m finished with it.
Just finished reading Hypnotic Writing by Joe Vitale. A lot of what I do when writing is "hypnotic" –- by that, I mean what Joe means: Grab attention with easy, active words and take the reader on an adventure. And don’t let them go, even for a sentence. Most advertisers use hypnotic writing. If they want to sell what they’re offering, they’d be nuts not to!
Right now I’m reading Right Turns by Michael Medved. I saw him at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood numerous times. He’s Jewish and in the thick of all things spiritual; his friends span the gamut of spirituality (as all true spirituality should, since God wants us in fellowship with our friends and sharing prayers for our enemies). Medved was at FPCH for the annual blessing of entertainment industry people who worship at FPCH. I think he was also there to see David Wilkinson, the author of THE PRAYER OF JABEZ, when he was ministering there, but am not certain about that.
Right Turns is Medved’s history of how he went from being a liberal secular Jew to being an observant, practicing conservative Jew. It’s very interesting. I don’t agree with all of his conclusions or about his descriptions of the political candidates he supported in the 60’s (as I supported a number of them wholeheartedly, even while his support was half-hearted. I have found little reason to second-guess the candidates and officeholders all these years later, especially since they were either assassinated or defeated electorally, so figuring out how the world would have been different had they succeeded is largely a crap shoot.) But what Medved writes is worth the read.
One caution: He uses so many compound words that the general reader might find him a bit of a chore to get through, but readers will elect to get past the obfuscation because he uses enough "hypnotic" language to keep you slogging ahead. His observations are very much worth considering. I, too, am more conservative as I get older, for many of the reasons Medved illustrates in this book.
I’m also on the last series of Pastor Alan Meenan’s Word Is Out Bible study. I started the series with Pastor Alan in 2001 while in southern California. When I moved back to Washington State in 2003 I continued the study via audiotapes and workbooks. I highly recommend the study! You can find out more about it at www.wordisout.org. At the conclusion of the study you will have read every word of the Bible, you will know the major divisions and emphases of each of the 66 books, where to find everything (within a few pages in most cases), and you’ll have a greater understanding of the Bible than the typical seminary graduate! (Why? Because the typical seminary graduate spends a lot of time learning about other religions, comparing them so they can contrast them as they go out and evangelize… In this course, the only book you study is the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments.)
Pastor Alan is fun to listen to, and yet so poignant as he teaches in spots, that he makes the subject matter truly come alive. I can’t even guess how many times he’s had me in tears over the awesome devotion of our God to those who fervently seek to hear Him across the ages.
This Bible study is the best on on the planet. Isn’t that a curious claim? I haven’t experienced all the Bible studies on the planet, so you might consider it a lame claim. Meenan himself would probably not make it. But I will, for him. If, after this Bible study, you don’t end up feverishly in love with God and pursuing Him as eagerly as He pursues you, there’s a screw loose somewhere! I have lots of screws loose, but the one that wants to know more about God has been shined up, tightened down, and is holding fast! I have Pastor Alan to thank for the foundation upon which my faith has been built and bolted. I have Pastor Alan (and others) to thank for the fact that I will be in heaven. They introduced me to Jesus.
And Jesus did the rest!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
The Tacoma Pierce County Business Expo is all day today. My session at the On-Hold Concepts booth (www.onholdconcepts.com) is from 1:30 to 3:00, so I will be having lunch at the usual time and then driving to the convention and conference center just in time for my shift. It should be fun. I’m looking forward to it.
Not that I’m gregarious --not by a long shot! This is a required attendance function or I would bow out in a heartbeat.
Face it: If I were comfortable at face-to-face promotion, I’d be on the road promoting the gospel and occasionally my own books – so it’s probably best that I don’t get terribly comfortable doing this kind of thing (from the bosses’ standpoint) Such repeated exposure might inoculate me against shyness and stage fright acquired at a tender age and create a new career for me, should I ever lose my nervousness about being "out there" in the thick of things! Acquiring this "skill" can be a double-edged sword!
I became a good writer because I needed to communicate (we all do) but was too shy to do it well; and too easily "shut down" by more adept, less-reticent talkers. When I write, readers are willing to "shut up" long enough to truly consider the logic and direction of my thought or argument before they respond, dissuade, promote or shoot down whatever it is I have to say. In a nutshell, writing gives me (and every other writer) the upper hand in a conversation or information exchange. People too often interrupt when face-to-face. (I do it, too. I’m trying to remind myself not to…) Who can get anywhere with a thought as long as people are so busy forming their own opinions that they have no inclination or left over brain space to consider someone else’s?
So that’s WHY I became a writer, but it isn’t why I remain one. (I’m not quite as shy as I was back in elementary and junior high school. ) I write now because I’m hooked on it. People respond in wonderful ways to what I write – even when they disagree! I guess being "an author" (or mini-celeb ‘cause of my association with De?) gives me a patina of "profundity" or "wisdom" I don’t otherwise receive in daily interactions with people who know me just as me ("a prophet has no honor in his own family" is how Jesus explained it, and he would know, by personal experience"!) … mostly because I don’t "expound" in daily interactions --- as when I’m on the telephone, I give my sound bite and stop… the logic or experience or heart behind it is not spotlighted. So why should people give any more attention to what I say than they do? It’s usually superficial blather that comes out of my lips. Yours, too?
The society we live in is so fast-paced now that most conversations are short-hand and only half-heard at that. Superficial blather or business-like targeted directions.
That’s stunting our growth as listeners and responders. What would happen if we asked, really asked, "How are you?" and gave the other person enough time to tell us? Instead, we say it as we’re heading across the courtyard or into a meeting or on our way somewhere else, in all too many instances.
"How are you?" can take an hour (sometimes hours) to answer. Who has the time or the inclination for that – or the honesty to respond to such an "invasive" question? "Fine" is about all we CAN say – anything else would require more time than we feel we are given by the one who asked the question!
Communion is not just a religious/spiritual concept – it’s a sacred concept in a non-religious manner as well. Communion means getting into each other’s soul and finding out what’s there – the good, the bad and the ugly, so work can be done down there cleaning up the mess and opening the windows and letting the oppressed go free.
Communication is, at its best, communion. Those are the conversations I love, where we’re all missing some mark and feeling just awful about it and wanting to do something about it. Wanting to heal and to find our way back to the kind of love we felt for each other as parents of newborns, as undamaged, the-sky’s-the-limit toddlers…
Those wee ones still exist inside each of us, but they’re covered with the gunk of a lifetime… Unearned hurts, bitter betrayals, remorse of things said or done or left unsaid or undone…
We’re all a mess. That makes us brothers and sisters – a good starting place for finding some kind of peace and acceptance and unconditional love for others just as messed up as we are…
Yeah. Love will find a way, if we’ll just give it free rein and not hobble it with judgments and recriminations.