Friday, October 31, 2008

Some thoughts on AJ's blog

Check out my friend Avily Jerome's blog for her entry "Red Sea Rules Part 2". It got me thinking that for years I have wondered how the Father brings Glory to Himself through all my difficulties. And I guess I do not see my struggles as difficulties, but failures. And, for so long, I haven't been able to understand how leaving me in such failing waters could Glorify His Name. I think to myself; "If only You would deliver me, Jesus, just think of the Glory that would bring! Oh, such Glory! I would shout your delivering ways from the mountain top!" Standing in the echo of such thoughts, I realize -- How much Glory comes from easy? How much more Glory is brought to His name, when I shout His Name from the mountain tops, despite what struggles I swim in – all the while standing firm in the Faith that He will deliver me! My Deliverer is Coming! Yours too!

A tribute to Tony Hillerman

Tony Hillerman May 27, 1925 - October 26, 2008

This is a tribute to a man I knew only through his books, and he touched my heart.

There are few authors in life that touch a reader significantly. Personally, there are very few writers of fiction that I search out and read everything they’ve written. I think I can count them on one hand. Tony Hillerman is one of them.

My dad suggested I read Hillerman’s books in the mid 1990’s. I am certain my first Hillerman book was: Skinwalkers. I chose it because “skinwalkers” were a very significant part of my young life – through campfire ghost stories! Skinwalkers are part of Native American Legend and more specifically Navajo Legend, and since I grew up near the reservation, I have heard their tale. A skinwalker is a person said to have the ability to supernaturally turn themselves into an animal, or the shape of an animal. Though I knew they weren’t real, as a child, skinwalkers were the only ghosts I ever considered might be real. I could not wait to read a mystery that included those old, scary, mythical friends. Upon reading it, I was surprised and grateful Hillerman’s novel was not a ghost story or horror story at all, but an intriguing mystery.

Hillerman wrote mysteries, “Who done it?” mysteries. The first thing that hooked me to his books was the setting: The Four Corners – where the four states meet: New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. This area is so close to my heart. It is my true earthly home. I grew up in Durango and Cortez, Colorado and, when I was a girl, my Grandad did mission work on the reservation at Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. We lived in the heart of the Four Corners and traveled the area often to visit churches, deliver food, clothes, and the Good News to the reservations. It is such a beautifully rich, seemingly enchanted geographical area, sometimes my family just drove around and admired the scenery.

The area’s roadmap is ingrained in my soul. The Indian Reservations, the mountains descending into desert brush with their badland, natural rock, statues such as: Shiprock, Window rock, and the Sleeping Ute, The Painted Desert, the Four Corners Monument, and Mesa Verde and Chimney Rock Indian ruins. I could go on and on, and Hillerman did. That was the first thing that hooked me to his books.

I will not do Hillerman justice, but his characters were phenomenal. The main characters in the bulk of his books were Officer Jim Chee and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn. Jim and Joe are not super heroes, they do not know ancient Chinese battle art forms, and they do not work out in a gym 10 hours a day. They drink coffee and stay up until wee hours of the morning investigating crimes. Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn are police officers that have a passion for the area, as I do, and a deeper passion for its people, as I do. They are Navajo men, making a living in a very poor, rural part of America, having to police both the State of New Mexico and the Indian reservations within it that are almost separate countries.

Internally and socially, Hillerman's characters are working out their faith and the traditions passed down from their Navajo ancestors. They are trying to sort out heavy modern day problems like, witchcraft, assimilation with the white man and preserving their culture. They are not rich; and they are aware of their social status. In fact, Officer Jim Chee lives in a one bedroom mobile home trailer and he’s living a paycheck-to-paycheck life. The characters are real and that makes them fascinating.

The final thing that endeared me to Hillerman’s books is the lack of sex, haphazard violence, cursing and horror. I feel safe in his hands; he never took me anywhere raunchy. He broached some subjects, such as the Native American ghost stories I talked about, that could have been exploited – milked for every violent, creepy detail. He could have taken a path that would have looked more like a gory crime investigation, but, instead, he was a master of mystery. He was an intricate artist of suspense, and his stories keep you on the edge of your seat, not at your window and doors late at night making sure no one (or thing) is coming to get you.

Against an intriguing, crime solving backdrop, Hillerman painted great splashes of real human experience. He painted sparks of romance, not the Hollywood dramatic romance, but the real romance that happens to real human beings. -- that girl you’ve worked with for years and always had feelings for, or your life-long friend who, after your wife dies, you begin to see in a more intimate light. He tinted the canvas with colors of human emotion -- human emotions of jealousy and fear, joy and compassion for the oppressed. His characters not only solved crimes, but delved into life’s great mysteries, tradition, faith, and the battle between good and evil.

According to Wikipedia, “He died on October 26, 2008 from pulmonary failure in Albuquerque at the age of 83.” If I could have written him a note before he left this world, I would have sent him a thank-you note. I would have said, “Thank you Mr. Hillerman for the good times. Thank you for painting such a beautiful picture of the southwestern area where the four states meet. Thank you for taking such care and precision writing about the rural area and its people and for giving us thought provoking entertainment. Thank you, Tony Hillerman.”

Tony’s books:
The Blessing Way, Dance Hall of the Dead, Listening Woman, People Of Darkness
The Dark Wind, The Ghostway, Skinwalkers, A Thief of Time
Talking God, Coyote Waits, Sacred Clowns, The Fallen Man
The First Eagle, Hunting Badger, The Wailing Wind, The Sinister Pig
Skeleton Man, The Shape Shifter
The Fly on the Wall, Finding Moon
The Boy Who Made Dragonfly, Buster Mesquite's Cowboy Band
[(He has some books of photography too!)]
Mystery!: A Thief of Time, Coyote Waits: American Mystery
The Dark Wind, Skinwalkers, Skinning the Night: American Mystery


Wow! It was a busy week, with two separate tests in two separate classes. My medical terminology class is mostly memorization, but my English class is really difficult. I’m taking it “online”. And what that means is, they hand you a book, and a sheet of paper with dates on it, and they say, “These are the test dates. See you then.”

I have never taken a class online before, and, if I can help it, don’t think I will. In my medical terminology class, we have lecture, power point, and discussion. I am at a 98% in that class. The online English I am on the fence between B and A.

I always knew I was an auditory/visual learner, but this confirms it. But does it? I am beginning to wonder if I learn best that way, because that is how I’ve always learned. We did not have any online classes mid-eighties. Is learning style something you’re born with or does one learn how to learn? -- Nature vs. nurture.

Despite the obstacles, I did well on both tests. It’s been nice to take all academic courses this semester. For many years I’ve been doing the court reporting speed courses. In speed courses you go in, you warm up, and you test how fast you are. . . every day! It’s nice to be doing something different this semester.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stardate October 27, 2008

Well, as you can see below, I posted something I’ve written! What a scary feeling.

Not quite as scary, however, as when I attended Phoenix Christian Writers Fellowship for the first time. And when my name was chosen to have my stuff read out loud in front of the group. That was scary!

The Phoenix Christian Writers Fellowship is a group of men and women who are very talented writers. They are professionals. They made me feel so welcome my first meeting -- right at home. However, as I listened to their wonderful creations read aloud, I knew mine were kindergarten scribbling in comparison. And then it was my turn to read!

I have been writing since my pre-teens, but only a few people have read anything I have written -- and 90% of them were family. Here I was in a room full of professional writers, listening to someone read something I’d written. I was mortified -- my hands on my face.

Well, as you might expect from Christians, they were kind and encouraging. They had wonderful things to say to me and suggestions on how to get better. I went home and promptly began to work --- Oh, ok, it took me three weeks to get back on the horse! Hee hee However, here I am back in the saddle. And last night at midnight the words began to flow again. The product is below. Thank you to all who love and support me (and listen to me complain!)

By the way, does anyone have opinions about posting on the internet? Is it safe? Will someone steal it? (--steal it and publish it and make lots of money? Seems unlikely, huh?) Or will it be used against me in a court of law? :-)

God bless you and have a great day!


Here is just a little part of what I am working on.

Dr. Jimmy Tulley walked toward the cash register. As the door opened to his right, a copper bell on the wall behind it swung, ringing twice. Two men entered the small café and pushed by on their way to an empty table.

Music flowed from a lap top computer lying open on the counter next to the register. Jimmy saw half of its screen and stopped short. He recognized the popular, internet talk show.

The voice of the host, Neo Thorne, filled the air,
“Madame President, today is November 10, 2110 and you are telling us you are not heading for your underground, fortified bunker?

No, Mr. Thorne –


Uh—Yes, Neo. No, I am not.

But there is an under ground bunker; am I correct? – What’s it called? Noah’s Ark?

Yes. Noah’s Ark.

Tell us about it.

Well, um, yes. It’s an international government project -- an underground bunker in desert of the Independent United Americas. It is stockpiled with supplies needed after an Armageddon-like disaster -- agriculture, technology, textiles, information . . . but, Neo, that disaster will not happen today.

You’ll be home today?

I will be at home today. In fact, my family will be having a barbecue this afternoon. It’s my husband George’s birthday today.

Oh, yes. Tell him happy birthday; will you?

Thank you. I will.

So, Madam President, scientist’s warnings that those Armageddon-like events you just mentioned may happen in the next 12 hours, you and your family will be having a birthday barbecue this afternoon.

Well, Mr. Thor -- uh, Neo. My top advisors, and New Oxford’s finest, assure me there will be no disaster to avoid today.

New Oxford University? What do you say about the reports in the IUA Times written by Doctor James Tulley, professor of Global Warming Studies? He is at NOU. He says that in the next few hours, another global earthquake will occur, causing tsunamis, and world wide catastrophes unlike any other. The continents will change in shape once again. What do you say to that?

Neo, I would say, the governments of the biggest conglomerate of democratic countries will not be held captive to the ravings of this madman named Jimmy Tulley.”
Jimmy winced at the sound of his name. Even though he felt like everyone in the room had their eyes on him, he knew they didn’t. The café sat in the middle of nowhere, no one knew him here; right? He approached the register and looked over at a teenage boy behind the counter.

Standing and watching the broadcast, the boy took his wrist and he pushed a long piece of his curly, black hair out of his eyes. He put down the coffee pot and wiped his hands on his apron as he stepped over to the register. Jimmy handed him cash, the days of credit had long since passed.

The broadcast conversation became heated,
“Neo, please, at the turn of the century, New Years Eve 1899, the world waited on pins and needles for the world to end. The next century, the year 1999, it brought world-wide panic – a hoax called Y2K.

And, Ms. President, the world we live in today is very different from centuries past. You and I were kids that day in 2080 the day fire filled the sky. We watched in terror as whole continents broke apart and shifted in the sea-- Planes crashing to the earth, whole cities burned or swallowed by the moving ground. Earth lost over half its human population and the globe looks nothing like it's former self. Madame President, if Dr. Tulley is correct, we’ve seen nothing yet.

Yes, but I assure you -- and top advisors assure me -- there is no reason to fear today --
The boy popped the computer shut rendering the voices silent.

“You believe this? Personally, I refuse to live in fear.” He said, shaking his head, his black hair bouncing.

Wiping one of his hands on his apron, he put Jimmy’s $20 bill into the slot within the register. As he pulled out change, he looked up with his boyish black eyes.

Jimmy’s heart broke at the ignorance of this boy and the fact that he would not know what hit him. The boy had only a few hours of his young life left.

Jimmy looked at his name tag, as he leaned over the counter to speak to the young man.

“Listen, Pedro, I know you don’t know me from Adam, but you need to take cover. I know of a place.”

The boy's hand wiping over his apron pocket slowed to a stop. He looked at Jimmy as if he were looking at a fugitive from a mental hospital.

“You look serious, man.”

“I am serious, Pedro.”

Pedro looked down at the money and laughed.

“Who are you, a preacher?”

“No, I am a scientist.”

Pedro looked up and tilted his head. He handed Jimmy his change and then started to shake his finger. A look of recognition spread over his face.

“A scientist? You’re that guy Tulley!”

This is the conversation Jimmy had been having for years, and by now he could recognize his cue to exit. He took his change and turned towards the door.

Pedro laughed.

“Look, every one, it’s that “end of the world guy”! Uh -- Dr. James Tulley.” He said, his voice filling the small café’s room.

The bell behind the door clang twice as Jimmy pulled open the door; and, as it slammed shut behind him, he could hear the muffled voices of the mockers inside.

He rushed to his motorbike and swung his leg over its seat. Just then, his HAM radiophone gave a shrill ring. He pulled it from a pocket on the thigh of his pants and put the speaker to his ear.

“Dana, where are you?”

The voice on the other end talked frantically.

“You’re there?
. . .I thought we were meeting at the café!
. . .Okay, I’m on my way.”

As he put the radiophone back into his pant’s pocket, he noticed that the mockers had assembled on the front steps of the cafe.

“Hey, Jimmy, where you headed?”

Jimmy put his finger to the start button on the bike. It fired to a hum. He couldn’t tell if they heard him or not, and he didn’t know if he cared anymore if anyone heard him.

Looking out over the IUA desert horizon, he said,
“Noah’s Ark.”

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stardate October 25, 2008

I just received an email from my friend Nancy. She self-published her book this week. It was surreal to see her book, entitled "More Than a Dream", sitting on a web site and not in the bound, yellow folder she used to hand it to me in! What a feeling!

It seems like just a short time ago we started a small writer's group called "One Page at a Time", and her novel was in progress. Now it's being sold on a web site. It's encased in a pink, tie die-like cover. The title is embossed across the front. (Check it out yourself: Way to go Nancy!

In the email she sent me, she said, "It's self-published, but that's the wave of the future, friends." I say, "You go girl!"

I think I can see her point. I have decided to start a transcription business at the end of the year. I am looking into ancient tactics such as a business name and business cards; but it seems like the more important, present tactics are things like: Web sites, Yahoo groups, links and networking. These things are no different than the new way to socialize -- My space and singles sites. It seems to me, the wave of the future is just what Nancy said -- to self-publish or "sell yourself". However, if I think about it, selling your self isn't such a new tactic, there is just a new way to do it: on the internet. I mean, here I am "self-publishing", it's called blogging.

God bless you Nancy! Thanks for sharing your experience with me!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Word Wednesday a collection of inspirational writings by KM Wilsher

Click on the links OR titles below for inspirational writings by KM Wilsher









We are His plan
     Greater love has no one                               

Faithful Thomas: A Second Look

job completed

Despite my ineptness in regards to computers, I have successfully set up a blogspot! Oh the feeling of a job completed!