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  • write to my grandmother every six weeks or so
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  • clean out and organize my writng/craft room
  • re-institute the cleaning plan
  • publish six books by September 2017
  • reach 120 to 125 pounds
  • walk the dog three times a week

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Party Like a Three-Year-Old Rock Star


This is my youngest niece Kaitlyn--she's wearing her rock star glasses and candy necklace she got in her Christmas stocking and looking as cute as a bug...

Happy New Year

I hope 2009 finds you healthy, happy, and content.
Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year

My Christmas vacation was good--too long, but not long enough. I found myself crying as we pulled onto the freeway out of town. I miss the mid-West.

We arrived in town before my sister and her crew, and enjoyed a calm and relatively quiet Monday evening and Tuesday day. Once they arrived all heck broke loose--four little girls, aged just-turned-three to almost eight, were swept up in hugs and kisses and rough-housing for the next four days--not by us five, however. Our family, with two adult daughters and a just-turned thirteen and into video games son, is used to a quieter and more orderly existence. My brothers and youngest sister seemed to just have to rile up one of the four little ones. And those four had issues of their own added to the scenario.

However, it was good to see my dad. He's in declining health for
various reasons, and I'll have to make sure I get to NE more often, just in case.

So all in all, a good time for most. I wish I could go back and maybe do a few things different during the visit, but there's always next time. And I'm thinking of having them all down here for Thanksgiving next year--
Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas to me...


Just a little blog stuffer to brighten my day...

 
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Down to the wire...

I leave for Nebraska in 6.5 days and I'm not done shopping. Argh...

Then I find out my family doesn't do stockings... What!!! No stockings?

Well, we do, so I had to buy seven stockings--three for my littlest sister and two brothers and four stockings for my nieces. *And* all the goodies to go in them. My siblings will get mostly candy and an ornament to remember our Christmas by; the nieces will get lots of fun stuff from stickers to hair doodles, and any other little goodies I can find for them. I hope they enjoy them.

Each year, I buy my kids a special ornament--one that has special meaning as to who they are or what they are into this year at whatever age they happen to be. When they move out they will have a batch of ornaments for their first tree and they can reminisce about Christmases past.

Normally, we have two trees in our house--a large one that is formally decorated, and then the small one with all the kids' ornaments on it. This year we just did the small one since we'll be out of town on the big day. The tree also includes those ornaments that the kids made over the years, from clothespin reindeer to paper doily angels with a child's face glued on. In fact, the paper doily angel with my son's face on it is the tree topper this year.

My oldest, who is almost 21, tells me every year how much she likes this tradition and looks forward to seeing what kind of ornament she'll be receiving.

Do you have a special Christmas tradition in your family?
Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Humor






Thursday, December 11, 2008

On writing...

Why do we write--those of us who feel compelled to do so?

Some enjoy the process. Some have stories in their heads that they have to get out. Some want to see their name on a book cover.

My interest in writing began with fan fiction. Not so much the writing at first, but the reading of it. When we first moved to Texas, money was tight. Too tight to buy books, and I sped through the local library's offerings pretty darn quick. My husband suggested I go online and find fan fiction--we had been watching Star Trek: Voyager at the time and that's what he suggested I search for. So I did. And I found a lot of stuff--some good, some not so much.

Then I discovered the TV show JAG and fell in love. I watched all the shows (re-running on USA Network) and moved on to JAG fan fiction, which I devoured like a hungry lion. As I read, I discovered some really good authors. And a lot of crap. Once I finally read through all the really good stuff I could find, I realized how discerning I was. Most of that probably came from the fact that I am a reader anyway, having read hundreds of books in my life. So I had a standard on which to base my determination on what was good and what wasn't.

And I finally decided that I could do better. So I did. I've written many a fan fic in several genres over the years. Looking back on those early fics, I can see how my writing has improved. Not that I'm up there with Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele or Tom Clancy. And I also know that I struggle terribly with certain aspects of creating a story.

But I'm a competent writer. I'm somewhat anal about spelling and punctuation, and I know there's always room for improvement on descriptions and such, but it is all a process. (As a side note, I'm listening to a Danielle Steel book in audio format, and let me tell you, her writing isn't perfect either, but she's Danielle Steele and can get away with it.)

All this blather to say that yesterday I posted a short JAG Christmas fic to a (JAG) message board I visit. Today I went back and found a dozen or so messages letting me know how much these various people enjoyed my story--and that they hoped I'd write/post more. Very feel-good & ego boosting. And I'll admit--it's immediate gratification. Better than slaving over a 350 page manuscript for months and months that may or may not ever see the inside of a bookstore.

So do I continue to pursue publication when I can get what I need from posting fan fic to a message board? I know I'll never be a Nora or a Danielle or a Tom, never make much money at this endeavor. One never knows, but I'm realistic--looking at my life and what's truly important to me. Writing is a hobby at this point. One I'll continue to pursue, and I immensely enjoy being around other writers and talk craft, and I enjoy learning about the craft. But when the frustration of not being able to string together a series of rising conflicts makes me want to throw in the keyboard, isn't writing fan fic and the immediate feedback I get a better investment of my time? And most writers will agree that any writing is better than no writing...

Well, I'm off to look at my 2009 budget and then maybe I'll work on a fic that I started a while back.

Read any good fan fic lately?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him...

Christ the Lord.

For one twelfth of each year, most of the world proclaims the name of Jesus.

Yep, pretty much for the whole month of December most of the world, and certainly the U.S., celebrates Christmas.

Well, guess what, you can't have Christmas without Christ. If God hadn't sent his Son to be born in a manger, there would be no celebration. There'd be no Hanukkah, no Kwanzaa either--it'd just be another month.


But the world decorates, sings Joy to the World and Oh Holy Night, and spends more money than they should to show family and friends how much they love them, all in the name of Christ.


Just remember, the greatest gift of all was Jesus--who came to earth as a man so that we wouldn't be afraid of Him in His true form as God and willingly paid the price for our sins. He who was without sin took on the sins of the world so that the world could be reconciled back to God.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." ~ John 3:16

Have you accepted the greatest gift of all?
Friday, December 5, 2008

Acclimation...



It's cold here in North Texas! Overnight we had lows in the twenties. Brrr!

When I took my daughter to school it was still just below freezing. While I wore my scarf and gloves, I did go without a coat--I'm trying to get ready for the real cold in Nebraska. (I will wear a coat up there for sure, though!)

My brother said it was pretty cold there right now...And I can't wait to enjoy a white (or even greyish) Christmas. It's been ten years since I spent Christmas in a snowy place. Maybe God will give me an added blessing of a fresh coat of snow overnight on Christmas--just to clean up the little part of the world where I'll be.
FYI- I shamelessly stole this from the Internet--this is not North Texas, but this is what I long to see...

Speaking of snow, do you have a special memory featuring that fluffy white stuff? Do share... (I'll share mine later.)
Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shopping...

I went Christmas shopping this morning...

First stop: Office Depot. Yes, I Christmas shop at Office Depot. I even found a super-dee-duper gift for my younger daughter for cheap cheap. It was on clearance for $50 but when the gal rang it up, it was only $20! I even asked if that was right, and the checker assured me it was. Wahoo!!

Next stop: Target was dead so it was nice for me to meander around the store and look. I found several good movies on sale--we cataloged all our movies a couple of weeks ago and we have... 178 movies! So my goal is to put us at or above 200. We usually buy 20-25 new movies each year at Christmas anyway so it's not really going to be a problem. (I did buy other stuff, but I won't bore you with a laundry list.)

Last stop: Albertsons--my sister wants a Longhorns hoodie and they used to carry that stuff. But now they are strictly Cowboys--ugh. Now I have to find someplace else--is Steve and Barry's going to be open for Christmas?

So how's your shopping going?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Movie Review

We watched "The Holiday" last night, with Jack Black, Kate Winslett, Jude Law, and Cameron Diaz.

It was a little slow getting started, and I had a hard time with the beginning of one of the story lines, but overall a cute movie. It had a an interesting plot twist I didn't see coming, but was a delightful surprise. I'm not sure if it's one I'll watch again, or over and over as I do some movies--maybe if I fast forward a bit to where the action starts to pick up.

Seen any good movies lately?


Monday, December 1, 2008

The Home Stretch

Wish I had a picture!However, I'll just tell you I have a kitchen floor. WOO HOO!! There's very little baseboard molding up as of yet--only behind the appliances so that we could put them back without having to move them again. But the expanse of laminate is beautiful to behold.

My husband and son worked doggedly this weekend to make it happen. There were a few glitches along the way, but nothing that wasn't overcome. Tonight, I think they plan on working on electrical--putting on the last few outlet covers, installing new light fixtures--they're tired of being on their knees.

The unfortunate casualty of this endeavor is my family room. They set up the power tools in there and now I have a nice coat of sawdust over the whole room. I'm just happy I didn't get around to cleaning it last week! I did spend a good fifteen minutes this morning wiping down the washer and dryer, however. Whew!

Now were somewhat back to normal for a week or two--maybe. Have a I ever mentioned how much I hate this time of year...?
Saturday, November 29, 2008

Real progress...

As I sat on my bum most of yesterday, my husband and my son worked steadily throughout the day and now I have a good portion of my new kitchen floor installed. And boy does it look different from the plywood!

I'll try to get a picture taken to show it off, but no promises--I'll have to scrounge up a camera.

I hope you all had a relaxing Thanksgiving, as I did. I hope the food was good and the company enjoyable. It was just the five of us sitting around the living room watching the tail end of the parade and then some football. We read, surfed the 'Net, and napped. And as far as I know, my hubby didn't do a lick of work, which is a feat, let me tell ya.

Well, let me go enjoy what remains of peace in my house before everyone else wakes up. Plus, I actualy have to start painting molding today.

I hope you continue to enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend--
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Almost there... and other topics.

We're getting closer...

the kitchen ceiling is done. And boy does it look nice. The trim around the light fixture is painted, too. The only wall left is the skinny sections above the cabinets. But that will take maybe thirty minutes from start to finish, including prep and cleanup.

Then I'll be in a holding pattern until DH can purchase and cut the baseboard, chair rail, and crown molding. His grand plan was to take half a day off work to do that, but it's turned into one of those days...

I did finally buy some new dishes so that I could dump my Ivy-patterned Corelle dishes. I was very excited--at first. Then, as I was unpacking the pieces, I discovered the serving bowl was broken. And I'm 99.99% sure *I* didn't break it. Bummer. Then as I washed each piece before putting it away, I discovered it really was a cheap set. But rather than be overly upset over either event (the broken bowl or the cheapness) I figured I could use them for now until I get something nice and with some quality, and then I can use this set as a backup if I ever have sooo many people eating at my house that that the good set just won't accomodate.

I also did some Christmas shopping this morning. Gotta get those gifts bought so I can get them mailed before we leave. I've got less than a month now, as we leave 12/22.

Well, gotta get back to work...


Monday, November 24, 2008

Back to the Kitchen

Well, my dear hubby has gotten motivated to get the kitchen done--completely. Finally.

I have a bit of painting left to do: a second coat on the ceiling, and a little bit of wall left, and then the moldings and door casings, and my part is finished.

We bought the flooring on Saturday so it could sit in our home and acclimate for several days.


Today, I'll have to buy more paint--the ceiling was super dry and sucked up a lot of paint. Floor installation starts Friday.

It'll be so nice to have my kitchen. I have a lot of patience as evidenced by the fact that it's been *three* years since we discovered the leak that started this project in the first place. But I am severely close to my breaking point. I want my house to look like a house, and I want it to look clean when it is clean--hard to do with plywood floors.

My house-cleaning system is working like a champ, although I'm not working the system like I should. However, it *is* Thanksgiving week and the kids are out of school, and hubby is on his home improvement jag--so I'll claim those things as excuses for not following the program 100%.

Happy Thanksgiving--my favorite part of the feast is pumpkin cake--what's yours?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Time to Clean, Eat...

I'm getting a jump start on my spring cleaning--I've come across an interesting system that I'm going to try. Something to help me not feel so overwhelmed by all the tasks in the house. This system covers everything from daily chores to seasonal tasks like cleaning windows. It gives a free day so you don't feel like you're always cleaning, and it allows for skipping tasks (or switching days if something comes up). It even accommodates working outside the home, too. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanksgiving snuck up on me--is it really next week? And not only that, we're not going anywhere so I have to cook! No one told me until this morning. The kids are out of school all next week, too... So now I have to plan Thanksgiving dinner and then cook it, too. Oh, joy. In my 15 years of marriage, I have only had to cook Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner a handful of times. How cool is that? I suppose though, that once my kids grow up and get married (and have kids of their own) the dinners will transition to my house--at least more often.

And Christmas and my trip to Nebraska are right around the corner, as well. I *have* started Christmas shopping as I'll have to ship my presents ahead--no room in our Scion xB for five of us *and* the gifts for sixteen people.

What are your Thanksgiving plans & menu?
Monday, November 17, 2008

When's the lull?

Been blowing and going for quite some time now. And with the holidays right around the corner, there'll be more to do--including a six-day trip to Nebraska (five of us packed in a Toyota Scion xB, how's that for fun?).

What happened to normal? Life used to be... how shall I put it... predictable? easy? Um... quiet?

Not quite any of these, but mostly.

My life went a certain way. I could count on it. Now there's no telling what a day will hold, and I gotta say, I don't like it. Not one little bit. I like routine. I like knowing what's going to happen on any given day (within reason, of course).

I hate chaos and yet home and work seem to be nothing but. Week in and week out, there's always some kind of drama going on.

Try as I might to force order in my world, I'm surrounded by people who are freer than me. Some who are spontaneous. Some who are young and oblivious to it.

Arghh... Calgon take me away!
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Online Writing Class

I'm taking an online writing class over the course of the next couple of weeks called 'Challenging Couples in Love' presented by Laurie Schnebly Campbell.

Our second assignment was to describe our hero & heroine in 75 words or less. Thankfully, Laurie included an example. However, as I was trying to do my homework and describe my happy couple (and the story), I suddenly realized that I didn't know their individual goals, motivations, and conflicts. Yikes! That must be why I hit a snag in the writing. I had been going great guns, but now I'm at a loss... Could it be because I really don't know what my hero and heroine want and why they want it? You betcha!

This part is always hardest for me--so back to the plotting board.

But now, when I sit down to plot the third story in this little trilogy, I'll know where I need to start.

When beginning a new story, what's the hardest part for you?
Monday, November 10, 2008

Writers Retreat

What a wonderful weekend I had out at Deer Lake Cabins in eastern Texas. My local RWA chapter held their annual Writers Roundup there.

The weather was gorgeous--70s during the day with cooler morning and evening temps, and crisp over-night temps.

These cabins, which are not cabins at all, but houses on a small lake, were stocked with all the basics but food.

The leaves were all sorts of rich fabulous fall colors, the company was fantabulous, the workshops fun and informative.

I came home reinvigorated to write. I even tried something new--our presenter Candy Havens called it a Treasure Map, but most would call it a collage. So I created a treasure map for my book--I was limited though because the bulk of my story takes place in 1942. There was only one magazine that had anythings whatsoever to do with the 1940s. I'll have to add a few more things now that I'm home with access to a PC and the Internet.

Overall a wonderful break.
Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back to Israel... Last one I promise--at least for now!

All right, the last two posts where a lead in to this one. Basically, based on the Scripture from the first post (Genesis 3: 12) and to the second post (the reasons why Israel's land is Israel's land) comes this: What happens to those who try to take away the land given to the Jews by Almighty God. Well, since the Nation of Israel's creation in 1948, there have been a handful of wars--all of them won by Israel--or if they weren't actually won, the conflict ended decidedly in Israel's favor. Now you've got to understand, Israel is a nation the size of New Jersey, and her military started off pretty small--undermanned and out-gunned. But she stood and prevailed against some of the world's evilest regimes. These days, Israel has a unique military system in place, but that's not what I'm here to tell you.

Back to the Scripture and its ramifications for the US... (Just a refresher--Genesis 12: 3: And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse)

We're not going to go all the way back to 1948. We'll start with 1991-1992 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush...

On October 18, 1991, the US announced an upcoming Madrid peace conference with the USSR, Israel, some Arab nations, and the Palestinians ~ ~ On October 20, 1991 the Oakland (CA) Firestorm began; it was the greatest fire and loss of life since 1906 in the US.

October 30 & November 1, 1991 was the Madrid Middle East peace conference ~ ~ October 30 & November 1, 9991, the worst storm in 100 years covered the east coast--damaging President Bush's ocean front home in Kennebunkport, ME

August 24, 1992, Round 6 of peace talks resume in Washington, DC; Israel came with with autonomy plan for the Palestinians ~ ~ August 23-24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into southern Florida--it was the worst natural disaster in the US to date

Okay, onto 1993-1995, the first administration of President William J. Clinton...

February 18-25, 1993, US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher visited Israel and 7 Arab nations to restart peace process ~ ~ February 26, 1993, World Trade Center bombing--the US's first major international terrorist attack

March 10, 1993, Secretary Christopher hold a press conference on Israel; March 15-17, 1993, Israel's Prime Minister Rabin met with President Clinton and others ~ ~ March 12-15, 1993, the storm of the century hit the eastern seaboard, including tonadoes, hurricanes, heavy rains, and snow; The storm affected 26 states, and 100 million people

January 16, 1994, President Clinton and Syrian President al-Assad made statements about supporting the Oslo agreement as a first step to peace ~ ~ January 17, 1994, the Northridge (CA) Earthquake is the 2nd most destructive natural disaster in US history; also ground zero of porn industry in the US

October 17, 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and Jardanian Prime Minister Majali sign peace agreement with President Clinton present ~ ~ October 17-21, 1994, Texas flooding-17 dead, worst flooding on record in Texas

September 28, 1995, In Wasnington, DC, Israel and the PLO sign interim agreement regarding the the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; President Clinton hosts a summit with King Hussein of Jordan, Egyptian Preseident Mubarik, and Israeli Prime Minister Rabin; On September 29, 1995 Secretary Christopher, Foreign Minister Peres, and Chairman Arafat convene first US/Israeli/Palistinian Trilateral Committee ~ ~ September 27-October 5, 1995, Hurrican Opal, the strongest hurricane ever to hit Pensacola, FL since 1900; also hit 1000 miles of US Gulf coast, leaving 27 dead and $3billion in damage

And that's just his first administration. During Clinton's second adminstration, there were 19 such connected events, including four hurricanes, several tornado outbreaks, severe/extreme weather in various US regions, and the Monica Lewinsky issue.

During President George W. Bush's first administration there 24 connected events, including 9-11, of course. Other catastrophes include eight hurricanes, several major tornado ourbreaks, severe/extreme weather, the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, and other misc. terrorst activities.

God ain't foolin' around. Somebody better wake up!

Every time someone tries to convince Israel to give up it's land in trade for peace, things go wonky. If everyone would leave them alone--there would be peace!!!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Well...

We'll return to my scheduled topic tomorrow...

So, I can't say I'm happy about the election. I don't think Obama is the right man for the job of running our nation.

He's not what we need, but he's probably what we, as a nation, deserve.

It's a crying shame that much of the population was drawn in by the color of his skin. I can't tell you how many people I heard say, "I'm voting for him because he's black." Great.

But onward and upward. I know that God is on His throne and that no matter what happens, He is ultimately in control.
Friday, October 31, 2008

God's Chosen People in the Promised Land

In March 2002, U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) stood against world opinion and offered seven reasons why Israel alone is entitled to possess the Holy Land:

I was interested the other day when I heard that the de facto ruler, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah, made a statement which was received by many in this country as if it were a statement of fact, as if it were something new, a concept for peace in the Middle East that no one had ever heard of before. I was kind of shocked that it was so well received by many people who had been down this road before.

I suggest to you that what Crown Prince Abdullah talked about a few days ago was not new at all. He talked about the fact that under the Abdullah plan, Arabs would normalize relations with Israel in exchange for the Jewish state surrendering the territory it received after the 1967 Six-Day War as if that were something new. He went on to talk about other land that had been acquired and had been taken by Israel.

I remember so well on December 4 when we covered all of this and the fact that there isn't anything new about the prospect of giving up land that is rightfully Israel's land in order to have peace.

When it gets right down to it, the land doesn't make that much difference because Yasser Arafat and others don't recognize Israel's right to any of the land. They do not recognize Israel's right to exist.

I will discuss seven reasons, which I mentioned once before, why Israel is entitled to the land they have and that it should not be a part of the peace process.

If this is something that Israel wants to do, it is their business to do it. But anyone who has tried to put the pressure on Israel to do this is wrong.

We are going to be hit by skeptics who are going to say we will be attacked because of our support for Israel, and if we get out of the Middle East — that is us — all the problems will go away. That is just not true. If we withdraw, all of these problems will again come to our door.

I have some observations to make about that. But I would like to reemphasize once again the seven reasons that Israel has the right to their land.

The first reason is that Israel has the right to the land because of all of the archeological evidence. That is reason, No. 1. All the archeological evidence supports it.

Every time there is a dig in Israel, it does nothing but support the fact that Israelis have had a presence there for 3,000 years. They have been there for a long time. The coins, the cities, the pottery, the culture--there are other people, groups that are there, but there is no mistaking the fact that Israelis have been present in that land for 3,000 years.

It predates any claims that other peoples in the regions may have. The ancient Philistines are extinct. Many other ancient peoples are extinct. They do not have the unbroken line to this date that the Israelis have.

Even the Egyptians of today are not racial Egyptians of 2,000, 3,000 years ago. They are primarily an Arab people. The land is called Egypt, but they are not the same racial and ethnic stock as the old Egyptians of the ancient world. The first Israelis are in fact descended from the original Israelites. The first proof, then, is the archeology.

The second proof of Israel's right to the land is the historic right. History supports it totally and completely. We know there has been an Israel up until the time of the Roman Empire. The Romans conquered the land. Israel had no homeland, although Jews were allowed to live there. They were driven from the land in two dispersions: One was in 70 A,.D. and the other was in 135 A.D. But there was always a Jewish presence in the land.

The Turks, who took over about 700 years ago and ruled the land up until about World War I, had control. Then the land was conquered by the British. The Turks entered World War I on the side of Germany. The British knew they had to do something to punish Turkey, and also to break up that empire that was going to be a part of the whole effort of Germany in World War I. So the British sent troops against the Turks in the Holy Land.

One of the generals who was leading the British armies was a man named Allenby. Allenby was a Bible-believing Christian. He carried a Bible with him everywhere he went and he knew the significance of Jerusalem.

The night before the attack against Jerusalem to drive out the Turks, Allenby prayed that God would allow him to capture the city without doing damage to the holy places.

That day, Allenby sent World War I biplanes over the city of Jerusalem to do a reconnaissance mission. You have to understand that the Turks had at that time never seen an airplane. So there they were, flying around. They looked in the sky and saw these fascinating inventions and did not know what they were, and they were terrified by them. Then they were told they were going to be opposed by a man named Allenby the next day, which means, in their language, ``man sent from God'' or ``prophet from God.'' They dared not fight against a prophet from God, so the next morning, when Allenby went to take Jerusalem, he went in and captured it without firing a single shot.

The British Government was grateful to Jewish people around the world, particularly to one Jewish chemist who helped them manufacture niter. Niter is an ingredient that was used in nitroglycerin which was sent over from the New World. But they did not have a way of getting it to England. The German U-boats were shooting on the boats, so most of the niter they were trying to import to make nitroglycerin was at the bottom of the ocean. But a man named Weitzman, a Jewish chemist, discovered a way to make it from materials that existed in England. As a result, they were able to continue that supply.

The British at that time said they were going to give the Jewish people a homeland. That is all a part of history. It is all written down in history. They were gratified that the Jewish people, the bankers, came through and helped finance the war.

The homeland that Britain said it would set aside consisted of all of what is now Israel and all of what was then the nation of Jordan--the whole thing. That was what Britain promised to give the Jews in 1917.

In the beginning, there was some Arab support for this action. There was not a huge Arab population in the land at that time, and there is a reason for that. The land was not able to sustain a large population of people. It just did not have the development it needed to handle those people, and the land was not really wanted by anybody. Nobody really wanted this land. It was considered to be worthless land.

I want the Presiding Officer to hear what Mark Twain said. And, of course, you may have read ``Huckleberry Finn'' and ``Tom Sawyer.'' Mark Twain--Samuel Clemens--took a tour of Palestine in 1867. This is how he described that land. We are talking about Israel now. He said:

A desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds. A silent, mournful expanse. We never saw a human being on the whole route. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.

Where was this great Palestinian nation? It did not exist. It was not there. Palestinians were not there. Palestine was a region named by the Romans, but at that time it was under the control of Turkey, and there was no large mass of people there because the land would not support them.

This is the report that the Palestinian Royal Commission, created by the British, made. It quotes an account of the conditions on the coastal plain along the Mediterranean Sea in 1913. This is the Palestinian Royal Commission. They said:

The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track, suitable for transport by camels or carts. No orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached the Yavnev village. Houses were mud. Schools did not exist. The western part toward the sea was almost a desert. The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.

That was 1913.

The French author Voltaire described Palestine as ``a hopeless, dreary place.''

In short, under the Turks the land suffered from neglect and low population. That is a historic fact. The nation became populated by both Jews and Arabs because the land came to prosper when Jews came back and began to reclaim it. Historically, they began to reclaim it. If there had never been any archaeological evidence to support the rights of the Israelis to the territory, it is also important to recognize that other nations in the area have no longstanding claim to the country either.

Did you know that Saudi Arabia was not created until 1913, Lebanon until 1920? Iraq did not exist as a nation until 1932, Syria until 1941; the borders of Jordan were established in 1946 and Kuwait in 1961. Any of these nations that would say Israel is only a recent arrival would have to deny their own rights as recent arrivals as well. They did not exist as countries. They were all under the control of the Turks.

Historically, Israel gained its independence in 1948.

The third reason that land belongs to Israel is the practical value of the Israelis being there. Israel today is a modern marvel of agriculture. Israel is able to bring more food out of a desert environment than any other country in the world. The Arab nations ought to make Israel their friend and import technology from Israel that would allow all the Middle East, not just Israel, to become an exporter of food. Israel has unarguable success in its agriculture.

The fourth reason I believe Israel has the right to the land is on the grounds of humanitarian concern. You see, there were 6 million Jews slaughtered in Europe in World War II. The persecution against the Jews had been very strong in Russia since the advent of communism. It was against them even before then under the Czars.

These people have a right to their homeland. If we are not going to allow them a homeland in the Middle East, then where? What other nation on Earth is going to cede territory, is going to give up land?

They are not asking for a great deal. The whole nation of Israel would fit into my home State of Oklahoma seven times. It would fit into the Presiding Officer's State of Georgia seven times. They are not asking for a great deal. The whole nation of Israel is very small. It is a nation that, up until the time that claims started coming in, was not desired by anybody.

The fifth reason Israel ought to have their land is that she is a strategic ally of the United States. Whether we realize it or not, Israel is a detriment, an impediment, to certain groups hostile to democracies and hostile to what we believe in, hostile to that which makes us the greatest nation in the history of the world. They have kept them from taking complete control of the Middle East. If it were not for Israel, they would overrun the region. They are our strategic ally.

It is good to know we have a friend in the Middle East on whom we can count. They vote with us in the United Nations more than England, more than Canada, more than France, more than Germany--more than any other country in the world.

The sixth reason is that Israel is a roadblock to terrorism. The war we are now facing is not against a sovereign nation; it is against a group of terrorists who are very fluid, moving from one country to another. They are almost invisible. That is whom we are fighting against today.

We need every ally we can get. If we do not stop terrorism in the Middle East, it will be on our shores. We have said this again and again and again, and it is true.

One of the reasons I believe the spiritual door was opened for an attack against the United States of America is that the policy of our Government has been to ask the Israelis, and demand it with pressure, not to retaliate in a significant way against the terrorist strikes that have been launched against them.

Since its independence in 1948, Israel has fought four wars: The war in 1948 and 1949--that was the war for independence--the war in 1956, the Sinai campaign; the Six-Day War in 1967; and in 1973, the Yom Kippur War, the holiest day of the year, and that was with Egypt and Syria.

You have to understand that in all four cases, Israel was attacked. They were not the aggressor. Some people may argue that this was not true because they went in first in 1956, but they knew at that time that Egypt was building a huge military to become the aggressor. Israel, in fact, was not the aggressor and has not been the aggressor in any of the four wars.

Also, they won all four wars against impossible odds. They are great warriors. They consider a level playing field being outnumbered 2 to 1.

There were 39 Scud missiles that landed on Israeli soil during the gulf war. Our President asked Israel not to respond. In order to have the Arab nations on board, we asked Israel not to participate in the war. They showed tremendous restraint and did not. Now we have asked them to stand back and not do anything over these last several attacks.

We have criticized them. We have criticized them in our media. Local people in television and radio often criticize Israel, not knowing the true facts. We need to be informed.

I was so thrilled when I heard a reporter pose a question to our Secretary of State, Colin Powell. He said:

Mr. Powell, the United States has advocated a policy of restraint in the Middle East. We have discouraged Israel from retaliation again and again and again because we've said it leads to continued escalation--that it escalates the violence. Are we going to follow that preaching ourselves?

Mr. Powell indicated we would strike back. In other words, we can tell Israel not to do it, but when it hits us, we are going to do something.

But all that changed in December when the Israelis went into the Gaza with gunships and into the West Bank with F-16s. With the exception of last May, the Israelis had not used F-16s since the 1967 6-Day War. And I am so proud of them because we have to stop terrorism. It is not going to go away. If Israel were driven into the sea tomorrow, if every Jew in the Middle East were killed, terrorism would not end. You know that in your heart. Terrorism would continue.

It is not just a matter of Israel in the Middle East. It is the heart of the very people who are perpetrating this stuff. Should they be successful in overrunning Israel--which they won't be--but should they be, it would not be enough. They will never be satisfied.

No. 7, I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. As I said a minute ago, look it up in the book of Genesis. It is right up there on the desk.

In Genesis 13:14-17, the Bible says:

The Lord said to Abram, ``Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever. ..... Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to thee.''

That is God talking.

The Bible says that Abram removed his tent and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar before the Lord. Hebron is in the West Bank. It is at this place where God appeared to Abram and said, ``I am giving you this land,'' — the West Bank.

This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true. The seven reasons, I am convinced, clearly establish that Israel has a right to the land.

Eight years ago on the lawn of the White House, Yitzhak Rabin shook hands with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. It was a historic occasion. It was a tragic occasion.

At that time, the official policy of the Government of Israel began to be, "Let us appease the terrorists. Let us begin to trade the land for peace.'' This process continued unabated up until last year. Here in our own Nation, at Camp David, in the summer of 2000, then Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak offered the most generous concessions to Yasser Arafat that had ever been laid on the table.

He offered him more than 90 percent of all the West Bank territory, sovereign control of it. There were some parts he did not want to offer, but in exchange for that he said he would give up land in Israel proper that the PLO had not even asked for.

And he also did the unthinkable. He even spoke of dividing Jerusalem and allowing the Palestinians to have their capital there in the East. Yasser Arafat stormed out of the meeting. Why did he storm out of the meeting? Everything he had said he wanted was offered there. It was put into his hands. Why did he storm out of the meeting?

A couple of months later, there began to be riots, terrorism. The riots began when now Prime Minister Ariel Sharon went to the Temple Mount. And this was used as the thing that lit the fire and that caused the explosion.

Did you know that Sharon did not go unannounced and that he contacted the Islamic authorities before he went and secured their permission and had permission to be there? It was no surprise.

The response was very carefully calculated. They knew the world would not pay attention to the details.

They would portray this in the Arab world as an attack upon the holy mosque. They would portray it as an attack upon that mosque and use it as an excuse to riot. Over the last 8 years, during this time of the peace process, where the Israeli public has pressured its leaders to give up land for peace because they are tired of fighting, there has been increased terror.

In fact, it has been greater in the last 8 years than any other time in Israel's history. Showing restraint and giving in has not produced any kind of peace. It is so much so that today the leftist peace movement in Israel does not exist because the people feel they were deceived.

They did offer a hand of peace, and it was not taken. That is why the politics of Israel have changed drastically over the past 12 months. The Israelis have come to see that, "No matter what we do, these people do not want to deal with us...... They want to destroy us.'' That is why even yet today the stationery of the PLO still has upon it the map of the entire state of Israel, not just the tiny little part they call the West Bank that they want. They want it all.

We have to get out of this mind set that somehow you can buy peace in the Middle East by giving little plots of land. It has not worked before when it has been offered. These seven reasons show why Israel is entitled to that land.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Scripture and World Events

I have been reading this book called "Eye to Eye: Facing the Consequences on Dividing Israel" by William Koenig. I first heard about this book from a guest preacher at our church, David Reagan, almost a year and half ago. I've had it on my Amazon wish list since then. And I finally broke down and ordered it.

Many of you know my fascination with End Times prophecy, and the premise of the book sorta relates. But before I get into the book, we'll start with some Scripture.

Genesis 12: 1-8 (This passage is when God sends Abram (Abraham) and the Jews to the Promised Land (present day Israel). Most important verse here is 3.)

1-Now the LORD said to Abram,
"Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father's house,
To the land which I will show you;
2-And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
3-And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

4-So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

5-Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.

6-Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land.

7-The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land " So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.

8-Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.

More tomorrow on why Israel belongs to the Jews and the Jews alone.
Thursday, October 23, 2008

Politics...

Sorry readers--all three of you--but in these days leading up to the U.S. elections, there's a lot to be concerned about. I feel compelled to share information with you all so that when you vote you can do so with as much information form both sides as possible.

If you don't believe the American media is ostentatiously liberal to the point of extremism, then you've got a problem. I won't lie and say I'm not biased, I am. But I'm also a patriot. I love this country--and if Obama ends up in the big white house, our country never be the same again. The things that make our nation great will cease to be. Obama does not love our country. John McCain loves our country.

Anywho, that was not the original direction of this post, so we'll take a right turn... Here's another editorial on what could happen if Obama is elected... (from OneNewsNow.com)

There's nothing 'fair' about it
James L. Lambert - Guest Columnist - 10/22/2008 10:40:00 AM

There is a real possibility that if Democrats obtain firm control of all three branches of government after this November's election, the "Fairness Doctrine" will be enacted -- and talk radio will be inexorably altered. Democratic leaders Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have strongly indicated that they would support legislation to bring back the oppressive policy. (See related article)

The Fairness Doctrine is the government's attempt to mandate that media outlets provide an outlet for opposing views in political discussions, no matter what the argument. But what about the U.S. Constitution, the document at the heart of our federal government? The First Amendment specifies that "Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise of...speech, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people...to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

I submit to you that Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid would not commit their fellow Democrats to this legislation if talk radio were not dominated by conservative hosts.

For the last 15 years, talk radio has been dominated by conservative thought. Liberals have attempted to invade this medium, but their format and discussion have simply not been popular with the public. The top-tier national radio shows in America have been one of the few places conservative political talk can be articulated.

Despite the commercial success of modern-day conservative talk radio, this type of political discourse is noticeably absent from any of the three major networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC). Conservative thought is rarely articulated in the vast majority of our major news periodicals and magazines (e.g., TIME, Newsweek, USA Today). Conservative thought is conspicuously absent from the editorial boards of most major newspapers in metropolitan areas across the country. Yet Congress, if dominated by Democrats after the November 4 election, will be hell bent on enacting the Fairness Doctrine, which will ultimately stifle free speech.

In comments provided exclusively to OneNewsNow, nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Michael Medved explains that the Fairness Doctrine would reduce and largely eliminate political discussion on the radio -- not expand it.

"Any conservative station that [is] forced to provide liberal talkers for 'balance' would go out of business, just like any liberal station forced to include conservative talkers on an equal time basis would go out of business," says Medved. "The idea is similar to requiring every classical station to balance Mozart with Hip Hop and Country."

Medved continues: "When the Fairness Doctrine was in force before, station owners and managers just avoided political talk shows altogether....It is interesting that advocates for this horrible idea always talk about 'balancing' conservative talk radio and FOX News, but never discuss balancing Air America and MSNBC."

The talk-show host offers this dire prediction if the "unholy trinity" of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid jointly assume power come January: "Free political discourse in mass media faces an uncertain future."

Medved shares this concern with other conservative commentators -- Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Mark Levin, Dennis Prager, Roger Hedgecock, and Hugh Hewitt among them.

One of the major tenants of the U.S. Constitution is the First Amendment. And millions of American soldiers throughout our nation's history have fought to preserve this most precious right: political free speech. Remember that on November 4.

James L. Lambert, a frequent contributor to OneNewsNow.com and author of Porn in America, is a licensed nationwide real-estate mortgage loan sales agent and can be contacted through his website.

Opinions expressed in 'Perspectives' columns published by OneNewsNow.com are the sole responsibility of the article's author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of the staff or management of, or advertisers who support the American Family News Network, OneNewsNow.com, our parent organization or its other affiliates.
Sunday, October 19, 2008

I've discovered...

...that I can't just sit down and write anymore. What I mean is, I can't sit down and start banging out a story based on a random plot thought. I used to be able to--and even produce something halfway decent. (Okay, it was fan fiction, so what??)

Now, I have too much information in my head--not just rules and formulas for writing the perfect novel, but national news, world events, my personal faith and walk with God (mainly, how short I fall each and every day of what He desires of me), and on and on and on.

Writing must now be a more deliberate task. Ideas for plots or visions of a hero come at any time--even in church while pastor sits at the piano and sings to the congregation. But now I must sit and ask, who is this character? What's his past, why is he here, what does he want and how will he get it? Who is his heroine? What is the relationship barrier and how do they overcome it?

I must write notes, character sketches, plot outlines, jot down questions to research later.

I finally have a new story to roll around in my brain, although it does compete with my virtual love affair with Robin Hood (yes, that's still going strong). I'm even thinking short story trilogy. Hmm...

I did work on both today, trying to apply lessons learned in my last NT meeting workshop to this short story. Kinda hard without twenty other people in the room to brainstorm with. I did spend some time with emotionally wrenched Robin who brooded while his beloved Marian almost married someone else.

Back to writing--our chapter's annual Writers Roundup is actually a writing retreat with plenty of time for actually writing. I'm looking forward to hanging out with fellow writers and getting some help with this new story idea. (And maybe the third story plot, too, while we're at it.)
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is 143 days experience enough...

An article from OneNewsNow.com by James L. Lambert

Help wanted: President - no experience required

As a young college graduate, I began my career as a management trainee in banking some 35 years ago. My first job was working for a large regional bank, where I quickly discovered how much I needed to learn. Just as other young management trainee peers, I was energetic and I wanted to advance. Five years later, I was gratified to be promoted from an operations officer to the consumer lending department. I was on my way.

Such is life. We all have varied professional career goals. We are anxious to succeed in life, whatever our particular venue. We all have different aspirations. Yet when the rubber meets the road, the same formula applies to all of us: it takes time and experience to attain our professional objectives.

However, in American politics today, experience doesn't seem to matter. It appears that, in the eyes of many, experience isn't required for someone vying for the highest position of power in the land: the presidency of the United States.

From the day Barack Obama was sworn into office as a United States senator until the day he announced his formation of an exploratory committee to run for the U.S. presidency, he served 143 days in the U.S. Senate. This figure includes all the days he actually worked in the capacity of a standing senator (not including time off or weekends.)

Is this a strong enough resume for someone who is seeking what some argue is the most powerful position on Earth, no matter how honed their speaking skills and attractive their appearance? Consider these scenarios comparing the presidency with other occupations.

  • Imagine an entry-level lawyer who expects to become head of that legal firm in 143 days.
  • Or perhaps a sales person of a department store such as Nordstroms believing he's earned the right to become CEO in just 143 days?
  • Even in the progressive environment on our college campuses, an untenured college professor would lack the experience required to become college president in just 143 days.
  • How about a postal carrier? Would they believe they are qualified to run the U.S. Postal Service in their city after just 143 days of work without any prior experience? (Even if they went to Harvard).

These examples are telling. Experience matters. It matters in every occupation. It lays the foundation for important decision-making in the future. People gain wisdom from their mistakes, and grow in knowledge as they discern different approaches to a problem.

Yet for some reason that doesn't seem to matter for many people as they compare the two major party candidates running for the highest position in the land -- the office of United States president. They figure that as long as the candidate speaks well and is good looking, that seems to be the major criteria for the job.

The president of the United States is, perhaps singularly, the most powerful office in the world. The person sitting behind the desk of the Oval Office runs the executive branch of government. He sets the tone for the whole country. He is the commander-in-chief of the greatest military in the world. He also has the power to appoint Supreme Court justices who could be in office for a generation. His judgment will determine how the country will navigate the dangerous and treacherous waters of the future.

Everyone needs to seriously ask themselves: Is 143 days in the Senate enough experience for anyone to take over the reigns of the presidency? Especially someone the American people have not been allowed to know. Obama's college and medical records hidden, his associations questionable at best, his voting record the most liberal of any senator (that is, when he wasn't voting "present," as he did 130 times), and his failure to spearhead any legislation whatsoever. Not to mention his close-to-trillion-dollar spending plan. Make no mistake; you will be affected by his decisions if he reaches the Oval Office.

Senator John McCain, in sharp contrast, has an outstanding record of service to America. His military service included commander of a large ship squadron. He has been a U.S. senator for 22 years, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and has a record promoting cutting government waste; spearheaded the line-item veto bill, was pivotal in the change in the Iraq strategy that has been so successful, and was influential in the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court; spearheaded legislation to stop torture of POWs, as well as legislation regarding HMO reform, gun legislation, reduction of spending, and stopping earmarks. He has voted with his party only 63 percent of the time (as compared to Obama's 97 percent). John McCain has demonstrated time and time again that his country comes first -- before political parties and before his own self interests.

I hope our country doesn't have to suffer for Barack Obama's "on the job training," not to mention his ill-advised spending plans and socialist agenda for the U.S. The world is at a dangerous point in history. We cannot afford to make a mistake when we select the next president of the United States.

James L. Lambert, a frequent contributor to OneNewsNow.com and author of Porn in America, is a licensed nationwide real-estate mortgage loan sales agent and can be contacted through his website.


Opinions expressed in 'Perspectives' columns published by OneNewsNow.com are the sole responsibility of the article's author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of the staff or management of, or advertisers who support the American Family News Network, OneNewsNow.com, our parent organization or its other affiliates.


If you agree, pass it on, please...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Snapshot--moments in time...

Fellow NT member and blogger, Sandra posted a great writing exercise on her blog the other day. I thought it interesting and the words for it have been rolling around in my head ever since. Not only that, but as a writer when I come upon a scene in real life, I always tell myself I need to sit down and try to capture it with the written word. Well, I'm finally doing it...

So my snapshot is of my morning walk... The house is mostly dark, only the small lamp in the living room giving any light as the dogs make a disturbance as they vie to be chosen for the morning's walk. The snap of the collar around a neck.

Outside the mornings are cool, and at five-thirty, still dark. The neighbor across the street leaves for work about that time, so his house and yard lights are on, illuminating across the street.

I hear the distant roar of East Loop 820, less than a mile from my house. I hear the click, click, scrape of the dogs toe nails on the asphalt. I hear the snap, crackle, pop of my own left knee as I walk.

I move out of the light from the neighbor's house to the section of street darkened by the large mature trees.

I see the blue-tinted fluorescent light of the streetlight, and hear it's high pitched buzzing.

The lonesome wail of the train whistle as it approaches to cross Handley Drive.

I hear the occasional dog barking when it sees my dog and I from it's backyard vantage point.

And every once in a while, I smell the sweet scent of fabric softener wafting in the air.

As I return home, the the neighbor's lights, except the dim porch light, have turned off. The dog I left behind barks in excitement as we return.

The house, by comparison to the fresh crisp cool outdoors, is warm and stuffy.
Sunday, October 5, 2008

Just finished reading...

Dead Heat by Joel Rosenberg. It's the last in a five book series based on End Times Prophesy. Another edge-of-your-seat read. Started it late yesterday afternoon, and finished it this morning around ten. And no, I didn't stay up all night. I was in bed by ten and didn't pick the book back up until almost seven. (And yes, I should have been in church this Sunday am, but wasn't...no excuse.)

What strikes me whenever I read a book that is not a romance... but wait--a small detour, if you don't mind...

Romances take a lot of bashing. Mostly because of the bodice-ripper covers that were all the rage back in the seventies, and which seem to be, if you've recently perused the romance section at your local Barnes & Noble or Borders, making a comeback.

Also from those who believe that a romance novel is A) full of sex {and called porn by some}, B) worthless drivel that has no place on the book store shelves and is so easy to write that anyone could crank one out, or C) Romance novels are read by women whose lives lack romance.

Just FYI, in 2007, romance was the biggest fiction category, selling more than $1.375 BILLION in sales from approximately 8,090 releases. In 2004, romances comprised 55% of all paperback books sold and 39% of all fiction sold. Also, more romance novels are read by professional women who are happily married.

As an avid reader, and aspiring romance writer, it is my personal humble opinion that romance novels are by far the genre held to the highest standard--despite its detractors--and held there by its authors and would be authors. I've been a member of Romance Writers of America and my local chapter of RWA for six years now, and in that time I've learned a tremendous amount about writing in general, and about writing romance specifically (it stands to reason, being part of romance writing organization and all...).

So back to my original point: no matter how exciting a non-romance fiction book
(as the above mentioned book certainly was), no matter what genre it is, the thing I'm always struck by more than anything else is the lack of point-of-view purity, or author intrusion. What do I mean by this? Most of my romance writer friends will probably know...

So I'm reading this morning, and we're in a bad guy's point of view, and I read that the bad guy is doing something or watching something and his eyes are glittering in excitement about whatever it is. If we're in his point of view, his perspective, he can't see or realize that his own eyes are glittering. This is a visual that only another person could see...

Example two: we're in the good guy's point of view and he gets a phone call. It's not good; according to the caller, catastrophic things are going to happen that no one can stop. The caller says more bad things are supposed to happen but they can be stopped. Then we get a sentence like: He (the good guy, 'cause we're supposed to be in his POV) just didn't know how bad things were going to get. This is almost like hindsight, which there is no way the point of view character could know. This is author intrusion--and a big no-no in romance writing.

So for my fellow romance authors (or readers), what other things do you find in non-romances that are frowned upon in romances?
Friday, October 3, 2008

Soap Box Topic: To be American or Not to Be American

When are Americans, other than white Americans, going to be JUST Americans?

In my personal, humble opinion, if your family has been here two generations or more--and especially if you were born here, then you are an American. Nothing more nothing less.

And I'm certainly not saying you should't be proud of your heritage, but come on...

Case in point: My mother was born in Denmark. Her family moved here when she was nine. I was born here. I am an American. I don't go around telling people "I'm a Danish American." That's ridiculous. And to be honest, I don't think my mother does either, even though she was actually born in Denmark.

So why is it that to be PC, black people are referred to as African Americans? Did they just come over on the boat? Nooo.....
I'm guessing the majority of blacks in this county, their families have probably been here since the Civil War or before. So why do we still refer to them as African Americans? But what if they came to America from England? Will we need to call them British African Americans????

Let's move on to Mexicans. We have a lot of those here in Texas. Why are we calling them Mexican Americans? If they are citizens, and especially if they were born here, they are Americans. If they want to continue to be Mexicans, then I think they need to go back to Mexico.

And before you think I'm racist, I'm not, but I sure do think that if you're a citizen or a guest of this country, you ought to respect it, respect its laws, its flag, and speak its language (and speak it properly, too, if you're a citizen!).
Friday, September 26, 2008

Here I am...

I've been AWOL for over a week. I even logged in the other day intending to post, but was so completely unmotivated and uninterested in the process that I closed the browser and moved on. I spent the day playing with Robin Hood instead. To jog your memory...







Ah, he's a handsome young man, and I find myself captivated by him--the way he looks, the way he talks, the things he stands for. We all need heroes, now more than ever, when so few people are worthy of that status. Okay, I realize the character of Robin Hood itself is from a bygone age, but the things he stands for still speak to us today. And we all need a little escape now and then...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oy...

So we're happily ensconced in our new office space.

But now we are being inundated by people walking our front door wanting to sell us stuff.

Just today, we've had four different people trying to sell us stuff: a guy with a freezer full of meat, two guys trying to lease us warehouse space (uh... we just moved in, but thanks), and a gal selling employee health benefits.

Last week we had someone trying to sell us warehouse equipment.

I'm putting a big sign on our door that says:

"If you're not a client and you don't have an appointment, don't come in."
or

"If I need it, I know how to use the phone book and the Internet."

Argh...
Monday, September 15, 2008

A Cornucopia of Topics...

My house is just about free of anything remotely related to the business, owners aside. The only thing left is the "Behemoth"--our huge color laser jet printer whose individual cartridges cost anywhere from $150 to $200 each, depending on the color. Yeah, ouch. Needless to say we don't use it very often. Only for select projects that must be as professional looking as we can make them...

Eleven of my seventeen brand new vinyl windows and the two storm doors were installed this past Friday, and are a joy to behold and enjoy. It's really strange to be able to leave the front door open even when the A/C is running, but the front storm door is also energy efficient and completely sealed.

All but three of my cabinet doors are back in place--the screws for the last three seem to be missing, so a trip to The Home Depot will be in order...

We have a new, larger fridge (not brand new, but new to us), and our old one brought to the office so that we can bring lunch and have cold beverages on hand while we work hard... ha ha!

Ike brought us some wind and some light to moderate rain on Friday and Saturday. Yesterday was nice, but today is perfect camping weather, and I sure would love to be out enjoying the great outdoors instead of here at the office.

Our former office space, aka my two car garage, is now the family room. It's still not completely finished, but until my kitchen and my living room are finished, I'm not spending a dime.

I spent Saturday cleaning out the two hall closets that were so jam packed full of stuff. I can now walk into both of them--not stand in the hall and lean in to dig around for whatever I might be looking for.

While the windows were being installed, I got to play housewife for the day. Boy, I sure miss that. One of these days... Well, my goal is to be able to stay home one day a week. Not sure how long it'll take to get there, though.

Well, since I was home Friday, I have lots of tasks waiting for me today... Better get at 'em.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Discovering an old love...

Not that kind...

The other day, my younger daughter decided she wanted to cross-stitch. I always get tickled when she wants to do something crafty. So we ended up at JoAnn's and found a simple little kit of a couple of hummingbirds fluttering about some honeysuckle blossoms.

After watching her enjoy her crafting, I decided I wanted to cross-stitch again, too. So I dug out an old kit (one my mom gave me many moons ago--remember the house, Mom?) that is about 90% done and added a few stitches. And how amazing is it to see someone else's beautiful pattern and imagery come to life by your own hand?

In my cross-stitching heyday I even designed and stitched birth samplers for my kids. Anyhow, it was an enjoyable evening sitting with my daughter, watching TV and cross-stitching.

If you're crafty, what's your favorite kind to do?
Monday, September 8, 2008

It is done...



We are in our new office space. YAY!!

It was a hectic three days (Thu, Fri, Sat), but 99% of everything is in the office, unpacked, and put away. There's still those minor things to buy, like a trash can for the bathroom, break room stuff, and other odds and ends that crop any time you move.

Then there's the decorating. We've moved from dungeon to wide open airy spaces. I'm still leaning toward a tropical color scheme/theme. In fact, I picked up a pair of prints from Micheal's for $3.25 each. Our local Micheal's revamped their store and they don't seem to be carrying poster art or prints any longer, and are clearancing what they have left.

Well, I'd better get to work...
Friday, September 5, 2008

More Politics...

...but without Jonas Armstrong to pretty it up.

So what about Barack Obama? Does he have the judgment and discerment needed to be Commander-In-Chief?

Obama thinks Iraq is too small to be a serious threat against the U.S. When he made his opinion clear in a May 2008 speech, even the media and the Democrats were stunned. He changed his mind the next day, but his initial instinct was clear.

Obama said the surge in Iraq wouldn't work, and could quite possibly make it worse. The fact of the matter is, the surge did work, and we are closer than ever to bringing our troops home.

Obama still maintains that he disagrees with the decision to send the additional troops to Iraq (the surge). Despite the fact that attacks are down more than 80% nationwide and combat casualties have plummeted. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Obama urged the Georgian restraint when Russia invaded it without provocation and raped and pillaged this small but free democratic nation. The whole free world condemned Russia's actions, but Obama's initial instinct and judgement were flawed. Why shouldn't any nation defend its people and its freedoms? It seems to me when a couple of planes brought down the Twin Towers, our reaction was swift and decisive.

Obama opposes drilling in American and in our off-shore waters for oil. Why??? Just because it may take a few years to see results. But the sooner we get started, the sooner we reap the benefits. According to
Investor's Business Daily in July (08), "The Department of the Interior estimates that there are 112 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil beneath U.S. federal lands and coastal waters. That's enough oil to power 60 million cars for 60 years. That's not counting the trillion barrels locked up in shale rock - three times the total oil reserves of Saudi Arabia."
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Politics

The McCain/Palin ticket got a huge boost from Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) who says Obama is not ready to lead a nation facing such trials as ours does today. And that McCain & Palin are. Apparently, Lieberman is a popular guy, respected by both sides of the aisle. A guy who puts his state and his country first, and leaves partisanship and "spin" to others.

And what about Palin? Since 2006, she's managed the country's largest state (larger than CA and TX combined); her state is the second largest oil-producing state in the nation; she's overseen a $40 billion GDP; she's created jobs and cut taxes; she's gone after government waste and corruption; she's not immune to the war as her own son prepares to deploy to Iraq; on top of that, she's happily married with five kids.

The Palin family has revealed their seventeen-year-old daughter's pregnancy and the fact that 22 years ago, her husband, prior to their marriage, was arrested for DUI. Do these revelations help or harm McCain & Palin's chances? We're all human, and have faced our share of unfortunate circumstances. Surely none of us can throw stones. Do you wonder if there are any more skeletons in the closet? I would hope they've been up front about everything. I guess we'll see...
Monday, September 1, 2008

Robin of the Hood



My newest TV show obsession is the BBC's contemporary spoofish series Robin Hood. Jonas Armstrong plays the nobleman-turned-outlaw. The show is funny and is billed as a family show. Indeed, we never saw Robin Hood kiss the fair Lady Marian until the final episode of the first season. And even then, it was chaste.

So what's your favorite show these days?

More musings... Gloomy ones mostly.

Hurricane Gustav is barreling its way toward my state. Hanna is not far behind. I don't fear for personal safety, as I'm far to the north of affected areas. But I do ponder the spiritual ramifications. Gustav and Hanna are storms seven and eight, respectively, in the Atlantic hurricane season this year. It seems that we get more tropical storms/hurricanes and they are getting stronger. What does this mean? If you're an End Time believer as I am, it just means that the End Times are moving closer. I'm all for that.

National elections are also on the horizon. As disappointed in Bush as I am, I don't think I'll be voting Democrat this year. I've read that Obama was the most liberal senator in D.C. & now a quick Google search tells me Biden is the third most liberal senator. So together they are the most liberal presidential ticket ever. And based on a bipartisan poll, 60% of Americans consider themselves conservative. Huh? What? Couldn't convince me. But that's what people consider themselves, maybe not what their behaviors truly indicate.

It's always been my understanding, rightly or wrongly, that Democrats are for big government: more social services programs, more control, etc.... In my personal humble opinion, there should be less government. This is the world's richest nation. There's no reason on Earth, society at large, not big government should be taking care of its own. This would stabilize and boost the economy, while hopefully lowering the government's debt, and keeping our taxes low. Okay, the unemployment rate is creeping back up, HOWEVER, there are always going to be these variations, and there is always going to be unemployment because there are people who just don't want to work, so to always blame the current president seems a little unfair.

So a friend of mine posted, in its entirety, Barack Obama's acceptance speech, which I did not hear in the first place, or read in the second place. She has changed her spots after a lifetime of voting Republican. It just seems to me that all candidates blow a lot of hot air about what they're for or against, and you can never really know what's going to happen. After all, the president is still subject to checks and balances by the other branches of the government. If they could just play it a little more honestly. Tell us what's close to their hearts, not what people want to hear. Tell us what they can truly attempt to achieve, not what people want to hear. Because I don't know if I can count on one hand how many presidential promises have been kept.

All that being said, whether Obama or McCain ends up in the White House, I know that God is on His throne. I place my trust in Him that He will provide all that I need in good times and bad.

Who really believes in Global Warming? I don't. Not that I don't think we should take care of our planet, but this hysteria over carbon footprints and credits is rediculous. Why are the American people as a whole being chastized and beaten up day by day when we have some of the cleanest air of any industrialized/technologically advanced nations in the world. Let's see we just spent two weeks in China, where they have some of the worl'd worst air. And did we even think to say anything to them??? Not only that, but numbers show that the Little Medievel Period was far warmer than our temps today, and we all survived. That and it was follwed by another Ice Age. Hmm??? What about the fact the Southern Hemisphere has actually been experiencing a cooling trend. One of the glaciers in the Australia/New Zealand area has actually been getting larger. So how can it be GLOBAL warming???

You know, most of the rest of the world looks down on the U.S., but let me ask you, to which country does most of the rest of the world want to come??? Many believe that America should stay out of the affairs of other countries? But how can we? Do we choose only the good things, but not the tough? We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Let's see, if we don't go to the Middle East and despose a one of the world's most evil men in the worl'd history, should we go to one of the poorest nations after a horrendous tidal wave? Whether the other major world powers like it or not, mainly the evil ones, if we weren't the world's policeman, we might be living under communist rule. Don't doubt it for a minute.

Back to Obama for just one second--despite his background, I don't think he truly understands how evil and dangerous the forces of Islam are. He wants to go play nice and talk. Those true followers of Allah and the Koran are out to destroy the infeidels -- anyone and everyone who does not believe in Allah. It's not about politics and economics for these people. Their releigion is about getting back to thier 7th century culture. I think McCain has a better grasp on the evil in the world. If all else were equal, I'd vote for McCain.

Well, I've run out of steam and lost my train of thought. I'll be back later with some eye candy, my newest crush Jonas Armstrong.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

This and that...

Well, I've had a lot of things rattling around in my brain these past few days. Some of it deep and personal, like trying to decide what my future holds. Some of it fluff, like trying to decide what to actually blog about next. So...

1) I sent my newly licensed drive off on her own last night for her longest drive by herself (22 miles one way). She wanted to go to church, I didn't want to take her. Not because I didn't want to go to church, but because there was nothing going on for anyone but junior and senior highers and I'd have had to kill time since it's too long of a trip to drop off, come home, pick up, come home. And I wanted to be at home.

My first instinct was to say "NO, you can't go that far by yourself." Of course, she's 18, not an immature 16-year-old. After a pow wow with hubby, we agreed she could drive herself and her younger brother to church - as long as she took the back roads. Despite her age, she has no experience driving the freeways during rush hour. So they made it there and back just fine.

I've never been a clingy parent. Especially with that child. She's always been independent. And, until now, she's only gone into controlled and safe new situations (kindergarten, middle school, high school, etc.). But now I have to release her out onto the wild highways and byways of DFW? What - are you crazy??? Okay, I did it. And it was nice for both of us. It may take a few more uneventful trips for me to relax, though...

2) I've got a new TV show obsession: Robin Hood. It's a British series produced by BBC. It is available through Netflix and my favorite iTunes. Yes, I'm buying them one by one. It's a retelling of the old favorite but with a contemporary feel. Jonas Armstrong as Robin Hood, is a cutie, and Lucy Griffiths plays a fiesty Marian. As I was doing a bit of surfing on the Net for info about this show, I came across some spoilers and they don't bode well for RH or M. So don't spend the money just yet, check it out via Netflix first. Or stay tuned. I'll be willing to let you know what happens, if you're interested.

3) Am I writer, or am I not? I enjoy writing. I feel have the skills to write. I understand the formulas, the rules, the do's and dont's. I have a difficult time coming up with conflict, although that can be overcome. But life is busy, and there are things that vie for my time, and all must be prioritized. That means that writing usually falls by the wayside as I run out of day before I run out of things to accomplish. I have concluded that this is not the season for (much) writing. I will keep my finger in the pie as it were. Continue to learn the craft, jot down my story ideas, write when time allows, but serious writing will have to wait until it is the right time.

4) Our office move is almost upon us. The excitement of the thought of office space has been overcome by the thought of moving the office. We have four business days left until we move. We will close down the office for a day and half to pack and move. A new normal will be upon me, rethinking the regimentation of the day, what time do I need to get up, get the kids to school, then get to the office? My dogs will be home alone now, without a dog door. Does this mean I have to come home for lunch to let them out? Maybe for a week or two, until they're used to being home alone. I know this must seem dumb, but we've always worked from home since we've had them. It'll be an adjustment for all involved. There's tons more whirling through my brain, but I won't bore you with any more.

I guess that's enough rambling for now. Hope you have a great day...
Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to school...

I have just gotten back from dropping off the second of my two school-age children. My son says he was ready to go back. Not that I doubt he was, even if he didn't admit it, but his reasons were comical: "There's nothing to do around here but play X-Box, watch TV, or play on the computer." And it's not as if there weren't chores to do and real toys to play with.

My daughter, on the other hand, would deny to her dying breath, if asked, that she was looking forward to going back to school. But I think she, too, is tired of the monotony of summer days. She'll be back to daily socializing while carrying a decent load of classes, including an SAT prep class and two AP classes. Now she needs to decide where she wants to go to college and start applying for those scholarships.

I've been looking forward to school being back in session, too. My TV won't be on from 9am to 11pm and my food won't disappear quite so quickly.

On top of that, our business, which is currently residing in our somewhat finished garage, will be getting a new home as well. My electric bill will drop by more than half. At least I'm hoping. Anything I save from having new windows installed will just be gravy.

Our new office space has 3300 sq. feet of warehouse space; I can hardly wait to go clean out from under beds and out of closets and put all that stuff in the warehouse. My home will look positively roomy! The garage will be turned into a TV/family/craft room, and my living room will become just that: a living room. Oh happy days.

I'm even thinking of paring down my work schedule from five days a week to four, taking Wednesdays off to be a housewife and writer. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can pull that off within the next month or so.

So... if you had a room to do with whatever you wanted, what would you do?
Friday, August 22, 2008

WOO HOO!

One of my kids is finally a licensed driver!!

My younger daughter and I left the house this morning at 5am to get in line at the DPS (that's 2.5 hours before the place even opened) in order to get one of the limited daily slots for the road test. There were already about 7 or 8 people already there!

She got a 10am slot, but it took until 10:39 until she finally took off. The test itself only lasted a short 10 minutes. Then it was back inside, in the line, to get the temporary license. She should have her honest-to-goodness drivers license in 3 to 4 weeks.

One down, two to go...
Thursday, August 21, 2008

Finally...

I have finally read the Bible in a year. My first time to get completely through the Good Book.

I started last year at the beginning of July and after a short hiatus I have finally caught up.

Yay!
Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm just not feeling very inspired...

...to do much of anything.

I'm not writing, I'm not reading, I'm not even working (well, not very hard or very consistently). I'm watching TV shows, namely Army Wives and Babylon 5. (I know, I know, an odd combination...) I'm waiting for the 10th Anniversary Edition of Sports Night to be released. I've pre-purchased my copy. I've got a new computer game I'd much rather be playing (Zoo Tycoon 2: Zoo Keepers Edition). I've got an old computer game that used to work but now won't...

I've got laundry to do, Driver's Ed to finish, kitchen walls to paint, cabinets to stain, Fireworks Sales Tax to calculate and mail in...

And all I want to do is play Zoo Tycoon.

I have been reading a manuscript for someone. I'm pretty disappointed. I realize we're all human, but sometimes I gotta scratch my head and wonder. So I'm reading this thing and the author talks about a woman baring children, someone lighting the tender for the fire, and the hero's crop of barely... Not only that, but in a specific scene, the hero is decidedly unheroic, cowering in the face of the heroine's father. Um, nope. And to add insult to injury, the hero is supposed to be Robin Hood.

Well, enough of this. On the bright side, it's raining here in my neck of the woods. So,
technically, it's not really bright...


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Greatest Olympian Ever...

Michael Phelps captured gold medal number five of the 2008 Olympics last night/today. Adding those five (so far) to his six from the 2004 Olympics now makes him the greatest Olympian ever. At 23 years old. And he's broken the standing record in every race in which he's competed.

My family has spent the evenings watching these games. I choose to because this is history, not just for the US, and for the individuals of every nation that competes, but for the world. The outbreak of war in Eastern Europe is yet another sign of the times. (My regular readers (all three of them) will know what time that is.) The older I get the more attention I pay to the world around me, sometimes wishing I had started paying attention sooner.

One of the special reports I heard was how Peter Uberroth almost single-handedly saved the Olympics as we now know it. He was the organizer for the 1984 Olympics, and was subsequently named Man of the Year that year for his success. I remember those Olympics. I lived in L.A. at the time, so we were inundated with anything and everything Olympics. That was the year of Mary Lou. The men's gymnastic team also won gold that year, including Tim Daggett, whose voice you hear calling the gymnastics events this year. I think I still have newspaper clippings!

What's your favorite Olympic moment?
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Have I mentioned...

how much I love iTunes? Even despite its shortcomings.

First, let me say, you don't have to have an iPod of any shape, size, or color, to use iTunes as your default music/video player. Just download and use...

I can play music, I can load music from CD, I can buy music, I can buy & watch TV shows (if they've been licensed, of course), and I can find all kinds of free pod casts on just about any topic imaginable. I can also purchase audio books (although I actually use Audible.com).

What a world we live in!
Monday, August 4, 2008

We're having a heat wave...

Temps were somewhere around 105 yesterday here in the east Fort Worth area - at least that's what my car's built in thermometer read. They're supposed to be just as hot, if not hotter, again today. Yikes. If we reach 107, as predicted, it'll break a record. But the record temps waited this long to show up, which tells me they will be short lived in duration. The first summer we spent in Texas (2000) was brutal. There were over 100 days of over 100 degree heat that summer. What a welcome!

Onto other more pleasant news, we are finally moving our business out of our garage and into real live office space. We found pretty close to perfect space only four miles from our home, which includes enough space to grow from our six-man team to the twelve-man team we are working towards. It also includes a huge attached warehouse space.

And I'm talking huge, not just height-wise. There is enough space in the warehouse area to hold the following vehicles: our boat, our pop-up trailer, our flat-bed trailer, our large enclosed trailer, our non-running Durango, all *three* company cars, our large pick-up truck, and all four employees' personal vehicles (if we wanted to), with room to spare. Not to mention all ladders, equipment, and tools belonging to the business. Plus we have ample parking in front for walk-in business and actual employee parking.

Finally! I'm very excited to have my home back.
Monday, July 28, 2008

Back to 1968...

But first, went and saw The Dark Knight on Sunday afternoon.
I enjoyed the movie. Love Christian Bale as Batman, although I don't care much for the Rachel Dawes replacement... I like Maggie Gyllenhall, but liked Katie Holmes in the role. I wonder, if perhaps Katie had been available, would the Bruce/Rachel relationship turned out differently. Anywho - love Michael Caine as Alfred, love Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Gary Oldham as Commissioner Gordon.


A couple of assassinations stole headlines in 1968: Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
When looking back on this year, these are the two that will overshadow all others through the lens of history. Some other famous folks who died in '68 include: Charlie Chaplin, Yuri Gagarin, Admiral Kimmel, Helen Keller, Rose Wilder Lane, Upton Sinclair, Tallulah Bankhead, John Steinbeck, & George Lewis.

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Jen FitzGerald
Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.
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Jen's Glossary of Terms

  • DH = my husband
  • my Brown Eyed Girl = my oldest daughter
  • DD = my Darling Daughter (the younger one)
  • Sonshine or Marching Band Boy = my son
  • NT = the North Texas chapter of RWA
  • RWA = Romance Writers of America