Soapbox: Platonic Friendship

Soapbox Platonic Friendship

I’m a Geek, not a Nerd. I’m not into science, or math, or anything like that. I do have a deep, deep love of history (though in a geekier, less nerdy way). The real difference is nerds are into science and geeks are into stories. I love stories and all the things that are wrapped around them. I’m loyal to my stories and can be a bit ‘fan-ish’ about them. For instance: Lord of the Rings. I’ve read the books numerous times, seen the movies (extended edition) more times than I can count, and have random facts about both stored away in my head. I’m tempted to buy any and all paraphernalia that even hints at Lord of the Rings. Multiple different print editions of the books line my shelves, along with books about the books, and about Tolkien. To this collection has been added, by me and loved ones, lots of Tolkien’s random writing. It’s a story obsessiveness. I want to know all about what I love.

I love stories and a handful of particular stories especially.

This is how this plays out: I miss a story and its characters, but can’t watch/read it at that moment. So, I look up stuff about it. I get on Pinterest and look up Firefly. I chuckle to myself and pin away. Yes. Yes. I’m so familiar with the show I can quote most of the scenes I’m pinning. It’s strange, I know. But, it’s me enjoying the known, revisiting old friends. (See? I’m a Geek.)

Recently, I’ve returned to Sherlock. I haven’t watched it since season 4 came out, and not as a complete unit. A few weeks ago on a Wednesday night, Price mentioned something that made me think of Sherlock. Obviously, I had to start re-watching the show. The show, the story, the characters pulled me back in in an instant. I remembered and re-enjoyed all the things I love about Sherlock. It’s clever, unique, artistic, funny, relatively clean, with most excellent character building, and (most of all!) most of all the friendship between John Watson and Sherlock Holms. It’s beautiful. (A running theme in all my fandoms is friendship.) I love how they’re best friends, but also annoy one another. I love how John gets Sherlock, and how much Sherlock thrives having John as a friend. I love their loyalty, friends no matter what. I love their comradery and teamwork. It’s just wonderful. It makes my heart happy.

MaleFriendshipRuined

The other night, after all the day’s work was done, unable to find a book that gripped me, I went on Pinterest to look at Sherlock stuff. I smiled over clever memes, teared up at favorite lines, then . . . wait . . . what is this? Scroll. Scroll. Scroll. No. Stop. Quit. Please. All this stuff about John and Sherlock being gay, homosexual, having sexual a relationship. Really? Face Palm.

Every time.

In just about every fandom the world has seen fit to ostentatiously turn male friendships into something sexual.

Sherlock: John and Sherlock.

Band of Brothers: Winters and Nixon. (I kid you not.)

MCU: Bucky and Steve/Thor and Loki.

LOTR: Sam and Frodo.

Supernatural: Dean and Castiel.

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Winters and Nixon. Courtesy of Pinterest.

It happens again and again and again. All male friendships are twisted and turned into something they’re not. Our culture is so homosexual-centric and so sex oriented we can’t have friendships any more. Male friendship is being ruined. Currently, it’s almost impossible for two men in a story to be close buddies without someone turning it into a gay thing.

It makes me sad.

Can two people of the same gender with the same shared experiences not love each other platonically? Do we even know how to do that anymore? We lose one of the great joys and blessings of this life when we destroy platonic friendships and relationships.

Funny enough, you don’t see this as often with female characters. It’s there, but not as prevalent. Fans seem fine with girls being friends, platonic friends. The gay side is still there, but less extreme and extroverted. You have to dig deeper into the darkness of fan-fiction to find it. But male friendship? It’s just about gone. Is this because women form bonds more quickly amongst themselves?

Our inability to honor male friendships makes me concerned for my own stories. What if I found a Soul/Haze homosexual fan-fiction? No! No! They’re friends, buddies, brothers! Brothers! Why can’t men just be friends? Why do we always have to sully them with unintended sexuality?

Even Supernatural has an episode where Sam and Dean meet a fan and find out, to their horror, that there’s an undercurrent of them having a sexual relationship. They’re brothers! Brothers! Where do we draw the line? Why can’t we see this is ruining male relationships? Why can’t we see that we’ve let sex into every facet of our beings? It makes us jaded. It clouds everything. It taints what once was pure. You watch. Soon, it will be parent and child. We will take all forms of love and make them sexual.

Sex is great. It’s a gift of God. We’re all sexual beings. It’s part of being human and creaturely. Unfortunately, we’ve made the helpful servant the master, and it’s a horrible master! Instead of keeping sex in a good, right, and pure place, using it as God intended, we’ve poured it into every segment of our lives. The outcome: girls and women writing male homosexual fan fiction about two real men who bravely fought in WWII—who still have living children and grandchildren, people who know them—having sexual relationships. It’s disgusting. They can’t just be friends. Oh no, of course not. We can’t let friendship be enough. Beautiful, strong, faithful, loyal, good friendship, one of the strongest bonds in humanity isn’t enough.

What really gets in my craw, is that the whole LBGT etc., gay community, who screams bloody-murder about not forcing people into a sexual box and safe spaces, doesn’t defend the straight the way they demand the straight defend them. Imagine the hue and cry if a fan made a gay couple only platonic friends. Image the witch hunt, the tar and feathering! But, if you take two historic or obviously platonic males and make them straight, it’s like the sweetest, best, cutest, coolest thing. Please kill me now. What hypocrisy.

Okay. I’m getting off my soap box, but fans, come on, let friends be friends. Embrace the beauty of the non-sexual friendships as much as you do the romantic ones.

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Soapbox: Deserve

 

Soapbox_ Deserve

Image from Pixabay, edits by me.

 

I seem to be in a bit of a soapbox mood, but I promise I’ll get back to my Lessons from Being Sick soon. (Previous soapbox, and Lessons from Being Sick)

Right now, we tend to banter around the idea of ‘deserving it’. Something good happens in your life and all your friends pat you on the back and say, “You deserve it”. A dream comes true, a magical vacation is taken, a promotion, a gift, or just me-time happens and we deserve it. Yes, we all have to take time to semi-re-center ourselves. Sometimes we give and give and give and give until our bodies just shut down. It helps if you can see the signs of that happening and take a few hours or even a day to regroup so that you can go back to serving others. But, do you deserve it? Have you really gone above and beyond what everyone else is doing in such a way as to deserve it? Are you truly and purely worthy of being spoiled, by yourself or by others?

Have you ever stopped to wonder about that?

Have you ever stopped to notice the selfish and sometimes stupid things we do because ‘we deserve it’?

What about the other side of the coin? We never think about the fact that if you have earned this reward, this promotion, this dream come true, or this me-time, then you can un-earn it. If you deserve it now, you could not deserve it tomorrow. You can deserve that new handbag today…don’t ask me how that works, you deserve a handbag? …and then not deserve it tomorrow.

We are so quick to pat ourselves on the back for all our hard work, but we don’t ever talk being lazy and deserving poverty. We don’t talk about deserving health issue because we refuse to say no to upsizing our drinks and taking a walk. We don’t talk about deserving problems in schools because we refuse to teach our children self-control. We don’t like deserving negative things. We’re super happy and agreeable with deserving days off, expensive treats, massages, and diet-cheat days, but we’re not happy with deserving the consequences of our sins.

See, only one human being has ever lived perfectly enough to be worthy, to deserve, anything nice. Only one person live the life that earned him…well, life. And he chose to take on death for us…the unworthy. Because, honestly, I’m not worthy and don’t deserve to see my dream of being a homemaker come true. I don’t deserve to have my health in an upswing. I don’t deserve to have a husband who is loving and kind. I don’t deserve to live in the 21st century where I can sit on my back porch on a not so hot summer day and write this article. I don’t deserve the grass, trees, and plants that surround me. These are all of grace. My whole life is grace upon grace upon grace.

Do you want to get rid of entitlement? Teach children thankfulness. Teach them that it is a mercy, a grace, a debt that can’t be paid to be born in the USA. Teach your children, and develop in yourself a heart of thankfulness. Take a moment to be thankful for what you do have and stop worrying about what you don’t. Take a moment to consider your own sinfulness. Think about how selfish you are, and then be thankful for the grace that has been shown to you. Instead of thinking of all the good things you think you’ve earned, think about all the judgement that should rightly sit on your shoulders. Tremble at the thought that if you did truly earn some blessing, then you can just as quickly un-earn it.

Believers will stand out more and more as the world spirals.

Image from Pixabay, edits by me.

We need to get our heads out of the entitlement game, out of the self-deserving game, and start thinking about grace and thankfulness. Next time you buy a new shirt, game, book, bag or whatever it is, don’t think to yourself that you’ve earned this and this is why you should get it. Think to yourself that you haven’t earned it. It’s a gift. A gift to someone who doesn’t deserve a thing.

And remember, the only one, Jesus Christ, who did deserve and was worthy of every beautiful thing in this world, gave it all up. He set his ‘worthiness’ on the altar of sacrifice for us, his saints.  He set aside everything that was his right, that he did deserve, that he had earned, that was his privilege, to take on everything that wasn’t. He took on all the rights of death and punishment, the only things we had earned, that are our true rights. He took what we earned so that we wouldn’t have to pay that cost. That’s like the sweetest person you know dying, willingly, for a serial killer. Think about it. Christ didn’t deserve his death, we did. But what we didn’t deserve, what was given to us by grace, we can’t lose. I didn’t deserve my salvation, I don’t deserve my salvation, and thus I can’t lose it. I can’t un-deserve it because it’s not about me. It’s about Christ. He earned it. He is worthy. He is perfect. He will keep my salvation for me.

As our world spirals down into more idiocy and self-harming philosophies that make no sense, believers will stand out and more and more. We won’t take a moment because we’ve earned some me-time. We’ll take a moment because Christ has generously given us a chance to do it. We will do it with thanksgiving, and not a hording of our time against those always clamoring for us. We will understand the benefits and the proper placing of down time, entertainment, recreation, so that it doesn’t take over our lives, and we will be thankful for the many generous gifts of God. Instead of demanding, we will be humbled that he is so kind. Instead of tight-fistedly holding onto every drop of this life, we will be glad for the gifts as they come and go.

Stop talking about deserving any blessing, be it spiritual or temporal. If you believe and trust in the Word of God, you will understand that you deserve nothing good, you have earned nothing good, and so you will come at life with a heart of thankfulness, for it is all of grace.  This will set you apart from the world. This will make you different. Be ordinary. Understand you don’t deserve any blessing in this life, or the life to come. It’s all of grace.

Follow Me to My New Blog

 

We're going on an

Image from Pixabay. Edits by me.

 

In case you follow a link to this blog, or somehow find it just exploring the internet, I’m leaving this here because I’ve decided to go on an adventure with a new blog. (Don’t worry, this one isn’t offended. It practically pushed me out the door.) Please join me on this mission, quest. . . thing. I have lots of fun, new goings-on like a writing related Pinterest account, a new FB, Twitter, and Instagram account all dedicated to my stories. I even did the scary thing of making a Patreon Account.

I’d love to have you along for the journey, so please hope, click, jump your way over to Faerie Stories: Warrior Stories for the Brave. And don’t forget your pocket handkerchief.

Flash Fiction: The Pile

 

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Courtesy of Alethia Young. 

 

The Pile

Christmas Eve.

Mouths opened. Lungs expanded. Eyes gleamed.

“Not a word.” Dad leaned in over the table, finger extended, a twinkle in his eye. “Not a word.”

Five mouths clamped shut.

23 sleeps ago.

The Five, armed with saw and wagon, hurried out into Grandma’s fields, hunting just the right tree. In the back pasture they examined tall trees and short, round and skinny. Each child voted yes or no. The tree had to be perfect. It would take the center, Norman Rockwell stage for the whole month. Victorious, they return home over the small hills and dells, scratched but happy. Decorating and off-key singing ensued.

The holly green, the ivy green, the prettiest picture you’ve ever seen…

14 sleeps ago.

Boxes arrived. Big boxes. The Five immediately helped unpack.

“The tree doesn’t look lonely anymore,” the youngest said.

“Everyone keep your fingers to yourselves,” Mom said. “Don’t touch the pile.”

8 Sleeps ago. 

From under the prickly cedar tree, trussed up with lights and handmade decorations, spilled the pile. It spread into the narrow living room, cutting off the path from the kitchen to the bathroom. The Five huddle around it in the dark morning, dreaming of toys and more toys. Waiting. Waiting. The countdown dragged. The older ones swore the pile extended further into the room than any piles had before. Each present had been examined. Each of The Five knew which present was theirs, and the noise it made when shook. The Five had the entire pile mapped out.

1 sleep to go.

Christmas Eve sauntered in. Anticipation reached a breaking point. Tomorrow the paper would be ripped off and the toys would be theirs. Just a few more hours. One more sleep.

“Not a word.” Dad leaned in over the table, finger extended, a twinkle in his eye. “Not a word.”

Five mouths clamped shut.

Dad held out his hand to Mom and the two of them retired from the kitchen table for what The Five prayed would be a short winter’s nap.

Their parents’ bedroom door shut.

Screams of joy erupted.

In a moment of real Christmas magic, The Five gathered the dishes, ran hot soapy water in the sink, wash, dried, cleared, and cleaned the kitchen without a word of disagreement. Not one single squabble arose. No one pushed, pulled, glared, or even joked. Instead, carols erupted from them, swirling about the room on winds of excitement.

…it’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Sunlight streamed into the tiny mobile home as The Five went about their work. It splashed across the pile, the wonderful, huge pile.

Dad, king of his castle, lord of his family, general over the ranks of the Five, had superseded the holiday.

“I have an announcement, but I don’t want to hear a word. Not a single sound,” Dad had declared, as they sat around the table on that now famous Christmas Eve, eating tomato soup and grilled cheese. “Are we agreed?”

The Five shared a glance, then nodded in unison.

“Good.” Dad smiled. “Mom and I are going to take a nap. During the nap I want the table cleared and the dishes done.”

The Five waited. That was normal. Nothing about that part of the announcement would induce anything but sighs.

“After we get up,” Dad took a deep breath, “we’ll open presents.”

Five mouths opened. Lungs expanded. Eyes gleamed.

“Not a word.” Dad leaned in over the table, finger extended, a twinkle in his eye. “Not a word.”

Five mouths clamped shut.

The End


On January 1st, I’ll be posting on a new blog and other social media sites. If you follow me here, please hope over to the new blog and follow me there. That way you won’t miss any new articles or updates.

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If you enjoyed this story, please leave a comment! Share your own Christmas adventures.

 

Quote of the Weekend

There is so much I’m not getting to do this Christmas that are normally part of my Holiday Spirit. But, this quote sums up how I feel. I get to be with my family. I am loved. I have so many people I love. Christmas will be a happy time even if all the packages and bows aren’t here.

Merry Christmas!

(Don’t forget! Come January 1st all my content will move to my new blog: Faerie-Stories.com. Make sure you hop over there and follow so you don’t miss any of my upcoming articles!)

Blog cover Page

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you have survived several changes. I’ve been writing since 2000, and blogging for almost 10 years. My first blog shared my vampire thrillers as a series, writing lessons, and general thoughts on a wide range of topics. By choice, I kept my religious beliefs in the background, wanting to appeal to as many readers as I could. I wanted my writing to be good writing, not Christian writing…if that makes sense.

About four years ago, I made the choice to step away from my thrillers and my blog. I made the choice to take my writing in a different direction. You can read about that here.

This year, I had my first story published in something that I can hold in my hand. I have submitted stories to publishers and to magazines. I have had another story rejected by a magazine, but shared on their blog. One of my pastors has asked me to write a story for the children of our church. I’ve been working with an illustrator. I’ve submitted a fairy tale to a writing contest. One of my nieces keeps up a constant hue and cry for book 2 of my YA Series: The Artists Return. I wrote ten children’s stories this year for my little nieces and nephews. I had a blog post shared on the blog of an artist I admire very much. I wrote the rough draft of a novel in about three weeks that solidified a story motif in my mind that I want to run with: Huntsmen and HearthKeepers. And, last but not least, my brother-in-law wants me to do some writing for him for his Home Owner’s association. I’ll actually get paid to write on a regular basis. All this means two things:

One, more publicity.

Two, less time.

And I’m still doing all of this, except the writing for my brother-in-law, in a 40-minutes-to-an-hour-and-a-half-per-day window of writing time. I pretty much only write early in the morning before my day starts which is limited by how I’m feeling. Sometimes, I can write during lunch at work, but it’s not much. See, writing isn’t my career or my focus in life and it never will be. My home and my church are my focus. Writing is a way to serve both. I would love to supplement our income. I want to encourage my church. But, it isn’t the be all, end all of my life. 

Faced with many projects and limited flex time, l approached a tech savvy friend and asked for help!! We both agreed that as my writing goes more public it’s important that my social media presences is more unified. I have half my accounts as personal and half as public, and none of them have the same name. My blog sounds like a blog of a woman who is only going to talk about homemaking, not a homemaker who is talking about everything from theology, to movie reviews, to WW2, to how abortion has shaped her stories.

At first, I wanted to call all my accounts Warrior Stories. This is the heart of who and what I am and what I write, but almost every time I looked up the name for a username it was taken. The names started getting stranger and more disconnected the more I tried to hold onto the Warrior Stories. After consulting my tech savvy friend who knows my writing heart almost as well as I do, we decided on this:

Faerie Stories: Warrior Stories for the Brave

(Stories let us practice being brave before we have to be.)

The name ‘Faerie Stories’ allows me to communicate the child/YA aspect of my writing. It catches the eye with the alternate version, the one Tolkien used, to spell Fairy. And it was available across the board.

Over the next few weeks you will start to see @faeriestories pop up here and there. Go ahead and follow me. I don’t have much content yet, but I’m working on it. I hope to launch a new everything with the New Year. My goal is to make it look polished, professional, and me.

I want to communicate the way westerns, redemption, mythology, and steampunk combine in my imagination to create a unique cocktail. I want to show that I write a range of stories from Children’s Picture Book stories, to YA Fantasy, with some Christian allegory on the side. I want my Christianity to stand in a forest of good writing. I hope that by reading my blog, following my FB, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, and Pinterest you will get an idea of who I am and what I write. I hope that you will see that I write from a Reformed Baptist perspective, a Texan perspective, and a warrior perspective.

As I pull myself together on social media, I hope to gain followers, readers, and fans. I don’t think my style lends to an easy gathering of readers, but it does appeal to a wide range of readers. With all this in place, when I submit work to be published, a publisher or magazine can see that I’m active and engaged and ready to help put the word out. I hope it will make it easy for fans to find me across the board, and connect in a way that is meaningful for them. And, I hope to save myself some time by getting on a consistent, manageable schedule.

Right now, I’m looking at one blog post a month, one Instagram post a week. I haven’t decided yet on how many tweets or FB posts. I don’t interact with Twitter much, but I need to start. My FB post will be informative, but also interactive so that readers can give me feedback. I’ll share links as I get things published, and probably excerpts of what I’m working on. As this gets going, please let me know what you think.

I’m excited! This last year my writing has been pretty spastic, flitting from thing to thing. But, it’s also been a year of huge leaps forward. My writing is getting noticed, my YA voice is finding itself, and my collection of children’s stories is growing. I’ve submitted like crazy. Now, it’s time focus.

So, what do you look for in an author’s social interactions? Do you have any authors you follow regularly? What’s your favorite type of content?

Stories let us practice

 

 

An Ordinary Thanksgiving

I’ve missed several days this week just due to a busy schedule. The bottom line is that I’ve been generously provided for. God is good.

To wrap it up, I’m thankful for holidays. They change life up, make us pause and think, and let us celebrate with food and drink!

I hippie you make merry today! Happy Thanksgiving!