Monday, October 31, 2016

T-Minus 1 Day to Nanowrimo

So tomorrow Nanowrimo* begins. I will be participating this year. I think this is my third or fourth year. I’ve only completed one year, but I’m definitely going to complete this year.

I’m in a fantastic writing group on Facebook, the 10 MinuteNovelists, and they have set up a sub-group for Nanowrimo. Of course I’m in that sub group too. I love my fellow FB writers. Writers are truly the BEST people. We are all trivia champions. And grammar nerds. And bookworms. Plus, where else on Facebook can you have a serious conversation about how long it would take a human body to turn into compost and NOT be considered weird?
So in this FB group, people are commenting about how they are preparing for nanowrimo. Some people are cleaning their houses before November starts, knowing that they won’t have time to clean during the month. Others have laid up supplies for writing: protein bars, caffeine drinks, fresh notebooks and pencils. And many have begun outlining their novels. This isn’t cheating – as long as you don’t count the words you’ve written in outlines, you aren’t cheating by working on the structure of your novel before November 1.

Now, I’m a pantser. That means I get a vision or idea in my head and just start typing as fast as I can, getting the words on the screen with no idea where I’m going or what I’m even writing. Other people are plotters, which means they plan ahead. It’s very much like the difference between a P and a J in the Myers Briggs. No surprises, I’m a P.
In the past, my approach to nanowrimo has been to pants the entire thing. And one year I succeeded. I pantsed my way through an entire 50,000 word office comedy. It was hard work!
But this year it’s different. This year I plan to use the Snowflake Method and plan my novel. My novel is a sci-fi novel set on a mining ship in orbit around Pluto. Although I have a plan, I haven’t done ANY actual work. I take that back. I actually have written several thousand words on this – it was the novel I started last year. But I won’t be counting any of those words. I’m throwing ALL of that out and starting fresh. And each word I write for my Snowflake planning will count towards my nanowrimo total. 
And of course, in true pantser fashion, I'm already having second thoughts about my novel. I may switch from sci-fi to fantasy, writing a story about a matriarchal goddess culture encountering a patriarchal god culture and finding a harmonization.
I’m not stressed out about nanowrimo, although being around so many people who are preparing and plotting does make me feel a bit uneasy!
By far the biggest reason I’m not worried about nanowrimo is another challenge I’ve been working on all year: the 365K Club, also a part of the 10 Minute Novelist group. I’ve been steadily plugging away at my word count, finding techniques and tools that help me write. In January I wrote just over 10,000 words. In September, I wrote almost 34,000 words. How? By staying faithful. Seeing the increase in numbers shows me that I can do this! I can write 50000 words in just 30 days. Can’t wait to get it started!

*For those who don’t know, Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month. Writers join together via the internet and we all promise to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Gossip and False Accusations

Why why why do people think it’s OK to tell someone who is the object of gossip that she must change her behavior??

This is a pet peeve of mine. My whole life, I have been unfairly judged and gossiped about, and the near universal response I’ve gotten is: Change Your Behavior.

Don’t want to be nicknamed “Skank”? Stop dating so many boys. (I was a virgin, dated only Christian boys, and never went past French kissing, but hey, yeah, it was my fault).

Don’t want to be considered a slut? Stop talking about sex. (Still a virgin, just very educated about sex. My education was considered evidence that I was a slut).

Don’t want to be prohibited from serving in your church? Denounce gay people and stop volunteering with the sexual assault hotline. After all, only a pro-choice person would be willing to help victims of sexual assault. And by being friends with gay people and NOT condemning their lifestyle, I was damaging straight people’s marriages. Or something.

Don’t want to be barred from preaching? Stop being such a feminist.

Look, people who follow Christ, gossip is a SIN. And frankly, some of the most egregious and disgusting gossip I’ve heard is spread by groups of men, so please, gentlemen, pay attention. 

Effective ways of dealing with gossip:

1. Stop it. There are many ways to do this.

  • Change the subject.
  • Ask the gossiper what the source is.
  • Challenge the statement. A simple “I don’t believe that” will do.
  • Confront the gossiper privately and tell them to shut their fat mouths. You may want to avoid saying “fat mouth,” but I won’t tell on you if you secretly think it.
  • Find the ultimate source of the gossip and confront him/her.

2. Ignore it.

  • Walk away from the conversation
  • Don’t hang out with those people any more.

Ineffective ways of dealing with gossip:

1. Spread it.

Don’t repeat it, regardless of your reason. Asking for confirmation or denial from anyone else is just spreading the gossip. 

2. Tell the subject to change her behavior.

  • First of all, don’t spread that nastiness.
  • No matter what s/he did, telling her to change her behavior based on the gossip is making a false accusation, and God is pretty clear that false accusations are a no-no.
  • Do not get “the truth of the matter” from the subject and THEN tell him/her to change behavior. The sin issue is NOT the subject’s behavior, the sin issue is the GOSSIP.

3. Avoid the victim because “there’s no smoke without fire.” I’m here to tell you, there is absolutely smoke without fire.

4. Justify gossiping with noble reasons. 

  • No prayer request validates gossip. 
  • No  mistreatment of another person validates gossip. (If you have knowledge of a crime, reporting the crime is not gossip). 
  • No healing of a relationship validates gossip.

The rule I follow in my own life regarding gossip is this: If I wouldn’t say something to a person’s face, I wouldn’t say it behind his back. That doesn’t mean I don’t accidentally reveal secrets or information. And yes, there are times when I knowingly gossip about another person, because I am a sinful person and sometimes I do bad things.
As far as when I hear gossip? I generally change the subject or challenge the source. Again, I’m not perfect. Sometimes I get curious. Sometimes I just feel mean spirited.

There are three reasons why gossip fires me up so much.
1.     It’s harmful to sexual assault survivors. Any discussion of sexual assault tends to come back to slander of the survivors. What was she wearing? How was she acting about the rapist? Is it in the survivor’s character to have ____ kind of sex?
2.     It’s seen as a female sin. Women are seen as the gossipers. We are taught how to avoid gossip, and labeled busybodies. Yet as I mentioned earlier in this post, some of the nastiest, foulest gossip I have ever heard came from groups of men discussing women. But I have yet to hear any man address gossip amongst men.
3.     There is no defense from gossip. Anyone can say anything about you at any time without your knowledge, and often the gossip harms you even if it is completely baseless. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October Stitch Fix Review

I got my October Fix on Friday and couldn’t wait to break into it!
If you aren’t doing Fix yet, you need to! Use my link (I'll get a discount if you do).
You sign up and fill out a style profile, all for free. Then you schedule a Fix. They can come as often as once a month, or as rarely as once a quarter. Your stylist selects five items for you and you get to try them on and decide if you want them. If you send everything back, it only costs $20, for the styling fee. If you keep anything, the $20 styling fee is credited to your purchase. If you keep all five items, you get a 25% discount off the total price. It’s a lot of fun. It’s especially helpful if you have a Pinterest style board – my stylist is very helpful by paying attention to my Pins.

SO, on to the fix!
I didn’t have any special style notes this month. I have a standing request to avoid jewelry, accessories, and shoes, because I’ve got those covered. This month I got 4 tops and 1 pair of leggings.

First up, the Beamen Crochet Detail Knit Top in gold for $48. This is a cute t-shirt that looks like a cardigan. It has adorable crochet detail around the neck that continues around the back. The fit was fine. However, I’ll be sending this back for two reasons. The first is that the fabric is very sheer. As you can see, you can clearly see the line between my skin and my jeans. I would want to wear a camisole of some kind, and that complicates my life! But that wouldn’t be a huge deal except this color is really NOT for me. I’m a winter, so yellows are tricky, and this gold just didn’t do anything for me and my coloring. If only this came in a deep red, or emerald green, or even almond, it could’ve been a new member of my closet!

Second, the Carlisle Mixed Material Top in black for $78. This is a very comfortable cotton knit top with three quarter sleeves. The fit was great, fabric super comfortable, and I really like the lace look. My harshest critics (Husband & daughter) didn’t care for this, but I really do like it. It feels like one of those tops you can throw on over jeans or dress slacks and be dressed appropriately for any occasion. I’m on the fence about this one.

Third, the Neymar Pleat Detail Blouse for $64. This was preferred over the Carlisle by my critics, but it’s not as comfortable. The detail work is great and I love this print and the colors. However, it’s very sheer, which means the three quarter sleeves don’t provide any warmth. So it looks like a fall top, but I would probably wear it in warm weather, like summer. In addition, it’s not quite as comfortable as the Carlisle. I think this will be going back simply because I don’t see myself wearing it a lot, because the sheerness doesn't go with the season.

Fourth & Fifth, the Bevvy Crochet Detail Floral Knit Top and Sandie Fleece Lined Legging, for $68 and $88 respectively. This was an instant winner! The fleece lined leggings were super comfortable and a perfect fit! They are a subtle charcoal color that will match all my existing tunics and long tops. And did I mention warm? I love snuggly clothes in the winter, especially when they aren’t super bulky. As for the top, it is also very comfortable and fits me wonderfully. It drapes over my figure and hides my trouble spots. I love the subtle trim detail on the bodice and the little band of fabric across my shoulder blades. This top is everything the Neymar Pleat blouse needed to be! 

So I’m definitely keeping the blouse and leggings. Not sure yet about the Carlisle top.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Where Is The Line?

My pro-life friends, where is the line?

I understand your position on the question of abortion. I respect it.

I understand that many of you are voting for Donald Trump because you know for a fact that Clinton will nominate pro-choice judges, and therefore you must vote against her in order to advance the pro-life agenda.

But where is your line? Where do you draw the line in your deals to get the pro-life agenda moved forward?

You absolutely have the right to advance a pro-life agenda: that’s democracy.

You absolutely have the right to be a single issue voter and vote for someone you find abhorrent at every level because you happen to agree with her/him on one issue: immigration, abortion, Syria, foreign trade, gun rights, whatever.

But where do you draw the line? At what point do the means fail to justify the end?

Doctors have been murdered in defense of the pro-life agenda.

Wait, wait, you say, that wasn’t us! That was a fringe group!

Why does that statement sound familiar? Oh right, because that’s what Muslims say about terrorists.

When you vote for Donald Trump, many of you admit that the man is disgusting to you. You don’t think he’s truly a Christian. You wouldn’t allow him to attend your Christian universities. You wouldn’t participate in his “locker room talk.” But it’s worth it in defense of the pro-life agenda.

Well, I suppose once people started killing abortion providers, a simple vote for a misogynist shouldn’t surprise me.

Oh right, I’m sorry, there I go again, confusing the actions of a few extremists with the movement as a whole.

I’m angry, because I don’t know where you draw the line.

If this summer, Clinton had announced she were pro-life and Trump announced he were pro-choice, would you be voting for Clinton next month?

If Trump announced today that he had forced Melania to have an abortion in the last 10 years, would you be voting for Trump next month?

If it were revealed that Trump believes women should not have the right to vote at all, would you still vote for him because he is pro-life?

If Trump announced that he was going to declare war on China and North Korea, would you still vote for him because he is pro-life?

If the only pro-life candidate in this campaign were Muslim, would you vote for him/her?

If the only pro-life candidate were Bernie Sanders, would you vote for him?

Given the pro-life's continued support of a candidate like Donald Trump, these are valid questions. Yes, they are hypothetical. But the pro-life camp is voting for a serial adulterer who swears like a sailor, openly lies, has 5 children with 3 different women, outsources his products, admits to taking bribes, insults women and soldiers, can't name a single verse in the Bible, and advocates for his opponent to be thrown in jail. I'm not sure anything is out of bounds at this point.

Where do you draw the line in your personal commitment to the pro-life agenda?

Are you willing to adopt a child who would otherwise be aborted?

Are you willing to provide birth control to men and women who would otherwise use abortion as birth control?

Are you willing to allow individuals, in cooperation with their doctors, to decide for abortion if the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother?

Are you willing to allow doctors to perform abortions to remove a dead fetus? (Note well, an abortion can refer to a procedure that removes dead tissue from a uterus. It does not necessarily mean ending the life of the fetus).

Are you willing to work to end all rape?

Because here is the problem. Those of us who aren’t pro-life don’t know where your limits are. We don’t know if we can trust you to support us if the question of abortion comes up.

I specifically wonder, if a fetus dies in utero, and the woman does not go into labor, will you allow her to die rather than allow the obstetrician to perform a D&C? Because if you allow doctors to LEARN how to perform a D&C, aren’t you just setting them up to perform abortions on living fetuses? Where is the line?

I specifically wonder, if I had a life threatening condition and my best shot at life was an abortion, would I be allowed to get one? Because at what point of percentage do YOU define my best shot at life? 50%? 75%? Where is the line?

I specifically wonder, if you don’t want government insurance to cover the birth control pill, but you’re OK with it covering Viagra, does that mean you’re OK with an impotent man raping a woman because he wants a child? Where is the line?

But none of this addresses the real question, which is this:

What exactly is the pro-life agenda?

Do you want to make abortion illegal?
Do you want to make ALL abortion methods illegal, regardless of their medical purpose?
Or do you want to make abortion unnecessary? Unnecessary because rape is eradicated, because men are required to get vasectomies if they cannot pay child support for their existing children, because women and men have access to birth control, because no children go to bed hungry in this country?

If you really want to make abortion stop, what is the most effective method? Making it illegal, or addressing the causes?

Where is the line?