Is Your Gratitude Thoughtful?

Happy Thanksgiving!20151124_141035 (1)

This is the beginning of the holidays, regardless of your worship beliefs. I hope you have a lovely, happy season. As this is the time of gratitude, I extend my gratitude to you, my readers. It has been a joy sharing my thoughts and opinions with you.

We live in a time of turmoil and fear. We fear strangers and those “others.” I suggest we turn our thoughts to trust in God, love of family, and gratitude for our multitude of blessings. Most of us in the United States have more than those who have fled from war and violence. We have homes to protect us from the weather, clothing to keep us warm, a bed and bedding to sleep in, some form of transportation besides our feet, access to technology, and food to eat—probably much more than we should on holidays like Thanksgiving.

As you join with loved ones for your Thanksgiving meal, bow in gratitude to God for all you have and think of, or share, at least one thing you are grateful for. I am grateful for family, my God, a warm home, the desert southwest where I live, (with no or little snow), a reliable car, plenty of food, and technology.

I am also happy to have completed my novel for this National Novel Writing Month. I have the basics for four books in my series, Ancient Matriarchs. The first is closer every week. I appreciate my awesome artist who should be painting my cover sometime soon. I can’t wait to see it, and share it with you, my readers.

Eve remembered gratitude during her life. Together with Adam, I believe a major part of their weekly Sabbath service was spent in offering thanks to Jehovah for their current blessings. I work to follow this example.

What are you especially grateful for? I’d love to see a long list of gratitudes on this page. Will you join me?

Will You Give In to This?

20141211_163220War breeds hate and fear. Since the bombings in France last Friday, along with those in Beirut, fear and hatred is center stage. Two terrorists are still at large and refugees continue to pour across borders from Syria. (It seems at this rate, all the Syrians will have run from the war or blown themselves up in a suicide bombing.) Meanwhile, Americans argue over the safety of accepting refugees into our states. (I wonder where these refugees are finding the money to pay for the fight.)

I have seen posts on Facebook, suggesting this is the beginning of World War III. Others compare the actions of the terrorists to the actions of Hitler. I see the possibilities in each of these suggestions. Hatred is stirring up among the nations of the earth.

Horrors of war have spread through the world over the past two hundred years, to the point no day goes by without a war somewhere in the world. In most wars, citizens have fled the violence of raging war, seeking safety in other countries. Sometimes they found safety, sometimes not. It is hard to forget the ship of Jewish refugees returned from the United States to Europe, where half were victims of the Holocaust.

Thousands of Christians suffered from prejudice in those same wars, many slain, many struggled for acceptance in a new country. Thousands of Muslims and Hindus died in the battle for India. The challenge of refugees has been a problem from the beginning of wars. Men and women of every country facing war have sought refuge for their families in safer countries.

In all the years of our earth, the commandment has been to love and serve our neighbors. Who is my neighbor? Only the family living next door? Only those living in my community, state or country? Only those of my religion or particular shade of skin? I think not. I think all religious leaders advise their followers to show love to others and give service.

Not all refugees are terrorists; most are fleeing from terrorist activities. We cannot deny a group of people refuge because of their nation of birth or their religion. That would be like fearing all white men are bombers because Timothy McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City.

The refugees need our help; they need a home free of violence and fear. They do not have a right to demand services or benefits. If there is a place for them, there certainly is a home for our veterans; if medical care and jobs are available for refugees, our veterans are as needy. These refugees can have homes, jobs, medical care, and other life necessities in line with others who are also needy.

Each one should pass a rigid background test, as much as is possible for one who has left everything behind in a battle torn home. Each should plan to accept life as it is in the United States, including our flag, our diet, and our lifestyle. They can do the same as many others, who eat what they choose without causing trouble for others; worship as they choose, without demanding special rights.

The United States has accepted people from all over the world, accepting their religions, their dress style, their choice of diet. We will continue to be accepting, though that becomes difficult when refugees and others who migrate to the United States demand we change and forget all that makes us unique.

Wars have been a part of the history of earth from almost the beginning of time. Eve saw her children fight wars, felt their hate, and probably accepted their refugees. These were her grandchildren, after all. She loved them all, but expected them to obey the laws of her community. Can we not expect the same of our refugees?

Will you be accepting of the refugees if they move into your neighborhood? Will you bring them cookies and casseroles? Will you befriend them? What will you do if they move next door to you? Please let me know.

In Honor of Our Brave Veterans

20150914_185748This Veteran’s Day, 2015, I offer my gratitude to all who gave their lives in service to our great nation over the years. Some died, like my great-great uncle who died on the steps of Lexington. My uncles and father-in-law returned from World War II, alive, seemingly well. However, along with thousands of others, they were left with lingering fears and PTSD. You did not want to touch my father-in-law to wake him, you may have been welcomed by a fist in the face. Others, like my husband and brother, put their lives on the line every day, not behind a gun but providing support, always facing the possibility of attack.

Millions died in the wars. Those who lived lost a part of themselves, more than just their youth. Young families gave up hopes of a home for up to twenty years, living on near slave wages to serve. Improvements in medical care saves lives; but many return from the latest wars with body parts missing, requiring medical care and support for the rest of their lives. Young soldiers return broken in both body and spirit.

Almost everyday someone posts pictures of these brave veterans with missing arms and legs. Worse is the damage to their souls. I cannot imagine the things they have seen and done that would cause so many to cower in fear, or even worse, take their own lives. Suicide has become the way “out” for too many of our valiant young people who volunteered, or who joined one of the local Reserve units, and found themselves in the war zone.

War is not pretty. It is an “adventure” that should be offered to the politicians and generals who call for it. Our young men and women need to know war is ugly, evil, and damaging. Even those, like my brother and husband, who never fired a shot, had their lives damaged by their service. Long hours, constant danger, and stress took a toll on them, aging them early.

I honor all who gave all their lives, for a time or forever, in service to our country. In a very real way, they have protected our borders and kept us safe. It is sad that the government has not yet honored these men in an honest way.

Eve knew that war was wicked and evil. The Destroyer spurned men to hatred, fighting, and war. It is the women, mothers and wives, who watch their sons, and now daughters, leave to protect their borders or fight in enemy lands.

Eve would have argued against wars. Women through the ages argued against the violence causing death and maiming of their beloved sons, husbands, and fathers. I am glad my sons are now old enough to avoid military service. Their dad spent enough of his life for all of them. I fear for my grandsons. I will beg them to wait to be drafted, rather than placing their lives in the hands of immoral politicians.

Do you agree? Share your thoughts and stories.

National Novel Writing Month Updaate

It is November again. Three Novembers ago I was working on my first ever rough draft of a book. Before then, I wrote poetry and very long letters. I took a creative writing class in college, where I started a novel. I wrote one chapter. Since then,

My sister has been working on writing fantasy novels for several years. I’ve watched her, and wished I could. She heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which happens each November, and invited me to join her three years ago. The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. You just write, not worrying about corrections.

What would I write? One of the stories I tried to write before was the story of Eve. I have often wondered how she managed to give birth alone, just her and Adam. How did they figure out how to live in a new world? These and other questions filled my mind for years. I realized I had been taking the wrong point of view. Thus, I began to write.

If you write every day, you have to write close to 1700 words each day to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I had things to do on Friday and Saturday, and took the Sabbath off. Each year we go to my parent’s home two hours away for Thanksgiving, and my birthday is at the end of the month. My goal was to be finished before Thanksgiving, so I could spend time with my family and not have to worry for my birthday.

I finished the 50,000 words that Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Not the book, it took another six weeks to finish the first draft, all 100,000+ words of it. Then I began the rewrites. I’ve lost track of all the times I’ve gone through it. I’m finally ready to send it to an editor. I decided to write a serial, and shorten the book about Eve. It is now the first of the series, Ancient Matriarchs: Eve, First Matriarch.

In the two years since that first NaNoWriMo, I’ve completed the rough draft of two others. Last November I wrote about Enoch’s wife, this summer I wrote about Seth’s wife, and I’ve started a side series that came from the writing of that first rough draft: Lost Children of the Prophets. My husband will tell you I spend nearly every extra minute writing. I’ve found once you start, once you actually get through a rough draft, it becomes almost addictive.

It’s November again, and I’m working on the rough draft for a new book, book 3 in the series about Enos’s wife. After this month, I’ll have the rough drafts, and more, of the first four books of the series. My goal is to have at least the first three ready to publish by the end of next year. The story of the wife of Noah will finish the series, and is the only one without anything written.

Eve, First Matriarch is ready to go to the editor. I’ve talked to my artist about the cover. Watch for it to be ready soon. I haven’t published books before, so I won’t suggest a time frame, just sometime next year. Watch for it and the rest of them.

If you have an idea of what you think might go into these books, or a suggestion of a name for Noah’s wife, please comment.