Author Archives: madblog

Advice for New Writers (Who actually wants to make it *_*) PT II

The second installment from the Sage.

I Don't Know Anything About Writing

It’s been a week since my last guide, and it seems you still want to be a writer. You won’t stop sending me messages, sending me e-mails, sending me hand-written missives that ask, “How? How can we be writers?” I get not a wink of rest or repose. I am tormented, so I will throw you, my loyal readers, this bone.

Last week we talked about taking your writing seriously. We talked about only writing in a field with which you are familiar, and we talked about how emotional attachment has no place on the basketball court or on your keyboard.

Today we will delve into some of the scarier stuff. Buckle up tight and hold on to your butts!

  1. Build your platform

This is an important one that almost always gets overlooked. You need to already have a readership before you publish a book, preferably before you even start…

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Watch This Video Clip

“I am sick and tired of being told that without the right to kill, and without the right to take a human life, I am somehow not equal.”

This young woman in Ireland is making substantive point after point. Today, Ireland will vote on whether to allow the abortion plague into their culture. Please pray for the righteous outcome.

Cecile Richards has told us: “Women are not free without abortion.”

Compare and contrast.

Advice for New Writers (Who actually want to make it :P) I

Here is priceless advice on writing from a writer about writing.

I Don't Know Anything About Writing

So, you’ve read a book? Congratulations. You’ve read a book from start to finish and actually enjoyed it? Wow. Everybody does that.
So, you’ve read Harry Potter, discovered you government mandated Hogwarts house, and in your audacity, you thought to yourself, “I could write a book”? Have you? You think that just because you have an imagination and two fingers you deserve of slice of Ms. Rowling’s big magic pie?

Well, maybe you do. Maybe you don’t.

Here are a few tips to help you on your doomed journey.

  1. Write what you know

Unless you have spent a few years in the blood filled trenches of Normandy, do not write about World War 2. Unless you’ve got your BS in Defense Against the Dark Arts, don’t write about wizards. Everybody wants to write about elves and dragons, but nobody wants to go to the trouble of buying a passport and…

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“No person should be forced out of the only place they’ve ever called home.”

Cecile Richards quotes are irony gold. I wonder if it’s possible for her to say, “Pass the salt” without the cook questioning his over-seasoning. Maybe it’s all been a brilliant conceptual stand-up act and literally everything she says is backwards.

Remember while you read that Cecile Richards, during her tenure as President of Planned Parenthood, presided over the termination of many millions of unborn human beings. Please read each quote, pause, and reflect before you read the next.

The next generation is what gives me hope.

Someone always has to be the mom.

Part of the way you win is by being good at strategy. Part of the way you also win is by surviving, and enjoying yourself, having more fun than the other side, and persisting.

Everyone deserves health care.

Early on, I had an experience that crystallized for me why the fight for reproductive rights—the fight to give every person the opportunity and freedom to live their best life—is so important.

Planned Parenthood may have been the only thing standing between them and an uncertain future.

I hope that we leave here even more inspired to fight for all people. Because nobody is free until everybody is free.

We believe health care isn’t a privilege. It’s a fundamental human right.

No human is illegal.

Whatever the future holds, I’ll always be committed to that revolutionary idea and all those who refuse to settle for a world where women are anything less than full equals.

No person should be forced out of the only place they’ve ever called home.


10 Ways Large Families Save the (Earth) World

1. I just finished wiping the icing off the bottoms of a bunch of birthday candles. I’m going to need those again in ten days, and again less than a month later. Why would I buy new ones when these still have a good inch and a half? Crumbs of old homemade icing never hurt anyone yet. I bet moms of two kids buy a new set of candles every birthday and throw them away.

Also, homemade-from-scratch cake costs about 1/20th of a bakery cake and tastes 20x better. Hydrogenated shortening kills; real butter doesn’t.

2. My son needed to do zero adjusting when he went to college and shared a room with two other guys. He shared a room with two guys at home too. Maybe my boys were unusual, but they never fought over territory. So at college my son was perfectly content with his bed and his desk; he let the other guys vie for lebensraum.

3. It is essential to learn patience when eight people share one bathroom. It is equally essential to learn sympathy and consideration for others (‘ bladders).

4. Bags and bags of clothing used to show up on our porch. We had never asked for hand-me-downs; people just assumed we could use them. They were right and we were thankful. It would have been difficult indeed to buy new clothes every season for every child. Most of the clothing we received was in like-new condition, and a lot of the items had price-tags.

Perhaps the most valuable component of these acts of generosity was that my kids learned that a second-hand item in good condition does not differ one iota from a brand-new one. There is shame neither in sharing nor receiving, and there is nothing which so inspires giving than receiving.

5. My kids are now adults who don’t expect the world to hand them all the amenities– partly because we didn’t teach them to expect gifts except on Christmas and their birthdays. They didn’t expect candy except on Christmas, Easter, and Halloween.

My oldest daughter was honestly judgmental about her friends expecting big gifts for Easter and lesser holidays. My kids know how to delay gratification, and although they do not always practice it, they know how to be frugal.

6. Reduce, reuse, recycle. It was our lifestyle before the motto was coined. I was raised by children of the Depression and learned to make my spending count. When I was growing up, we didn’t spend money on non-essentials but we had all we needed. We weren’t used to vacations and we were usually the last of our friends to get the latest tech like color TV.

We raised our kids with the same mindset: one not deprivation but careful frugality. Spend when you need to without regret, but save whenever you can for future needs. We didn’t spend much on vacations. We drove our cars until they were junk. Eating out or ordering in was a rare special occasion.

7. Contrary to popular assumption, big families have small footprints. We eight use approximately the same resources that the four of you, or the two of you, do.

At the same time they condemn parents of several kids for selfish and wasteful American materialism, my childfree acquaintances espouse the superior lifestyle of spontaneously flying the globe, to stay at the priciest family-free resorts, indulging themselves in only the finest and most select perks that the self-absorbed can devise. Driving further to shop for only the trendiest fair trade items.

I’ll compare my eight-person staycation expenses to your two-person dream trip any day you like. Guess who comes out using up more of earth’s precious resources? Virtue-signaling and Childfree -signaling don’t mix.

8. Happy families. Positive family experiences. Fostering a concept of unconditional belonging. We believe that being plunked in the middle of a bunch of other difficult human beings is actually according to a wise plan; we are each more or less compelled to learn how to live in peace with these other people, which teaches us valuable lessons about how to get along in a world full of other people.

9. Raising people who want to have children and build families, and who see the importance and enduring value of pouring their lives into others and investing themselves in creating a unique family culture which will continue to influence after they are gone.

In other words, small footprints may lead to small footprints.

10. Today, a large family orientation usually develops within a faith orientation. Our society has moved toward smaller families with the advent of birth control and the cult of personal fulfillment. I might also say with the de-emphasis of faith culture and the growth of materialist culture. It is counter cultural to have large families and, counterintuitively, large families very often happen due to deliberate choice. That choice usually derives from faith in the intrinsic value of each person, given by a gracious God.

Because of this faith orientation, the lessons of other-centeredness, the value of family, the hope of enduring heritage, good stewardship of material wealth, sustainability, recycling and reusing–all part of a whole.

Bonus reason: I love my big family.






Celebration at the Bottom of a Hole

This post was written with Easter in mind, but it is no less relevant at the present moment.

I can celebrate the joy of Resurrection Day just where I am, sitting at the bottom of a deep dark hole in the ground. I can celebrate not because I’ve managed to clean up my mindset for the celebration of a holy-day, nor because I’ve willed myself to feel happy about the right things to feel happy about at Easter-time.

I anticipate the joy of Easter even though.

I’m feeling the exhaustion of three years of pushing through because what needed to be done needed to be done. The stresses of life increase while my husband and I grow older and weaker in the face of them. We regularly lament to each other these days. I am downright depressed. I’ve had to realize that I am no longer the optimist who presumes the happy outcome.

Rather because of those things, I am celebrating.

Easter comes whether or not I’m ready to put on an appropriate Easter hat. Indeed I’m not where I ought to be, fully grounded in daily Scripture meditation, immersed in His Word. I’m not handling life a well as I could right now, and I know I need to focus on God’s wisdom and guidance, yet I do not open that Book nearly as often as I can. I’m trying to push ahead under my own power, which is simply foolish.

But right where I am, I can celebrate the Resurrection without fear and embarrassment before my Savior. Indeed, I can’t adjust myself so as to pretend to be presentable to him.

Too often we translate our Lord’s words as transactions rather than expressions of relationship. The question: am I measuring up well enough to face Jesus Christ right now? is foolish on so many levels. First of all, no–and you never will. Second, he already knows that. Third, he’s taken care of your unfitness already. Fourth, that’s not what he was talking about.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Behold, I am coming soon!

A discussion of his second coming devolves from joy to engineering as we try to discern pre-trib timelines and terrifying scenarios of judgement. Will I pass the test? Am I really in the club? I could be left behind!

The transactional view steals our joy and deadens our desire for relationship. But he is always speaking words of intimate fellowship and love.

We aren’t listening. What he said was: “I am coming back for you.”

Like you’re a child and your father must leave you in a scary place for awhile. He says to you: Don’t be afraid. Just wait here. I’m coming back for you. You trust, you sit and wait, in faith. Because he loves you more than anything and you know he would never abandon you. He will never leave behind those who are his own.

Through the haze I still know He is the one who humbled Himself to become one like me, but poorer, humbler, less regarded. He set his face like a flint toward his torture, rejection and murder. On his own behalf, he had no reason to go there. Then He made good on all the purest promises ever given. He is the One still there making Himself known to me, hour by hour. He knows just where I am, and whether the cause is a broken world or myself, he is willing to meet me just where I am.

I am a pillar in the Temple of my God. I will be given a white stone. My treasure is where my heart is. I will receive a crown of life. I have the free gift of eternal life. I will enter into the joy of my Lord. I will inherit glorious riches.

All these things, and much more, will be because He is being true, to Himself and to me. Because He is grace and love and I am so needy. It is right to celebrate the Resurrection here and now, joyfully, at the bottom of my hole.