Friday, December 30, 2011

The End of Yet Another Year

I always suffer from the end-of-the-year blahs. I look back on the last twelve months and there are always some successes, but on the whole I feel like a failure. This pity-party doesn’t last long though. By the beginning of January, I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the New Year.

There have been a couple of developments in my life since I last wrote. My family and I are attending a new church. It’s nice, and bigger than what we are use to. I can’t say I have any major complaints about it, it’s just missing something, but it will suffice for now.

Today is my 25th birthday. I think I have finally entered into the stage of my life where I feel like a full-fledged woman, rather than a girl. Still, I am left feeling lacking. When I was younger, I had thought that by the time I was 25 years old, that I would have a career and have done something worthwhile. Well, as you can see, the blahs are eating me up inside. Anyway, today I went to Wal-Mart to buy a couple of dresses and a skirt and then out to eat with my family. We took a trip to the mall, where I had my ears pierced for the first time. Then we stopped at the Christian bookstore and I bought a new Bible. All in all, its been a good birthday.

The one novel I have been laboring on for the last two years might be finished in another draft or two. Maybe by February it will be completed and I can contact the agents again. As for my second novel, the one set in the 1840’s, it will take some time before I show it to anyone, but I am extremely proud of it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ron Paul “wouldn’t have risked American lives to end the Holocaust”

Ron Paul “wouldn’t have risked American lives to end the Holocaust”

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul’s past statements are coming back to haunt him – and this time it’s about the US’ role in ending World War 2 and the Holocaust.

Following a controversial revelation by a former aide to the congressman, saying that Paul “wishes Israel didn’t exist,” another blogger said Tuesday that in 2009 Paul went on the record as saying that if he were the president of the United States during WWII he “wouldn’t have risked American lives to end the Holocaust.”

Journalist Jeffrey Shapiro posted a 2009 interview he held with the GOP’s leading candidate, in which Paul clearly states that if it were up to him at the time, saving the Jews from annihilation in Europe would not have been a “moral imperative.”

“I asked Congressman Paul: If he were president of the United States during World War II would he have sent American troops to Nazi Germany to save the Jews? And the Congressman answered: No, I wouldn’t.”

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jeff Foxworthy on Indiana…

Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Indiana...

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you may live in

If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't even work there, you may live in Indiana.

If you've worn shorts and a jacket at the same time, you may live in Indiana.

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed
a wrong number, you may live in Indiana.

If "vacation" means going anywhere south of Fort Wayne for the weekend, you may live in Indiana.

If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Indiana.

If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in

If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again, you may live in Indiana.

If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Indiana.

If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both doors unlocked, you may live in Indiana.

If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live
in Indiana.

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you may live in Indiana.

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Indiana.

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Indiana.

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction,
you may live in Indiana.

If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Indiana.

If you find 10 degrees "a little chilly", you may live in Indiana.

If you actually understand these jokes, repost this so all of your Indiana friends and others can see,you definitely do live - or have lived - in Indiana.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Alice Finch Lee, Centenarian -The Civil Rights Movement Needed Atticus in a Skirt

By eight-thirty in the morning, Alice Finch Lee is at her desk in her law practice on the second floor of a bank building in Monroeville, Alabama, opening the stacks of correspondence she faces five days a week. Lee, or Miss Alice, as she is known in this small, Deep South town, turns 100 on September 11, 2011.
She is thought to be the oldest practicing woman lawyer in the United States. For over half a century she has been a tireless pioneer for people’s rights and an advocate of racial equality in a time and place when such a position was unpopular and even dangerous. She is also the older sister of Harper Lee, the author of “To Kill A Mockingbird”, the most widely read book in the United States.
Today civil rights milestones are celebrated by rightly giving prominence to heroes of the movement, from the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference to Rosa Parks to the unsung thousands who participated in sit-ins and marches, often facing fire hoses, snarling police dogs and even death. Less visible were an army of middle-class white Southerners, who from the pages of their newspapers, the pulpits of their churches , the quiet offices of their law firms and the benches of the court room gave legs to sustain a movement that needed the consent and cooperation of the Southern establishment and the ordinary white person.
Alice Finch Lee probably never realized she was a radical in disguise. She just felt throughout her life that she was doing the right thing, following in the footsteps of a father, who in the 1930s, publicly confronted a gathering of the Klu Klux Klan, facing them down on the street in front of his newspaper office, forcing them to disband. First, at the age of eighteen, with her father as the co-owner of a newspaper, then through her church and finally as Alabama’s most celebrated lawyer, Miss Alice has been a quiet warrior seeing that justice is done in her small town of Monroeville.
Working tirelessly for her beloved United Methodist Church, she has been instrumental in turning it into a place of worship where African-Americans are welcome as part of the congregation. The Reverend Thomas Lane Butts, pastor emeritus of the First United Methodist Church in Monroeville, recalls how Miss Alice was a mentor to him when in 1960 as a young minister he defied the Klu Klux Klan and signed a petition to integrate buses in Mobile, Alabama.
That was a time, he remembered, when black Americans suffered terribly, and people took in racism with their mother’s milk. Few people realize the extent to which racism is layered. When you deal with one form of racism, it is frustrating to see that just underneath that form is another layer. Many people quit and went about their business when one particular form of racism was finally conquered. The most redemptive thing about Miss Alice and her kind is that their sense of justice and fair play never stops shining. These are the people who successfully detect and quietly combat racism no matter what form it takes. They are quiet, publicity shy souls who are not out shouting from the rooftops that they are about to change the world, but their persistent, inch-by-inch efforts have had that effect. If this movement could be summed up as a T-shirt logo, it might say, “Don’t Mess with Miss Alice!”
In the Deep South, where much of the population has never stopped fighting the Civil War, Miss Alice and her family espoused values that were ahead of the times in which they lived. While Miss Alice is quiet and reserved, her family nickname, “Bear”, speaks of her character. “Miss Alice will always do the right thing in any situation, even if the right thing is hard. She is Atticus Finch in a skirt” says Dr. Butts, referring to the small town lawyer hero in her sister’s best-selling novel. She is a leading example of progressive, quietly combative white Southerners who helped to integrate the South. It is the Alice Lees of the world whose constant witness to the truth saves us from falling back into old evils which are buried but not dead.
A close friend of Miss Alice has described her as “the most selfless person who walks the face of the earth”, and one who believes a person’s actions speak louder than words. Both as a lawyer and a caring citizen of her town, Monroeville, she has helped countless individuals of all colors cope with their problems. She has provided free legal counsel and advice to people who could not afford such help, and her quiet generosity has put many young people through college who otherwise could not have afforded higher education.
Although her famous, publicity-shy sister retreated from public view not long after her novel became a best-seller, Miss Alice is recognized as one of the outstanding lawyers in the State of Alabama. As a trailblazer, she has served as a role model for young women who otherwise might not have set their sights so high. Her broad spectrum of wisdom and experience in the law is such that when somebody needs guidance on a legal matter, people in the know say, “Go ask Miss Alice.”
In 1929, after one year of college, she returned home to help with family affairs and at the age of eighteen joined her father as a partner when they bought the local newspaper, the Monroe Journal together. Later, while working full-time, she studied pre-law at night not intending to become a lawyer, but simply to sharpen her thinking. After a couple of years study, however, she got “hooked” on the law and ended up graduating from the Birmingham School of Law and passing the Alabama bar exam in 1943. When her father invited her to come home and practice their profession together, she asked him, “How is a small town going to react to a woman in a law office?” He smiled and said, “You’ll never know until you’ve tried it!” Taking his advice, she broke the mold of an heir apparent’s always being a man.
Miss Alice has never flown in an airplane, but she recalls the day she first saw one. It was in 1920, when one of her schoolmates in the fourth grade came running into the classroom shouting and pointing out the window, “Somethin’ is flyin’ around out there!” The entire fourth grade rushed outside to view an airborne object which few, if any, of them had ever before seen – an airplane circling overhead.
Never married, Miss Alice makes her home in a modest brick house where she has lived since 1952. She is a voracious reader; almost every wall in her home is lined with book shelves. Her mind is razor sharp, and she often reads several books concurrently, both serious history and current bestsellers. As curious as she is about the world around her, these days Miss Alice is no traveler. She limits herself to trips along Alabama’s dusty country roads where she likes to explore small churches and to eat fried catfish and hush puppies in local Mom and Pop restaurants. Inheriting from her mother a love of puzzles, she still delights in attacking the New York Times Sunday crossword which a friend faxes to her every week.
Impeccably dressed each day in elegant, conservative skirts and jackets, Reebok sneakers being her only concession to informality and comfort, Miss Alice admits that she has no time for computers or cell phones. She also limits television viewing to sports programs where Alabama teams are playing. .
Even though she is known as a no-nonsense lawyer, humor seems to envelope almost everything Miss Alice does, even talking of death. Recently she and her pastor, the Reverend Butts, were discussing funeral arrangements. When she told him she wanted no eulogy, only the 23rd Psalm, the Lord’s Prayer and the Benediction at her interment, he allowed as how, when the time came, he could do what he wanted since she would already be gone from this world. They both ended up having a hearty laugh.
Although today she considers herself a Republican and would never agree to being labeled a liberal, as she enters her second century of life, Miss Alice is the stuff that change is made of. Americans of all colors should salute her when she turns 100 on 9/11.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

7 Things

Here is a list of 7 facts about yours truly. Please make one of your own so that I can learn more about you.

1. I’m a Bible-believing, born-again Christian.
2. I’m a chocolate addict. Dangerously so.
3. Often enough I like animals better than I like people.
4. I don’t drive. I have never learned.
5. I’m an introvert and a loner.
6. I have never been kissed and I have never had a boyfriend.
7. I have a crush on a guy that I have never officially met, whose name I do not know. Until there is an introduction, I will continue to call him “Jacob.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Can’t Think of a Title for This One Either

Yes, here is another personal update on my so-called life.

The crazy neighbors are still up to their old tricks. The two dogs we were concerned about were dumped somewhere and thankfully they haven’t taken in any more (knock on wood) but now they are neglecting their poor pitbull Dallas. One morning, a couple of weeks ago, he was left out for four or five hours, without any water or food. No matter how many times we call on them, they don’t seem to get it that they are doing wrong. So please, still pray for this situation.

Jury duty was canceled, so I never did have to go. I think I have up to a year where they could call me up again. We’ll see. I was a little disappointed because I was getting psyched up for it, but my motives were all self-serving and its probably for the best that I didn’t go in.

Still working on my manuscript. It is about 500 words shy of being 75,000 words. I have read somewhere that from that point and on, a work of that length is considered a novel. So that’s good news. Another draft and it should be long enough to be officially novel length. So, yay! Right now my parents are in the midst of reading it. I want their thoughts, opinions and criticism, that way my WIP can be improved upon. I was raised listening to their stories about Indiana and the past, so it is only right that I have their input. I wish my grandparents were alive to read it. My story takes place in 1915, and three of my grandparents were born just after that. Well, I like to think that they’re looking down from heaven on us all and watching us live our lives. Anyway, while my parents are critiquing my WIP, I am about to start another draft on my 1840’s novel. Where the 1915 story is lighthearted and (hopefully) comedic, the 1840 story is a drama and far edgier.

I have yet to see “The Help” in theaters, so we will probably wait for it to come out on DVD. The book and movie has done so much for me. Not just creatively, but personally too. Growing up, the only stories I heard about the Civil Rights were that of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. I love hearing about Rosa Parks, but unfortunately I didn’t properly respect MLK. It was only this last year or so that I have grown to like MLK and appreciate all that he did. As a kid and teenager, I couldn’t see how making speeches, demonstrating or marching was effective. It is only as an adult I have realized that Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and every other brave soul of that era were staring death straight in the eye and didn’t blink once. “The Help” has increased my interest in the Civil Rights era and all that had occurred then, and opened my eyes to all of the injustices. God bless those brave men and women for taking a stand, and God bless Kathryn Stockett for her own inner courage.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Diary from September 11th and 12th, 2001

The following diary excerpts were written in my actual diary on September 11th and September 12th of 2001, when I was fourteen years old. Being homeschooled, I was writing about a few of the events as it transpired, therefore some of the information is incorrect. Individuals mentioned have had their names changed to protect their privacy but my very poor spelling has been retained. Also, the entries are written to Ana, which is what I named my diary at the time (as inspired from Anne Frank).

Dear Ana,
Two planes flew into the World Trade Center at 8:45am + 9:00. The World Trade Center collapsed not long ago. And a different plane flew into the Pentagon. Violence is everywhere! Is this the end times? Is Jesus coming back? Is there going to be war?
Dad is in Indianapolis. He is alright, so far.

Lord Help US! We need YOU!

More Later…

“We will not tolerate this!” That is what was said by several people. 4 planes were hijacked today. 50,000 people died. Our president was very angry. He is smarter than we give him credit for.
Will there be war? This is the second Pearl Harbor. Mom says this one is worse though. Tradgity is always horrible. I no longer feel safe. Will we be here tomorrow?
I haven’t been online all day. So I have no idea how my friends are. I pray they are all right. At 10:00 or 11:00pm I plan to go online and check everything out. I am going to be very busy.
At 7:30pm President Bush will announce what will happen next. So I might be able to write to you about what he says.
Just to think yesterday I had no worries, but now I am worried. Our lives were at steak 8:45am this morning. Thank you, Lord, you kept us safe.
And to think [Aunt] Stella is using this [an excuse] to stay with [her boyfriend] Henry. She claims that there are riots all over Terre Haute. If there are riots in this town, then I am Barbie Doll! And I am definitly not Barbie.

More Later…

Bush did not answer any of my questions. Why is this happening to us? We are America. I thought WW2 was the war to end all wars. But it seems more and more are happening. But why did this happen again? Didn’t we learn from Pearl Harbor? Bush knew. We were threatened by that Bin-Ladin guy.
Will we ever be safe again? Is this what people felt when Pearl Harbor was bombed? Will there be war? Will there be peace? What will happen tomorrow? God knows. And all my trust is with him.

Dear Ana,
War. That’s what everyone is worried about. Kelsey, my internet friend, is worried all of her friends will be drafted. Its very patriotic of them to enlist. Is this WW3? I am almost certain that the Rapture is near. I just don’t feel it will happen now. I could be wrong.
Is this how Grandma felt [during Pearl Harbor]? I’m not as brave or smart as she is. How did she handle this? Well, first off she was several years older than I am. She was 23 and I am only 14½.
We’ll be all right. God will protect us. And if the Tribulation is near, then we will go to heaven.
I’ll never forget where I was when I first heard. I just got down watching “A Different World” and got up for something. Mom changed the channel and it had “Breaking News” on the screen. I saw the second plane crash into the building…
But I’ll never forget all that has happened.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bits and Pieces of My Life

Ah, time for the monthly update of my life. Everything has been so crazy lately that I haven’t been able to give proper attention to my blogs and my writing has suffered a bit too. I hope that in a couple of weeks that things might slow down… or maybe it won’t.

For the last two months or so, we have been feuding with are neighbors. We were actually quite close to them and if you had told me a year ago that we’d be up in arms, I wouldn’t have believed you. It began when the neighbor girls took in this German shepherd pup named Zooey. At first they treated it decently, but then they stumbled upon another puppy and Zooey was pushed aside. They stuck Zooey out in the backyard, in a pin, when it was like 90 degrees out. The poor thing knocked over her water dish, so her food; water and feces ran together. They ignored her and would make her stay out there for hours on end, at night too. When the girls went back to their dad’s house, their mother and stepfather left Zooey out on the front porch and rarely let her inside. Whenever someone on the block would leave in their car, she would chase after and risk being hit. Our house is just too full, or else we would have been more than willing to take her in. My family and I were going to take her to the humane shelter, thinking that she would be better off there than with these people. Then Zooey just disappeared, so we can only assume that they dumped her somewhere. When the girls came back from their dad’s, they were told that she had been stolen.

Since then we have withdrawn our friendship from them. I know that I am nobody’s judge, because I certainly make plenty of mistakes. I can put up with just about anything; loud music, parties, stolen parking places, shout-fests, foul lanuage, etc… but animal abuse is unacceptable. God may have given us dominion over the animal kingdom, but with that comes accountability. As God governs over us and shows us compassion, we must govern over the animals and show them compassion. Am I right?

Well, within the last two weeks, the neighbor girls have acquired two new little dogs. This is not counting that they already have a permanent family pet, a pit bull named Dallas. Dallas is constantly pushed aside and ignored. The poor thing adores this family (why, I have no idea), because it is the only real family he has ever known. Anyway, the two little dogs… one of them was shoved out in backyard at night (in that same pin), until my sister called the police complaining about the howls and cries. It was our only way to ensure that the animals would be brought inside. After two police visits, the dog was allowed inside. Now both little dogs are kept in a laundry room off by themselves and only taken out (like toys) when the girls feel in the mood to play with them. Last night the owner of the apartment visited and the little dogs were once more exiled to the backyard. A thunderstorm hit and they were naturally frightened. This time, however, my sister took pictures and called animal control. No results. Then this morning I called them and they actually came out.

Whether it makes a difference or not, I don’t know. What is sad to say is that no one else in the neighborhood seems to care.

Today in the mail I received a jury duty summons. Naturally I’m nervous, because I have never done it before. I don’t mind doing it; it’s a civic duty and a privilege, but still I am worried. I have chronic anxiety attacks. I’ve been doing well as of late, but I fear that this might be more than I can handle. Or maybe it’s the precise challenge that I need. If you all could pray for me, I’d be appreciative.

Tomorrow the movie “The Help” premieres. I want to see it so badly, but the movie theater is just so expensive these days, we can’t justify going. Alas, I must wait until it comes out on DVD. ::frowny face:: Oh well. I actually read the book (I rarely read recently published fiction anymore) and loved it. The author, Kathryn Stockett’s story is so inspiring. She was rejected sixty-some times before she found an agent. That is some definite perseverance. I surf the net scrounging for information on her and the book, and the new book that she is working on. Her current WIP is set in the south during the Great Depression. I hope that she continues and doesn’t do what Harper Lee did and disappear. If only there were more authors out there like Harper Lee and Kathryn Stockett.

I have been slowly, but surely revising my novella. Last week I didn’t do any writing, but today for some reason I felt like I could. The cobwebs of my mind have been brushed away and I can now function creatively.

All for now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Desecration of Ponar Memorial to Shoah Victims

Original Article

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the Lithuanian government for trying to hide or minimize the highly-significant role of local Nazi collaborators in Holocaust crimes and attributed last weekend’s desecration of the memorial at Ponar, the site of the mass murder of 70,000 Jews during the Holocaust, to the falsification of World War II history by local historians with governmental sponsorship and support.
In a statement issued here today by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center pointed to the denial at a recent international conference sponsored by the government at the Seimas [Lithuanian Parliament] of the lethal violence launched by Lithuanians against Jews in at least 40 different locations before the arrival of Nazi troops, as an example of the continuing efforts by the authorities to try and conceal the active participation by Lithuanians in the mass
murder of Jews during World War II.

According to Zuroff:
“The ongoing government-sponsored and financed distortion, minimization, and downplaying of the critical role played by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators in Holocaust crimes has created an anti-Semitic atmosphere in which slogans such as “Hitler was right,” which was scrawled on the Ponar memorial, seem natural. After all, if as was claimed at the recent historical conference held at the Seimas, Jewish historians such as eminent Hebrew University professor Dov Levin purposely lied about the scope of Lithuanian criminality during the Shoa, such desecrations of Holocaust memorials become almost understandable. The time has come for the European Union to make clear to the Lithuanian authorities that membership obligates them to refrain from distorting the history of World War II for political reasons and to stop the resultant incitement against the local Jewish community.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Helpful Advice

Well, I received extensive advice from one of the agents that I had submitted my novella to. To start with, she suggested that I organize my story into a manuscript format. I had no idea what she meant and with much patience she sent me an example of what my story should look like. After I followed her advice and sent it to her once more, she gave me some positive feedback. My little novella is not quite ready and needs some polishing and she offered me some pointers.

Upon hearing that, I was crestfallen. No, I was downright angry. For an hour I stewed and came to the realization that she was absolutely right. I re-read her e-mail several times and noticed that she had complemented my novella and encouraged me to do some revisions. For the most part, it shouldn’t be too difficult. My main concern is the “showing” versus “telling.” I detest flowery, useless description that has little or no information and doesn’t pertain to the plot at all. I prefer to be to the point. Despite my concerns about this, I am willing to give it a try. What do I have to lose? I suppose I fear that no matter how many revisions that I do that it will never been good enough.

Well, I guess if I have come this far, I can eventually reach my goal. So, I am going to do some more revisions and maybe by the beginning of next year it will be ready.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Blog Entry without a Title

I finished the first draft of my newest novel. Whenever I complete a first draft on anything, I allow myself a week’s vacation to rejuvenate. This time I am giving myself two weeks. Originally when I conceived this story, it was to be something simple and nothing complicated. But now I have gone and fallen in love with it and it is becoming epic to me. The topic is not commonly covered, at least not in the Christian market. Oh, it has been touched on, but not they way I am doing it. I fear that the heroine might be considered too feministic, but I can’t have her any other way. My heroine must remain strong, independent and intelligent. I can’t dumb her down and make her weak to mold her into one of those cookie-cutter heroines. I can only hope that once I’m finished with the novel that someone might see how true to life it is.

While I’m on this little break, I am trying something new. Throughout all of my endeavors to be published, family and friends alike have advised me to write some smaller pieces for Guidepost or Reader’s Digest. I’m actually going to try that. I wrote what amounts to a little more than a page about my paternal grandmother.

So my fingers are crossed. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mission of Mercy?

Original Article Here.

By Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

A little over a year ago, a fleet of six ships sailed toward the Gaza Strip. The so-called "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" included members of the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) — self described "peaceful activists" — who were challenging Israel's blockade of the region that guards against the infiltration of terrorists and weapons into Gaza.

When Israeli authorities, in full accordance with international law, requested to inspect the ships and deliver any humanitarian items on board through established checkpoints, the crew on the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, attacked the soldiers with metal pipes, knives, bats, and a gun. Seven IDF soldiers were injured as well. The "peaceful activists" were not so peaceful after all. In the process of defending themselves, IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers killed nine IHH members.

Flotilla organizers immediately dubbed the event the "Mavi Marmara massacre." International media covered the incident extensively, often portraying the activists as compassionate heroes and martyrs, and Israel as the cruel oppressor despite the fact that the IHH has known ties to terrorist groups like Hamas.

Not surprisingly, it's happening again. Members of the IHH are planning a fifteen-ship flotilla with 1,500 activists from 120 countries to set sail later this month. Though the organization is again claiming peaceful intentions, recent statements from IHH officials are ominous: "We have many surprises in store," one promised. Another, speaking more clearly, declared, ""Even if we sacrifice shahids (martyrs) for this cause, we will be on the side of justice."

Since the flotilla organizers claim only to be offering much-needed humanitarian aid, we might well ask: What is the scale of humanitarian need in Gaza? Last April, one Red Cross official in the region stated emphatically, "There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach." In the wake of the flotilla last year, Israel which has consistently allowed food, medicine, and other essentials into Gaza — even eased up on its blockade. In the past month, Egypt opened up the Rafah crossing, allowing people and products to flow more easily into Gaza.

The flotilla organizers' contention that Gaza's population is starving, held captive to "Israel's illegal stranglehold" on the region is, plainly and simply, a lie. The flotilla is nothing more than a provocation meant to challenge Israel's sovereignty, a cynical public relations ploy meant to sway world opinion against Israel. Indeed, the flotilla organizers have shrewdly calculated that any attempt by Israel to defend herself and protect her borders will be judged harshly in the media and world governing bodies like the U.N., and that the publicity generated by events such as Israel's wholly legitimate boarding of the Mavi Marmara will have negative effects that will resonate for months, even years to come.

Still, we must hope for the best as Israel faces yet another challenge to its security. The Bible says, "Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment" (Proverbs 12:19). Let us pray that the true intentions of the flotilla organizers, and indeed of all those who actively attempt to delegitimize and compromise the security of the Jewish state, will be revealed. Let us pray for the safety of the IDF soldiers who put themselves in harm's way protecting the country they love. And let us pray for the day when God will bless the entire world with his most precious gift of shalom, peace.

With prayers for shalom, peace.

Monday, June 6, 2011

“Foreskin Man” brings anti-Semitic imagery into circumcision fight

Original Article Here /

Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
The backers of a ballot initiative in San Francisco aiming to ban circumcision in that city have consistently maintained that their efforts are not anti-Semitic.
But the “Foreskin Man” comic book, which was written and edited in 2010 by the founder of a San Diego group supporting efforts to ban circumcision in San Francisco and Santa Monica, gives further credence to the accusation that so-called intactivists are in fact motivated by anti-Semitism.
“The imagery in ‘Foreskin Man’ is functionally Anti-Semitic,” Abby Michelson Porth, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), said. “The motives of the proponents of this ban are questionable given their direct connection with “Foreskin Man.”
The story told in the second issue of “Foreskin Man,” which is available on its website, centers on the story of Sarah and Jethro Glick and their newborn son. Sarah thought that she and her husband had agreed not to circumcise their son, but Jethro had other plans. He secretly invited the villain, “Monster Mohel,” to circumcise “little Glick.”
On the website, Monster Mohel, a bearded man with a black hat on his head and a tallis around his neck, is described this way: “Nothing excites Monster Mohel more than cutting into the penile flesh of an eight-day-old infant boy.”
Last month, San Francisco city officials announced that the backers of an initiative to prohibit circumcision in the city had collected enough signatures to put the measure to voters in November 2011.
Lloyd Schofield is the official backer of the San Francisco initiative, which uses text from the, a San Diego-based group established by Matthew Hess. Hess is credited alongside the comic book’s illustrator and colorist on the comic’s website.
In response to a question about his motivations, Hess said that he and his supporters are, first and foremost, human rights activists.
“We do what we do because we strongly believe that no one has the right to cut off part of another person’s body without their consent,” Hess wrote in an email. “We believe that amputating part of a boy’s penis is no different in principle than amputating part of a girl’s vulva. If you ask any activist in Africa why she is trying to stop the practice of female genital mutilation, I suspect that her answers would be very similar to ours.”
Writing on May 31, before the San Francisco Chronicle reported on the comic book existence, Hess addressed those who accuse him of being motivated by anti-Semitism.
“As far as the anti-Semitism charge, I might understand such an accusation if our proposed legislation applied to everyone except Jews. That would be like saying we care about all boys except the Jewish ones,” Hess wrote.
The JCRC is leading the fight against the initiative in San Francisco and has assembled a coalition of HIV researchers, medical authorities, civic leaders, and clergy from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities to support their efforts.
The second issue of “Foreskin Man” depicts Monster Mohel as a dark-haired, wild-eyed man toting glistening scissors. Foreskin Man is a blond-haired muscle-bound superhero, complete with a cape.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ban on Male Circumcision Proposed in California City

Ban on Male Circumcision

Santa Monica – Residents in Santa Monica, CA may be voting on a new ballot initiative in 2012. The group, MGM Bill has a proposal that would make it a a misdemeanor to circumcise a male before age 18. Female circumcision, or also called female genital mutilation, is already outlawed in California and the U.S.

Jena Troutman, a spokeswoman for the group MGM Bill and founder of the website, says males should get the same protection from genital mutilation as females. She notes that the bill they are proposing is identical to one that already prohibits female genital mutilation.

The proposal contains no religious exemptions and has raised questions regarding a possible First Amendment violation.

Peter Eliasberg, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, said the measure might pass a First Amendment challenge. "If there is some support [among medical doctors or psychologists] for the idea that circumcision hurts children, the government could do this," he said.

However, David David Lahrer, a Jewish leader, told the Los Angeles Times in an article published Tuesday that the proposal “takes the notion of the mommy state to a ridiculous extreme.” He even stated that “it probably touches on being anti-Semitic.”

But Troutman takes the constitutional argument in a different direction stating that it’s an issue of equal protection as stated in the 14th Amendment.
“This bill is identical to a female genital mutilation bill that has already passed,” Troutman told

But Lahrer says that it is "idiotic" to compare circumcision to female genital mutilation.
Whether Santa Monica voters get their say on the measure or not, the campaign has already sparked heated debate.

“We just need 6,000 signatures. We are very optimistic," Troutman said confidently. "The whole baby revolution is sweeping the nation, and I’m trying to educate parents.”

Personal Opinion:

I find it ironic that these are the same people who are okay with abortion. They want to protect a baby, just as long as its not in the womb.

First They Came for the Jews

by Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Jews,
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

10 Pieces of Advice to Be Passed on to All Women

Note: I didn't write this. This came from a forward that I received.

1. Don't imagine you can change a man - unless he's in nappies.

2. What do you do if your boyfriend walks out? You shut the door.

3. If they put a man on the moon - they should be able to put them all up there.

4. Go for the younger man. You might as well, they never mature anyway.

5. Men are all the same - they just have different faces, so we can tell them apart.

6. Best way to get a man to do something is to suggest he is too old for it.

7. Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.

8. The children of Israel wandered around the desert for 40 years. Even in Biblical times, men wouldn't ask for directions.

9. If he asks what sort of books you're interested in, tell him cheque books.

10. Remember a sense of humour does not mean that you tell him jokes, it means that you laugh at his.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Confessions of a Holocaust Addict

Have you ever had a fascination with a subject or a person that wholly consumes you until you don’t know where you begin and it ends? Mine is the Holocaust. It is perhaps one of the darkest periods in the history of mankind and I am obsessed with it. I can’t explain why. Its not like I have a personal connection to it. No one in my family suffered through it nor do I have any friends who were survivors of it. But every since I read Anne Frank’s diary, I can’t stop myself from studying it. Oh, I have gone months and years without reading about it, but then I encounter a story or learn about a person who lived in during that hell, and I’m diving back in.

Moderation is the key with any interest or hobby. Unfortunately that isn’t the case with my fascination. I can read on average five books on the Holocaust every week, and watch two movies or documentaries as well. That doesn’t count the Internet research that I do. By three months end, I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. For three months I recuperate and then when I’m feeling good and refreshed again, I fall into the same cycle.

Last week some time I realized that I couldn’t do it anymore. I’m tired of the vicious cycle that I fall into. I need a break and I mean a real break. I may read a book here and there and if a new movie comes out, I’ll have to watch it. But I don’t intend to do any serious studying on the Holocaust for a few years- like at least five. Maybe by then I will remember why I started studying it in the first place. Sometimes I forget that the Holocaust just isn’t a subject to read about- it is about individuals like Anne Frank, Oskar Schindler, Sophie Scholl, Irena Sendler, Eva Mozes-Kor, Eli Weisel, Simon Wiesenthal, etc.

I had planned on dedicating this month's blog posts to lesser-known stories about the Holocaust, but I just can’t do it now. Maybe later on this year or next year sometime.

Thank you for reading my thoughts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

“My Brilliant Career,” by Miles Franklin: A Forgotten Classic

Rating: Five Stars

Author Bio:
Miles Franklin (born "Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin"; 14 October 1879 – 19 September 1954) was an Australian writer and feminist who is best known for her autobiographical novel, “My Brilliant Career,” published in 1901. While she wrote throughout her life, her other major literary success, “All That Swagger,” was not published until 1936. She was committed to the development of a uniquely Australian form of literature, and she actively pursued this goal by supporting writers, literary journals, and writers' organizations. She has had a long-lasting impact on Australian literary life through her endowment of a major literary award known as the Miles Franklin Award.

Book Description:
Strong-headed, competent Sybylla has lived her sixteen years in and out of poverty in the Australian outback. She happily remembers her early years, including her mother's concern that she is too much of a tomboy and her father's response that "the curse of her sex will bother her soon enough." When she is ten, Sybylla's life changes drastically as her family moves, her father's businesses fail, and years of drought blight their land: "We felt the full force of the heavy hand of poverty...the wounded pride and humiliation which attacked us." At fifteen, with no visions of escape from her difficult life, Sybylla is invited to her grandmother's estate and there tastes some of the pleasures she longs for - music, books, art. She also falls in love and feels the joy and sorrow love can bring. Sybylla provides a vivid recollection of youth as she fights the conventions of her time and pays a high price to be true to her heart.

My Thoughts:
I read “My Brilliant Career,” last Christmas and fell madly in love with the story. In those days girls and women had no other aspirations than to marry and beget children. Yet here is Sybylla Melvin, a spirited girl who knows her own mind and what she wants out of life. There is no sex or anything foul in the book. At one point Sybylla does slap Harry for trying to kiss her, but that is the only “violence” that comes to mind. Mrs. Melvin (Sybylla’s mother) is, I think, jealous of Sybilla and all of her talents, therefore she mistreats her daughter and has no qualms about sending her off, even if it does break her daughter’s heart. Sybylla does not have a good opinion of religion. Mrs. Melvin constantly uses religion to force her daughter into submission, therefore Sybylla is averse to anything religious (not that I can blame her).
I wish I had read this book years earlier. It is so fantastic. There is a sequel, called “My Career Goes Bung” (a.k.a. “The End of My Career”) and though it is great, it in no way compares with the original.

The Movie:
I first discovered the book, “My Brilliant Career” by hearing about the movie by the same name. Gillian Armstrong is an Australian director of period movies and she is the one who directed my favorite version of “Little Women” (Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Surrandon). Well, long before she tackled “Little Women,” her directorial debut came when she did “My Brilliant Career” in 1979. Sybylla is portrayed by Judy Davis (“Me and My Shadows: Life with Judy Garland”), and a very young and handsome Sam Neill (“Jurassic Park” and “Merlin”). The movie is as magical as the book and just as enjoyable. The only draw back, in my opinion, is when Sybylla verbally curses God. It is brief and though it offended me, I can understand her frustration at the moment. Aside from that, there is nothing else to be wary of. Except when Sybylla slaps Harry; there is a little blood. If you can look beyond those two points and like period dramas and a strong heroine, then this is the movie (and book) for you.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Blah-Blah About My So-Called Career

Well, within the last month or so I have queried four agents. No response, except one of them did promise to review my proposal. So that is something. I haven’t been out and out rejected so I guess anything could happen. I do worry that with the economy as it is, that agents may be wary of taking on new clients and the publishers will not be as open to unpublished authors. I can only hope that someone will see something in this novella and believe it is worthy of seeing the light of day.

This novella isn’t like most of what is out there. That can be both good and bad, I guess. Good, that it is unique. Bad, that it may not be what an audience is accustomed to. It is nothing epic or outstanding. The description isn’t flowery or lengthy and the dialog isn’t anything remarkable. There are no villains, evil or hatred to overcome or great moral lessons to learn. The best way I can describe it is that it’s a simple, little historical romance based in 1915 and set in a tiny town in Indiana. The Christian market has published thousands of books exactly like this, so I originally thought it would fit right in. I still think it would; only now I see it is not going to be as easy as I had assumed. Well, when you assume, you make an a-- out of you and me. I am so good at doing that.

I suppose a month is nothing and that I ought to be patient. In the meantime, the current story I am working on is going well. I completed chapter six the other day. I average about two chapters a week. I’m not like most authors who can write for eight-hour days. Four hours is my maximum. There are other things that I must do during the day, so my life doesn’t revolve around writing.

That is all that is going on in regards to my career. Ta-ta!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Haircut

Note: I received this forward from a friend. I did not write it. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it.

One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut.

After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, "I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing community service this week."
The florist was pleased and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a "Thank you" card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replied, "I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing community service this week." The cop was happy and left the shop.

The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a "Thank you" card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied, "I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week." The Congressman was very happy and left the shop.

The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut!!!

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.

Both politicians and diapers need to be changed often and for the same reason!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A New Friend

For the last few months, I have been in charge of making the snacks for AWANA. At last I have found my niche. For little more than a year, I tried to work with the children by helping them memorize their verses. I make a horrible teacher. The kids stare at me like I’m not making myself clear and they never learn what they’re supposed to. I’m glad to be working more behind the scenes and with food…I like food. Though I do well in the kitchen, I was not originally in charge. I was just a helper, but as of late I’ve taken on this small responsibility. It’s been good for me though. It takes me out of my little comfort zone.

Another person working in the kitchen is Jo, a very fine and amazing lady in her mid-eighties. I have worked with her before in VBS, but in the last year I think we have really clicked. We talk about all sorts of things, especially of the past. At one point I learned that she attended the same church that my family attended in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Then she revealed something that really through me for a loop.

Jo said that in the 1950’s she had known my Grandma and they had been friends. That may not be a big deal to you, dear reader, but it really affected me. Jo reminds me of my Grandma quite a bit and I truly enjoy working with her. I don’t mean to imply that Jo has replaced my Grandma; no one could replace my Grandma. Grandma was my friend, mentor and confidant. But it’s nice to be around someone of that era.

I’m glad to have a new friend. I have longed to have someone else to talk to and I’m thankful to God for sending Jo into my life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

I ought to update this blog more often. I have been busy, but not so much so that I can’t take ten minutes to write a blog entry.

I have submitted a query to an agent that I have yet to hear back from. I suppose that no news is good news. Had she not been interested, she would have sent a rejection right away. Either that or the e-mail was lost or disregarded altogether. Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. The wait is excruciating and has me imagining all kinds of things, both good and bad. I don’t want to set my hopes too high for fear they will come crashing down around me. I should send out some more queries, but I would really like to hear from this particular agent first. She is…unconventional. And I rather like unconventional.

While I am trying to market my finished novella, I am beginning on a new novel. This one is to be a drama, set in my beloved Indiana, primarily in 1840. I am excited. It was inspired by a subplot and two secondary characters in a novel that has already been published. Sometimes when I read a novel, I find the secondary characters far more appealing than the actual hero and heroine.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Life has been crazy for me lately. Dealt with some hard, unfair stuff and to be honest I’m not at all satisfied with how I handled it. It was one of those situations where no matter what you do there is no right answer. I just hope it’s over. I know, I’m talking in circles. I’ll move on.

I think I have my novella completed. It isn’t anything epic or fantastic. It is a small, simple story based in my home state, set in an obscure town. In a sense I’m a little bit proud of it, but I truly wish my debut work could be epic. I have epic ideas for future projects, but I just can’t tackle those right now. They’re too emotionally demanding for me. I need to write simple things for a little while.

With the completion of this story, I have had a resurgence in regards to my anxiety attacks. It is coming to the point where I can look for an agent and that overwhelms me. The last time I sent off work to be considered, the topic of my book was so epic and great that I hid behind it. I had thought that the agents would be shocked and awed by the subject matter that they would overlook my inexperience. Though my current project is smaller, it unveils little pieces of my soul.

Well, whatever happens, I will persevere.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Writes of Passage

Last spring I set my epic novel on the shelf and started on two new ones, one small and one big. As it turns out the bigger one requires much more research so it must be set aside for the time being. Now I am pursuing the smaller story. At times it frustrates me. Though I generally write pieces of work that feature a romance, I would not classify myself as a romance novelist. In all honesty, I know nothing about romance and would rather tackle something a bit more challenging. And yet that is precisely the kind of story I am working on. A Christian historical romance to be exact. I have set it in my own beloved state and attempted to add some comedic elements to it. This is probably the first novel I have ever written that actually has a shot at getting published. As of late, this is what the Christian market specializes in.

Underneath all of my optimism lies a layer of insecurities. I have approached agents for representation and publishers for publication and the end result was the same: rejection. Of course the two stories I had advertised were epic novels and this one is not so epic. It’s a simplistic little novella based in a fictional town in pre-WWI Indiana. There is nothing scandalous or shocking in it and even if it is published it will probably be soon forgotten as these sorts of stories usually are.

Even if rejection is all I will ever know in my career as an author, I have to pursue my dream. It’s a compulsion for me.

I. Must. Write.

I know not how to do anything else. It is both my passion and obsession.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Books of 2010

I stole this from another blogger.

1. Best book of 2010?
Christian Fiction: "Joshua," by Joseph Girzone. Its not a new one, but its a great one.

Secular Fiction: "My Brilliant Career," by Miles Franklin. Like, WOW!

2. Worst book of 2010?
"The Courteous Cad." It was a big let down.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010?
"Wild Flowers for Terezin."

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010?
"To Kill a Mockingbird," by the prolific Harper Lee. I had tried to read it years ago and couldn't get into it. I could rave on and on about this one.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010?
"The Shack," by William P. Young. I actually read it in 2009, but I just can't get over it. It was so dynamic and it really revolutionized by outlook on God.

6. Best series you discovered in 2010?
I can't really think of any off the top of my head.

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010?
Miles Franklin, Jean Webster, Harper Lee, Fanny Burney, Hannah Senesh... the list goes on.

8. Most hilarious read of 2010?
I rarely come across comedic books anymore. The last one that I read that was funny was Elizabeth Gaskell's "Wives and Daughters."

9. Most thrilling, irrestable book in 2010?
"Bonhoeffer," by Eric Metaxas.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010?
"Wildflowers at Terezin."

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010?
"To Kill a Mockingbird."

12. Most memorable character in 2010?
Scout Finch.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2010?
"To Kill a Mockingbird."

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010?
"Joshua," by Joseph Girzone. It was a simple book that relayed an amazing story.

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read?
Both "Joshua" and "To Kill a Mockingbird." I had picked up both of them before but was highly offended by the curse word I stumbled on in "Joshua" (what a little prig I was). And "To Kill a Mockingbird" just didn't hook me the first time.