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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Wall

I've hit a bit of a brick wall. It's the same one I always hit when I'm writing, and while I'm not surprised, I am a bit disappointed. I had hoped that I would bypass whatever this is by blogging my novel, but the self doubt and all the other negative self-talk bullshit I put myself through is right here, front and center, staring me in the face.

My depression has reared its ugly head again also. I yelled at the kids all day, and was generally a bitch to anyone who was close by [which was just my family since I didn't go anywhere] This could be partially hormonal. Also because I haven't been doing my meditation regularly. Plus I just got over being sick, and we've had an incredibly stressful time of it financially the past month.

I guess I just need to wallow for a few hours Then I'll rest, meditate, pray, and shower [water always makes me feel better]. I'll maybe blog about all this when it's over. For now, I'm done.

I'll be better tomorrow. I REFUSE to do this again. I will not be defeated.

Feeling Lazy Tonight

Okay, I found a blog in a roundabout way through going to an atheist's blog and watching Christians [and not the brightest Christians, I might add... Why oh why do the smart ones hide and the dumb ones are just out there for the world to see. And point at. And laugh at. Ugh. Wears me out sometimes. And unfortunately, I'm not too bright either, so I fear I look just as ignorant as the others, but I digress... I was telling you about this blog I found!]

Where was I? Oh yes. I was watching [reading?] the Christians try to argue the atheist into believing [which never works, by the way] or at least I think that's what they were trying to do. And the atheist was eviscerating the Christians, because they couldn't really come up with anything logical to say about why they believed what they believed, and why their religion was better than anyone else's religion [yeah, if you've read my blog very long you know that I've been trying to figure out that very thing, so I'm no help whatsoever, and I'm just helplessly reading [and cringing] as the Christian finally gets angry and says, "Well, when the world ends, we'll see who's right, won't we?" or some such thing.

And then, in walks this guy, who is Agnostic, and he proceeds to systematically answer every argument the atheist came up with, and counter it with an incredibly intelligent, well thought out answer. And I had to laugh when the atheist, who had been giving all the believers a hard time for taking things personally and not really answering his points against belief, took the Agnostic's arguments personally, and didn't really answer his points for belief.

Religious arguments are pointless, because the very fact that they are arguments means that each person has built a wall around themselves to defend their own viewpoint, and isn't really interested in hearing what the other side has to say [political arguments are just as pointless].
so naturally, the atheist wasn't convinced that there might be something out there. I also noticed that his main beef was with the Abrahamic Religions [Muslims, Christians, and Jews, who, apart from cults, seem to be the only religions that say if you don't believe in their God, you can't go to heaven. Jeez, that creeps me out.]

He had some major issues with Christians in particular [I believe he was raised with them], and I think he decided that if the god he grew up with was the real God, he'd rather believe in no god at all. I only know one atheist personally, and we've never talked about his atheism [or my Christianity, for that matter] so I don't know what motivates most atheists in their belief [or lack thereof]. But I didn't come here to tell you this.

Sheesh. I can't focus worth shit tonight.

Anyway, this guy I was telling you about. It turns out he has a blog of his own, and posts regularly. He lives in Japan, which I find absolutely fascinating [especially since I've never been out of the country]. So anyway, all that is to say, tonight I read a funny post, and you can read it here.

Okay, that's all I really wanted to say. I had planned on giving you the link, and saying, "Here, go, read a funny blog, I got nuttin' tonight." and I go and write a whole post on other stuff [yeah, and I didn't mention that I started this post at 11:41 pm, and it's now 1:06 am, because I wandered over to Blue Gal's place , and about fifteen other blogs while I was writing because I got to reading and got distracted.]

Oy! I'm more absent minded than usual. I think it's because I've completely jacked up my sleep schedule again. I stayed in bed until way too late this morning, and wasted time all day until I went to "Artsy Fartsy Night" and drew an incredibly ugly picture of an old lady who I've never seen before [because she came out of my head, not from a picture.] Most of the other girls were scrap booking, but I hate that shit... No offense to those who like it, of course.

Heh, and to prove that I drew a picture, behold:

Okay, I'm done rambling now.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ah, Hell

Okay, so I'm reading around the 'net at some of my Democrat friends' blogs, and I'm reading about Sam Alito's views on Executive [the president's] power.

One article is here [specifically this paragraph: "A close reading of Alito's answers raises concerns that he might indeed be an advocate of broad and unchecked presidential power. If Alito fulfills these fears on the Court, he could support those who insist that the president's power in the war on terrorism is essentially unconstrained. And unconstrained power can lead to abuses--such as torture, illegal surveillance, or detention without charge--that undermine the core values of American society."]*

*Emphasis mine, to remind us all that these very things have been happening to people of Middle Eastern descent in our very own country, and in Iraq. This scares the bejeebers out of me, people! You can't do that to your fellow humans, for any reason!!

Another article is here. That one was written last month before the hearings began, and it focuses mostly on what worries me about Alito: Executive Power.

The conservatives are focusing solely on Alito's views on abortion, and have completely glossed over the fact that he thinks the pres. Should be allowed to do pretty much what he wants. It's called "Unitary Executive Theory" click the link for the whole article, but below is a quote about the Bush Administration. I'm gonna edit it a little because it's really long, but you can go read the whole article in Wikipedia [that's the link;-)]

"The Bush administration

This administration seems to interpret the theory [of unitary executive power]more extremely than the previous ones. As for what specific constitutional limitations on the judicial power President Bush may have in mind, there is heavy speculation that it relates to Professor John Yoo's position that the use of military force is, like presidential vetoes and pardons, an unreviewable matter.

President George W. Bush has applied the theory of the "unitary executive" in many of his decisions, most significantly in relation to its substantive element. Per the Presentment Clause, the President must sign any bill having passed Congress before that bill becomes law; the Bush Administration has often issued Signing statements to legislation signed by the President, detailing how the executive branch will construe the law.

For instance, in his statement announcing his signing H.R. 1646, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003, President Bush wrote:

'The executive branch shall construe as advisory the provisions of the Act, including sections 408, 616, 621, 633, and 1343(b), that purport to direct or burden the conduct of negotiations by the executive branch with foreign governments, international organizations, or other entities abroad or which purport to direct executive branch officials to use the U.S. voice and vote in international organizations to achieve specified foreign policy objectives. Such provisions, if construed as mandatory rather than advisory, would impermissibly interfere with the President's constitutional authorities to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs, participate in international negotiations, and supervise the unitary executive branch.[1]

In effect, Bush stated that when it comes to administering the executive branch, any Congressional requirements are merely advisory. It is not
unusual for a president to release such a signing statement when he has concern as to how a bill he is signing into law will be interpreted in later court cases. Skeptics point out that he in effect uses them as line item veto although the Supreme Court already held the line item vetoes as unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York.[2]

One of the signing statements which has attracted most controversy is the signing of the McCain Detainee Amendment, prohibiting cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody:

“The Executive Branch shall construe [the torture ban] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power.”

Since, under the "Unitary Executive" theory, the Commander-in-Chief
has broad authority to use his discretion in interpreting and applying the law,
the President has with that statement reserved the right to waive the
torture ban

The most recent example, in which the premise that any law limiting the
Presidents power is unconstitutional is advanced by the Bush administration
and its supporters, is the FISA controversy.[5] In the words of former Vice President Al Gore:

'A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and
judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of
laws and not of men."

An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution - an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In
the words of James Madison, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative,
executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and
whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the
very definition of tyranny."[6]

At present, the position taken by adherents of the "unitary executive"
theory, and promoted by John Yoo in particular, holds that a U.S. President in the exercise of his Constitutional war powers can not be restrained by any law, national or international.[7] Opponents note that such a stance, resembling the Führerprinzip,[8] is not unlike the one seen in police states.[9] Supporters reply that it is exactly the same war power that Abraham Lincoln used to issue the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, in the face of Copperheads who called him a
dictator and sought his assassinatiSkepticstics are not convinced, since the Supreme
in Ex Parte Milligan had already determined that the suspension of Habeas corpus was unconstitutional."

Conservative Christians see a man who claims Christ as Savior and takes his faith seriously. They have been blinded to the truth that this man really wants to be "King George". Near as I can tell, Judge Alito is right behind the Pres. on this one [which renders useless the whole "Checks and Balances" thing.]

These men may be against abortion, and I know that's important to Conservative Christians, but they are not "Pro-Life." They want to be able to suppress our God-given rights [like freedom of privacy, freedom from false imprisonment, and freedom from torture, to name just a few] to forward their own agendas, and make it look like it's for 'our own good.'

My main concern here is that we [by 'we' I mean Conservative Christians] have been fooled into believing that all our dreams are coming true with these 'men of faith' coming into office. Bush & Co. have come in with their trumpets blaring about banning abortion, not allowing same-sex marriage, etc. in the hopes that we won't notice [or care] that they are slowly trying to give tprivilegeddged few' more power, while taking away the voice of anyone who disagrees with them.

This is exactly the kind of crap that Hitler did to the Germans while scheming ways to exterminate the Jews. We can see the horrid propaganda that Hitler released about how Jewish people were the root of everything bad in the world. He got them all worked up about it, and proceeded to take over the world, one country at a time.

Is there anything different in what Bush is doing? Yes, he's liberated Iraq from a horrible leader who needed to be gotten rid of, but he's also made sure that his personal choice for a replacement got voted in during the elections. Is it possible that Bush has called it 'Democracy,' when really he's just taken over a country by force, and is now ruling it by proxy?

I don't know it for sure, but that is what my gut is telling me. He doesn't seem to have a target for hatred like Hitler did with the Jews [some might disagree with that, though]. I don't think he's necessarily trying to exterminate an entire group of people because of their race. I think there is evidence that he's trying to muscle out anyone who disagrees with his tactics, though.

I think W. picked the conservative Christian party-line because he knew there were so many of us, and also because we were all so disgusted with Bill Clinton's inability to control himself in the Oval office. He knew there would be a backlash, and that's how he squeaked by in the first election. The country wanted someone who had integrity in his personal life, and was a professing Christian [notice how a lot of Protestants don't consider Catholics Christians? It's not something we talk about in public, but it's fairly common in private.]

So in swoops W. who, instead of being unsure about his faith, stamps it on his forehead for all the world to see. We even liked it when he said God told him to, because that's the kind of language we like to hear [I'm not talking about all Christians here, I'm just using some general terms.] We instinctively trust some one who agrees with us on the Big Issues, so we trusted W.

Before my foray into post-modern Christianity, and hanging out with and listening to more 'Liberal' people on the web, I agreed with all this stuff. I trusted W. with the best of 'em. And yes, I voted for him.

Both times.

I really believed that sincere Christians could be trusted. I foolishly thought that I could believe what they told me without looking it up for myself [most pastors will tell you to check up on them with scriptures and through prayer, and that, for some reason encourages us to take their word for it and not do those very things. Imagine my surprise when I did my own research and realized that I disagreed with most of what I had previously believed].

Dammit! I hate being lied to more than anything, and not only was I lied to by others, but I lied to myself. I wanted it to be easy, cut and dried, black and white. It's easier to believe what others tell you than to form your own opinions. It's way easier to sleep through this life than to wake up and find you were wrong, and then have to choose whether to stand up and scream it from the rooftops, risking becoming a pariah to the people you love most, or to roll over and go back to sleep.

Jeez, you see the kind of stuff I come up with when I'm gone for a couple of days?

I need a nap.

Woo hoo!

Scene seven is up at NIP IT IN THE BUTT. I got 1,111 words in just over an hour, so YAY me!

I'm not gonna be able to get 50,000 words in a month like I'd hoped [I signed up for NaNoWriMo in November, but gave it up for blogging. By next year, I'll be so prolific I won't need to join! Positive thinking is GOOD, I tell you!!!]

But the fact that I got over a thousand words in an hour is pretty good, don't you think?

I bought Lynn Viehl's [aka Paperback Writer] Way of the Cheetah [which you can find by clicking on the one add I have on my blogs over to the left... Hint hint!] Is it possible that just reading it increased my productivity in one afternoon? I dunno, but I feel a bit like a cheetah tonight.

I also bought Holly Lisle's Create A Character Clinic when it first came out, and her ideas sparked an antagonist [bad guy] who, if I can get him down right, will be three dimensional. I'm hoping that you will be able to see that any one of us could end up doing the same kinds of things if put in the right circumstances. He's dealt with a tragedy in the only way he knew how. He's trying to make the world a safer place, but the means he's using is horrible. We'll see if it translates to the page [but not for a while yet, I'm still working on getting my supporting characters {good guys} put into place.]

I'm really excited about what's coming in the story. I don't know if it'll be done in 50,000 or not. I kinda just pulled that number out of the sky [probably from NaNo]. And I'm not sure it's going to be young a adult book anymore. I still don't know how dark this thing is going to get. I love humor in books, and I don't know if it's gonna be funny, either. The scene tonight with the vomit spray was funny when I pictured it, but who knows if anyone else will think it's funny?

Okay, I'm done with the angst-ing [I'm sure there's a wonderful Yiddish word for that, but I'm too lazy to look it up. Thanks to Doug for that link a while back!]

Anyway, speaking of lazy, it's after one in the morning and I have to go to church in the morning [I'm not missing Sunday School again, so I have to be there at nine]. I have less than seven hours to sleep!! Egads! [whine, whine]

And speaking of's scene seven if you're interested. Standard disclaimer applies, but if you think it doesn't suck for a first draft, comments are welcome.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hey It's Good To Be Back Home Again*

Welcome back!

We went to "The Farm" [my parents' house] for a couple of days, hence my silence in the great blog-o-sphere. I've missed this dreadfully! My mom is on dialup, and anytime there was a chance to be on the computer [i.e. when the kids and my crazy grandma were in bed] Mom was in there, working feverishly, trying to finish up some stuff that she can't get done when my grandma is awake.

Grandma has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, so she's a real trip to be around. She has to be the center of attention at all times, so when mom tries to get anything done in a different room [or do anything that isn't watching TV in the living room with Grandma] she goes into a tizzy and basically throws a temper tantrum. It's exhausting for mom [she doesn't believe me when I say I have the same problems with my kids. Anytime I'm in here on the computer, they have seven thousand things they need help with, but if I'm in the living room watching something on TV that they want to watch, they all go to their rooms to play quietly. There has to be a name for that!]

Anyway, Mom's working herself into an ulcer over this stuff, and that is a Bad Thing. There is a lot of not-so-good history between them, and it's hard for mom not to take Grandma's behavior personally. I don't know how to help, and since I'm three and a half hours away, there's not much I can do to give mom a break now and then. In a similar situation, I don't know if I could have held out this long [it's been several months since Grandma moved in]. I don't know what the best course of action is, but I know that she can't go on like she has been. It's too stressful for her to deal with the constant verbal attacks, constant repetition of questions and statements, and complete lack of consideration for my mom's needs by my Grandma.

Grandma may not be capable of thinking about anyone but herself anymore, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt my mom's feelings when Grandma criticizes her.

Jeez, what an impossible situation. If you pray, would you pray for my mom? She would appreciate it, and so would I, more than you will ever know.

Thanks friends, it really is good to be back home again.

*I grew up listening to Country music, and one of my mom's faves was John Denver. Lyrics for Back Home Again are here. Every time I hear a song by John Denver, I think of summertime at my mom and dad's house before I started school [so it was before 1979]. I remember my brother smacking me in the head with his 'head wand' [He has Cerebral Palsy and is a quadriplegic with no control over his body except his head. Somebody, {can't remember who} worked up a helmet-like apparatus with a metal wand sticking out of it so he could push buttons on a typewriter, play with cars, and smack his little sister in the head when she got lippy.]

I think of those times and remember that I wasn't always timid, didn't always doubt my own worth, wasn't always afraid of my own shadow, didn't always struggle with major depression. I remember being carefree [except for the whacks with the head wand] I remember believing that I could do anything I wanted, and planned to as soon as I 'learned some stuff,' like how to read and write. I wanted to find a cure for CP, even at age three or four.

"Back Home Again" came out in 1974, which is the year I was born. My dad has played the guitar and sung since he was a teenager, and my mom made him learn this song. He never would sing it, because he was a Hank Senior man, but he'd play it and my mom would sing [slightly off-key, but who cares, right?]

She never could get the bridge right ["And oh, the time that I can lay this tired old body down/ and feel your fingers feather soft up-on me/ the kisses that I live for, the love that lights my way/ the happiness that livin' with you brings me."] She always missed the notes on 'fingers.'

One of my favorite memories is of being an older kid [I may have been married, so I was at least 21, which would make me an adult kid, I guess] and singing that part of the song with her, and doing it right! Not because I thought I was better than she was, but because of how proud she and my dad were that I could carry a tune! I hadn't sung a note in front of either one of them since I was five or so and my mom told me I was singing off-key, so they had never heard me sing until that moment.

Strange what a simple song brings to mind, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Blogger Support for the Release of Jill Carroll

This is one of those times when I don't have words to do it justice. Jill Carroll is the reporter who was kidnapped a couple of weeks ago. I found out about blogging our support for her release through Balls and Walnuts, who got it from Blue Gal.

If you pray, please pray for her safe release.

One thing that is pretty impressive, and probably under-reported is the amount of Muslim support for her release. Jill has written numerous articles about the effect of the war on Iraqi citizens. They give a picture of the humanity of the Iraqi people that is all to easy to forget.

Updates on Jill Carroll are here.

Please, please take the time to follow these links. My heart breaks to see someone's child in danger, even adult children. I wish I could do more. A few words on a blog and prayers for her safe return feel so insignificant, but it's all I have to offer.

I hope that God is giving Jill and her family a sense of peace, and some knowledge of the outcry for her release.

Bring her back to us unharmed, Father.

Back on the Writerly Trail

Finally worked on NIP tonight. Yay, me. I got 1298 words, which is okay, but it took me two hours to get them. I think skipping a couple of days lost my rhythm, and I'm gonna have to work a bit to get it back. Also, I went back and finished scene 4, so it's a little out of order in posting now, and that made it kind of hard to get my mind around where I'm going.

I'm not sure I like the direction it's going right now, either. I had a scene in mind to write tonight, and a different one ended up in its place. I'll probably have to go back and fix it. I may go ahead and write the scene I had in mind tomorrow, and work it in during the edits. That will make it harder to read it on the blog, but I'll put some links in at the end of the posts or something.

We're all still sick here. Hubby's been coughing the whole time I've been writing, which makes for a peaceful writing session since the computer's in our bedroom. The two year old had a ten minute long coughing fit, too, but thankfully it didn't wake her up.

No, she only wakes up when I'm on the verge of falling asleep myself. I swear, every night she wakes up and cries just as I get into that wonderful limbo stage between awake and asleep. Almost makes me believe she's psychic.

Anyway, there's sleep around here somewhere, and I need to find some, so g'night.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Comment Spam, Still Sick,

Well, folks, I didn't want to, but it looks like I'm gonna have to put the word verification up over here at Shelblog. I've gotten several comment spam messages offering me such drugs as prozac and skelaxin, both of which I have taken in the past by the way, but do not need right now.

Since I have a whopping 77 posts on here so far, and the little spam robots find old posts, I have no idea where they are, and I'm too lazy to go back and delete them. It's not a huge deal, but I know it's a nuisance for some of you, so I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

Okay, on to other stuff.

This cold I have is kickin' my ass, people. I have avoided getting really sick all year, and now this one is just tearing me up. I only got 3 hours of sleep Friday night [actually Saturday morning since I was awake until 2 am]

We got up at 5 am so we could get to the quiz meet, and then it was just crazy running all freaking day long, topped with dinner at Chuck E Cheese's [on a Saturday, it was wall to wall kids.

I love kids, but in small doses, and only when they're quiet [har har, quiet child is a complete oxymoron if you have more than two in one place, unless they're doing something they shouldn't]. I don't have a lot of patience, and I'm slightly agorophobic, so the crowd thing is awful for me.

It was fun, and we actually met some nice people, but public places [yes, this includes church] suck the energy out of me and once I get to a certain point, I can't function anymore and have to go home and sleep it off.

Which is why I missed yesterday's blogging adventure. Believe it or not, at 10 pm, I had to force myself not to turn the computer on. I went to bed instead, skipped church this morning, and slept until 1 this afternoon.

I'm still tired, which is the status quo for me, I know, but it really is worse than usual.

So, I'm gonna try to get some sleep tonight, and get back in the groove tomorrow. I've let this cold screw up my writing over at NIP IT IN THE BUTT, so I'm gonna have to get that going again. I'm still scheming about where we're going next, but I have to get in the habit of writing every day whether I feel like it or not.

I read somewhere that a new habit takes about four weeks to develop, and I'd say I have definitely started a journaling habit thanks to Shelblog. For me, just writing every day is pretty amazing [even though I've always wanted to do this, I've never been one to actually pursue a dream, or anything that might end in failure. I still don't know why exactly, but I'm working like crazy to change it.]

My next goal is to make writing my fiction a habit, too. I have no worries that the ideas won't come, I've got three novels I'm thinking about even as I write the first one. I just need to work on getting the words down right now, whatever those words may be.

Sheesh, the two year old has woken [is that right?] up three times since we put her to bed. I probably won't get any sleep tonight.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Witch Hunt

I was surfing the internet and found this article. A conservative group is willing to pay UCLA students to tape and report on politically liberal instructors.

Then there was this one about the president defending his spying, and trying to expand it by getting a court order to make Google give up its statistics on what people are searching for.


I always thought that Republicans wanted smaller government because they didn't want the government to have too much power, and that Democrats wanted bigger government because they wanted the gov't to have more power.

What I'm finding out [at least with the Bush administration] is that the pres. wants all the power for himself. Is it possible that the real goal of having a smaller government is that it will have more control over more people, and fewer people in power to maintain a system of checks and balances?

Scary days, people, scary days.

On another note, I'm still sick with this gawd-awful cold. It hurts to breathe part of the time, and I still have the worst sore throat ever. I think I may be on the road to recovery, but man it's slow going this time.

I have to go help with a quiz meet [if you've never heard of Quizzing, here's a link] early tomorrow, so I think I'm gonna take some Ny Quil and go to bed.

I missed last night with the NIP, though, so maybe I'll set the timer for an hour and see what I get.

My Very Own Romance Novel

Image Hosting by I got this wonderful link from Kate Rothwell's blog, and I was able [barely] to get the thing to work, and what you see above is what I got for my efforts.

I imagine that some one with a little more experience in uploading pics and downloading pics and all the other crap I had to do to get this thing done would have had an easier time of it, but hey, chalk up another victory for me! Current score: Shelbi= 2, Computer= 1.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!


Image Hosting by

Image Hosting by

These two pictures taken from here.
Possibly more to come, I'm still trying to work out the bugs [mine, not the picture hosting site].

Posting pictures from the web is harder than from my scanner, so I'm still in test mode.

But hey! I'm not ready to kill somebody today! Yay.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


When my dad was about five, he had two imaginary friends named Damin and Hellin. At the age of five, he figured out code words for Hell and Damn, and called them his imaginary friends so he wouldn't get into trouble for cussing around my Grandma [who was a tee-totaler in every sense of the word].

I am still very impressed with his creativity at such a young age to get around the rules.

I don't think I got much of his intelligence gene. I can't figure out photobucket, so I'm gonna do the next best thing.

Damn stupid photo loading non working piece of shit thing non user friendly makes me want to take a freaking sledgehammer to this stupid piece of shit computer and knock it straight to hell...

Deep breaths, Shelbi.

Okay, I give up for now. I need to find a different picture holder so I can put pictures there and then move them here.

I don't think I'm ready for a website yet [egads! can you imagine?!], but maybe I can find a picture holder for dummies.

Sheesh. Thanks for trying, Doug, I'll have to come back to it tomorrow or I'll lose my mind [what's left of it!]

Heh, I blew up my page at Photobucket! Fatal error. Oh brother. My computer's acting weird, moving ssllowww. I think I need to do some maintenance. Spellcheck on this create post page won't come up either, so please forgive any typos. I'm not gonna do the NIP tonight, I'd better figure out what I did to the Beast first.

Later, y'all

The Master Artist

This link comes courtesy of Balls and Walnuts, who got it from this guy. I tried to stick a picture here, but couldn't figure it out [I know, I know, I'm freakin' slow with this stuff]. I'll try again on another post, or edit this one later. Meantime, go look at the pictures, they're amazing.

Go ahead, I'll wait.

Okay, you back? Pretty cool, huh? For once, I'm speechless.

All I can say is, "Wow."

I look at those pictures and I am completely in awe of the beauty and artistry of God. And I am humbled at the same time that such an incredible Creator wants to have a relationship with me, when I am so small and insignificant.

Wow. Thank you Father.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Sleepy Blogger Blues

I stayed up too late writin'
Got up too early this morn'
Gotta go work on scene five,
Or is it six?
I really don't know!

Cause I'm sleepy, [sleepy, ooh so sleepy]
I'm sleepy, [sleepy, ooh so sleepy]
I'm soo freakin' sleepy [sleepy]

I got the sleepy blogger blues!

Ugh. This is where the rubber meets the road, kids. I'm sick with a chest cold. My throat feels like I've got an orange stuck in it every time I swallow. My voice barely squeaks when I talk, and my body feels like it's been hit by a truck.

I was up until 4a.m. [I actually stopped writing around 2 or so, but I couldn't fall asleep for a couple of hours]. The kids started bouncing off the walls around 9 this morning, and the two year old came in holding her butt saying, "Maw ma, I pooooo." You can't really put off poopy diapers even when you're on your death bed, so I had to get up.

Been up ever since, and it hit me at around 8:00 that I'm tired. I wish for sleep, with my pet Zeep , but alas, my sweet Zeep has gone to work, and my five year old is in my bed [uninvited, I might add] sniffling and rustling papers, and asking questions, "Mom, are we ever gonna go on a train? I mean a real train, not one like at [amusement park]. 'Cause that was a train, but not a real one."

You know what? I'm 32 and I've never been on a real passenger train, either [nor an airplane, but I don't really have a desire to get on a plane]. I guess riding a train should go on my list of Stuff To Do Before I Die.

Okay, I'm off to work on the NIP. Wish me luck!

I'm Hearing Voices

No, really, I am [I mean more than usual, and not my own]. I had an interesting conversation with Miss Dorothea Watson today. It went something like this.

THEA: Hey you! Writer lady!

SHELBI: [looks around for the voice] Is someone there?

THEA: Don't you know who this is? [taps foot impatiently, click, click, click...]No, I'm not in the room, I'm in your head [mumbles something that sounds like "Jeez, freakin' scary writer! Why couldn't I end up in Paperback Writer's Brain?"]

SHELBI: Excuse me, miss smartie pants, she only writes adult fiction, and you sound like a teenager, which makes you too young. Who the hell are you, anyway? I thought I locked up Tyra the Psycho Ex-Wrestler Russian Internal Editor weeks ago [mumbles something that sounds like "And I don't think she's a teenager"].

THEA: Well, if you'd give me a VOICE, you might be able to figure it out!

SHELBI: Cut me some slack! [giggles and snorts as she remembers ROFs comment from earlier] I haven't gotten that far in Holly's Create A Character Clinic yet. I'm starting on the 'voice' section tomorrow, honest! Hey, you're Thea. Jeez, I knew it was a mistake writing about thirteen year old girls. You people are crazy.

THEA: [rolls eyes] What ever. I want you to look at something here [turns sideways and disappears...] You see how flat I am? This is pitiful. How am I supposed to jump off the page if I'm, you see this?!?

SHELBI: Yes, I see it. But here's the deal. I've only got four scenes done, and it's just a rough draft. No one important can see it [crosses fingers] until much later in the process. Like after six edits and rewrites. We have plenty of time to get you fleshed out, I promise.

THEA: You won't send me out looking like this?

SHELBI: Nope, I like you too much for that, kid. Hey, I got 924 words in an hour today, which isn't record breaking, but it's good for me. And I learned boatloads about your history, and your parents' history, and all kinds of cool stuff. Plus, I wrote the 'Final Scene*,' just so I'd have a clear idea of where this thing is gonna end up, and I'm tellin' ya kid. You rock! [mumbles something that sounds like, "Now if I can just get the damn thing to sound that cool on paper."]

THEA: Yeah, no kidding. I know I'm cool, and you know I'm cool, but will they know I'm cool? Are you sure you know what you're doing?

SHELBI: Haven't got a clue. [shrugs shoulders, then laughs... Fade to black]

Egads [you ever wonder why some words read better than they sound? I don't remember where I first heard 'egads.' I imagine I'm misspelling some Great Egadian Tradition, but I like the way it looks if not the way it sounds.] It's late and I'm loopy, but I had so much fun today with Thea. We're working up to some fun stuff, so I can't wait.

*I didn't post it, just wrote a brief sketch of it in a notebook. Come on, where's the fun in giving you the last page before I get to the tenth?

Okay, bye.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Whew! Scene Three

I got 895 words in an hour, which ain't too shabby considering that scene one and scene two were only 452 and 682 words respectively [don't remember how long they took]. If words flow like that every time I sit down, and if the People I Live With will let me work for two to four hours straight, I should be able to pound this thing out in a month or so.

And, I'm up to 2,029 words, which means that my magic little word count bar will start moving tomorrow [I'm gonna do it. Every day from now on, till I'm dead.]

After I 'pound it out' I will let it sit for a bit. And then I will begin the revision process, which will be extensive, I'm sure, but I'm actually looking forward to it, because I will have accomplished the First Draft, which isn't something every one does. Revision is just one step closer to publication, so I'm excited about it, you know?

I don't think I'm smart enough for 'literary fiction,' but that was never really my goal to begin with. And no one will accuse my story of sounding literary. Juvenile, maybe, but that's okay for now, you know? I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not holding any illusions here. This writing thing is gonna be hard in spots, but I'm really ready for it. And it's about freaking time, too!

I've just always had this dream, you know? And I've never been one to chase a dream of any kind. I've been set free to find out who I really am, and this is a wonderful adventure, let me tell you.

I can't say I'll definitely get this book published someday, but I will finish it. And when it's finished, if it's good enough to be published, great. If not, I'll write something else.

I'm having a blast writing my story. Right now, that's what matters. I'm not too worried about what happens after it's done, although I assure you that when the day comes to send it off, I'll blog all about it!

Oh yeah, here's scene three, if you want to read it. You know the standard disclaimer by now, right?

'kay, g'night all!

Holy Crapoli, I'm an HTMLer!

Me, an aich tee emm eller!

In the comments section.

Where you have to actually use the < thingies.

And get the spaces and punctuation just right.

That's not easy!

And I owe it all to my new favorite blogger, Doug Hoffman over at Balls and Walnuts, and "rof."

I don't always understand rof the first time I read his comments, but I like him anyway, because eventually, I gets my poor old brain in gear and figures it out, and then the light goes on and voila! Brilliant insights.

Yes, I'm gushing. Over people I don't know outside my computer. But this is really COOL! SO CUT ME SOME SLACK, ALREADY!!!

Oh, and thanks a bunch, guys. I really appreciate it.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Did You Know?

A TV in your bedroom halves your sex life? No really, here's the article. I never knew. I wonder how much a computer reduces it. We don't have a TV in our room, and if I let my husband read the article, we never will. Which leads me to another question. How many men in the world think they get enough sex? I tried The Mighty Google but the results weren't exactly what I was hoping for. Had to give up on that search!

Okay, shift gears.

Tonight, I was sitting at the computer, which was the first time I'd had a chance all day to be on it, my husband had a day off and was trying to burn a CD with some of his favorite songs. The stupid thing didn't work, but he had to go to a bored, I mean, board meeting at church, so he went to that and here I am... at last. Soaking up the rays from the monitor. Which has a strange discoloration in the lower right hand corner. It looks like a spot of green haze, which I can only assume means that the computer hates my husband and is very angry with me for letting him be on it all day. Did I mention that he was on my computer ALL DAY?

Deep breaths, Shelbi, Deep Breaths.

So, anyway, my two year old comes up and says, "Maw Ma, bee beh. Bee beh, Maw Ma, bee beh." Those were her exact words, and translated, they mean that she wants to go to bed. She actually asked to go to bed! So I, being the wonderful mother that I am, dropped what I was doing and went to change her diaper and inform the older two that it was time for them to go to bed as well.

My five year old son pumped both of his fists in the air and said, "Yessss! I was geddin' kinda tired, for a while now."

Oh. My. Gosh. That's two out of three who wanted to go to bed. That NEVER happens, people.

I'm definitely playing the lottery this week, the odds are in my favor, I tell you!!

Okay, another subject change. I read last night's post again [when I swore not to do that] and had to giggle at my repeated words.

"Wait-staff would come from all sections to see the rocking baby. She used to flip it over on it's back and then giggle like a crazy baby. Once she kicked just right to flip it back upright."

"The fact that she fell asleep 'reading' a book makes me so proud. I'm fairly certain we have pictures of all three 'reading' books as babies and toddlers. My seven year old is actually reading them for real now, which is really exciting for me."

Egads! Perhaps I should let my Editor out once in a while, just for special occasions!

So, I'm going over to Nip It In The Butt, to get a few words down. I'm setting a timer and I'm gonna type as fast as I can for however long I decide and hopefully there'll be something worth saving when I take it home to Word to edit it [after it's finished].

Wish me luck, y'all!

Sunday, January 15, 2006


I love my children.

They are my favorite children in all the world. I love them dearly, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for them. [you know what's coming next, right?]


There are days when, after I put them to bed, I let out a huge sigh of relief. At last, I am my own again. Someday I will miss the constant needing, but today, I am relieved it is over for another day.

These pics aren't from today, but these are my babies. The "two in one bed" was discovered one morning after they had been told that they needed to sleep in their own beds [naturally]. They were all cute, though, so they probably didn't get into any trouble.

My youngest had a thing for rocking. She would bounce her left leg up and down to make her carrier/car seat rock any time we would go places. Wait-staff would come from all sections to see the rocking baby. She used to flip it over on it's back and then giggle like a crazy baby. Once she kicked just right to flip it back upright. We still laugh about that one. I think she was just as surprised as we were.

After she got too big for her carrier, we got her the rocking chair you see in the picture, and more than once, she refused to sleep in her bed and insisted on the rocker [especially when she had a cold].

The fact that she fell asleep 'reading' a book makes me so proud. I'm fairly certain we have pictures of all three 'reading' books as babies and toddlers. My seven year old is actually reading them for real now, which is really exciting for me.

Yeah, I love 'em. And they're all asleep now, so I have time to remember how much.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Last night's 'panic attack' was probably not. I woke up today with a horrible headache and nausea, so it was probably just the beginning of the flu. Oh yay.

Spent the whole day in bed with my eyes covered up [light and noise... Ouch]. I've spent about 20 minutes here blog reading [see how addicted I am?] and now I'm gonna go eat something and piss my kids of by putting them to bed before 8:00. Then I'm going to bed as well.

See you on the other side of this crap!


It means 'high heart rate, usually over 100 beats per minute in an adult.' I had it during all three of my pregnancies [along with panic attacks during my second, which included a heart rate of 180. Not fun.] I seem to be experiencing a bit of that this evening.

Probably a non-pregnancy induced panic attack [never had one before, but hell, there's a first time for everything!] Please note that I said non-pregnancy. I am not pregnant, nor do I plan to be any time soon [maybe never again]. Being pregnant sucked [I may blog about it sometime, and bore you good and proper].

But this evening, I am, well, panicking for no apparent reason. It was a difficult evening as we had quizzing practice. There were thirteen kids [not counting the three little ones who don't quiz] which made for a loud time. It was enjoyable, but exhausting.

And yet here I am, at three in the morning, blogging.

It's official folks, I have completely lost my mind.

Yay me!

I think I'll go meditate and see if I can calm down a little. Join me, won't you, for a few deep breaths and relaxation techniques?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Scene Two, I think I can, I think I can

Well, scene two is up over at NIP [The name of which I have changed to NIP IT IN THE BUTT, partly because that's one of my favorite sayings, and partly because that's what my internal editor is doing to me.] The scene needs work. But I am resisting.

Oh, but last night, as I was trying [unsuccessfully] to go to sleep, I remembered that I forgot something crucial in the scene. I had already turned off the computer, so I didn't get up and change it. Eventually, I talked myself out of the crucial-ness of the detail. I don't know if I'll add it later, but I'm trying to figure out where I want to go from here.

I have a general idea of where the story is going. It's probably going to be a kid's book or Young Adult [YA], so I got some at the library to find out how much gory detail I should go into, and to get an idea of the genre.

I know, I probably should have done more of that before now, but I tend to be a little backwards anyway.

I know there will be elements of fantasy [or maybe it's spec fiction, not sure yet exactly] because I love that kind of stuff. I decided to do children's [or YA] not because it's easier [ha ha, none of it's easy, at least not for me, unless I'm blogging, because I just write whatever comes to mind. Hey, maybe I should do that at NIP?] but because it's what I really like.

When I was thinking about the kind of stories I love the most, the things that kept coming to mind were stories like Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and the Harry Potter series. Yeah, I guess I'm just a kid at heart, and maybe a complete dork, but there you go.

I read LW and AOGG when I was a teenager, and those stories just resonated with me. I read HP as an adult [after some people said it was evil. I can't help it. You tell me something is Of The Devil, and I have to investigate to see for myself. I've found that it's almost never as bad as what people think.] Anyway, I realized that I still love kid's stories.

And I've found that my stories just end up having main characters that are kids. And the rule I've read about that is that your target audience can only be as old as your MC, and since Thea and her friends are thirteen, it looks like I'm writing a kid's book. Or Young Adult, I'm not sure where the cutoff is, which brings me back around to the library, and research.

This post is feeling a bit like one of those Family Circuses where the kid goes everywhere in the town before reaching his destination a block from home. You remember those? Yeah, that's me today.

But I'm working this around in my mind, and it just feels right that my MCs are teenagers. I don't know. We'll see where it goes from here.

You're welcome to read the new scene, but with the standard disclaimer: It's a first draft. The scene isn't perfect, it's not even good yet, but I think there's potential, and right now that's all I'm going for.

Onward, dear friends!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Breakthrough

I e-mailed this to my friends in my small group at church, and even though I know that most of my readers are those same friends, I'm posting it here anyway, because it's what I've figured out about God [knowing full well that I'm not even close to seeing the full picture].

Hey all,

I rather suspect you guys have been praying for me, because last night I had a major breakthrough. It may be something that is a no-brainer for you, but it's put everything into perspective for me, and I want to share it with you guys because I'm excited about it, and I love you.

The whole point of Jesus coming to earth was love.
[But Wait, There's More!]

The point of God bringing the Law was to show us how to love Him, and each other.

After the fall, the people became confused and no longer knew how to love God or each other because of sin. And sin is just selfishness, in the sense of putting your own wants in front of others' needs.

So God looked for someone who was seeking Him even though they didn't know exactly where to look. First, he found Noah, then it was Abraham, and then He chose Moses to bring the 'How To Love God and Each Other Manual' to the people.

A few of them figured it out and were able to succeed a little. At certain times in the history of the Hebrews, the majority of the Jews at that time 'got it' for a while, and began to live out God's purpose for them.

But mostly they failed.

God brought the Law to the people so they would know what to strive for, but also to point out that they could never do it consistently without His help.

Then He gave us Jesus, who had it all together from the beginning and was able to show us by example what perfect love looked like. When He said, "I came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it." He was saying that he came to give us the ability to take the Spirit of the Law [love] and live it out consistently.

In other words, He came for no other purpose than to give us the supernatural ability to Love God, Love Others, and even Love Ourselves.

Most other religions have some aspect of this truth in them. They strive for goodness and love and eliminating selfishness, and maybe they succeed part of the time. Maybe God honors the fact that they are genuinely seeking answers. Maybe He acknowledges their sincere hearts in some way, and maybe there is a place in heaven for them.

But [and this is the crux of what I've been trying to figure out] other religions may find pieces of the Truth, but Jesus gives us the ability to live out God's love in supernatural proportions. He gives us the ability to experience the fullness of God. And that completeness is something you can't have without Jesus.

Something else I was thinking about last night was the Pharisees. We always look down on the Pharisees because they missed the point, and because that 'Holier Than Thou' attitude pisses everybody off.

Last night, I realized that Jesus loved them too. Him yelling at them and calling them out in public was just one of the ways that he was trying to get through to them. In the gospels, we see times where he had dinner with the Pharisees. He hung out with them too, and was probably friends with a few of them. He didn't just yell at them and call them names, he spoke with them in private, too.

I imagine there were times when he had intelligent, productive, civil conversations with them. Especially in private because there wasn't a 'public image' for the Pharisees to uphold. He was able to teach them one on one, but when they were all together, in public, their attitude problem came to the forefront, and that's when he had to bring 'em down a notch.

I think he yelled at them for the sakes of the general public who had been taught to look up to the Pharisees, but also to show the Pharisees that they weren't fooling God with their 'acts of righteousness,' and that they were missing the point.

I think he did it out of love for them, and his hope in rebuking them publicly was that maybe one of them would look at him and think, "Is this the same guy I had dinner with last night? We had a good talk last night. I kind of like him. It matters to me what he thinks of me. Is what I'm doing here wrong?"

I think that truth spoke to them and they had to choose whether to change their attitude or whether to 'kill the messenger,' because when he yelled at them, it hurt. When you get hurt, you either accept the pain, or you get pissed off and try to hurt back.

Most of the Pharisees got mad and closed their hearts to his message. It was too hard for them to change. But a few became his followers.

But that made me think of something else. Jesus saw the Pharisees for the hypocrites that most of them were, but he still loved them. And I don't think he yelled at them with the intent to humiliate them.

His motive was love. He knew that the only thing left for him to do [after relating with them in private, after developing a relationship with them] to try to make them see the light was to expose their hearts to them in front of everyone else.

But, Jesus had an advantage that we don't. He could see the sincere heart. He could look past a person's actions and know that they were trying [I think making the effort and never giving up matters more to God than results].

He knows when a person's motive is to exalt themselves. And he knows when their actions look like they're trying to exalt themselves but their true motive is to exalt God.

We can't see inside a person's heart. It's hard to see inside our own motives sometimes, what makes us think we can look at someone's actions and judge their motives?

I think that's what it means when it says "don't judge," because all we can see is the outside of people.

Which brings up one last thing, I promise. When we see sin in others, maybe the way we should point it out to them isn't, "What you are doing is a sin against God." Maybe we should bring up the behavior and ask them how what they are doing is affecting those around them. Specifically the people they love most.

If we can get the focus off, "This is what I want or need." and put it on, "This is what satisfying my want/need will do to my loved ones." Maybe people will be more willing to change. It forces them to see that the real choice is whether they show their love for others through doing the right thing, or whether they show by their actions that they really don't love others as much as they think.

It's all about love. That's why I choose Christ, because he supernaturally enables me to love God, love others, and love myself above and beyond what I can dream or imagine. That's what holiness is: Unconditional love.

I don't know about you guys, but that's pretty exciting to me!

There is hope for me after all.

Thanks for listening, guys. Writing this stuff down has helped me immensely. Let me know if you think I'm full of shit, okay?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


So I'm thinking tonight must be spent with my husband. I told him earlier that we needed to have a 'dialogue,' after which he looked at me like, 'What happened?' Followed by the look that said, "Am I in trouble?" Yes, after ten years, I really can read his mind.

I only let the suspense build until we finished dinner. Then I told him our dialogue probably wouldn't need words. Which resulted in a look of relief, and then with the realization of my implication, anticipation. He was really helpful giving the kids their baths and getting them tucked in.

They all have colds, so I gave them drugs* and put them to bed. We shouldn't have any interruptions.

*Children's Cold Medicine, in the proper dosage for their age and weight! Sheesh, I'm not that crazy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

PLA, Pathological Liars Anonymous

I found this story through Paperback Writer. It's a big, long article, six pages in fact, but basically it says [and backs up the allegation] that James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces, made up large parts of his story.

If you don't watch Oprah, let me give you a brief idea of what it is. Frey wrote 'Pieces' as a memoir of his own drug addiction, criminal career, and trip to rehab. He says he did almost every kind of drug imaginable, including methamphetamine. He wrote about being an outcast in his town, about being angry and having multiple run-ins with the law.

The people over at The Smoking Gun did an excellent job going through several of Frey's stories and proving them false.

I remember reading that James Herriot claimed his stories were a memoir at some point, but were later proven to be fictionalized accounts [can't remember the details now, sorry].

I think I understand why Frey exaggerated his story and then claimed that it all happened to him, but that doesn't make it okay. I could be wrong, but I think it makes him a liar.

Seems like all he had to do was put a disclaimer somewhere in there that some of the details of the story had been changed so that people would know that it didn't all happen the way he wrote. Yes, it takes away some of the dramatic impact if you know the truth, but later on, when people find out which parts were fictionalized, you don't end up in the news being called a liar.

I can't say I'm surprised the story isn't completely true. I watched the Oprah show, and felt like his story was really outlandish in spots. I took it with a grain of salt, though, as I do most things these days.

No, I'm not surprised, just a little disappointed that he had the 'nads to write a bunch of lies, and didn't think he'd get caught. We always get caught eventually, don't we?

Okay, the two year old is screaming, so I gotta go.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I'm On A Mission...

To find sleep. I know it's around here somewhere...

Sorry, insomnia struck again last night and I was up until four a.m. and got up around nine, so my butt's a draggin' again. I'm working on my next scene for NIP. No, really, the work's just mental right now.

And speaking of mental, I ended up on Kirk Cameron's website. Interesting. But only in the sense of weirdness at how two people who are believers in the same religion can be at opposite ends of the spectrum.

He is a [very polite] 'turn or burn' kind of guy. I'm not. In fact, according to him, what I believe isn't the Gospel at all, but a false gospel.


I will say this, though, going there gave me a perfect picture of what I don't want to be. [here's the link, but go at your own risk]

Oy, It's late now, and I want to sleep, so I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Something I Learned Tonight

Genesis 19:5
And they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them." [entire chapter is here]

The word of contention in this passage is 'know.' I looked it up in a Greek lexicon and this is what I found. Know is the Greek word 'yada.'
1) to know
a) (Qal)
1) to know
a) to know, learn to know
b) to perceive
c) to perceive and see, find out and discern
d) to discriminate, distinguish
e) to know by experience
f) to recognize, admit, acknowledge, confess
g) to consider
2) to know, be acquainted with
3) to know (a person carnally)
4) to know how, be skilful in
5) to have knowledge, be wise
b) (Niphal)
1) to be made known, be or become known, be revealed
2) to make oneself known
3) to be perceived
4) to be instructed
c) (Piel) to cause to know
d) (Poal) to cause to know
e) (Pual)
1) to be known
2) known, one known, acquaintance (participle)
f) (Hiphil) to make known, declare
g) (Hophal) to be made known
h) (Hithpael) to make oneself known, reveal oneself found.

The little description thingie I linked to says that yada is sometimes used as a euphemism for having sex with someone. But you see above that there are about twelve different meanings there and most of them have to do with getting to, well, know someone. I saw something on the History Channel that suggested that Sodom and Gomorrah wasn't destroyed because of homosexuality, but for their all around wickedness and lack of hospitality [which was a big deal in ancient Hebrew culture.]

I have a couple of issues with the traditional interpretation of this verse. Number one: Why does everything have to be about sex? Let's assume that when these guys said 'know' they did mean 'have sex with.'

I find it interesting that every man in the whole town showed up at Lot's door to have sex with a couple of strangers. These two towns were known to be a haven for every kind of sin imaginable, but they were also suspicious of strangers.

"9But they said, Stand back! And they said, This fellow came in to live here temporarily, and now he presumes to be [our] judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them. So they rushed at and pressed violently against Lot and came close to breaking down the door."

Lot was never accepted into S&Gs society, he was a stranger, and they were pissed that he told them no, they couldn't have the two men. But then they threaten Lot with worse treatment than what they were planning with the others.

Guys, I'm sorry, but that doesn't sound like homosexuality. It sounds like rape, which is completely different. Rape isn't about sex, it's about power. If they raped the guys and let them go, it would send a clear message to others to stay out of town. By treating Lot worse, they were also sending a clear message to outsiders.

Forcing unwilling partners into sex, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, is rape, and it is about power, not sex. So even if you look at it with the 'sex' interpretation, it's still not a good argument against homosexuality, because it has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It has to do with a bunch of horrible men who hated everyone and refused to see their fellow humans as people with rights and feelings.

This is only one of several scriptures used in the argument against homosexuality, but this is one that doesn't work. I haven't researched the others yet, so I don't know if they have been skewed. And I may not have argued my point coherently here, but this is one scripture where I disagree with my fellow CCs [Conservative Christians].

And this is the kind of stuff I was talking about in my previous post about my frustration with the religious teachers I've spent my entire Christian experience believing. If they can misrepresent one scripture, how many others have they miscontrued to prove a point?

In spite of my irritation with them, I know these men and women are, above all, sincere in their faith. They really believe what they are saying, and I do believe that they love Jesus, and are doing the best they can.

So am I. Whatever conclusions I reach about the 'religion' aspect, I really am seeking God in all this. I am sure that there is a God, that He loves me, and that He wants me to know Him [well, as much as any human can comprehend the uncomprehendable... Um, is that a word?]. I have a relationship with Him that kind of defies explanation, but it's there nonetheless.

I'm still clinging to His promise: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

Unfortunate and Frustrating

This is part of what has sent me into a spiritual upheaval. It may seem painfully obvious to you, but it hasn't been to me until recently, and I'm not happy about it. Actually, I'm disappointed and feel betrayed by numerous people I have held in the highest esteem.

All people are biased.

Quick definitions (bias)
noun: a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation
[taken from OneLook Dictionary search]

partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue.

Jeez. How I couldn't realize that before now is beyond me, but that's where I am. For years, I was immersed in the Religious Right movement. I believed that it was a good thing to 'get back to basics,' and, distill the gospel, I guess you could call it. I listened to my preachers and the religious leaders of my particular group, and when they said, "Vote your conscience," I did. Or at least I thought I did.

What I really did was vote their conscience. I voted largely based on the candidate's views on things like abortion and gun control. With the things I have learned in the past couple of months, those candidates were just as morally corrupt [maybe more so for bringing religion into their political platform and still lying about a bunch of other crap] as the other guys.

I voted against the 'baby killers' and voted for the people who [I am just finding out] would completely disregard, ignore, and allow the deaths of the poor, physically disabled, mentally ill, and anyone else who can't pay them money for protection.

I feel so angry and hurt and frustrated and betrayed by people I thought were able to be objective about things. I believed them when they told me that the homosexuals have an agenda to destroy the family. I believed them when they said you can't be a Democrat and a Christian at the same time. I believed them when they said that laws to control or outlaw assault weapons would infringe on my right to bear arms.

I believed them because I thought Christians were supposed to have the inside track on figuring out the truth [or is that Truth?] I believed that the religious leaders were smarter and more educated than me, and that they took their roles seriously and wouldn't misinform me, because Christians are supposed to be objective and honest.

Objective and Honest.

Is there anyone in a position of power who is? Is there anyone on the freaking planet who has managed it?!?

Yeah, yeah, the Liberals are slanted against certain things, and unfair, and biased about others.

But so are Conservative Christians. We are just as bad. And that's what pisses me off, because we're not supposed to be [at least that's what I always thought.]

I hate being wrong about stuff like this because I hate to think that I have hurt others by falling for some bullshit line by some sincere, but sincerely wrong, people.

And now I have to go through every single thing I've believed in for the past ten years and research it and find out on my own whether it's worth keeping or not.

Do you have any idea how much stuff that is? Egads, it'll probably take years to get through it all, and in the meantime, I very well could be labeled a heretic by the people I love most.

But dammit, I can't let this go. I may very well drive anyone who reads this blog nuts, but I have to finish it. I have to figure out what it is that I really believe. And it's looking [unfortunately] like I may have to figure it out alone. I hate that.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

It's Begun

Well, I started blogging my novel out of sheer desperation. I got the first scene down, so that's a good start. I can't comment on quality other than to say it's a first draft, and obviously needs work. I can edit one of these freaking blog posts all day if I let myself, which is why I've made it a rule [possibly a bad one, but it's the only way I can get anything done] that I don't go back and read a post once it's up.

There's always something that needs tweaking, fixing, or deleting. I'm a perfectionist [probably need a freaking twelve step program for it] and I'll never be satisfied with it. Editing is a good and necessary thing, but not on a first draft.

So, you're welcome to read it, but please be kind if you comment, and remember it's not finished. [Link is here]

Oh yeah, if you have time and are so inclined, pray for me, wish me luck, send positive thoughts, or whatever it is you do. I'm gonna need all the help I can get!

Did I mention it was fun? It was. If I end up being good enough at this to make money at it, I'm gonna love my job!

About My Last Post...

Okay, I just needed to get that out of my system. Here's the deal, I really like profanity. When I became a Christian, I stopped smoking and drinking and having premarital sex [of course you can't really have premarital sex after you're married] way before I stopped cussing.

And after I stopped using profanity, I used substitute profanity. Crap replaced shit. Dang replaced damn [and dangit replaced dammit; I never could get behind darn or darnit, too bland.] Hacked off replaced pissed off, although pee and poop replaced piss and shit to describe bodily functions. Rip replaced bitch [as in, "She's a real rip."] Griping replaced bitching. And of course freaking, crap, screw, and various invented words replaced the f-bomb [which had been my favorite.]

There are other 'substitutes,' but those are the ones I used the most.

But then I got to thinking [which probably isn't a good idea, because I seem to be at odds with the status quo when I do] why the heck [oh crap, I forgot that heck replaced hell!] am I doing

The intent is the same regardless of the words I speak. Since God sees the heart, and therefore my intent or motives, He knew that when I said 'crap,' what I really wanted to say was 'shit,' and sometimes 'dammit.' So who was I kidding?

The Bible talks about cursing in James 3, but I'm thinking it's talking more about what you say [good things [as in ideas, thoughts, concepts] vs. bad things, whether you're talking about people, or things, or God]

I could be wrong, [it's happened a time or two] but I think cursing had more to do with saying to some one, "May your eyes burn up and fall out of your head and a cow step on your foot for what you have done," than, "Ah shit, I stubbed my damned toe!" [Incidentally, should it be 'damn toe,' or 'damned toe,' I've seen it both ways in the past couple of days and I'm curious.]

And so, I began to look at words as a matter of preference. I still don't cuss in church, or around certain people because it's offensive to them, but at home and around close friends [and on this blog], I say whatever comes to mind.

That's just how I am. I stifled it for a long time, but I'm tired of pretending to be something I'm not. I hate dishonesty more than anything else, so I'm not going to be dishonest anymore. And that may mean I offend the hell out of people sometimes. It's not my motive to be difficult, but it's probably inevitable.

Maybe profanity is the 'lowest common denominator' in language, but I'm not a scholar. I'm just a person with a high school education who loves hyperbole, and colorful turns of phrases, and yes, profanity.

And now I'm freaking [can't quite drop the f-bomb anymore, but I'm okay with that] tired [as usual] and I'm going to bed!

A Word on Profanity


Friday, January 06, 2006

Ach! There Are Times When I Just Shake My Head

It looks as though Pat Robertson has spoken for God again, and stuck his foot [Mr. Robertson's, not God's] in his mouth. He linked the massive stroke of the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the wrath of God. Of course, I think he also made a link between September 11th and the wrath of God, and lots of other remarks claiming that he has the inside scoop on the mind of God. Isn't there a scripture about that somewhere? Ah, yes Isaiah 55: 7-11. "My thoughts are not your thoughts..." I admit that's taken out of context, the whole chapter is here. But this guy just keeps on talking for God, and saying horrible things, all the while claiming to have some special knowledge of God that the rest of us, apparently, don't have.

His spokesperson say he's just quoting the Bible, and he is, but he's doing what I just did, taking it out of context and using it to suit his purposes. He seems to think that the Bible is just a big book full of how God kicks your butt if you don't fall into line. I don't get that when I read it.

What I see is a love story.

Yup, you read that right. The Old Testament is all about God's relationship with the Israelites. And through it all, His incredible love for His people is right there in black and white.

[Some] Christians always focus on God's discipline, and the times he destroyed cities [and once, the entire world] because the humans got ridiculous with their behavior and were ruled by selfishness and hate, and never looked at God or their fellow humans with anything but contempt.

We always look at the acts people were committing and say, "Well if I don't do those things, I'll be okay, and anyone who does those things is going straight to hell and good riddance!" We don't look at the fact that the root of all those destructive things was selfishness. And selfishness is something we all are guilty of from time to time.

By selfishness, I'm not talking about taking care of yourself, or looking after your own interests, I'm talking about thinking only about what you want, to the exclusion of everyone and every thing else on the planet.

Jesus said that the two commandments that summed up all the laws and prophets were:

Love God [with all your heart, soul, and mind]
Love your neighbor as yourself (emphasis mine) [Matt 22:36-40]

It's okay to like yourself, and take care of yourself. You have to do that or you DIE [whether physically, mentally or spiritually].

And that loving God thing? I don't think that includes speaking for him. Over and over, Jesus kicks the religious leaders in their asses for being self-righteous prigs [like this one]

The one that hits me as most appropriate for our current religious leaders is this one:

"The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector Luke 18:9-14 [here is the whole chapter]

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

God is more interested in your heart than your actions.

Eight years ago, I had all the answers. I was a Card Carrying Member of the Religious Right. Things were black and white, right or wrong and I knew which was which. Then the world I had carefully constructed fell apart when I realized that the people I had been modeling myself after were, well, human. And fallible. And just as screwed up as the non-Christians we hated so much.

In fact, some of those non-Christians were way better than they or I ever thought of being. They were out there feeding the hungry, taking care of orphans, widows, the sick, and visiting prisoners and working toward rehabilitating them instead of throwing them away or killing them. In fact, most of what we did was bitch about everything and everybody.

I didn't know how to react to the fact that the people I admired so much were wrong about some things, so I shut down.

I stopped trying completely for several years. I still went to church most Sundays, but my heart wasn't in it. I went into a tailspin of depression that sucked the life out of me. I reached a point where I was like, why the hell am I bothering with this? What is it that makes Christians so different from everyone else that we get to go to heaven and they don't?

The easy answer, the typical Christian answer is, "Well, Jesus, of course."

"What about him?" My mind asks.

"Well, He died on the cross for our sins, so that we can go to heaven when we die."

"But what am I supposed to do while I'm here on earth?

"Be a Contagious Christian and Win Souls For Christ."


"Tell them the Good News!"

"What good news?"

"What I just said, you ninny! Jesus died on the cross and all that."

"Is that it? Is that all he has to offer?"

"Isn't that enough? What kind of heathen are you?!"

And that is the million dollar question, folks. What kind of heathen am I? I'm not buying any more of the crap from the 'religious leaders.' They don't know any more about God's mind than I do [and if you've been paying attention, you know I don't know squat]. And I'm not absolutely sure anymore that Christians are the only ones who get to go to heaven.

Part of me has wondered all along if I'm losing my faith. Maybe I am. Losing my faith in others' abilities to tell me what the Bible teaches. Losing my faith in the fundamentalist movement as the best way to follow Christ [nope, I've pretty much lost that]. Am I losing my faith in Jesus as the Son of God? And if I do, will that change my desire to follow his teachings?

I think maybe that's the key. Following what he taught, regardless of his origin [we're not going to worry about his claim that he was the Son of God right now, because I still believe that]. I think what I need to do is find out exactly what it is that Jesus taught. I know some of it, but I think I've focused so much on the son of God thing that I've neglected the important stuff.

The thing that keeps me holding on sometimes is this:

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13 [entire chapter] I am seeking Him. And I'm clinging to the promise that I will find Him for all I'm worth.

Okay, so that's where I'll go from here. But now I need sleep.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Story of My Birth

Well, my to do list didn't work as well as I'd hoped. I forgot about Wednesday night church, so that screwed things up. Then there were the poopy diapers [oh come on, it was just a matter of time before this came up!] My youngest loves fruit, but it does strange things to her digestive tract. There were four, possibly five poopy diapers today.

She's two, so technically I could start potty training, but with the other two, I've waited until they were old enough to discuss what needs to be done and how. Maybe it's because I'm lazy, but I just feel like if they understand what's going on, they're more likely to get with the program. The older two were completely potty trained by four, which to some seems old, but it's what worked for me.

Hubby had the audacity to suggest that 'we' begin potty training the youngest soon. I admit I was somewhat rude, but I laughed hysterically and said, "When you get ready to do it, you knock your bad self out. If I'm the one who's gonna have to do all the work like with the other two, you can just keep your comments to yourself!" There are just some places a man shouldn't tread, and he tromped all over one of 'em that day! But he's cute, so I forgave him.

Some quick estimates: I've been a mom for almost eight years now. If I did my math right, that's 2,920 days. A rough estimate of diaper changes per day is five, although I've had two kids in diapers at a time for part of that, we're just going 'general picture' here. That's 14,600 diapers, most of which, I've changed myself.

Oh, speaking of cute husbands who need forgiving! My wonderful husband of ten and a half years FORGOT MY BIRTHDAY!!! Unbelievable. Actually, I think it's kind of funny. In all the years we've been together, this is the first time he's forgotten it. I'm afraid I've forgotten his more than once [I was pregnant though, which causes brain rot anyway, and I was horribly sick, so I had.. ahem.. reasons!] He really did feel bad, and he's cute, so I forgave him [gave him a hard time about it, though. *evil chuckle*]

But I digress, we were going to talk about my first birthday.

I was my mother's third child. The first was born in 1967 when she was just six months pregnant. The doctor made the decision not to send him to a larger hospital, and he died at three days old. My brother's name was Jeffrey. I've seen pictures of him in his coffin and I cannot imagine what it was like for my parents to lose a child. The thought of losing one of my own is so horrible, even writing about the possibility makes me want to cry.

Mom is one of my favorite people in the world, but the way she deals with difficulties in life is to get angry. She told me that after Jeff died, she wanted to get pregnant as quickly as possible. Thirteen months later, my brother Jeremi was born. During the last couple weeks of her pregnancy, Mom gained a LOT of weight [something like twenty pounds].

It never occurred to the doctor that she might have pregnancy induced hypertension [then called pre-eclampsia]. I'm not clear on all the details here, but mom went into labor and after a long night of contractions, and after finding out that Jeremi was breech, the doctor gave her a spinal block. Spinal blocks are different than epidurals. Spinal blocks can affect the mother's breathing, which can affect the baby's heart rate.

Which is what happened to my mom. It isn't clear if the doctor gave her too much medicine, or if he put it in too high, or if Mom just had a bad reaction, but she almost died, and Jeremi ended up with severe cerebral palsy. His body is the size of an adult's, but with the physical capabilities of a newborn. He still has the grasping, rooting, and startle reflexes of an infant. He can't speak, is quadriplegic, and has the mind of a thirty-seven year old man.

I read somewhere that Stephen King said that the worst thing he could imagine was to be a healthy mind in a body that was helpless. The two examples he gave were ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, and cerebral palsy. I'd say that's about right.

After my first daughter was born, Jeremi asked me, "When will it be my turn?" All I could say was, "I don't know, J. I don't know."

I was born on January 4, 1974, not long after Roe v Wade made abortion legal [the case was decided on Jan 22, 1973]. Mom told me [after I was an adult] that she considered having an abortion because she didn't think she could handle another pregnancy ending in a dead or disabled child. I don't know what stopped her, but I'm glad she did.

So anyway, mom went to the hospital [which later closed down, and was re-opened as a psychiatric hospital... I like to tell people I was born in a nut-house. Not PC, I know, but the looks on their faces is priceless.] My brother was at my paternal grandma's house [he was four and a half by that point] and my maternal grandma was at the hospital with my mom and dad.

Legend has it that a conversation happened between my dad and grandma at my mother's bedside that went something like this.

"You think we'll be here all night again?"

"Yeah, Jane... I reckon so. I guess we better get some rest while we can, huh."

Mom handled it the way she always did, [and the way a lot of women in labor would] She gave them a few choice words, rolled over, and didn't speak again until a few hours later when she yelled, "I gotta push!" To this day, she swears she was so mad at them she didn't feel any pain.

The hospital I was born in was so small that I ended up being the New Year's baby that year. Got my picture in the paper and everything. Everything seemed normal, so she took me home.

When I was a week old, Mom says that I turned bright neon orange, and they took me to the doctor for jaundice. The doctor took one look at me and sent me to a much bigger teaching hospital several hours away. When I got there, they took my bilirubin to check for hyperbilirubinemia [big word for high bilirubin]. My level was 27, which if untreated can cause something called kernicterus [symptoms include cerebral palsy and deafness].

Luckily for me, the hospital I went to had a wonderful doctor who knew how to treat it. They did the phototherapy thing and a complete blood transfusion from a live donor. I still have the scars on my neck and ankle. They told me that my donor was a college student, and I sometimes wonder if he or she knows that she saved a baby's life that day.

When the doctors sent me home, they warned my mother that I very likely would end up with brain damage. I can't imagine what that did to her psychologically for the next few months until I started developing like a normal child.

So there you have it, folks.

"The Story of My Birth,"
"How I Got Borned."
by Shelbi

Happy Birthday To Me!!

Okay, I know it's cheesy to wish yourself a happy birthday when you're an adult, but I'm actually happy this year! I am thirty-two today, and I'm finally getting used to this thirtysomething decade being something I'm actually old enough to be a part of. It still freaks me out that I can talk about things that happened 25 years ago, and actually have a real memory of it.

When I turned thirty, I was pretty depressed about it. For some reason, my brain told me that being a stay-at-home-mom wasn't a worthy occupation since you don't have to have a degree to make a baby and then stay at home with him until he grows up.

Actually, you don't have to have any intelligence whatsoever to make a baby, which makes me feel really sorry for a lot of children out there. Because whatever people think, raising kids to be good humans is not easy.

It takes something I wonder every day if I have. My kids are really good kids, for which I am truly thankful. They aren't perfect, which is clearly in evidence when they are tired, but they are good. I wish I could say it's because of our excellent parenting, but I just don't know if that's true.

And looking at them now, I can only imagine them as wonderful adults, but there aren't any guarantees there, either. If you look at pictures of Ted Bundy as a kid, you can't imagine that he would grow up and do the unspeakable things we know he did. I'm sure his parents couldn't.

That's scary as hell for me. My kids are 7, 5, and 2. They are all really cute, really sweet kids. But as they grow up, I will have to let them go and make decisions on their own. There will come a point when I can't dictate whether they put on clean underwear, make their beds, or experiment with drugs and alcohol.

Right now, my kids are anti-drug, anti-drunk driving, anti-smoking kids, but so was I, and I did every one of those things as a teenager. I was lucky. I didn't kill anyone, didn't get addicted to anything harder than cigarettes [hubby and I quit smoking almost 10 years ago]. But that's no guarantee that my kids won't.

Sheesh. This is one of those deals where all I can do is the best I'm capable of and then pray like crazy that God will make up for my inadequacy.

*shift gears*

Tomorrow [which is really today, but I'm still up so it's yesterday, I mean today, ah hell, you know what I mean!]
I will do an outline for my novel.
I will blog about the story of my birth [which I think is funny, and so typical of my mom].
I will wash the freaking dishes [housework is the bane of my existence].
I will work on Hooked on Phonics and Hooked on Math with my daughter.
I will do one load of laundry [yup, hate that too.]
I will limit my time on the internet blog hopping with my kitchen timer because I got sucked in for hours and hours today, and have the raging headache to prove it!