The following articles were authored by DragonLady

Dreaming #nablopomo

I tend not to put too much stock in dreams. I blame my parents for dismissing relative’s dreams. Plus I have really weird dreams, and they are usually vivid so I often remember them. Back in the spring I had a dream that was so disturbing, I had to call someone about it to stop dwelling on it. Just last week I had one that I had to tell another friend about. I wasn’t so disturbed after waking up, but I was pretty disturbed in the dream.

But then there is the dream Chad had back in May. He said to me, “Hey, I dreamed that Granny died.” I told him that she had been sick and was in the nursing home for rehab, but that she was going home the next day. 2 days later she died.

I have had several dreams about Mom since she died. I dreamed that I was packing up her stuff, and had most of the truck loaded, but then there she was in the kitchen, and I panicked as I thought, “What’s she going to do when I have all of her stuff?” Another dream, I was home for the funeral, and on the way to the funeral home, but she was actually still alive and in the hospital. Still another, I went home for the funeral, and at no point did I find it odd that we were in the house in Morrilton, but then Mom was there, and was asking me where her car was. I remember feeling angry that she couldn’t remember I had the car, and then guilty that I was angry because she couldn’t remember. (I think maybe that’s something I haven’t really worked though yet.)

The other night I had one of my typical “out there” dreams. For some reason I had to fake fight Rachel from Friends in order to fight some dude that I think I know, but all I can think is that he looked like a cross between Danny Bonaduce and Sammy Hagar. Took forever to choke him out, too, but he finally tapped out right before losing consciousness.

Following this, I was feeling like honey badger, and decided to go tell Mom who was on the porch. I walked out and said, “Mother,” in that same way that Jamie says it to me. Mom was sitting in Aunt Becky’s green chair with Aunt Pearl. Aunt Violet was laying on a bed beside them, only that woman looked nothing like Aunt Violet and more like Aunt Dude. Granny was sitting beside the door, and I woke up before I could assess who else was out there. Essentially, I think I was on that porch with a lot of my deceased aunts plus Mom and Granny. Just so odd, but neat.

There’s a fire! #nablopomo

This is part 2 of a story. Click here for Part 1

The sentries sat playing cards as they had done since their watch began before dawn. Every half hour they would get up and scan the countryside for anything unusual, but there was never anything unusual around Honorwatcher Outpost. Hutt laid down his cards and said, “That’s it, Femo! Ale’s on you tonight!” Femo replied, “I suppose you are getting tired of buying mine all the time.” They laughed, and gathered up the cards. “I suppose it’s time to work,” Femo said. They got up and walked away from each other along the wall of the watchtower. They each wondered to themselves, “What’s the point,” but the commander would have them cleaning the privies if they didn’t at least go through the pretense of carrying out the watch.

As Hutt scanned to the south, he noticed smoke – lots of smoke. “Femo! Come look at this!” Femo came running, saw the smoke, and said, “We need to report this. Now!” Femo ran down to the commander’s study. Commander Shai was reading some paperwork, and looked up annoyed at the interruption. “Since when do you deem it acceptable to barge in unannounced, sentry.” “I beg your pardon, sir, but there is a large fire to the south.” Commander Shai looked at Fema thinking this was a tale sure to be a manifestation of too much ale the night before. However, it would do him good to get away from requisition orders and inventory reports.

Fema led the way quickly up the watchtower, and Hutt snapped to attention at the commander’s approach. “Sir, it’s getting larger!” Commander Shai looked and indeed the smoke in the distance was immense. It was probably just a forest fire, but it did appear to be very near Pitmerden village. “That does appear to be a large fire. I will send Lieutenant Jaim with a squad to investigate. Good eye, boys.”

Commander Shai headed to the barracks to find Lieutenant Jaim, and informed him of the smoke. “Take a squad, and see what’s burning. Be ready to lend any aid to Pitmerden,” Shai ordered. “Yes, sir!” Lieutenant Jaim answered, and mustering his squad, he headed south toward the smoke. It was an 8 hour march to Pitmerden, and they were not going to make it before dark. None were looking forward to dealing with a fire after dark, but they were all willing to do whatever they had to do to keep the fire from the village. After all, protecting the citizens of Saveteron was their sworn duty, and their honor rested on it.

They marched along the river so as not to walk into the forest as it burned. By late afternoon, they all began to see from the position of the smoke, that it was not the forest. “Men,” Lieutenant Jaim said, “it’s looking like the fire is much closer to the village. They do not burn their fields this time of year, so be on your guard.” Everyone was poised to battle thinking that perhaps pirates, or a neighboring kingdom’s faction made a run on the village. It was very good farmland, but that was all. Lieutenant Jaim could not fathom why anyone would attack such a small village, if that was what had happened.

It had been dark for about 2 hours when they spotted the village from the river. It was now clear that the village itself had been burned. Each mad drew his sword, and prepared for a fight as they cautiously approached. As they reached the village edge, there was no sound except for smoldering buildings. As they silently crept in, the light from the buildings was just enough to display the carnage. Every living thing had been slaughtered, and all of the buildings burned. “Remain alert. Whoever did this might still be here. See if there are any survivors,” Lieutenant Jaim ordered his squad. They spread out in groups of twos to search the village, and Jaim held out very little hope of finding anyone who might have survived. He had seen few battles, and his men fewer, and never had he seen anything like this.

“Lieutenant! Over here! I found someone still alive!” Jaim rushed over, and found a young man bloody, but still alive, if just barely. As they examined him, they assessed that he needed serious care, and they did not bring a healer. The squad all reported back finding no other survivors. Lieutenant Jaim said to his squad, “I want to investigate the area before we head back with this young man. We’ll make camp by the river, and tend to his wounds tonight. As soon as it’s light, I will send most of you back here to look for any clues. Let’s move!”

They made camp as ordered, cleaned the young man up, and dressed his wounds. They held watch in 2 hour shifts with half the squad on each watch to get some rest. They would need it for their search, and to head back to their outpost. They needed to get the lone survivor to a healer soon, but needed answers, too.

The next morning, as soon as it was light enough to see, Lieutenant Jaim led most of the squad back to the village. As bad as it looked the night before, it looked even worse in the light of day. “A senseless massacre,” Lieutenant Jaim said to no one in particular. As they searched the village and surrounding area, they noticed prints heading back towards the mountains. No doubt that was where the attackers came from. “Sir, do you suppose those old tales we’ve heard are true? That cave creatures really do live deep in the mountains, and they did this?” Jaim wanted to dismiss that question as foolish speculation, yet he was asking himself the same thing. “I don’t know,” he answered, “but there aren’t enough of us to go searching the mountains for caves. Maybe if the survivor lives, he call tell us what happened here.”

The squad hurried back to their outpost as quickly as they felt they could safely move the survivor. They arrived just before midnight, and Lieutenant Jaim gave his report to Commander Shai as his men took the survivor to Laicha Sharna, the healer. “Men, women, children, and even their animals. Slaughtered. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Jaim reported to Shai. Commander Shai stood silently looking at the fire, but with a look that told Jaim his thoughts were hardly on that fire. Finally the commander spoke, “I will send word to King Loll immediately of what we know, and will send scouts right away to track our killers. In the meantime, you and your men need rest.” Lieutenant Jaim replied, “Yes, sir,” and went to the barracks for a fitful night of sleep. It would be some time before he would rest well.

Laicha looked over the young man, and said “I can’t believe he is still alive. I think I have all of his wounds patched up, and I’ve applied enough herbs to regenerate a horse. But if he doesn’t awaken in the next day, he isn’t not going to make it. He’s lost a lot of blood, and needs to drink.” The young man looked deathly pale, and Commander Shai said to Laicha, ” I keep expecting each breath he takes to be his last. Poor lad. If he does wake up, he’s going to get a fresh blow when he finds out he is the only one of his village left.” There was nothing left for any of them to do but wait. Wait on the scouts, wait on word back from the king, and wait and see if their only eyewitness will live.

To be continued

A new chapter #nablopomo

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Yesterday was kind of a big deal for me. I have not attempted to write fiction since I was in elementary school and we would have to write a story using each of our spelling words. I hated doing that. I can’t tell you why. I really have no idea. I can’t remember if it was being constrained by having to work in specific words, or if I lacked imagination. Having typed the last part of that sentence out while somewhat thinking back, it wasn’t lack of imagination. So it must have been the word constraint. Regardless, I thought most everybody else’s stories were better than mine. Who knows if that was consistently true. I certainly don’t remember any of my stories let alone any of my classmate’s.

That short cliffhanger I wrote was supposed to be 1) easy and 2) more detailed. For the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve been working out a story in my head. I have the main story line worked out, and so I thought it would be a very simple task to knock out the beginning of the story for yesterday’s NaBloPoMo post. However, the whole story was largely visual. My characters didn’t have names. My towns and villages didn’t have names. The mountains and river had no name. Thank goodness for name generators! At some point my creatures will need a name.

I ended up rushing the end so I could get it posted and still get to bed at a semi-decent hour. The destruction of the village needs more description. Oh, I think I have a way to work that in as I continue it. But, I digress. As I was getting ready to publish it, I freaked out a little inside. “What if everyone thinks it sucks?” Because in a weird way, writing fiction feels more vulnerable than anything else I’ve ever written. Including poetry. Not that I’m going to go dig around to find the poetry I dabbled in when I was still a teen. And certainly not my songs. In fact, those songs really need to disappear forever.

Back to the story, since I hadn’t really thought out details, I’m now all excited about where it might go. Because it’s one thing to have a main story line, but the steps to trace that line are what makes or breaks the experience. Or rather it’s like the difference between reading a book and watching a movie based on a book. Take Stephen King. When I started reading his books, I had already seen a few of the movies based on the books. But then I reached a point where I had read all the books up to a certain point in time, and then watched the movies, and the movies sucked. The Tommyknockers is the perfect example. The book scared the crap out of me. To this day, I have nightmares about my teeth falling out that I didn’t have before reading that book. The miniseries was atrocious despite starring my boyfriend Jimmy Smits.

There has been largely no point to this post besides existence as a daily post that’s over 500 words. But, I am looking forward to writing more of yesterday’s story.

The beginning – the end #nablopomo

“Come on, get up!”

“I don’t want to!”

“Yes you do. Let’s go!”

Brele finally managed to open her eyes.

“It’s still dark!”

“It won’t be by the time we get there! We’ve been planning this all week. It was your idea!”

Tesho was right. She had been planning this outing all week. She was finally old enough to go to the river to fish with Tesho. He had been going with his friends for a couple of years, and none of her friends liked to fish. Actually, none of her friends liked to do anything involving slimy worms and fish and mud. Brele had always wanted to do everything her big brother was doing, and for the most part she did.

Tesho adored his baby sister as much as she looked up to him. They had been nearly inseparable since birth until Tesho reached 12 and could go beyond the village with his friends. Truth be told, Brele could defend herself as well as Tesho, but their parents stuck to the rule that all parents in the village enforced. There had been no trouble around their village for centuries, but tales of a dark past still hung over Pitmerden.

Pitmerden is a quaint village in quiet valley between the Qruhz Mountains and the Mylahst River. Small cottages surrounded by fields cut out of forests to the north and south. Ruins in the forest to the south give rise to tales of long forgotten battle with an evil race of cave dwelling creatures bent on destruction. Rumors of adventurers from Rockhorn (the ruling city of the Saveteron Kingdom) searching the hills for mythical caves full of treasure fill the imaginations of the young.

Brele stretches and yawns, and proceeds to get dressed for her first fishing trip with Tesho. Emerging into the main room, her parents sit quietly over tea before their daily routine of farm life. “Tesho, I need you to help me plant the rest of the barley,” their father Xem said. Tesho replied, “Yes, father. We will be back before midday. The fish always stop biting a couple of hours after sunrise.”

The siblings stepped out of their cottage, and headed east toward the river. A very faint glow could be seen on the horizon signaling that dawn would be breaking soon. There was a slight breeze which added to the early morning chill. Each carried a pole and a small bucket of grubs they dug up the day before. The village roosters crowing were the only sounds besides the wind in the trees, and the soft padding of feet hiking along a well-worn path. As they neared the river, the birds were beginning to sing, and the sky was a warm pink signaling a clear sky.

“Looks like a perfect morning to fish,” Tesho said, breaking the reverie Brele had settled into as they walked. Dawn was breaking, and they soon had their poles in the water. As the eastern sky grew brighter, turning from pink to gold, Brele watched with awe the magnificent change just before the sun peaked. “I’ve got one!” Tesho yelled, but Brele attention was transfixed by the peek of the sun as it emerged. So enamored she was that she nearly lost her pole with her first bite. “Oh, I’ve got one!” she cried.

As the sun continued to rise, bathing them in warmth, they caught fish almost effortlessly. They joked that the fish were biting so well they were wasting their time baiting the hooks.By midmorning, they had a substantial bounty of fish, and Tesho decided it was time to go as he had promised their father. As they walked back to the village, they decided that this was looking like the best day they had ever had.

Then they heard a scream.

A cold chill ran down Brele’s spine, and her vision of a perfect day was shattered with a deep sense that something unimaginable now lay before them. “This is bad. This is really bad,” she said to Tesho as he looked at her with deep concern. Suddenly, multiple screams pierced the valley from Pitmerden.

They both dropped everything and ran toward the village with no idea what they were about to find. Then they saw it. Hundreds of creatures with clubs and crude swords indiscriminately attacking the villagers – men, women, and children – slashing, stabbing, and bludeoning. For a moment they were both frozen by the sheer horror of what was happening before them. “We have to get home,” Tesho said to Brele. “We have to get Father and Mother.”

As they ran back along the outskirts, they were spotted. Brele cried, “Tesho! They saw us! We have to run!” Tesho replied, “We’re almost there!” But they were already too late. Their cottage was burning, and the creatures were gaining on them. They quickly glanced at one another just as a group emerged from the field in front of them. They stopped and looked at each other knowing they had nowhere to run.

They joined hands as the creatures closed in, and Brele felt the blow to the back of her head just a moment before all went black.

To be continued…
Click for Part 2

Here and not #nablopomo

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photo credit: Fundacja Wersja Źródła ciała via photopin (license)

Sometimes I can feel so absolutely alone. Almost disconnected from the rest of the world. Surreal. Like no one else exists even when I can see other people. Almost like I’m invisible.

I wrote that nearly a year ago. I was sitting outside at work, and technically I was alone in that no one else was outside with me. But I knew I wasn’t really alone and there were several people inside, plus people driving by and such.

That was not my first time having an episode like that. It’s just the first I recorded. I had a somewhat similar episode Sunday evening while washing dishes. I was fully aware that I was washing dishes, I mean, I was washing knives so I was very conscious of what I was doing. Yet at the same time, it was as if I was outside of myself observing myself. It wasn’t an out-body-experience, and yes, I have had one. (The DragonLady had a few weird trips on laughing gas at the dentist when she was a kid.)

I shared this with some people in a private Facebook group who have similar backgrounds as I and might relate. Lo and behold, I am not the only one who has this little dissociative bouts.

It’s kind of funny how your childhood coping mechanisms come out at odd times as an adult. These things aren’t frightening typically. Now when I have episodes when I am driving where I cannot remember anything that happened for several miles, that’s a bit disconcerting. But much like that out-of-body experience and hallucination at the dentist as a kid, I find it curious rather than scary.

Prompting the brave #nablopomo

I signed up to blog every day in November with every intention of making myself actually do it. I remember how I did this 2 years ago as well, and I think I wrote maybe the first 4 days. It’s day 2, and I couldn’t come up with a topic, but I joined a Facebook group that promised a writing prompt every weekday.

When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?

I also remember a few years ago when Petra did a writing topic challenge, and we kept getting loaded questions. We made it 3, 4 posts? So here I sit with today’s writing prompt, and it’s a loaded question. Earlier today, it wasn’t quite so loaded and I started to write about seriously entertaining the thought of a career change. Not only thinking on it, but mentioning it to a few close friends.

As I thought about expanding on that, I got very anxious. I’ve also talked about my anxiety with a couple close friends in the last few days. I haven’t had a bout with prolonged anxiety in a while. Not since my first 6 months or so sober. I wasn’t concerned so much about my recent anxiety because I know the pattern of high stress followed by anxiety followed by depression. Since it’s been going on a few weeks, I let my some of my inner circle know because I haven’t gone through the entire cycle completely sober and without an antidepressant. I need other eyes on me so I don’t start isolating.

Well, turns out there was something else behind my recent episodes of anxiety which explained why today nearly turned into a full blown panic attack. I’m not going to go into any detail whatsoever as to what the trigger was. But I just about flipped out initially with the full manifestation of the mental chatter I’d had all afternoon. That chatter is dangerous for me because I know how to silence it. No, I know how to temporarily muzzle it.

I remembered that I have a tool chest. And I used it. I first resolved not to do anything rash, and then I called someone. Ok, I texted her, but she told me to call, and I knew she would. And you know, the mental chatter stopped. The old me would have gotten drunk. Maybe not today, but it would happen soon because it always seemed like the easy way to take care of my issues. Keep the feelings stuffed and suppressed.

Today, I faced my feelings, and I didn’t isolate. For me, that was brave.

What is your motivation? #nablopomo

Several times over the past couple of days I’ve heard someone talking about motives behind our behavior. I know that I have to be on constant guard with regards to my own motives because as a people pleaser and a comfort seeker, I tend towards self-centered actions and self-gratification. I want what I want, I want it now, and I want to feel “good” and “normal.” For the most part, I don’t like change which most recently has manifested itself in my disgruntled attitude with my iPhone after upgrading to iOS 10. I hate it. “Get off my lawn!” But like Windows 10, I will eventually get used to it and gradually forget why I liked Windows 7 so much better. (Though not while I am still using Windows 7 at work.)

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:1-3 ESV

It’s a scary thing to question one’s own motives with the willingness to see where they are self-centered. It’s easy to look at someone else and question their motives because that does not involve looking in the mirror and taking the necessary steps to clean up your own side of the street. If I focus on you, I don’t have to work on me.

gqmotivation

I look at my motivation for my actions from a Christian perspective. I’m not just talking about looking at my motives when I do something wrong. Most of the time when I do something wrong, my motive is self-centered. Sometimes it’s just not being attentive, but even that is just an excuse for not taking the time to be intentional about thinking through my actions. Of course, it is impossible in this life for me to be 100% attentive to others and to always do the right thing. Still, it is my responsibility to own it and make appropriate amends.

I also have to look at my motives for doing the right thing. That reveals where I am putting my faith and my trust. Am I acting out of fear or out of love? If I am acting out of fear of judgement, then my actions – even if good and beneficial to others – are self-centered. If I am doing something out of fear of God’s wrath, then I am effectually living out a belief in works-based salvation regardless of whether I profess to believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. I’m trying to earn God’s favor, and that is anti-Christ.

However, if I am absolutely certain that my salvation is secure in Christ, I am free to do good works from a motive of love due to gratitude for the mercy and grace I have been shown. Not for my security, not for my comfort, but because I have been given an opportunity to give aid or comfort to someone else just as I have been given aid and comfort from others. And I can do it without expecting a reward because Jesus is my reward.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11 ESV

So I want to say to my fellow Christians, why do you fear? What do you fear? Where is your faith? We live in a fallen world as all of humanity since the Fall. If we are followers of Jesus, then we are first of all citizens in His kingdom, His kingdom is not of this world, and he won the battle on the Cross. We don’t have to act out of fear.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19 ESV

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 ESV

“Fear is the enemy of spiritual progress.” – Kerry Egan, NPR, Fresh Air. “Hospice chaplain reflects on life, death and the ‘Strength of the human soul'”

Sexual abuse is not a joke

I kept sitting and looking at my screen wondering how I was going to start this. There is just no good way to start a post that’s going to expose a family skeleton. But I cannot sit silently by while otherwise good people excuse and normalize Donald Trump’s lewd and crass statements, which weren’t surprising to me given the totality of his reprehensible character which he has displayed since early in the primaries. It is a testimony to the condition of his heart, and not a good testimony.

And for the record, my rejection of Trump is NOT an endorsement of Hillary.

Shortly after I turned 15, my dad was caught engaging in beastiality. He would go to our church on Saturdays and clean the building, and as if it wasn’t bad enough what he did, it happened on church grounds. I heard the original phone call. I heard the plea not to tell anyone. But the membership of our church was told, and that was the end of Daddy’s membership there, and also his service as a deacon. This prompted a hasty move which would have me transfer to a new school and thereby give me some protection from any trickle-down effects of that news reaching the ears of other kids.

No one outside of my parents ever spoke of that incident around me, so I have no idea who outside of that church and the reporter of the incident knew about it. I’m not entirely sure who in the family knows besides those who also went to church there. To be honest, I could have largely convinced myself that nothing ever happened had my dad not brought it up from time to time. He never truly acknowledged the deviancy of his behavior, but never failed to paint himself as the victim.

Nearly 5 years later, he was arrested for rape of two 12-year-old boys. I was 19. This was not an incident that was covered up. His arrest was announced on the local radio station’s news. It was reported on the front page of the local newspaper. I still remember like it was yesterday when my best friend called me because she had heard about it from someone who heard it on the radio. She could not believe it, and was ready to set the record straight. I had to tell her, “Yes, the report is true.” Meanwhile, my mom was beside me saying “No, it’s not true.” I was confirming that Daddy really had been arrested for rape. She was denying rape had occurred.

But I would later read his written statement. Written by his own hand, he gave his account, and he was guilty. Yet he maintained for years and years that what he did wasn’t wrong. My mom stood beside him and supported him. A friend of theirs came to offer support and called those boys “just trash.”

Daddy plead guilty to avoid what would have been an ugly trial. The judge gave him the minimum sentence, but that was still 7 years. It would be another year after sentencing before there was a bed available in one of the state penitentiaries. He went to prison shortly after I turned 21, and served 5 years before being granted parole.

To give a little more perspective to this, the beastiality event occurred when he was 61 years old. The rape incident shortly before his 66th birthday. He was by no means a young man. We were Landmark Missionary Baptists – a sect that considered (and probably still does, to an extent) Southern Baptists too liberal.

I listened to him as time went on from the arrest, conviction, and incarceration make himself out to be the victim. He claimed he was “set up” because he was speaking out about the drugs in our neighborhood. By “speaking out” I mean talking loudly. He never assumed full responsibility for his actions, and absolutely never repented. Once I had children, especially a son, I had to watch him like a hawk because I knew he could not be trusted not to molest him.

Because I read the statement and listened to him make himself the victim instead of the perpetrator.

I have looked back at his behavior in the years leading up to the rape, and I can see the predatory signs in retrospect. The grooming. I have often wondered how many more victims there are. I carried guilt and shame that I was unable to stop him. Unable to protect those boys. Unable to protect any of them. I didn’t know how to recognize the signs beforehand. But to be honest, at that age, particularly given the fear I had of my dad’s wrath, I was powerless. Because I had been beaten and berated into submission my whole life. “Honor thy father…” And with the skewed view of sex I was raised with, it is no wonder that I have always been able to sexualize anything.

dirtymind

Aside from being collateral damage from my dad’s sexual deviancy and abuse, I have been the recipient of unwanted and unwelcome lewd comments, touching, kissing, and propositions. As a married woman, I have had married men who not only knew I was married but also knew I knew were married try to pursue sex with me. I remember hearing a group of guys I was stationed with talking about Faith Hill. “She has legs all the way up to her ass!” I knew what that meant. And I also knew that as a tall, slim woman with long legs, that I also had “legs all the way up to my ass.”

“Locker room talk” is demeaning, degrading, and disrespectful. It shows at best a seared conscience and at worst a lack of conscience to treat another human being in this manner. It is not simply a “potty mouth.” I have a potty mouth (which I learned primarily at home growing up), and there is a big difference between dropping the s-bomb, d-bomb, or even f-bomb as an expletive and bragging about or fantasizing aloud about forcing yourself onto another person. Sexual abuse is not a joke. Sexual abuse is evil. To dismiss it as less than that is to condone and enable evil – no matter which wing you identify with.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Luke 6:45 NASB

15 Years – I Haven’t Forgotten

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I think it was last week when it hit me that it’s been 15 years since the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. It still seems like it was yesterday. But yet I also still remember what it was like pre-9/11 – when we weren’t always on high-alert. When I didn’t have to fight through a million what if scenarios in my head whenever I traveled.

I remember when people would talk about the United States and how no one would dare attack us on our own soil. I remember thinking how arrogant that was, and I knew it was going to happen eventually.

I don’t have the seething anger I did in the first 10 years. I don’t have the fear I used to have either.

I’m not saying I’m not still angry. I am still angry over the senseless loss of life of the innocent civilians over a twisted extreme religious ideology.

I spent a lot of time in the weeks immediately following 9/11 reading a lot of intelligence reports. Well, many of us did. I absolutely scared the living shit out myself doing that. That’s how I learned that just because you CAN read intel doesn’t necessarily mean you should. I decided that I didn’t need to know what I was consuming. I no longer have the fear I did. Not because I don’t read intel, but because I can’t stay on high-alert 24/7. If I’m constantly on guard watching all around me for danger, I am missing being in the moment. I’m not really living, but simply surviving as a control-freak – as if I can control everything going on around me. I’m no longer willing to be a slave to my fear.

If I live in fear, the terrorists win.

The world changed September 11, 2001, and I along with it. I will never forget.

Here’s the post from 2005 that I reposted 2009:

9/11 – Repost

And the one from 2013:

Remembering

Trump is not savior

I used to read Charisma News regularly. But then I stopped because there was just too much prosperity teaching and imminent end-times prophecy, that I decided it wasn’t worth weeding through all the false teaching for the few good articles. I am not a cessasionist, though I was raised to be one, so it’s not the charismatic gifts that put me off.

What happened is that I couldn’t let a political discussion go by on Facebook without adding my 2 cents. They are good friends, so I tried not to be a jerk, because I love and respect them. We just disagree. That said, the following article came into the conversation as part of the justification to vote for Trump. I have found no argument for Trump, Christian or secular, that remotely convinces me he would be a good choice. I did not want to vote for either of the previous 2 Republican candidates for president, but I held my nose each time to vote Republican rather than the Libertarian candidate even though my values are more in line with Libertarian than Republican.

Anyway, I disagreed with almost every single point Dr. Garlow makes in the following article, and because I can’t just let it go, I decided to respond to each of his points. The title told me it would me another fear-based argument.

If You’re On the Fence About Your Vote, This Pastor Clarifies How the Very Future of America Is At Stake

1. I can’t necessarily speak to this one. I’ve read neither platform. I have read the Libertarian platform, and it is more in line with my principles. I’ve never been liberal enough to be a Democrat, though from 1988 until 2004 (when I became an NC resident) I was a registered Democrat in Arkansas. The Republican party tarnished itself in my eyes with it’s treatment of Bill Clinton (of whom I am not at fan) over the Lewinski affair. Pun intended. I considered myself a right-wing pundit when I first started blogging in late 2004, and up until late 2008, was a staunchly conservative who fit right into Donald Trump’s base. It was in 2008 when I started going to church again for the first time in 19 years that led to a fresh encounter with the risen Jesus, and I have not been the same since. That’s when I really started hearing the right, and rejecting the fear-monging and hate. When I was a high school senior, I was chatting with one of my teachers, and I asked her if she was a Democrat or Republican. She told me, “I vote for candidates, not political parties.” Mrs. Lynch made no effort to hide her strong Christian roots and her absolute trust and love for Christ. She was smart, and kind, and I have loved and respected her for many years. She also knows first hand about persecution, because she is a black lady who grew up during Jim Crow.

2. Everybody is flawed. But the “Trump-type” is just the flip side of the “Hillary-type.” They are both liars. They are both on the far ends of the political spectrum. They have equally bad character, and the fact that Trump is so open with it makes it blatently obvious that he is not fit to represent our country as a leader.

3. This is flat out false. His blatent rude, crude, hateful behavior and speech show that he has neither character, temperment, nor demeaner befitting a leader. He is a bully who made himself a caricature of the far right with all of it’s fear-mongering, and sold it to a constituency who has been fed false fear for decades.

4. This in no way excuses Trump’s behavior. The Clintons are not worse than him. He has his own scandalous past and he is completely unrepentent. At least Bill Clinton apologized over the Lewinsky affair. Not that anyone on the right accepted it. Hillary has the emails, Benghazi, and Whitewater. Nixon had the missing 15 minutes of recordings, Reagan had Iran-Contra, George W. Bush had deleted emails. Congress held multiple hearings on Benghazi and could not find evidence of willful wrongdoing. And for all his aggressive investigation, Ken Starr could not find enough evidence to bring any charges on Whitewater. He bribed an Attorney General. Meanwhile, Trump refuses to release his tax returns while pointing to the Clinton Foundation. What’s he hiding? He’s awful friendly with Russia…

5. Trump is not being surrounded with good people. He is surrounding himself with white nationalists, and fear-mongers.

6. Trump is wrong on most issues. Hillary is not wrong about everything. This is standard right-wing propaganda that conservatives alone know the truth and the liberals are evil and wrong. It is a lie and it is this polarization of us vs them that is the biggest problem right now in our nation.

7. More fear-mongering. Trade and partnership among nations is not evil in and of itself. “Principalities and powers” is not referring to humanity, but is referring to demons and spiritual warfare. “For we do not war against flesh and blood…” He conveniently left that part of the verse out.

8. He has the right to be wrong also. Christians absolutely should vote their conscious. And if that means not voting because they can’t in good conscious vote for any candidate, who are we to judge? I beleive Paul had something to say about Christian conscious/liberty, and it wasn’t about someone with “stronger” faith coercing someone with a “weaker” faith.

9. This is flat out bullying and a LIE. A 3rd party vote is a vote for a 3rd party candidate. Period.

10. Trump didn’t move pro-life. And being anit-abortion does not make someone pro-life. This is another matter where Trump is playing the right. And Trump’s overall rhetoric echo’s/parallels that of Nazi Germany. Roe v Wade is not going to be repealed. That fight is over from a legal standpoint. But we can stop shaming unmarried pregnant women by stop holding them solely responsible for their pregnacy. Stop calling them whores. Treat them with the dignity that we would want shown to us if it were us in that position. Most women who go for abortions feel they have no other choice because of the way they are shamed – most often by Christians. Support pregnancy centers. Support adoptions. This will do more to drop the abortion rate (which actually has dropped during the Obama administration) than name-calling and fear-mongering. As for the talk of “giving an account,” either the blood of Christ is sufficient to cover every sin, or we have a works-based salvation. And if it is works-based, we are all doomed.

11. This is just a load of crap. Trump supports torture and killing of innocents.

12. Given our history of human trafficking and enslavement of Africans during our early history, further treatment of black people as “less than” (even to this day) since the Civil War, the forced relocation of the indiginous peoples of North American (which amounted to genocide), along with breaking every single treaty made with the Native American peoples, I think we have never really been the pillar of morality as a nation. We are no worse now than we ever were. As the proverb states, there is nothing new under the sun. This is a whitewashed narrative of our nation’s history, and I emphasize “white.” Our nation is just another Gentile nation with no special significance over other Gentile nations. We’ve always been temporary. I grew up with plenty of end-times teaching, and so I know that the United States is not mentioned among the nations who will be players in the end times. Oh, and we have been in the end times since Jesus ascended. The writers of the New Testament refer to their time as the endtimes. No one knows the day nor hour. And NO party or candidate is going to hasten or delay the day and time that God has already set.

13. The Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats with regards to government spending, and Trump has filed bankruptcy 4 times. He clearly is not financially responsible.

14. Cronyism is not just a problem with Democrats. And Trump isn’t going to have that kind of power to stop it particularly when he is surrounded by his own cronies. He is a rich kid who inherited his money, profited off of gambling and objectifying women, and is known for not paying his contractors.

15. Doubtful. Wait, is this guy claiming to be a prophet? Because isn’t this said of every Republican? And Republicans are just as guilty.

16. We have not lost any religious liberty. What we are losing is religious privilege and we NEED to lose that because we shouldn’t be expecting – and certainly not demanding – special treatment. This is not what Jesus taught.

17. This is again, complete bull. The right complains about the left legislating from the bench, but wants to put conservatives on the bench to do the very same thing. It’s hypocritical, and just more fear-mongering.

18. We honor Christ by voting as the Holy Spirit leads us. Any Christian leader telling us we need to vote for a certain candidate or party or “suffer dire consequences” is engaging in spritual abuse. It is controlling behavior, which is a character defect I have making me able to easily spot it. (“If you spot it, you probably got it.”) Jesus called us to lead by being servants, not tyrants. The Gospel is good news, and love drives out fear. When we base our vote choice on self-preservation (whether individual preservation or tribe), we are not only acting contrary to the Gospel, but we are acting contrary to the spirit of American freedom which is to work for the common good of ALL people – not just those who look like, act like, and agree with us.

1 John 4:18 New International Version (NIV) There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.