Visiting Authors December 2013

The following is a new edit of a post originally drafted back in 2013.  It shows some of what I went through as I attempted to develop a ‘strong online presence’ that included a good blog.  Part of what happened was that I began to get a higher level of structure for my blogging, only to have the proverbial rug pulled out from under me and my ideas for my blog.

Blog Schedule

Saturday nights are becoming ‘guest blog’ evenings here.  As I am new at it, I am not sure how smoothly it will go.  Sometimes authors will reply to real interview questions with me, but in other situations I may do, what I am doing this first time.  Below is a link to an author of 10+ science fiction novels with Baen books.

Interview of MZWilliamson

Personal Experience

I have actually met Mike enough times in person that I think he might willingly acknowledge that he knows me as long as I don’t embarrass him in front of his wife or a TV reporter.  In person he is so approachable as to seem close enough to normal to not be intimidating but also has enough flare to stand out as an individual.

Next week I will hopefully be able to post a real interview with Jesi Lea Ryan about her and her novels.

Valentine’s Day

Exclusivity in Love

Despite all the talk against the sanctity of exclusive marriages between only one man and only one woman…St. Valentine continued to encourage this type of Christian behavior in the 200 A.D. amongst the Romans.

Imagine: how it must be or must have been when it really was having to buck the system if you love someone and actually want to be able to have only one another….and for it to be considered an act of rebellion, not religiously, but socially.

Wow, even will all of my own tendencies and issues and liberality, even I see the sense of one-man with one-woman marriages; the safety for child rearing etc…but also thanks to at least remembering pure loves….people who really don’t want “a bunch of lovers” but just a real love, a real spouse, just one.

Really Radical?!

Believe it or not, St. Valentine was a real person, a man who lived as a Priest of the Christian church in the 200s when the Roman Empire was still going.  In truth, all he did was perform marriage ceremonies for young soldiers, and he would marry people into exclusive couplings despite the Roman Imperial Government being against both at the time when he did it.

Take a breathe and enjoy how internationally common place: one man with one woman marriages really are nowadays in early 2019.

From this perspective it really almost seems crazy that St. Valentine ran into trouble for marrying people like that, but in fact he ran into such severe difficulty that he ended up being martyred: he was politically assassinated for marrying people that way.

Freaky, or what?!

I don’t know about you, but from my perspective that is freaky.  He should not have been killed for such a small gesture of religious freedom and sanctity.

Evolution of a Holiday

Well, like so much in the Protestant realms, the Catholics have ‘slipped us another Catholic Saint Day’ as a cultural holiday.  The holiday has evolved into a day to honor and revere love.

Many people focus on the romantic or sexual aspect of love at the Holy Day, but like so many millions of others, even though I just turned 51 years old I still also really like all the other kinds of love, and enjoy celebrating the holiday regardless of whether or not I get to celebrate with a hubby.

Personally

My personal height of heights for Valentine’s Day is that I received my first accepted wedding proposal on Valentine’s Day in 1991.  I said yes and we wed the first day of Spring, both of which are gloriously romantic.  What punctures this balloon of joy is that the man who I married has barely spoken to me in years and we were divorced just as our marriage was getting started in 1993 after some of the worst first 2 years imaginable but not because he was a deployed soldier in the American or ancient Roman military.  I strongly feel it would be way more romantic if we were looking forward to our 28th wedding anniversary this year.

Despite that, both my mother and my son often get Valentine’s from me, as have a number of others…Some profoundly sexual and romantic in nature, others as most definitely not as the pets or other same gendered children in an elementary school class.

Yours

Here’s to hoping that you have some kind of wondrous and blessed Valentine’s Day; may you all experience God’s love in both the distinctively personal and in the abstract today.

artistic blossom bright clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Administration: a spiritual gift

It may not seem like it, but

the power of administrative abilities is acknowledged and classified as a spiritual gift in Christianity.  Many of us have worked in administrative capacities, whether as humble assistants, or in leadership positions in offices.

One quality of the spiritual gifts is that they just show up in people naturally.  It might be only a change in your perspective to see some of what the people you know do, in terms of their spiritual gifts.  The same gifts can and do show up as spiritual gifts in a way that is much more obvious.  Sometimes, the only factor that makes them obvious is that people use them to do volunteer work through their church.

Administration is mainly planning and organizing, and to some degree also providing leadership to people.  Founding a new organization, or creating a congregation or small business or new informal club are all administrative actions.

If we are dealing with women, then it might well be the secretaries or the school Principals, but it is also that lady who organizes parties for her child/ren and may be viewed as a Godsend or as an intimidating power house at the PTO of your child/ren’s school.  The activity may be done informally or professional, and it can be a manifestation of the same power.

Whether it is that person in your family who actually organizes all of the documents of the family’s history covering generations or the one who makes a small business office go from chaotic madness to an efficient, organized place from which to manage several aspects of the business we are dealing with the power of administration.

What about you

Administration is just one of the spiritual gifts.  Like so many of you, I was somewhat aware of spiritual gifts in the past, but prior to the past 2 years I just thought of spiritual gifts as either being the miracles: spontaneous healings of disease, or else I thought it was the kind of faith that makes people become clerics or else monks and nuns.

For your sake, I realize that whether you have this gift or not, you might now be curious to know how to recognize your own.

you can learn more about spiritual gifts here.  These people have put together a wonderful free set of videos that explain the spiritual gifts in a way that can give anyone a great start.  I learned a lot from these people via video.

Helps: a spiritual gift 2019

Helping as a spiritual gift

There are a number of spiritual gifts taught in Christianity.  If you haven’t been taught them at church, you can look them up online.  There are different kinds; some are important but may appear to you as mundane or utterly natural.  Others are wild and involve Christian Magic, otherwise known as miracles.

Pretty much everyone has one or more spiritual gift.  Whether or not you are a very religious person, you and people you know may well have one or more of these gifts.  They may come across as natural and they may feel natural.  It could even be you.  I think it was at a website called nothingbutthetruth.com that I heard a wise man say: Often, when operating in your spiritual gifting it will feel effortless.  It may be one of your traits about which people might say “your God given gifts”.

One of these gifts is the gift of helps.

Helps

Yes, that’s really what it’s called.  It really is what it’s called.  You helped your Dad wash the car, or helped your relative take care of the children so they could go do something else.

There was a needy person, and someone helped that person in some way.  It may have been giving the person money, or a helping them to get a job.

Helps is really marvelous, but may be experienced as so humble it can be glossed over.

One of the ways that I have been a recipient of this gift is when I dropped one of my gloves, and a stranger picked it up, or even just pointed it out to me which effectively prevented me from losing something.

In truth, I have also had several jobs in which I really mostly just helped others or another to do something or to get something done.

Everyone can do this and it operates through degrees.

You mean

Yes, that’s just one example of how to spot spiritual gifts in operation on a daily basis.  This could have a distinctively spiritual or religious feeling: like praying for people or giving alms, or helping out at your church.  Other times, it just happens: someone helps you, or you help someone.

It is that simple.

Final Note

Good deeds are always good, but everything done for God is supernatural whether it looks that way or not.

Spiritual Tidbits 4

WTF?!

It’s true: one of my novels is about mercenaries in outer space and yet, I want to write a little something more about spiritual matters.  Hm, maybe how they tie in?

In truth, moral knowledge and methodologies are a theme throughout the novel The Children of Loki my male pen name Robert Fitzgerald Jr.  Two deities are mentioned in the novel: Loki and Jesus.  Obviously, prior to the Christianization of so many nations that wouldn’t have made any sense, but in Christian nations where children grow up reading Thor and Iron Man comics and are reintroduced to Loki as the Marvel Comic villain it is less whacky.

The novel is not a religious story per se, so those who believe themselves to not be interested don’t need to run away from it but if people are religious and search for signs or undertones, they are there.

Morality & Ethics

Ethics is what morality is called in a secular atmosphere.  Ethics is sometimes also what religion would look like to people who don’t believe in any personal, or real God but have figured out that when humans are compassionate and help each other out it can make the world a better place.

Morality is a motivational force for both of the main characters: Gezka FaucMerz and  Kiel Bronson.  Both are heavily enculturated and differently so for more reasons than just gender.  What they do to each other and how and why is integrated with the plot and character development.  The characters’ points of view are deeply affected by what they consider right and wrong.

Strangely enough

Like so many of you, between parents and religious education I developed to a point where I often felt that I knew right from wrong.  Perhaps like some of you, I also ran into times when I wasn’t so sure.  To my own astonishment, when I took an MBA course in 2009 called Business Ethics, I was shocked to discover that prior to the course, I honestly only “right from wrong in business” 50% of the time.

Freaky, I mean that is not very often for someone over 30 years old, let alone over 40.  Well, you know how they say that sometimes the best one can do is to realize that one lacks knowledge or awareness about something and seek out experts.

Given that I have done some business stuff as a self-employed person I found it frightening only because I wish to do business with high moral standards for my business operations.  I have endeavored to whenever I conduct business, but having learned about my own ignorance it made me feel I could use a mentor.

Back to religion

In reality, proper use of clergy includes being able to get moral insights and assistance.  For those of you who have strong ties with clerics, this may seem like a bland answer that you have heard a million times already.

In my own life, I have usually attended church very regularly.  Despite that, for more than 2 decades, I had very little direct contact with the cleric aside from listening to the sermon.

Since then, it has grown in my awareness that there are ‘right ways’ to make use of the clerics of one’s church over and above listening to their sermons.

That’s it

For today, I think that’s all I’m going to blog about it.

International Gossip: Canada according to Germany

America Shocked

The USA was shocked the other day when reminded for the umpteenth time by Canada that Germany views them as a perfectly real and rather powerful first world nation.

Canada snubbed?!

The USA then felt embarrassed about being shocked because all of that is sort of ‘safely assumed’ ‘goes without saying’ about what Canada is like.  The USA was confronted by emotions one has when instead of trying to keep up with the Jones, the Jones can’t quite keep up…I mean, fortunately that’s how it seems from the American perspective about Canada….but Canada doesn’t really see it that way.

Canada smooches Germany?!

Canada felt slightly, but not severely nonplussed when the USA offended them again.  Canada took solace in Germany’s 2nd post-WW2 generation of “Not NaZis, but still speaking the German language” kindness and more respectful manner towards them.

Canada snubs the USA

Canada decided to sit next to Germany at the picnic.  Educated Germany can speak enough English and also provides universal health coverage.  Canada shared with Germany the rumor that the USA had a per capita consumption of more than double the rate of the next nearest nation: the big hog of the globe, they said.

Male & Female USA

Male USA pretended to not notice and didn’t believe the rumor.  Male USA felt superior to both Canada and Germany.  Female USA felt embarrassed by male USA but still needs his money and help raising the children.  She realized that the criticism made by Canada and Germany might have some truth to it.

Last words:

In truth, blog readers, I was told that Canada noticed me today, so I wanted to say something to you.

 

For You

the most concise work of applied philosophy ever known

What this is

This is a short booklet that introduces philosophy to readers in a practical way.  It is not the same as a critical thinking textbook, nor is it a ‘corporate philosophy’ lesson.  Each of the 5 major branches of philosophy are covered in one chapter.

The reader is not expected to know much about the subject.

What it has to do with being young or self centred

Personally, I started studying philosophy for a while when I was young, but adult.  I was always reading the philosophers to see what, if anything, they had to say might be of personal relevance or of personal use.

OK, I admit that Time and Cosmos are part of philosophy, but not all philosophy is the same and a lot of it involves the issues of ‘what is the best way to live’.  I won’t go into it much further; I just wanted to point out that I wrote this booklet assuming that you might be just as interested in philosophy you can put to use for yourself as I was.

Again, this one is not a critical thinking textbook, but there are some tips about logic in this book, which is also what at least 50% of critical thinking is rooted in.

Buy this now.

Spiritual Tidbits 3

Welcome to 2019

You may have heard the saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same….It isn’t always true, but sometimes it is.

There really hasn’t always been the Internet but there have always been stages of life.

Stages of life is something that I have always found interesting.  Like nearly everyone, I have tended to have preferences and person issues and development work commensurate with my age group.  I have always made some observations of and had some interest in other age groups.  It’s always different to really be each age group than it is to observe that group as older or younger than oneself.

Within the past 2 years I had a major surge of bothering to read The Bible (Protestant version) and finally made it so that 40 years after having started reading it in the 3rd grade, I have read the entire thing….aside from the 2 or 3 Catholic Bible books that aren’t in the Protestant versions of The Bible.  (reasons unknown by me, but I may redo the research so I can blog about it).

Age groups in The Bible

One of the tidbits I found to be awesome was when I was reading about how God used different age groups to deal with packing up the Temple in the wilderness.  I mean, WOW, maybe even WOWOWOWOWOWOOh hoo wow!

There were other events in at least 2 books of The Bible in which it became really noticeable that for some matters God said: use all the men between and 18 and 60 years old.

Other matters: Don’t let anyone under 30 years old touch that stuff!!!

In some cases: get someone who is at least 50 years old, if you want that dealt with properly.

I was honestly mildly stunned, but after a while sort of pleased.  None of us is useless for our stage in life and when each of us fulfills our divine destiny, there is a schedule to what needs to happen when, some of it is very detailed in terms of time of day and other stuff is really like: wow, don’t do that yet, or please do that.

Really?

In reality, it may have taken me so long to read the entire Bible because of laziness or spiritual attacks against me, but it’s also possible that it is actually better to leave most of it until over 30 years old.

Anyway, this time that’s the spiritual tidbit.

Spiritual Tidbits 2

When is now?

Tevet 5778

Anno Dominae (Year of Our Lord aka Christian Era) 2019

Now is always just the present moment, in whatever language.

After the Mayan Calendar has run out.

What would Jesus the Messiah think of Zen?

It might be possible to practice Christianity with a few elements of the basic awareness insights popularized in Zen.  However, it would be wiser to shy away from the whole matter, lest it be a means of being seduced away from Yeshua the Messhiah.

Zen Christianity should be recognized as distinct from Zen Buddhism, but still involving Zen.  Aside from the koans: what is the sound of one hand clapping?  What is the sound of 2 elderly men napping?  If a tree falls in the forest but no one hears it, did it make a sound?…..My own very limited insight into Zen is revealed in the following examples:

The fact that I got and left when So-n-So arrived was caused by interpersonal emotions as many had believed, but was actually simply my reaction to the draft of air coming in through the front door in relation to where I had been sitting.  I realized this once at age 7 years but forgot all about the truth of until I was 47.

God’s Location

For many, in the beginning of awareness God is an external being.  It is true that one reason the RC church so admires mother Mary is because most people first learn what love is, what right and wrong are and about God through the mother.  Obviously, also with babies, mothers are both the source of one’s very flesh and of nourishment.

Fathers are not irrelevant, but they also kindle something reminiscent of the other relationship to God as external to oneself: the father is just as real but not connected the way the mother is.  Also a course of one’s very flesh and protection, loving guidance and all the rest but there is almost a gulf of distance between every baby and the father when contrasted to the state of mother and baby.  However, just as the distance increases between mother and child once someone is born alive; the distance to father can decrease, often for the first time since the conception.

Similarly, God can be perceived as being as external yet intimately involved as parents.

Holy Ghost

There are also people who experience initiation and revelation of God which enables people to perceive God as residing both externally but also internally.  Be careful not to draw the Luciferian wrong conclusion.  Having the spark of the divine within and having been made in God’s image, being able to internalize the teachings of God and all of that can all contribute to a sense of having God as indwelling.

Imbibing the Eucharist is also taking in Jesus, after the same manner that when we eat and drink what was not-us is separated into what becomes us for a while, and waste.

People who have the Holy Spirit initiation are blessed with being able to experience indwelling God along the same lines as breathing but instead of the problematic Devil in the air it’s God.

Diverse Manifestations

The Holy Spirit can manifest very subtly and quite the opposite.  The arrival of the Holy Spirit in the book of Matthew, immediately following baptism by ‘John the Baptist’ (who was a Jew preaching repentance of sins in the wilderness), Jesus began to manifest spiritual powers: miracle works: healings, raising from the dead, cleansing lepers and casting out of demons from people suffering from possession.

The Holy Spirit is known to trigger and release healings that are 100% medically verifiable, but not explainable this year via ‘establishment medicine’.  It should be noted that in the event that God’s healing methods come into understanding that will in no way detract from their efficacy nor from their reality as divine healing power.

The Holy Spirit can cause visions (private revelations), but not hallucinations; repentance, complete and spontaneous healings, and changes in awareness of a different nature.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit can just make a family dinner go more smoothly.

True to Life Anecdote

At a believer’s convention with more than 10,000 guests:  one believer who has been diagnosed with a type of cancer and has only 6 weeks to live is suddenly hurled across the stage, rolls into and bumps his head against the leg of the on-stage piano.  Despite the physical discomfort, when that person stands up, he is 100% cancer free.  That’s the Holy Spirit.

Maiden, Mother & Crone: mother > crone

Stages of Life (for women):  Although in the TV show Merlin they referred to the Triple Goddess, all they were referring to are the 3 main stages of adult female life: the maiden or young woman, next the mother which just means she’s older and has child/ren, then lastly the crone: normally menopausal and quite possibly grandchildren or at least old enough to have grandchildren and even adult grandchildren and great-grandchildren (old has several levels itself).

Today’s post is about later stages of the mother.  I’m nearly 51 years old and have an “adult child” rather than a child.  While still firmly middle aged based on an 85 year life span, maybe more or a little less, that’s about it….I’m as much older as a 30 year old as my 23 year old offspring is to a 3 year old….as much older as it takes a human to go from conception to adulthood.

At some point it dawned on me that for many people “middle age” is the longest period of life.  However, I’ve also met enough older people to see that youth may in fact be the shortest phase.  During youth and one’s 20s it really doesn’t seem like most of one’s life was just the warm up for the reality; the vast majority of life spent as an adult.

Teens & Perimenopause

What these 2 phases in life have in common are major hormonal fluctuations that can cause mood swings, behavioral and psychological changes or even personality changes.  Self-identification can also shift.  (In truth, pregnancy can be even more drastic but that’s a story for another day).

Both phases have everything to do with human reproductive power.

Differences

Teens develop into being able to be mothers and adults.  During perimenopause, we’re heading towards the exit door: been there, done that.  All finished with baby making, thanks so much.

During either phase it can seem like it isn’t just a phase, but it is.  Perimenopause lasts as long, or longer than being a teenager does.  Freaky, but true.

Changes

Whether or not something is a blessing, a curse or something else can depend on how it is interpreted.  Perhaps because I was single or due to religious beliefs/interest, when perimenopause struck me at age 46 years I at first believed that God had finally answered a prayer that I stop being tortured by intense sexual desire regardless of whether or not acting on it would be okay.  Right before I wrote this post, I read some other lady’s: married women may suffer new kinds of anxiety about how to keep her husband happy when she stops experiencing nearly as much sexual desire….Which was really nothing more than a plot by Nature to persuade us to engage in behavior liable to lead to babies and raising more people.

For my own sake, it really felt like a blessing…and really did just feel like I was no longer being tortured by built-in desires.  It did not make it so that I have absolutely zero sexual desire, responsiveness or interest but like I was no longer in chronic danger of being overwhelmed by intense energies that I struggled with for control over my own behavior during some of my life.  I hadn’t ever meant to either deny nor to make too much of sexual energies.  I didn’t find it that easy to keep the proper balance of them in relation to my own lifestyle for 30 years; then finally some relief.

It did make enough of a difference that I realized that had I still been married, it would have become about how to convince my husband that I still love him when instead of his lustful, passionate wife I was suddenly satisfied with a hug and trying to avoid sex….it seemed like a good husband might wonder if I were having an illicit affair and that explained the sudden lack of sexual interest.

No need to make babies = no need to feel horny.

I’m a fairly learned person, so I do recall reading that the great Athenian philosopher Socrates wrote that for men, the greatest gift of older age is being able to think straight because the cloudiness caused by sexual desire wanes.

But seriously folks, what else?

The adventure of perimenopause mainly means that 25 years of menstrual regularity suddenly became irregular.

The most shocking discovery was that those tiny daily panty liners are for older women more so than for 12 to 15 year old girls.  I never would have believed it until it started happening to me.

The first month I had a weird period I thought it was either a miracle from God or a type of witchcraft I hadn’t run into before.  By the 3rd month I realized that it was just Mother Nature….Since it began, some months are almost the same as when I was 30 but much of the time it is much less and lighter flow.

A lot of the time, my periods are only as much in an entire week as one day of heavy flow at ages 30 and 40.

Then, in my later 40s, for the first time since I’d gotten pregnant well over ten years earlier, I just didn’t menstruate.  That went on for a few months.  Right after I had concluded that I never would again, I did.

The last month of being 50 the big thrill on that front was that I menstruated in December for the first time since I was 47 years old.  Weird.

Benefits

Aside from not being tormented by excessive sexual desire with no husband, there have been a few other benefits of perimenopause: less fuss and filth and reduced expenses of feminine products.

For me personally, the greatest benefit has been an emotional evenness or reduced emotional reactivity that I really like.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t have any emotional reactions, but it is less drastic than when I was younger.  It is possible that this is only 20% the result of hormones and the rest is based on other factors, but I suspect that it is 99% hormonal changes, and only 1% any changes in personal character or personality.

Sorry if that doesn’t seem great to you; those are really all the benefits as far as I can tell so far.