Friday, July 31, 2015

Broken Compass

I am shocked and sickened by the things I have seen recently regarding the dentist who shot that lion.  (Let me say up front that I have no problem with folks hunting or fishing if they need the meat for food. I don't understand hunting for sport, nor do I agree with it.)  What has been so sickening to me are the comments that people are making about this dentist.  People think that he should be hunted down and killed. People think that he should be put in prison for the sole purpose of being abused and killed.  The barbaric and vicious verbal attacks far exceed the bounds of anything remotely civilized.

Of course, these same people who are ready to eviscerate someone for killing an animal seem to have framed other vicious killers in a portrait of altruism and mercy.  These other killers murder humans on a daily basis, but they do it in the guise of women's rights and reproductive choice.  They work in clinics and are supported by the government.  The abortion industry seems to be unable to satisfy their need to kill innocent, helpless, unborn babies as evidenced by the removal of any restraint or restrictions on how or when an abortion can be performed – all in the name of protecting a woman's rights or safeguarding her health.  I still can't figure out how it is safe for a woman to deliver an almost full term baby breech so the doctor can kill it while it is partially born, but it would jeopardize her health to deliver the baby normally, allow it to live, and be adopted by a loving family. 

The moral compass of our nation isn't just broken; it's pointing in the opposite direction.  Anyone who dares speak out about the horrors of abortion and the barbarism that takes place every single day is the target for hatred. Vitriol abounds.  We mustn't touch the sacred cow that allows women to live like there's no tomorrow and never have to suffer any consequences for their actions. Or so it may seem. The public has been brainwashed into thinking that the wholesale slaughter of babies is a noble cause, when in fact, it is the forefront of the true war on women.

Many studies have been done on the adverse health affects women suffer as a result of having an abortion. There is an increase in the risk for breast cancer and an increase in infertility.  The psychological effects are horrendous.  And what about the more than 25 million baby girls that have been killed?  Why do those women never even get a chance at life?  All of those wasted lives.  Over 50 million babies have been murdered in this country.  Over 50 million artists, scientists, musicians, comedians. Over 50 million smiles that would have warmed the hearts of those they loved.  Over 50 million babies who were ripped out of their mother's womb and treated like garbage rather than treated with the dignity and respect that a person deserves.  Yes, our moral compass is damaged.  I just wonder if it's too late to fix it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

National Novel Writing Month

I love National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  Well, that's not exactly true.  I love the idea of it.  The thought of sitting down and writing a novel from start to finish in 30 days is a very exciting one.  If you could keep up that pace you could be quite prolific.  My problem is that I can't even keep up that pace for the month of November, let alone the rest of the year.  In the past when I've decided to try completing NaNoWriMo I've ended up feeling like a complete and utter failure.  I've never come anywhere close to the goal of 50,000 words.  It's not that I don't know what I want to write about.  I just don't think I'm wired for fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writing.  And there's the whole family responsibility thing too.  I mean I can't just stop homeschooling, cooking, and cleaning for a whole month.  So this year, rather than set myself up for another epic failure, I've decided to do something different.  I'm going to eat an elephant.

Well, not literally of course.  But just like the method for eating an elephant (one bite at a time), I'm going to work on my writing one step at a time.  I've already set out a rough plot line for my next novel (the sequel to Terror By Night which is available on Kindle and Nook).  I've started writing scenes that I will weave together as I progress.  But the most important thing is that I'm writing.  If I'm faced with the gargantuan task of getting 50,000 words out in 30 days I freeze up.  It's just too big leap for me.  But if I take it one step at a time I can get it done.  And what about NaNoWriMo?  I still love the idea of it, but I've just realized that for me it will be a yearly motivational reminder to stay on task and write.  Who knows?  Maybe one year I'll actually complete it.  Maybe.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I am very happy to announce the release of our first unit study - Green Eggs and Ham, a Springboard Unit Study for the Very Young.
Green Eggs and Ham, a Springboard Unit Study for the Very Young, is a unit study designed to nurture a love of learning in young children.  Following the story in Green Eggs and Ham, your child will learn about poetry, mammals, the water cycle, and much more.  Any parent can follow this easy to use unit study to help their children have fun while learning. 
The Green Eggs and Ham unit study is now available on both Nook and Kindle.  Click here to get it on Nook, and here to get it on Kindle.
Find out more about Springboard Unit Studies here!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Waking Up with Busy Brain

There's nothing more I like to do on a crisp autumn morning than stay in bed.  No, not all morning, but when you wake up and just lay there all snuggled in, warm and peaceful.  I love it!  Unfortunately there are days when my brain seems to get a jump start on me and I wake up with busy brain.  Yesterday morning was one of those mornings.  I had two haiku poems chasing each other around my head.  Haiku poetry is a Japanese style of writing and in the very simplest sense, are three-line poems.  The first and third lines have five syllables each, while the second line has seven syllables.  Traditionally the subject matter is nature and there is a juxtaposition present.  I prefer sticking with the basic syllable count, especially first thing in the morning.  I will share my two intruders with you now.

Furry ball of love
Kitty purrs when she's happy
She purrs for ice cream

Gallop through the house
Little cat who never hissed
Follow me downstairs

Nothing to get excited over, and certainly nothing Pulitzer-worthy, but there they are!  They are, of course, about our two cats.  The first is about Punkin who has acquired a taste for vanilla ice cream.  The second is about Benny who is the funniest cat I've ever known.  I've yet to hear him hiss and he's five years old now.  He also likes to follow me down to the basement when I do laundry.  Both are wonderful friends.

I think I'll keep a pad of paper and a pen on my nightstand from now on.  At least my busy brain and I could stay in bed on a crisp autumn morning!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Middle Earth

"The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings," both by J.R.R. Tolkien, are set in a place called Middle Earth.  Any work of fiction needs to have a setting, and while Middle Earth is such a setting Tolkien goes far beyond what nearly any other author has done in terms of history and back-story.  As an author myself I am amazed at what Tolkien accomplished.

Tolkien wanted to fill a gap that he perceived in the mythology of Great Britain.  Whether he started out with that specifically in mind or whether that evolved as he wrote bits of stories that were set in Middle Earth, I'm not sure.  But either way, the fruit of his life's work is truly incredible.  Not only did he create a world in which his characters could live, and several races of characters, but he also created a number of functional languages including the alphabets for each.  He wrote the histories for each race all the way back to the "creation" of Middle Earth's universe.  He really went all out.  But for all of his work and creativity much of the history and back-story of Middle Earth is never mentioned in either of Tolkien's most famous works, although they are available in "The Silmarillion" and other collections of Tolkien's writings.  That history did shape his work and give "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" their richness. 

Not only has Tolkien shaped the world of Middle Earth, he has shaped our world as well.  In a number of colleges and universities you can study the languages that Tolkien created and become a scholar of them.  You can hear some of his languages in the popular movie adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings" directed by Peter Jackson.  You can also experience what it's like to explore Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings Online, a massive multiplayer online game.  The developers of LOTRO have gone out of their way to follow the books as they have created and grown their version of Middle Earth and much of Tolkien's histories and languages come into play.

Books can be a very nice way to slip away from the daily grind and have a little adventure.  Tolkien's works are one of the best ways to do whether it's reading his books, watching the movies, or playing online.  A lot has come out of his work.  A lot went into them.  I'm just glad that Tolkien decided to share his world with ours!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Love Books

I love books.  Well, not every book, but there are a lot of books that I really like.  Some books have become lifelong companions.  "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of these.

When I was in the tenth grade I had a kidney infection and wasn't able to attend school so my parents arranged for a tutor through my school.  He would come to the house twice a week.  We would go over assignments from the previous visit and he would assign me new work to be done for next time.  As I have since come to understand from my experience in homeschooling our son, when you have a one-on-one teaching arrangement the student learns more in a shorter period of time.  The assignments never took me very long to complete.  I soon found that I had lots of time on my hands.  Having that pesky infection meant that I couldn't really get out and do anything.  Fortunately for me I love books!

Books are wonderful because you can have adventures without ever leaving the coziness of your home.  That's just the sort of adventure I needed and I found it in "The Hobbit."  Through Tolkien's brilliant work I was able to join Bilbo and Gandalf on quite an adventure indeed.  Beginning in a wonderful place called The Shire, I traveled through goblin-infested mountains, spider-infested forests, and into a mountain that was inhabited by a dragon.  Right along with Bilbo I travel There and Back Again. 

There aren't too many books that I have read more than once.  There are even fewer that I've read on a regular basis.  "The Hobbit" is one of those rare gems that never grows old or tiresome.  And at times in my life when I've really needed a familiar friend it's always come through for me.  It was a very special treat when I read "The Hobbit" to our son for the first time.  To see the joy and wonder on his face as we traveled Middle Earth together was a blessing I wouldn't have traded for the world.

If you've never set foot in Middle Earth I would highly recommend you get your feet wet with "The Hobbit."  Who knows - you just might meet a very good friend along the way!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Long Time No Blog

I couldn't believe it when I checked my blogs recently. It's been over a year since I've posted. A year? How could that happen? I knew that I had cut down on my computer use this last few months, but a year? Well, yes. What happened? I'm glad you asked!

I've been a computer geek for just about as long as computers have been around. I first learned how to program computers thirty years ago when computers were very big, taking up about the same amount of space as several refrigerators with far less computing power than the laptop I'm now using. Shortly after graduating from computer science college I went to work for my dad. I computerized the billing and patient records for his medical practice. The computer that he purchased for the job was the latest thing available. It was a compact unit that sat on a table, had an attached keyboard and an 8 1/2-inch floppy drive in the side. It was a beautiful sight. I used to be so proud that I could enter information so quickly that I'd routinely lock the machine up. But that was okay. I'll had have to do was reboot and keep on going. Well, that's what I thought anyway.

What I didn't know then - nor did anyone else - was that I was doing some serious damage to my body. Over the years I continued to work with computers and continued to do damage to my body. In 1992 I had surgery on both of my wrists for carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately even after having those surgeries I continued to experience problems with my arms and upper back. Today we call this Repetitive Strain Injury and have ergonomically designed equipment to help us avoid or minimize these typees of injuries.

Unfortunately for those of us who have these injuries there doesn't seem to be a "cure" other than avoidance. Yeah, like I'm going to avoid computers. Well, for the past several months (or more) I really have been avoiding the computer as much as humanly possible. And, wonder of wonders, I've noticed that my condition (I hate that term) really does get better when I'm not on the computer 24/7. This was very encouraging for me, although having to curb my digital scrapbooking, writing, and gaming has been tricky. And now there's the whole website issue.

Last week I wanted to make a few updates to my websites. Normally this would not be a problem, but now, well, it seems that my new computer is turning on me. For some odd reason the program that I've been using to publish my sites for the past seven years has decided it doesn't want to function normally on my new computer. What does this mean? That I can't pubish to my sites. And what does that mean? Well, that I'll have to rebuild them from the ground up - which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is time consuming and very computer intensive. Am I looking forward to doing that? On the one hand, I really am. A fresh design would be great and I've really been wanting to do a major overhaul. On the other hand, well, it'll be an excellent exercise in patience and self-control I suppose. Maybe it'll be a good project for summer. Maybe.

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