James Bond, Georgette Heyer, and Let’s Write!

I struggle with those highbrows, both in and outside my life, who refuse to read anything except “good writing.”

First off, I’m sure my writing doesn’t qualify.  Next, we are not in agreement of what constitutes “good writing.”  Ideally, I don’t have to choose, but if presented with a choice between the “dark, poignant, and tragic tale of human whatsit” and a story that makes me smile, laugh out loud, think and ponder, and generally feel I’ve been enriched in some way, there’s no contest.

Give me a writer whose life isn’t a “dark, poignant, and tragic tale of human whatsit” and whose mission is not, therefore, to make certain my life is, at least for a time, equally depressing, morbid, and joyless.  My husband, John, has a name for this prevalent idea among the literary “elite” (I do not think that word means what you think it means) that good writing  (Literature, no less!) comes from the angst of the tortured soul (good writing is the the province of such souls, don’t you know), and is most often performed under the influence of various mind-altering substances, and at the brink of suicide.   John says it’s bovine fecal matter, aka B.S.

It seems to me that much of what the publishing world is praising, publishing, and passing off as literature is contrived, formulaic, and trite.  Someone writes a great romance or two, and then suddenly they (or someone influencing them), decide we must add “poignance”.  Why?  Is it because the world is too happy and bright, and we must never for a single moment consider things not horrible?

Let’s write a book about predictable, boring, uninspiring, plastic people in plastic worlds being defeated at every turn!  If we put on a slick jacket with nifty artwork and get a crafty marketer to sell the plot, another sucker will pick it up and try it.

And sigh.  And say, “Where is The Swiss Family Robinson?  Where is The Secret Garden?   Why aren’t there more books like The Help and Louis L’Amour’s The Sacketts?  What is this fear of goodness, joy, beauty and victory, what is this celebration of ugliness, THIS FALSENESS, seeking to grip us all? “

Give me authenticity!  Authenticity works.  George Strait, Clint Eastwood, Katherine Hepburn, John Wayne, Edith Schaeffer, Ben Carson, Ronald Reagan, Queen Elizabeth, and even Donald Trump are among those folks who dance(d) to the beat of their own drummers.  And even if we don’t like them, we pay attention.  They don’t leave us cold, bored, and wishing there was someone real in the room.

Who was the best character in Bewitched?  Agnes Moorhead, who played the wickedly honest Endora.  Why was Kevin Cline so much fun with Meg Ryan in French Kiss?  Because he made no apologies, cared not one whit for the opinions of others.  What made John Cleese so great in Fawlty Towers and in The Pink Panther?  It was because he was authentic, even awful, but in no way for a single moment, dull or ordinary.  It’s called entertainment.

People make fun of me, behind my back and to my face, for my unsophisticated tastes.  I have grown weary of explaining why I watch James Bond movies, but here I go again:  Because James is smart and strong and handsome and he always wins!  Because there are exotic locales and not a single boring moment.  There are amazing cars and exploding gadgets, and impossible feats of derring do!  Fascinating folks named things like “Q” and “M” and “Moneypenny” are always doing the dangerous and sacrificial thing, right along with James.  Yes, there are scantily-clad and shockingly-named women moaning, “Oh, James”, but to the fun-lovers among us, it’s just more fun.

Contrary to the allegations of the Bond naysayers, there are thought-provoking plots (sometimes, anyway) such as the consequences of worldwide information and surveillance control, adding depth and texture to an already satisfactory offering.  Most of all, in Bond we have a hero worth his salt.

I don’t apologize for liking Roger Moore better than Sean Connery or Daniel Craig, and I do admit that a couple of the Bond flicks weren’t quite up to par.  And I am happy to say that the final (???) Bond movie, Spectre, is my favorite among favorites because it ends, as do all my favorites, “Happily Ever After.”

So sue me.  I believe in happy endings.  Listen, if you don’t, you won’t ever have to worry about one if your own life.  You won’t have to worry about people calling you Pollyanna, making fun of you and thinking you give a care what they think.

I once had a boss who made fun of me for reading Reader’s Digest.  “So?  You read Time,” I countered to his frowning confusion.  I was supposed to apologize for reading uplifting stories of real people, rather than what the “intelligent” people read.

Yesterday at the Red Feather Lakes Library I picked up Sons and Soldiers by Bruce Henderson.  I am miffed at myself because I hoped that would redeem me in the eyes of one of the more “highbrow” volunteers, one I am quite sure thinks my Georgette Heyer love affair quite childish.

I am halfway through Sons and Soldiers (would have stayed up all night reading it, but my heart had to have a respite), almost finished with A Gentleman in Moscow (taking my time because I don’t want it to end – how I love, respect, and admire the Count!), just started on my third reading of Minerva by Marion Chesney (why do I love Minerva’s  atrocious daddy?), and I just finished with Georgette Heyer’s A Lady of Quality.  This represents my fiction reading of the moment.

Non-fiction includes my annual reading, month by month, of The Shape of a Year (such a treasure) continual dippings into and out of various motivational and informational books (Jennifer Scott’s Madame Chic books for instance), magazines (I just subscribed to Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman magazine!!!!), homemaking blogs, and of course, my almost daily reading of Psalms, Proverbs, and something Jesus and/or Paul had to say (I’m sadly deficient in my Old Testament knowledge, and often mistake the exploits of Daniel with those of David, Joseph or another notable.  This lack, it seems, isn’t nearly as reprehensible or disconcerting to others as is my lack of taste in movies).

I guard my heart.  I believe much of what passes for literature and entertainment is a danger to the health and therefore the strength of my heart, and even my character.

And I think it’s time that all of us who want to write but don’t think we’re “any good” should just get to it, without a single thought of what anyone thinks about what we write, without a worry or even a nod to the opinions of others about what constitutes “good writing.”  Even if it’s never published or read by another soul, we can say we did more than criticize and complain.

Let’s write, shall we?

P.S.  TOMORROW, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, AT 2:00 MOUNTAIN TIME, TUNE IN TO:  WWW.1360AM.CO FOR THE HOMEFRONT SHOW.  I’ll be sharing good stuff on manipulation (how not to do it, or to feed it); champion forgivers among our Founding Fathers, rescuing yourself from the TORTURE of unforgiveness, and much, much more.  Thanks ahead of time for joining me!

 

And Just Look at Me Now!

I called in to a radio show about 23 years ago, and was so nervous I hyperventilated and made a complete fool of myself.

But in just a few minutes (2:00 Mountain Time every Friday) I will wax eloquent about all sorts of things, including freedom from money worries, the four words that strike fear into brave men’s hearts, a Valentine’s Day challenge, putting the garbage in life where it belongs (in the trash), understanding the forces against Original Intent as regards our Constitution, why we love A Little Princess, and much more.

I will not be the least bit nervous, and God gets all the glory for that.  I highly recommend you not make statements about things you aren’t good at, and that you put your past failures where they belong (that would be in the past), and watch what God can do.  Then you, too, can say, “And just look at me now!”

Join me and call a loved one.  Say this:  go to http://www.1360am.co and tune in to The Home Front Show!

Crossing the Bridge from Victim to Victor . . . and 2:00 MTN Friday at www.1360am.co!

The following was taken from an article by Jason Jones & John Zmirak in The Stream (stream.org).

You Might Be a Victimist If …

  • You’re outraged about statues of dead Confederates … but cool with countries “eradicating” Down Syndrome via abortion.
  • You denounce the anti-Semitism of the Alt-Right … but shrug at the vicious Jew-hatred of “anti-Zionist” activists.
  • Your eyes tear up over sea turtles … but you don’t follow the fate of Christians and Yezidis persecuted in the Middle East.
  • You object to images of Columbus … but are fine with Che Guevara t-shirts.
  • You congratulate yourself for “standing up” for immigrants … but don’t care enough to save migrants from being exploited by human traffickers and sweatshop owners.
  • You scoff at older people, less educated, or poorer people for outdated prejudices … but don’t worry about your own prejudice toward them.
  • You feel deep empathy with “transgender” millionaires on the cover of Vanity Fair … but don’t care about Christian florists or bakers facing bankruptcy and prison for obeying their consciences.
  • You fantasize about socialist utopias … but never think about moving to one (i.e. Venezuela or Cuba).
  • You virtue-signal on issues that impose zero cost on you personally … but avoid those where you have “skin in the game” and might pay a price or offend cool, rich, or influential people.

We could go on all day, all week, all year … but you get the point.

__________________________________

Now for Bev’s thoughts:  Do you get the point?  If the malady of Victimism afflicts your thinking, today’s Homefront Show will help!  Tune in at 2:00 Mountain Time to http://www.1360am.co and go from victim to victor!

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Fruit or Fruity, and, The Gift of “No”

My children are astounded.  Now that they’re adults I’ve tasted the forbidden fruit, and asked them to join me.  Horrors.  They’re called “toaster pastries” by Nature’s Path, but my kids know the truth:  Mom bought poptarts!

I have taught them my disdain for passing off sugar as breakfast, and why wouldn’t they be converts?  While their peers are eating Lucky Charms and Count Chocula, and even Poptarts, they partake of steel cut oats (with blueberries, pecans, honey and cream) eggs, meat (organic and often from the woods) homemade biscuits and scones, hot tea, and usually more, such as potatoes, sliced tomatoes, pinto beans, applesauce, peach crisp, pumpkin waffles with nuts and REAL maple syrup, popovers running over with butter and apple butter, pineapple breakfast bread, and some days even brownies for “appetizers”.

Yesterday we had “toaster pastries” as an early morning appetizer with our coffee.  They were cherry pomegranate (who could resist?), USDA organic, non-GMO, fair trade, and in a lovely package.  And disappointing.  I wanted them to (ahem) taste just like Poptarts.

But this morning I was not disappointed.  Rather than an adulterated fruity thingy, I simply am having the real deal.  After a few bites, my enlightened self had to share this:  REAL IS REAL AND FAKE IS FAKE.  CHOOSE REAL!

I think this is another one of “Need I say more?” instances.  Still, I must continue and tell you that fruity pastries and the like weaken the immune system, even as fruit strengthens the immune system.  Letting kids decide what they want to eat is a shirking of responsibility.  So, give them the gift of “No” to harmful “foods” and the gift of your example in eating fruit, just as nature made it.

Tell them one of the things you love about pomegranates is that each little seed, even the ones deeply buried and hard to extract, is like a jewel.  It’s like eating jewels and it makes the body sing!  Not so, manmade fruity fakes.  OK, I’m done.

WAIT!  AGAIN, I NEED TO SAY MORE!  AND THAT IS THIS:  http://www.1360am.co at 2:00 PM Mountain Time, Friday afternoon.  THE HOMEFRONT SHOW, Today, January 12!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Say “Whoa!”

The Home Front Show

Our_Father 2_red

Upside down and backwards – that’s how you and I can turn the devil’s schemes, if we will evade the trap of judgment.

What is your burden, what is your lament?  That is also your clue to where you have power.  Take that thing that irks, bothers, grieves you most, and pray!!!

When you catch yourself (as I did recently) feeling utterly defeated and hopeless and just plain aggravated about something, and you hear yourself saying STUPID things such as, “That battle is too far gone, it’s hopeless, that problem is fully entrenched in our society (or in your marriage, family, child, friend) and will never go away,” JUST SAY “WHOA!”

The grief over that problem – in this case I was talking about the ravages and seemingly hopeless problem of drug addiction – is your latest unction to pray.  The Bible sets a very opposite picture of what…

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Led, Not Driven in 2018

Great things can happen when you wake up at 2:00 AM. But only if you go with it, getting past the thoughts of the next day’s demands and schedule.  Asking why none of my sleep-ensurers worked is not “going with it”.  I didn’t drink any coffee, I exercised, I accomplished so much, I drank herbal tea and read my Bible before bedtime. Why? 

Giving up on going back to sleep, at 3:20 I got up and read beautiful scriptures from my new Passion Bible, and I prayed and sang psalms and got a drink of water. I made myself a cozy nest on the couch and when my eyes began burning I settled down to try again for sleep, pushing away those nagging thoughts about the 6:00 a.m. alarm.

Didn’t work. “What is it you want, Lord,” I asked.  No writing on the wall in letters of fire, but I did begin thinking of people needing prayer and one by one prayed for them.  And I began remembering the greatness of His love for me, as evidenced by the endless blessings of my life.

Suddenly I went from wishing I could go to sleep to realizing that I could just get up and get ready and be to the coffee shop by the time it opened, at 6:00. I asked God for supernatural restoration of sleep, and quietly got ready to go to town, where I would meet first my lovely daughter at the coffee shop, and later a dear friend at Young’s Vietnamese restaurant for lunch.

Bindle’s Coffee Shop (the above photo was taken at Bev’s coffee shop) in Fort Collins has a little back cozy nook and I snagged it, then made the choice (always a mistake) of ordering decaf. Shoulda gone for the herbal tea. I settled in to read “motivational” books full of great wisdom and powerful ideas, and always there was this nagging thought, this heretical idea that . . . maybe . . . “success” as defined by the experts is for those living on a plebian plane, one those of us who live at the highest place, answering the greatest of callings, must resist.

Resistance is required to rise above a drive to “success” and unto a call to world-building. I am not here to “reach my destiny” or to “make use of my talents.”  Not even in pursuit of God’s call on my life.  I am not here to be driven, by my thankless self, to performance.  I am here to be led in Love to love.

And so, as I hear these voices telling me what I should do, how I should go for my dreams, how I must be passionate, something seems amiss. How bizarre to think you can manufacture passion for that about which you have no passion!

“To whom much has been given, much is required.” OK.  But might it be that those two muches aren’t the same?  Much has been given to me in many areas.  But the Much required of me is faith – the faith to simply follow, simply be led, simply get on board with God and go wherever He says, without any regard whatsoever to what it looks like to other people.

So, while the programming, the ever-insidious programming, says that the kids are raised and it’s time to do something else, circumstances say otherwise. I am still the Queen of the Castle, and there are still residents of the castle, and residents without the castle, who need my time and my attention.

I am daily made aware of yet another person who covets my prayers, who appreciates my listening ear, who wears an invisible sign reading: PLEASE MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I MEAN SOMETHING TO YOU.

Even as I write these words, I am reminded of someone who awaits my call; I am troubled by news of a friend’s child who has lost his way, and is trying to make everyone else feel as awful about him as does he himself. Pray.

The conversations around me in the coffee shop pierce my heart – a mother crying out to a friend for advice and help regarding her very unhappy little girl, who comes home from school more and more withdrawn, harder and harder to reach and to understand. Stories from both moms about untenable situations at school, about teachers with harmful attitudes, about the difficulties for introverts, etc.

I wanted to talk to them about homeschooling, but there was no opening or leading. And it seems to me that the Holy Spirit is telling me to hone in with laser focus on those closest to me.  The queen must not lose her inner circle in looking over the heads and hearts of those right in front of her.

I teach a class at church with an attendance of one. One special person entrusted to me via the Holy Spirit’s leading of my pastor and his wife.  I do a radio show once a week to an audience of I know not how many or how few.  What I know is God put the show in my lap, he put this one special young woman in my class, and most of all, he gave me a Queendom of husband and children.  Family.

It is pride, it is insecurity, IT IS FEAR, it is grief to God, for me to be driven to go after more, at the expense of all parties.

I have a husband and children and grandchildren who need prayer and love and a listening ear and an attentive heart. I have friends and the children of friends who seek my support and love.  There and beloved neighbors and friends who know they’re loved via my hospitality.  My church family is full of brave and uncomplaining souls whose smiles hide a multitude of troubles, whose hearts cry out for true fellowship.  There is an entire radio audience in need of prayer, and of wisdom from God via my lips.

Also, I have myself to nurture and rest and refresh. But again, the programming.  Deep down when it comes right down to it, I am “just” a homemaker.  John Seymour says in Forgotten Household Crafts, “In the great ages of the world the home was held sacred and so it must be again or we have no future on this earth.”  I know this is true, and yet . . .

Perhaps all those great motivators, all those quotes from the rich and famous about success, are for those who haven’t already been put in the highest and most eternally effective place and calling of all, daily living out battle upon battle, always ultimately victorious. When He’s the author of my life.

Led, not driven. Free to love, not enslaved by a lack consciousness.  On an adventure with my Maker, not worrying about “wasting” time doing things that don’t get me to “my goals.”

His unforced rhythms of grace rather than my stumbling steps to goals I “should” be persuing.

This is a new year. This is a new day.  Let our beginnings and endings be His.  Let every single day be full of Love surprises, adventures, and scary escapades in faith.

Thanks for joining me,

Bev

P.S.  IN LESS THAN TWO HOURS, AT 2:00 PM MOUNTAIN TIME, YOU CAN ALSO JOIN ME ON THE HOMEFRONT SHOW.  SIMPLY GO TO:  WWW.1360AM.CO AND THANKS AGAIN!

Promised Booklist

Last week on The Homefront Show I mentioned a conversation with three of my children wherein we answered the question, “What five books do you think everyone should read?”  On the show I shared what we came up with (more than five each, sorry, but certainly less than an exhaustive list of our favorites) and promised to post the list, along with author’s names (which I didn’t share on the show).

So here goes, in the order, more or less, the titles were called out (with a few added I’ve since recalled and couldn’t possibly leave out, such as Little Joe Otter, The Capricorn Stone, and On the Banks of Plum Creek.

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Little Joe Otter by Thornton W. Burgess

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein

The Bible

Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

William Tell by Friedrich Schiller

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Angel at the Fence by Herman Rosenblatt

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Narnia Series by C. S. Lewis

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkein

Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour

Daddy Longlegs by Jean Webster

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

All Sackett books by Louis L’Amour

By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl

Pilgrim’s Inn by Elizabeth Goudge

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Mutiny on the Bounty by William Bligh

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle

Blessed Child by Ted Dekker and Bill Bright

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Heidi by Joanna Spyri

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

The Capricorn Stone by Madeleine Brent

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

With the Old Breed by E. B. Sledge

Guns Up by Johnnie M. Clark

Medications by Marcus Aurelius

 

So, there you have it.  Maybe you can give yourself the Christmas gift of one of these great books.  Wanna great laugh with a book you can’t put down?  Daddy Longlegs and the sequel, Dear Enemy are unbeatable.  I read both of them aloud as we traveled a few years ago, and EVERYONE in the car begged for more each time I stopped for a rest.

Happy Reading to You!

And . . . REMEMBER TO TUNE IN TOMORROW, DECEMBER 15 AT 2:00 MOUNTAIN TO WWW.1360AM.CO FOR THE HOMEFRONT SHOW!