Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Brothers-In-Arms {Jack Lewis Baillot}


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I recently had the honor to review read a copy of Jack's book Brothers-in-Arms.



Amazon

Goodreads

My review on Goodreads



Back Cover:
Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. 

Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first-hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high. 


With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they've always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet's heritage a secret. Taking his best friend's safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.

With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can't be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.


My Thoughts:
I recommend reading my review on Goodreads to get a full idea of what I thought of the story line.

But I will say here I loved it.

First, I love history. Second, I love WWII history (don't we all?). And, third, I loved the friendship portrayed in this book.

This alone made it a worthy read - a pure, affectionate friendship between two best friends. A friendship we should all aspire to have (be like). It took a lot of work - I won't give away the ending. But how their friendship started out was ideal.

The perfect example of love and loyalty. Real - not selfish or clannish sorts.

I highly recommend this book to any of you readers that love WWII and a challenging read - if this book doesn't show one how to be a better friend (aside from the Bible), then all hope may be lost for you. ;) 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It Doesn't Take a Genius to Recognize Corruption




After attending the writer's conference I had the opportunity to spend a week with my dad in Las Vegas (we went to federal court trials).

I don't usually speak much of his work as I'm not sure all what to say about it. He keeps the public updated with what's happening in court, with all the many men locked up that he's trying to help out. I think he said there are like 19 guys right now that he is specifically trying to help release. 

{If any of you have heard of the Bundy Ranch Stand Off, you'll know a little of what he is doing}

I won't go into too much detail with his work. I will say if you want to know more of how to help out and learn what's going on just do some googling - my dad's name is John Lamb. You should be able to find plenty on him ;p

Anyways, I was quite shocked the first day.

Security didn't surprise me at all. Very much like an airport ;p  Except, most of the security was actually nicer ;) I was very pleased with security as far as security goes. And even a couple of the marshals seemed nice. But past this I was not pleased...

No phones are allowed in the court room. Or cameras. On any devices that record or can take pictures. 

The jury trial we attended the week I was in Vegas was for four guys. It was currently in the third week of the trial. Court lasted 9-5, Monday to Thursday. There were mid-morning ten minute breaks, an hour for lunch, and a ten minute afternoon break.

It was pretty boring a lot of the time.

The first thing I notices was the strong sense of bias. The judge was overly biased against the defendants ;/ I couldn't believe she'd let it be so obvious. 

Things like further questioning the witnesses (as if hoping to find incriminating evidence herself), overruling most of the council's objections while sustaining the majority of the prosecution's, calling a lot of side bars, rewording or not even reading certain jury questions, and her whole attitude toward the defendants. It was terrible. 

One day she sent one of the defendants to solitary confinement for a couple hours for looking behind him at another defendant. Except he denied having done what she said. "I can't let you get away with disobedience," Judge Navarro said.

Wow. I was really shocked.

On the second day in Las Vegas, the first half of the day my dad and I went to see the sentencing of a 93 year old doctor (I will have another post on this later). 

While we waited for the sentencing to take place several smaller things happened.

First two prisoners were brought in, both Mexicans.

A Mexican woman, nicely dressed, walked into the courtroom and sat in the front row, not knowing that the marshal's don't allow anyone to sit there as "they might jump over the banister and interfere with the prisoners."

A marshal rudely told the already distressed woman to move. She apologized and quickly obeyed. One of the men was her husband. He was not allowed to look at her.

She watched him sit there as his lawyer talked to the judge, a man named Kent Dawson. They set another court date for the Mexican then took him out of the room, shackling him and bringing him back to jail to await his trial. 

Next two young Caucasians were brought in, both wearing bright yellow jump suits. The one man was allowed to speak, and his words surprised me. He spoke very intellectually - I won't even be able to do his words half the deserved justice by trying to repeat them. He requested a speedy trial as it was his constitutional right and he'd been sitting in jail waiting for over six months. "I think there comes a time when long enough is long enough. I have payed my dues." 

Judge Dawson said, "In the eyes of the court six to eight months is not a long time." And he set the boy's trial a couple months in the future. 

The boy made several other good arguments, but the judge would not listen.

And last of all two lawyers came, representing clients that were not present. The one lady said her client had failed her drug test, and proceeded to explain why, "She has been fighting three tumors in her brain, and is currently undergoing chemo." She then gave a long detailed narrative of how the woman had to choose between a couple extremes with her tumors. and even then there wasn't sure hope that she would survive.

Judge Dawson listened, then said. "I understand this. But if she doesn't make better effort with her duties here she will be reprimanded. Does she understand this?"

The lawyer was frustrated, I could tell. 

I saw absolute greed

I tried to see good

"Maybe they are like Javert in Les Miserables," I thought. "Maybe they think justice over mercy - and they are so buried in the law and a sense of justice that they do not understand mercy."

Except I know they don't deserve to be compared to Javert. Javert I actually liked. And he was void of monetary greed or even the assertive authority and pride the two judges I saw seemed to possess.


It was sickening  - no human should own this much power over another's life.

No human being should be allowed to rule another man's life, and make his own words law above either the Bible or the constitution.

"This isn't real," you say.

I wish this was another of my satire pieces.

That I was even lying - I know many won't believe my words. And even fewer will do anything to change our system. 

But it is real and we NEED PEOPLE TO STOP THIS. We need people to choose life over greed, love over career.

80% of the men in prison don't deserve to be there - if you don't believe me email me and I'll try to find info from my dad and other informed men to send to you.

Men who never murdered, raped, or even did drugs are being sent to prison for LIFE.

Men who committed small petty crimes are sitting in jail for MONTHS waiting for a "speedy" trial.

Is this right?

"But our country is better than others."

It doesn't' really matter if we decide to believe these additional lies we are fed - what matters is even if we were better compared, compared is not an excuse to allow injustices to happen in our very own homes. 

"But what can we do?"

Good question. In all honesty I don't have an equally good answer...except this: Start caring, start knowing (educate yourself against the brainwashing of our media), and if ever you see a chance to love do it.

Love through letters, love through peaceful protests, love through actions.

Love in proof. 



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

My First Writer's Conference



End of July I went to my first writer's conference, Realm Makers, in Nevada.

It was a great experience! I loved being surrounded by so many writers ;0 

The best part was meeting people and having conversations. Some of which were about story, some of which were not ;) 

I'd like to share some highlights from the weekend :)


Faces I met, some of which I had previously seen only by picture: 


Met these two on the first day - Tracey and Lisa. Found out later on that they are good friends of one of my best friend's older sisters :D 

A bunch of awesome go teen writer teens!! Spent a lot of time with the two behind me, Audrey and Jonathan

Ted Dekker was the keynote speaker. 

Two more fun girls - Jessi and Charissa

One of the first people I met, Carla Hoch. I had a lovely appointment with her in which she gave me some amazing advice for my stories. She is big into fighting accuracy in stories and has this neat blog about it called Fight Write

One of the nights we all dressed up - Jill Williamson from Go Teen Writers and her husband dressed as characters from Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Olivia, a girl I knew from the blog GTW

Victoria, another GTWer I got to meet in real life ;) 

And Jill Williamson! It was a pleasure meeting her - I discovered Realm Makers through her post at the blog Go Teen Writers. 



There were so many neat things about the conference besides people - though the people were the best. ;) 


There was amazing food - a lot of the times we were served three course meals at fancy tables! 

That stick was chocolate ;p 

Such an artsy watermelon 

That stick was also chocolate ;) 

Dark chocolate fountain ;0 

Isn't that fancy?

For some reason I didn't take any pictures of the food, only desert. And the desert didn't taste nearly as good as it looked ;p

But it was still fun. ;)

There were so many workshops and classes. And I had a few appointments to speak with mentors and agents. 

All of these were extremely fun.

The first workshop was with David Farland. I really enjoyed that, and hearing his story. I found it super interesting that he writes diverse genre yet is a best seller :D


Keynote speaker, Ted Dekker.

Carla Hoch demonstrating realistic fighting techniques. 

I believe this and the next one were from Mary Weber's session - not sure on this ;/ 



Writer's can have some funny things sometimes - and this wasn't the funniest. Some of the topics were quiet questionable as to whether the speakers of words were sane ;)

Even though I was at a writer's conference didn't mean I couldn't write ;)
Hair washed, writing shirt worn, laptop ready.


This is actually true - though I've only put people I like in my novels ;p There's actually no one I hate anyways...lol, so not sure I COULD put in an enemy as those are non existent in my life. 


Of course I had to buy a shirt from the conference ;) pink. Loved it!
 


I made business cards for the conference - here's the back :D



Ted Dekker gave me a candy bar. I guess it was supposed to be calling to me? ;p 




Books I bought or were given to me :D I tried to be careful and not buy too many books - I feel I did good :) 



My "pile of contacts" ;p





The place I stayed at and where the conference was held:


Have to get a selfie ;)

 

Something from one of the book stands - just so lovely :) 


As you can see, it was an AMAZING time! 

Have you ever been to a writer's conference? If not would you like to go? If so what made the conference spectacular for YOU? 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Why I Live On Earth


via IFTTT

When Answers Create More Questions (And Other Thoughts)


When the answers you receive continue on this vicious cycle of creating more questions, it may be time to stop. 

Just stop asking.

Not every thing needs to be understood. We don't have to know everything, have all our ducks lined up, see the big picture.

It's OK to be in the dark. To let go. To trust with blind faith.

It's OK to be clueless.



When the advice you receive is so drastically different...some of it is wrong, some of it is clouded in mystery, and some of it might be right...and all the opposing people are smart and decent and trustworthy people...it might be good to know this:


Advice is the personal opinion of others based on their own perceptions of their own experiences and ideas. 


Past that, it really isn't much.


You listen to the advice, take what you need (not just what you like) and discard the rest.

Yes, it is OK to discard advice. Large amounts of advice.

Don't be afraid to take it and hear it. But remember: not all of it must be followed through.

Only you and God can truly understand your circumstances. Not all advice is really going to be beneficial. 

Don't worry...people may hate you. People may think you are being stupid.

You very well might be.

But that might be necessary (or you may just need to be more honest with what yourself, and what you are discarding).



When good people hate you and you don't know why and you want to hate yourself, remember this:

"I don't even know me that well."

How could someone else possibly define me that well?

How could someone else possibly tell me all that's wrong with me? Especially after such a short time?

I've known me for years and I'm still figuring things out.

No other human gets to define who or what I am, what I believe, or where my heart and motivations lie.

When you respect and trust another person to such a level of seeing mostly good in them, it can be hard to see the fault in their words.

Even when that fault is obvious.

Even when you know it's not true.

Even when you know that you aren't what they are saying, when you love what they just said you hated and you hate what they insinuated you love.

There comes a time when you must remove your trust from a person, with out loosing respect for them or yourself.

Never stop respecting.

Otherwise you will end up hating everyone.

 But it's OK to stop believing another's words.



When it's hard to be strong and smile, remember:

We aren't meant to be Superman or Wonder Woman.

Tears are OK.

Being a brick isn't.

Being hateful is wrong.

Being void of human emotions is not healthy.

Be weak. Cry. Hurt.

And then heal. Love. And smile.

It is possible to smile as you hurt and crumble and let your guard down.

It is possible to do what's right and laugh and love even when you are weak.





When life changes, taking a sharp turn, God didn't change his mind.

His plan is just bigger than what we imagined.

And it involves ugly, painful thorns in the shape of heartache, betrayal, lies, uncertainty, hypocrisy, misunderstandings, and evil. 

God's ways aren't smooth, happy-go-lucky cloudless rainbows. 

They very much involve growing pain.

Stretching, shaping, severing.

God's ways are best.

And he doesn't change His mind, saying yes then no.

We just have a hard time listening to him amidst our own bouts of self-joy or depression.


His paths are much more complicated and intricate than mere yes's and no's.


So, listen.

Have faith:
 entrust your desires and questions to Him and let Him settle the answers in His own timing. Let Him lead your feet, direct which words you hear and listen to. Allow God's words to matter and define your life - not any friend's. Lean on God's everlasting strength - follow Him and smile as He comforts you. 

Know that God will lead you toward the best life full of His mighty ways if you but follow and trust Him.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Deserve












I have this really great friend - we love to debate like crazy (both of us say the bluntest things and laugh our heads off the whole time). One would think that we would have offended each other by now...yet we've been friends for years and our friendship just seems to get deeper and more opinionated ;p

This may have something to do with both of us being passionate ENTJ's ;) 


Anyways, a while back (sometime in February or March) we were texting right before I left for a trip. Life was very good, and some great things were happening. 

Like a good friend, she was pretty happy for me.

"You deserve this," she said.

Now the opinionated me disagreed with her (as normal). I was sure that I did not deserve what was happening in my life. 

It was just too good - I felt unworthy. 

I mean, seriously, who deserves anything good? Sometimes we observe some awesome, kind, loving people.  But we know that all fall short of the glory of God. All sin. All fail. All are in desperate need of a savior. 

We are all condemned. 

Thankfully, God loves us despite our horrid natures. And He provided a way to save us from the consequences of what we deserve.

But just because we've accepted His gift of love and forgiveness and redemption from hell doesn't mean that we are entitled to a good, peaceful, joyful life.

True: many of us He blesses with wonderful, amazing things. 

And many of us experience rich, fulfilling lives.

But we are not entitled to blessings. We do not deserve anything.

I did not deserve any of the great things happening in my life, despite God showering me with His love, despite my friends thinking I was sweet and kind and so ready for what was happening.

I was thankful to God.

I was in awe of how He had worked it all out.

It was pretty crazy...suddenly, with out my hand being involved, totally something arranged by not me. 

I mean, it was pretty amazing.

But I understood it was a blessing from God.

Not what God or anyone else owed to me.

Ironically enough (not in a funny way ;/) everything that I supposedly "deserved" fell through just a short while later.

And then I had to learn to act upon the truth I'd already accepted: God is good and blesses us for seasons. But He also may take us through rough times of change and uncertainty and pain.

And the blessings don't always follow the heartache.

Yet, God is good.

I deserve nothing less than His ultimate will

Whether it looks good or bad to outsiders.

Whether it looks like I deserve what is happening or not.

God is the one that payed for and owns my life.

And thus I deserve nothing at all for my own.

It's a humbling thought.

I mean, it would be amazing to live out my dreams.

It would be amazing to not have to hurt. To not experience evil, to understand some things, to live a life of only sunshine

To know that a sunset won't just be followed by darkness.

But that's not God's ways.


God's ways are hard - but He has detailed plans destined for a beautiful outcome, His outcome. I may not know what it will be. But I know even in my trials, He is overly merciful and loving toward me.

And least of all do I deserve this from Him. How could I deserve anything more???

No, I deserve nothing. And so, even in my tears, pain, and uncertainty I can say "Thank you, God!" 






Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hey, I'm 21 ;D

So, I don't usually do birthday posts...

But 21 is supposed to be a special age, so why not?




On Monday I had my 21st birthday.

To tell the truth I haven't been that excited about my birthday. I could care less about being 21 (it's supposed to be some sort of magic number???)

The only ages I actually ever looked forward to growing up were 17 and 20. 17 because it was my golden birthday, and 20 because I would no longer be a teenager

{I never liked being a teenager and being associated with the drama and stupidity of that age ;p}


17 was a good year. I started working many of my first jobs and started getting out more and experiencing life and what I wanted to do. It was a great year.

20 was (has been weird). I mean, there's been a lot of good.

But a lot of bad, too.

I finally went in and got my driver's license. I was baptized :D Friendships were created and strengthened. I worked a lot, and I've seen my writing do amazing things this last year.

But my life also took a drastic turn two or three times. A really special friendship ended poorly. An uncle of mine died. And one of my best friends isn't allowed to speak to me currently. Plus because of the drastic life changes I'm kinda unsure what I'm supposed to be doing next - I almost feel as if I'm floating the summer away on my tears ;p 

My uncle that died (a picture of us when I was little)

Which isn't bad - except I've always known what I wanted, what to do, and such. And now suddenly I am 21 and have no idea. My goal-driven, love-life, colorful nature seems to be on hold right now. And it seems everyone else knows better than me (too many conflicting "you-must-do-this-to-lead-a-good-life-")

I must admit I want to rebel against all of it.

I don't have to conform to any one's standards of success. I am educated because I study, not because I pay thousands ($) for a degree. Success isn't measured by what sort of job I have, but how well I do it and what I bring from it (I'm a house-cleaner and writer. Two jobs that are looked down upon. But I wouldn't be a doctor or professor or anything in trade. I love my jobs and I make more than I need). 

My life isn't defined by my relationship status (that's why the public world doesn't get to know details like that on facebook or other social media). 

My life isn't defined by the way I dress (it's me - who gets to tell me what is acceptable or not just because something is considered fashionable???).

My life isn't defined by how I look, what I weigh, what I eat (it's funny how each decade changes drastically in what the ideal woman looks like ;p). 

My life isn't defined by anything but who I am.

True, who I am will be reflected in what I do, who I am with, and even how I dress and eat. But those things alone are not what makes ME.

I am who I am in God. 

No-one else.

And right now that's the only stability I have in life. 

A looming future, vast in options and paths, is suddenly opened up before me. 

And the only thing I have that is not failing me is God.

People are stupid and selfish, I've discovered. It's really hard to find someone that's truly a friend. Sure, many say they are. But only the test of time and trials prove the truth: many will run and hide when you truly need them.

Many are hypocrites. Many Christians - "I believe in God." but how many of you confessing Christians truly love any one enough to sacrifice even a little of your life to follow the commandments of Jesus (Yeshua) to love ALL?

I've met few.

How many Christians (or even people) are willing to love another selflessly? Show loyalty and friendship past the point of fair? How many people are willing to stop pursuing self and all the worldly ideas of do-what's-best-for-me and I-just-need-to-discover-who-I-am?

So many lies. And even supposedly Christians are clinging onto the love-me-movement as if life is all about treat-ME-fair.

I've witnessed so much hate this last couple of years.

And it's depressing. 

What sort of future do any of us HAVE???

I even wonder why God still lets us live - why so many want to live in such a way.


I am 21. I have my whole life before me.


But all I feel is hurt. All I see is stupidity. I am trying to not give into bitterness, but, man, is it hard. I want to smile. I still love laughing. I even still stand up for and love the people that have hurt me the worst. But it's so hard to be content in a world that hates.

I am no feminist, but I will stand up for the woman being torn down because of how her body does or doesn't look. I am frustrated with how our culture portrays women in film and in fashion. We are more than sex objects. We are more than our bodies. I am frustrated even at how many men treat me (with too much "eyes" or with none at all).

But even on that note, I am frustrated with how many women treat men. Grouping all men in one category as hateful men that can't see women for who they are. That is just as wrong.

Both femininity and masculinity are dying, being stripped away. Women are told to dress to please, not to be pretty. Men are told to remain silent (where are our courageous leaders???)

Hate is happening on both sides.

Just as it is wrong for a white man to hate a black man, or a black man to hate a white man.

Where is kindness? Love? Commitment?



Yes - so I am a little frustrated at the future I have to work with.

But I also have hope.

I am being surprised that there are those who are proving through the test of time to be lovers of God and ALL people.

And when I mean all people this includes women, men, babies, Islamics, blacks, Native Americans, whites, and the list goes on. And I am not saying to condone anything against God, but to love in the way God wants us to, void of personal bias. We can still love as we stay standing in the ways of God's desires.

And so, these are my thoughts entering 21.

Trying to move on from the past. Trying to learn how to truly smile again with out bitterness. Trying to not hate those I want to love. Trying to love those I want to hate. Trying to know which path God wants me to step on.

Also, to end this on a happy note, I do have some plans for this summer and for this blog.

Life plans: End of this month I am going to my first writer's conference!!!!! I may be moving out from home this fall. Both of these are big things. Still have to see what happens though - I really am drifting this summer through as I re-find purpose and direction. But I have some ideas swimming around my head - hopefully some of them will find a way out to working out in my life ;)

Blog plans: I am working on a short story for a serial on this blog. Once it is done it will be posted regularly every Saturday or every other. Still deciding. Hoping to have this done by October. Also, I am working on a series for my regular postings. This will be about life and writing lessons I am learning through the ideas I see expressed in God's nature following the theme of my prairie post. One will be about Rainbows and Storms, another about Sunsets. And there will be others, of course. These will probably be showing up around September. 

Writing plans: I am almost done with my second novel. Once that is done and beta readers are taken care of I will devote a lot of time to improving blog posts. I will also be started a new novel (of which I am excited about!). I am also hoping to start pursuing publication seriously as I feel my second novel should see the world face to face.

I do write, a lot > here's the proof 


Travel plans: I plan to go the writer's conference end of July. And I hope to see a friend in Idaho. And another in a town a couple hours away. And I really want to visit my TN friends, and my good friend Mary in KY - but these last two most likely won't happen until next year or so. I also have some out of country plans (in the works), but we shall see. To be honest, I am very tired of traveling. But it seems to be a huge part of what God has for me in life right now.

Back in June when I did a short road trip in WA

Work plans: I love housecleaning. I make more money than I would anywhere else I could get a job, plus I enjoy the work (I like being active) and it's just a great line of work. I love the people I clean for. Even if I move this fall I will continue housecleaning. I would also love to take on some tutoring positions and such ;) I have also been doing a lot of custom sewing.

When I went to see one of my friend and her boyfriend - we had to get a goofy picture :) 


Education plans: I love learning, but college does not seem to be in my near future life. I am still studying. I have been doing well with learning German. I have been going through this English course that is fun. I received my High Set (MT equivalent of GED). I have been doing great studying other books and subjects and reading ancient awesome things ;) Love podcasts, lectures (I go to many whenever I can), and such. 

When I decided to do a ten mile round walk in the 100 degree heat of day to and from town ;p 


Well, people - I do think an update on the author of this blog was overdue.


I hope it wasn't too long, or boring, or even depressing. I promise I am trying to not change drastically from all that's been happening - I want to make sure my disposition remains true to the colors of this blog ;p

Also, on a fun note, I learned two new words recently. One is scintillating. It basically is an adjective that means sparkling. The other is much more fun - defenestrate. A verb that means to throw someone out a window.

Sometimes I feel if all stupid idiots would be defenestrated the world would be much better (don't want them to die, just some sense shaken into them ;D)


So - now you all can tell me happy birthday and to have a blessed adult life. Also, I didn't buy any beer ;) Like, I've made it very clear, I'm not for conforming. I'd rather buy the stuff the day after just to prove my point :D 

Haha - Just kidding ;p 


Confession: I've always said I dislike sunglasses, but then realized I need a pair for driving to work ;p Also, to lessen eye strain (life, stress, etc) I bought a pair of computer glassed ;D