Category Archives: Whining or Winning

I Went To The Jacksonville Trump Rally ~ and had a blast

 

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Terrible at taking selfies, I gritted my teeth.

Disclaimer: I’m a yuge Trump supporter, so everything written here has to be viewed through that lens. The rally was held tonight at 7pm in the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. I was supposed to meet author Linda Wood Rondeau and her husband Steve. In fact I never would’ve printed out a ticket if Linda hadn’t said she was going. They were scheduled to leave  at 4pm. I’m new to Jacksonville and unsure of driving downtown, so I left at 3:25 and arrived just after 4pm. There was already a line and people were being admitted into the arena. Street vendors sold a variety of Trump paraphernalia. A bottle of water cost $3.00. I decided I didn’t need hydration right then.

The line moved quickly and folks were admitted right away. What totally amazed me were the number of supporters who chose to stand for the entire event just so they would be under the podium. My friends Linda and Steve hadn’t yet arrived. I suspected it would not be easy to meet up with them in that crowd, so I looked for a seat. The very best ones were already taken, but I did manager to get one with an excellent view of the podium half way up in the bleachers.

There were plenty of red “Make America Great Again” hats in evidence around the arena. The crowd was much more diverse than is reported in the media. To be sure, white working class males were in evidence. However there were also quite a number of blacks, Latinos, women, as well as teenagers and college kids. Two twenty-something guys ran around in homemade ‘Trump-capes’ like super-heroes.  I found the people around me to be friendly. Active cross-conversations were taking place. Supporters not only spoke to the persons on either side of them, but leaned forward to talk to those in front of them and turned around to address those behind.After all, there would be at least two hours to fill before the opening speeches. The arena holds 16,000 and it was packed solid. My earlier suspicion was correct. I never did find Linda and Steve, though we texted each other for a while.

The opening speeches were rousing, though the crowd didn’t need much pumping up. Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry didn’t run away like John Kasich did at the RNC Convention. Mayor Curry warmly welcomed and addressed the crowd. The local chair of the RNC and Sharon Day, co-chair of the national RNC spoke, the dynamic Florida senator Ted Yoho, as did Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The bottom line seemed to be jobs, national security and personal safety, and the Supreme Court. There was an obvious law enforcement presence and all of the speaker lauded them, as well as giving accolades to first responders, and the military. This was always accompanied by loud cheering from the crowd…and I clapped and cheered along with everyone else.

I was a bit surprised by the pounding music which seemed to favor songs by the Rolling Stones, although there were a few arias by The Three Tenors tossed in. And odd combination to say the least, but also emotionally moving.

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Finally Donald J. Trump arrived with Secret Service agents preceding and following him.

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Naturally Trump spoke about building the wall and having Mexico pay for it. He decried how heroin and crime were coming across the border, saying a nation without borders is not a nation. He said jobs that had been outsourced to foreign countries would come back to the United States. That the American people would win-win-win so much, they’d get sick of winning. He instructed each supporter to not only vote on November 8th, but to bring five people to the polls with them.

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When the crowd left it was dark outside and the atmosphere had changed. Protestors shouted at us, but the police had the situation under control. What shocked me was the number of vendors had astronomically increased and they were hawking tee shirts bordering on the obscene. They yelled at supporters to get our attention focused upon what was printed on the shirts. I won’t repeat any of it here, but many of the blurbs on the shirts involved Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton and were graphic. I hurried to my car without incident. There were few police in the parking lot and few were needed. I got out of the lot relatively quickly…then got stuck in the traffic jam rally goers were creating.

And I kept having the sense that I’d become part of American political history. That sitting there waving my ‘Trump sign’, standing and cheering over and over, I’d become part of a phenomena that had never before occurred in American political history. A phenomena that didn’t’ pay attention to the political rules, and it felt good. Of course this phenomena occurred because the average (and that cuts across all categories of those voters, not just HS educated white males) had been lied to by their politicians for decades. Trump couldn’t do this with out us, and we couldn’t do it without his leadership. It felt real good. And I have to admit, yelling “Lock her up,” is fun.


When the ‘Strong Ones’ Come to the End of Self ~ and let Jesus take over

Wonder Woman Doll

I think often its Christians who see themselves as the ‘strong ones’ who have the biggest problem surrendering totally to Jesus, and I include myself in that group. It’s not that we don’t believe, we do. It’s not that we don’t honor Him, we do. It’s not that we don’t see Him as Savior and Lord, we do. It’s that we have a human history of taking care of everyone’s mess that gets in the way of us giving it all to Him.

Here we are saved, in some cases saved for years, and the mess around us is getting worse and worse. Family members not only are not saved, they’ve had numerous sexual partners, are having abortions, getting arrested, drinking excessively or taking drugs. Our spouse just asked for a divorce. We have aging parents with encroaching dementia and since we’ve always been the ‘strong one’, the siblings have abdicated all responsibility…and we’re now at the point where our knees are bending under the weight. Or, we support not only ourselves, but also an out-of-work sibling and now we’ve had a job loss and the fear the bank will soon foreclose.

The so-called ‘strong ones’ have been running from pillar-to-post picking up the pieces, holding it all together, but now, after years of this, are literally shaking apart. We might even be developing mental health symptoms. We think, how can that be? I’ve been saved for years. As we sink to our knees in utter defeat, I kinda think God says, “Finally, you’re handing it to Me. I couldn’t do anything with what you were holding on to.”

I think sometimes we have a secret sin (missing the mark), which involves shame…shame for things we could not control. We could not control our mother’s or sister’s or daughter’s promiscuity. We could not handle, heal, or successfully hide our father’s, brother’s, son’s alcoholism or drug abuse. We could not have prevented our own sexual abuse as a child. Yet we are dying inside from shame. Literally dying. We developed agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some of us have cleaned and recleaned our homes until they sparkle. We’ve literally been on the verge of losing our minds. But how could that be when we are saved? And not only saved, we’ve always been the ‘strong ones’.

And Jesus says, “I’ve been waiting for you to hand it all to Me. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” When we come to the end of our own strength and admit we do not in fact have the stamina or the wherewithal to fix everything, we can finally surrender to Him and begin to heal.


Battling Negativity ~ it’s all in the mind

Woman, Burned Out

 

How is it so many people come up with images in their minds all day long that are negative? We can see our businesses going bankrupt, our car driving into a ditch, our children marrying the wrong person. Those types of negative imaginations, of course, are the lies of the devil.

We’ve been told repeatedly by many a preacher and/or teacher that the battlefield is in the mind. 2 Corinthians 10: 5 [KJV] ~ Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;…

If we’re not born again, we have nothing of greater strength to combat those images. And most of the world is in exactly that position. Their minds are constantly racing with negative imaginations. There’s no need to turn on a reality TV show or a late night comedy show to prove my point, but if you did you’d hear a steady stream of negativity. Many of those horrid pronouncements would be couched as sarcasm. It’s as if those late night shows are a veritable Coliseum, where those not in favor are ridiculed and torn apart. A while back they tore apart the Duggars…and there was wrong doing there. Then they castigated the Dentist who killed Cecil the lion…also wrong doing.The political season is upon us and during the campaign it’s sure to get ugly. It always does.Talk show hosts, news pundits, and the candidates themselves will ridicule the candidate they oppose, belittle him or her in the most personal manner. I’m not saying there is no need for investigation and thoughtful discourse (emphasis on thoughtful). That is most often not the case. They seek to destroy. Many (especially those who are extreme on either side) delight in exaggeration, lies, and slander. They actually revel i it.

The Bible is clear on this. Proverbs 10:18 [KJV] ~ He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. Christians are told to cast down these devilish imaginations. To take captivity captive. We are to take captive the wicked thoughts that would enslave us. So I went to the Lord because I thought I’m a pretty nice person and I asked him, “Do I really have wicked thoughts?” His answer was YES, any time I insult or slight another, or portray them in a negative light. That after all is what slander means. I don’t mean to do it, but sometimes it just slips out. Yup, that’s a sin. Fortunately, very fallible me gets to humbly and honestly repent, and God’s incredible loving grace wipes my slate clean.

Deadly Designs 1400

In my detective novel DEADLY DESIGNS, female private eye Veronica “Ronnie” Ingles is beset by negative emotions due to the unfortunate circumstances of her childhood. She’s thrust into a situation where she and Deputy Sheriff, Lieutenant Dawson Hughes, the man she’s falling for, are racing against time to rescue a kidnapped little girl. The plight of this child pulls up nightmares she once had as a child, as well as deeply negative memories. She has been wrestling with God for many years, yet she remains inquisitive as to who He is. She’s on a spiritual journey, though she doesn’t always know it.

 


Victory Over Despair In A Krazy World ~ the ultimate kind

Don't jump off the end of a pier. Sit down on it and pray.

Don’t jump off the end of a pier. Sit down on it and pray.

 

The Lord spoke to my heart reminding me there are many people who read this blog who feel beset on all sides. They have health issues, or they’re home or car is about to be taken away from them by the bank, they’ve just lost their job, their children are flunking in school, and the like. Most of those who read this blog are Christians, but not all. And when the Lord gave me this inner witness, He wasn’t only talking about believers. Many are hurting right now.

Now is the time for each of us to understand on a deep level that God wants the best for all people. That He loves all people.

Now is the time to understand God has the answer for each of us. It’s time to stop looking to the media for answers, even our favorite media outlets. The media lies, twists the truth, or at the very least presents a mostly negative view of life because they think that garners viewers. So, you have to not take that as your reality, knowing at the very least that picture of life is skewed. Lift your eyes to a higher place. Know the situation is better than what you’re getting from the secular world’s point of view. Know, no matter how horrible it is, you can go through and come out.

Isaiah 61:3a [NASB] ~ To grant those who mourn in Zion (put here wherever you live) , Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.

The NIV translations says, “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

God has given you praise as a weapon to defeat despair. So, first and foremost give praise to the Giver. Make sure you’re speaking well of God. Watch your words. They have power and they shape your life. Speak well of your life situation, your talents, your home life, your family, your job. Even if you don’t much like your employer, as long as you accept a paycheck, do not denigrate the company with your words. Pray for your life situation, expecting it to get better, for your talents, home life, your family, your job. Go to God in prayer with complaints, not to your best friend, neighbor, or to those at the water cooler.

Now, in the spirit of transparency, I have to tell you that I’m a great complainer. Boy can I murmur up a storm. So, I know God is giving me this “Word” for me first and foremost, but also for those who read this blog who are burdened about to the breaking point. I’ve gotten better about complaining and when I do catch myself complaining, I pray for those I’ve been murmuring about. I know this has helped me get through and is still helping me get through some difficult situations.

I know I’ve grown spiritually in this regard because I used to murmur about situations that weren’t even that important or threatening…just not to my liking. I don’t do that any more. I’ve improved. At least if I’m going to whine and complain now, it’s going to be about something significant. That’s just a stab at humor. My goal is to quit complaining and to be proactive in prayer and outlook, to develop some spiritual muscles.


People Pleaser No More

Cool

 

I could’ve titled this, “I Can’t Please Everyone, But I Sure Have Tried.” This probably started in my family of origin where I strove to get good grades thus pleasing my parents, to have lots of friends, to be well liked by the teachers, and on top of that I wanted to be cool.

I wish I could say when I got into adulthood I was untouched by the expectations of others. Hardly. Those ‘great expectations’ were often heavy on me. I wasn’t performing well enough on my job (though I seemed to be doing as well as other employees). My house didn’t pass ‘the white glove test.” Remember that, when your mother-in-law, or your snarky older sister, or that holier than thou church lady comes, rubs her white glove across your coffee table and horror-of-horrors, absolute panic-time, she finds dust. Of course, since then I’ve learned a little known truth: dust is a wood preservative.

I can say that at one point in my life, right before I started my serious fiction writing journey, I twisted myself inside-out to make everything perfect for others in my personal world, to create a happy picture. Some had absolutely no appreciation of my efforts, while a few others actually disdained my efforts and actively tried to wreck them. So, I tried harder and the upshot was I lost myself in the process, for a while. For a while I was in a place of desperation. That was nearly eight years ago, when I banged out a really terrible first effort at a murder mystery novel. Writing fiction helped bring me back to me…back to the woman God sees when He looks at me.

Now that I’m a tad older than 39, I’ve learned categorically, no matter what I do, somebody’s going to have an opinion about my actions. I can prove this by taking a cursory look at social networking sites. Don’t you just love when somebody takes a stand, perhaps a faith stand, and they get castigated?Maybe they’re out of step with the mainstream. Maybe they hold traditional core values and they dare to express that… and they get figuratively stomped on. Other, do nothing types, sitting in their pajamas in their parents’ basements barrage them with insult upon insult. Some do not merely want to win the present argument, they seek to destroy the other person.

When this happens to me, and it has happened to me, I refer to, hold onto, put my feet down firmly, and stand on Scripture. Romans 8:1 [NASB] Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (2)For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Eagel 2

 


Love, Laugh, Lift in 2013

Baby

I’ve decided to be happy this year. The last year had more than it’s share of trauma and angst. Well, to be totally honest…pain, suffering, and anguish.

I’ve made a firm commitment to myself and shared it with God. I will live in joy this year. Actually that’s what He’s been wanting me to do since 2011. Some are slower than others.

On August 28, 2011, after hurricane Irene, the Lord gave me “a word.” Well, three words actually: love, laugh, lift. I was deeply touched by them. I wrote them in my Bible…at the top…in Matthew 5. Since then, I’ve pondered them, sincerely reflected upon them, prayed about them, and shared this wisdom with a few others who I thought were open to hearing.

Father and child

Since hurricane Sandy affected my city in such a profoundly horrific manner, and since the mass murder in Newtown, I’ve come to understand that the Lord wants me to do more than ruminate over these words. He wants me to live them.

He wants me to have joy in my heart and love others. He wants me to exist in a state of joy and to laugh a lot. He wants me to rely on His grace and lift where I can lift. He wants me to encourage others to love, laugh, and lift.

Together


Now I’m Really Blogging, Blah, Blah, Blah

So, how does one write an interesting blog that others will want to read? Good question.

The interesting part has something to do, I think, with figuring out what your passion is and writing about it.

The who will want to read it part has to do with figuring out who your blog audience is and writing for them.

As you can guess, I’m krazy about edgy crime fiction and boy do I like to write about it. But who wants to read what I write about it? That’s another good question. I’m starting to find out, but it’s a process.

A lot of people are writing about edgy Christian fiction these days. I’m not the only one. Just look around at other blogs. Go ahead, if my blog’s any good, you’ll come back.

When I look around at blogs writing about edgy Christian fiction I see a lot of articles on when to break the rules, and/or when and how to write an acceptable sex scene in Christian fiction. Sex is part of life and I can be edified by a tastefully written sex scene.

Why doesn’t anyone write about a tastefully written sitting in church scene, listening to a sermon scene? Frankly I’ve been bored to death by many a too long worship service scene. I’d like some tips on how to write a good church scene. Really, I’m not being cute.

At this point I have to confess, I’ve never written a sex scene. There, I’ve admitted it. Now do you feel better having dragged it out of me?

I’m always talking about being authentic as a murder mystery writer. Well I think blog writers should also be authentic. The good ones are. Honesty goes a long way. People know when they’re being fed a bunch of canned crap. [I was going to change “crap” to “bologna” so as not to offend, but decided that wouldn’t be authentic. Is there such a thing as canned bologna anyway?]

So, here I am plunking away at my keyboard, vowing with all my heart to really put it out there and let the process unfold. Ghee, even I want to see what I’ll write. LOL


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