Honest Conversations: Revised, Expanded, and being GIVEN AWAY!

“There is a love that is so deep it surpasses understanding. It is so enormous and boundless it could utterly destroy you with its force. It is a love like the ocean. In the shallows it looks harmless, but caught in the undertow it will drag you away from everything you know and enjoy and bury you in a world you’d never imagined.”

“This is God.”

Honest Conversation.  As I wrote yesterday, revising it has been a strange journey for me.  I came across the above passage this morning and it was one of those moments where I forgot having written something that still grips at my chest now.  Passages like that remind me of the importance of this book just as much as the passages about being a gay Christian do.  Why?  Because there’s a side of God that many people in the Church too easily overlook, the violently affectionate God who longs for all of his children, even the ones we’d rather not have be a part of the family.  This is why I wrote that book, and it’s why I still believe in it and want it to be successful.  I want to share a taste of the God who changed my heart and my life and brought me back alive when I was dead in my life, the God who dragged me out to sea like the undertow and brought me back to shore a wholly new person.  The God whose love in me has allowed me to see and experience things I would have never been able to in my own power.

So I’m going to be doing a giveaway of Honest Conversation.  The giveaway will be twofold:  first, I’ll randomly give away copies to two people who review becoming. on Amazon or Goodreads before January 10th (the prospective release date for Honest Conversation).  People who review it on both sites (copy and paste, y’all) will get entered twice.  People who also paste a link of it being reviewed on their blog to my author fan page on Facebook will get entered THREE times.  I’ll also be giving free copies of Honest Conversation to trustworthy reviewers.  So if you know someone who book-blogs and would be interested in reading Honest Conversation, please send them the link to this post.

One of the additional blessings of my Kickstarter campaign having gone so well is that I’ve got enough money to be able to afford this giveaway- so a big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed.

Plus as an additional happy part of the giveaway, I’ll be adding in some as of now unnamed goodies, so stay tuned!

***(Anyone who already has Honest Conversation coming to them as a part of the Kickstarter campaign can request another book of their choice.)

Bloggy Potpourri

So today is my birthday.  Today is also the start of my first full week sans classes until January, which means my brain is actually functional in terms of personal thoughts instead of just school, kids, dinner, school like it seems to be during classes.  I have so many things I want to write about and can’t seem to keep a thought straight, so I’m just going to put it all out there, potpourri style.
* * *

I’ve changed my major.  I’m going to be entering into a teaching certification program next fall, where I’ll be studying English, Literature, and Language Arts with a focus on High School/Secondary education.  I’m going to… teach.  It’s a long way away from social work in some ways and only a short hop in others.  I had this realization that without language we really have nothing.  Without language people can’t grow, can’t succeed, can’t understand.  So I want to give people language.  That’s all I want to do.
* * *

On TV shows people always seem to see turning 30 as some sort of tragic event that has to be denied.  I’m turning 30.  My first reaction?  Thank God.  I’ve learned a lot.  I earned another year under my belt.
* * *

Newtown.  It’s this immense tragedy that I don’t have words for.  People react in anger, they react in demands, they react in grief.  People also react in love, and I think that gets overlooked.  So many people shared words and prayers, tried to find ways to send support.  I saw far more of that then I saw people talking about guns or prayer in school or God’s judgment on an unholy nation.  The love is so strong, the grief so sincere, the prayers so honest.  If you remember anything from this tragedy, remember that.  Please.

* * *

I want to write a poem.
* * *

I’m going to get back on the horse with regards to Ravens.  Really.  I’ve already started writing it again, and I made a promise to myself not to just abandon it.  One of my personal goals for the next year of my life is to be more intentional with the goals I set for myself and plan ahead for how I’m going to meet them.  I’ve always been good at that in SOME areas of my life, but other areas have really suffered, and blogging always seems like the first to go.  That’s a real tragedy because blogging has given me some really incredible gifts, and I don’t want to take that for granted.
* * *

Wreck It Ralph was a great movie.  I want to see it again.
* * *

Not so sure about the Hobbit.  I haven’t seen it yet.  I’ve seen mixed reviews though, and that book was my first love.  You know how sometimes you see a crush all grown up and you hate it, and want to forget that they got chubby and their hair was different and they’d suddenly become an obscene jerk?  I don’t want that to happen to the Hobbit.  No, no, no…

* * *

I could compare you to a winter’s night/

you are colder and far more treacherous.

(No, not YOU.)

If you want the whole poem, buy this book.

* * *

Oh, I, uh, wrote a book.

* * *

I’m currently editing and expanding Honest Conversations and plan to re-release it later this month, a sort of Christmas Present to myself.  It’s like moving back home, or like…  I don’t know, eating apple pie.  Comforting, but also a little strange.  Like chatting with an old friend but knowing that there are all of these years in between you, even if their voice still sounds the same.  I would say like falling back in love, except it’s not that sentimental.  It just is.

* * *

How is it that EVERY TIME I make cookies I’m wearing a black t-shirt and flour myself?  Every.  Single.  Time.

* * *

Sex and bacon.  (God wants us to be happy, folks.  He really, really does.)

* * *

God also wants us to learn self-control.  Those two things always seem to go hand and hand.

* * *

We’ll call it a day.  I miss you all.  I promise to write at least once a month.

on being reactionary

Because I’m not the sort of person to ignore it when I step in dog poo, as I figuratively did with my previous post.  Now- I’ve often said that I am politically pro-choice, but personally pro-life.  This is something that is sometimes very hard for people to wrap their minds around.

Yet I shall say it again, because apparently my passing mention of abortion in the post titled You’re the one with the Problem means I said that getting abortions is awesome and everyone should try it.  Okay, so perhaps I’m really exaggerating and being overly dramatic- but it frustrates me when people read subtext where there is none, infer things that needn’t be inferred, and react to stimuli that I myself didn’t offer.  I mention abortion- not in a context that says “this is okay” or “this is good” or “I support this”- but in a context that says “before confronting other people’s sins, honestly face your own.”

And what do people do?  They react to that one part of the post without, apparently, reading the entire thing.  Mind you, it’s a handful of people, not everyone that read the post.  And it’s a handful of people who don’t normally read my blog.  So honestly, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter much.

Yet I find myself out here, needing to explain a little.  And so I shall.  I don’t think abortions are good.  I don’t think that the way they are treated in the United States is good.  I feel like as a procedure they are not held to the same standard of medical ethics as other procedures, which is bad.  I’ve known people who have had abortions without being informed of the risk of cervical scarring and infection.  This is, in fact, bad.  I also think that people are not necessarily aware of the psychological impact that abortions can have- which is also bad.  I think that people who are pro-life would get a lot further if they attacked not the legality of abortions, but the way in which the procedures themselves are handled.  I also think that there is a lot that can be done from a societal perspective to lower the amount of abortions that are sought.

Thus, while I am personally pro-life, while I think that abortions are not good, as well as not always necessary, I have become politically pro-choice, as I find that the party that best affects the kinds of changes I would like to see is not the “pro-life” party.

That is what us writers call irony.

But, honestly, I will say it again:  I don’t like abortions.  I don’t think they’re awesome.  I don’t think that they always solve the problems people wish they could solve.  There’s not a magic button to make the problem of pregnancy go away.  A young girl who gets an abortion because she’s being forced to grow up too fast and doesn’t want to deal with the problems her pregnancy creates does not uncreate her problems by having an abortion.  In fact, she only creates a newer, harsher set of problems for herself.

That is precisely the thing I was thinking of when I wrote that sentence that has gotten me into so much trouble on my previous post.  Because I was thinking of that fictional girl, and how much grief she is going to feel, and how much pain, and how much confusion, and how much need- and I was thinking of that screaming man holding that horrific sign…

and I was thinking that the last person in the world that girl would go to for healing is that man.

THAT, dear readers, is the problem.  The problem is not the ethical problem of whether or not abortions is right, the problem is that even if they are absolutely wrong, morally and ethically, the way Christianity confronts the problem does solve anything with any adequacy.  We alienate everyone that has and would have abortions, we set up fences, we pat ourselves on the back for we have assuaged our consciences with our rage- but at the end of the day the girls we yell at still get the abortions, and when they have to pick up the pieces there is no one there to hold their hands.

I wonder- what would Jesus say about that?  Would he join in the toast at the end of the day after the protest, or would he go to comfort the girl with her blood and fear and tears, the girl whose world has fallen apart, the girl who we have offered guilt and condemnation but not salvation?

Have we honestly found a moral high ground?

If we have, I don’t want it.  I want to be in the muck with the sinners.  I want to hold their hands.

/end rant

Starting a crafting blog on WordPress

I know I have a few crafters in my blog neighborhood.  🙂  I had a craft blog on Vox ages ago, and it has served me well, but for one reason and another I eventually just stopped posting there.  And then when thinking about getting back into the rhythm of posting my crafts, WordPress just felt like a better home this time around.

So for those of you that are interested in such things, I now have a blog in these parts called Crafts from the Land of Monkeys to accompany stuff posted on my Etsy Store and also as a home for various posts about my misadventures in canning and preserving, clothes I make for myself and the kids, and suchlike.

Feel welcome to it, or ignore it- whatever you wish.

Comment with Care

The internet is a tricky place.  It’s a little like a masquerade, with everyone picking avatars that rarely show their face, the real person hidden in a veil of carefully constructed identity.  The internet being such, it’s easy to forget that there’s a real person on the other side of the ethernet cable.  Because there’s rarely proximity or touch involved, it’s easy to think of people one meets online as not real people, not containing real emotion or full identity.  It’s easy to think of every aspect of their online identity as being concocted.  It’s easy to disregard truth in favor of perception.

It’s easy to be cruel.

In my days on the internet I’ve been a part of a lot of different online communities.  In my early days it was fan sites for favorite bands.  Every once in a while we’d all be told that we had no taste in music or that certain members of bands were not who we thought they were.  There’d be outright lies, misleading half-truths, odd motivations.  As time passed on I joined a few online RPGs, groups in which concocting identities was the norm.  And as such there were a few practical jokes played with multiple personas, some of which went miserably awry.  Even further on there were a few support groups for people dealing with depression.  Let me just say that if you have blade to wrist and someone says “depression is a choice”, it doesn’t help things.  Despite the fact that it’s easy to lash out at an idea, one must always remember that whatever one is lashing out with involves people as well.  Real people with real feelings that can be really hurt.

Mothers forums in which mothers who don’t breastfeed are eviscerated.  Or mothers who choose to go back to work are mocked.  Or mothers who don’t choose to go back to work are accused of taking advantage of their spouses.  Or single mothers are told they are “better off” without having to deal with a spouse.  All of these things that just make it harder on us all.  Make it harder for everyone on every side of the issue.  Because we don’t need to be divided, we need to be united.  Instead of focusing on our differences we should focus on those things which all of us share.

I do not, as a rule, moderate comments on this blog.  I realize that ninety percent of the things I talk about are issues that divide people, and I respect the fact that not everyone who reads my posts will agree with me.  Some people will think I am absolutely and in all ways wrong, and they are entitled to that opinion and entitled to voice it.  Occassionally I do delete a comment.  If someone, for example, refers to a person who is gay as one who (and I quote) “embraces the vile vomit of sodomy”, I will delete that comment.  It serves no purpose other than to be inflamatory.  Someone can believe that gay sex is against God’s plan without using words such as “vile” and “vomit”.

Just remember, commenters, that there are real people on the other side of this issue.  The gays are real people, with emotions, and needs, and desires, and even spirituality.  Just as those who believe homosexuality is a sin are also people, people who are trying to adhere to that which they believe is holy.  That is why I allow comments from all sides- because ninety nine percent of the time I think everyone truly is trying to do what they think is right or necessary.

Just please, please, comment with care.  Be respectful.  Don’t attack.  Wear gloves, if necessary.  Remember that for better or worse God put us all on this planet together and he called us all to each other.  We NEED each other.

Practice compassion.  Live with grace.

And for the love of God, comment with care.