The Wind Blows Wherever It Pleases

Scripture Sundays

The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority in all this?”

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

John 2: 18-22

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The window blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and you do not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

John 3:5-12

My favorite thing about the Gospel of John is John’s little asides tucked in here and there. “But the temple he had spoken of was his body.” Also, the sass he lends Jesus, “You are Israel’s teacher, and you do not understand these things?”

Granted, he admits easily that he and the other apostles did not yet understand everything  Jesus preached, and didn’t until he had been raised from the dead and the Holy Spirit was sent down upon them. But it seems he expects better of those in positions of authority and learning. John and the disciples were not learned men, they were regular people, sinners, simple fishermen.

Can you imagine how many times these men felt out of place and over their heads? Yet it was them, with their good sense and feet planted firmly on the ground that Jesus called to be the witnesses of His life.

And is it any wonder? When he seemed destined, like the stereotypical genius artist, to be misunderstood the whole time he is alive. Even as he speaks of “earthly things” to Nicodemus, there is no understanding, no ‘ah-ha’ moment.

But then, it truly was his destiny to be misunderstood until after his death. If everyone, or even most people, had comprehended what he was about they never would have killed him. He never would have died for us, and we would all still be destined for eternal death. Instead of eternal life.

Huh, almost like God had a plan all along.

♥ Shannon

The End of One Journey Means…

Selfie Saturday

snapchat-1892428121381221539.jpgThe Beginning of Another.

Happy Saturday, everyone. As most of you likely know, my next book is coming out in less than a month. What this means for me as a person is that editing is over, marketing (should be) locked into place and we’re in the endgame.

Now is the time to be looking at my next WIP (work in progress). The next project being the first draft of book 6 in the series.

As a result, I must also reassess my daily routines, habits and commitments to see what can remain and what needs to go in order to make time for drafting.

Drafting is, and always will be, my main goal in life. Writing a new story for the first time is the keenest pleasure I know. It’s the discovery of new characters, plot twists, and the opportunity to strike creative gold. I like to call it the honeymoon period. The first draft is when I can give myself over to the muse and just create for the sake of creation. Later, when rewriting comes, my WIP and I will fall into easy rhythms and take each other for granted. At the end, we will go through a very rough patch in our relationship known as ‘editing’ and hopefully come to the other side stronger and more in love than ever.

Yes, writing is my first love. (Don’t tell Pangur.)

The longer I write the more in tune with my characters I become. Which brings me to the main reason for this topic. A general warning.

Many of you weren’t around the first time I drafted book 2, Shadows On The Wall, so you won’t remember the unfortunate side effect that occurred from being so close to the psyche of a mentally disturbed, abused person. Suffice to say, Cameo and I became quite close and I was able to understand her completely.

I have a little more control in that department these days, but already I have noticed my main character of book 6 influencing my reactions in destructive ways.

So you are warned, I’m sorry in advance, and I will do my best to control how Rene affects my actions.

♥ Shannon

P.S. I will also be evaluating time spent on this blog and making some tough decisions in the next few weeks. More info to come.

Fun Fact: Sternutations Happen

Fun Fact Fridays

That is, sneezes. Sneezing. Horrible expulsions of snot and mucus from your nasal cavity. Yeah, you’re welcome — happy Friday. 😉

Fun fact: Did you know that the medical term for a sneeze is ‘sternutation’? Sounds like a word that should have been in Charlotte’s web….or would have been…had she lived longer. *cough*

Anyway! Depending on lung size and strength, sneezes can expel from your nose between 100 and 500 miles per hour.

This is reason numbero uno holding one in is a bad idea.

Yes, I know the office is near silent and you don’t want everyone looking over at you and wondering what disease you are currently saddled with (whether you are or not, they will wonder) but consider this:

You hold in all that power, where’s it gonna go?

Blow straight back toward your eyes, brain, & eardrums.

And yes, holding in a sneeze has been linked to broken/damaged blood vessels in eyes and brains, as well as ruptured ear drums.

So stop being polite or embarrassed in your quiet office and sneeze away. Look at it this way: at least that really annoying person that always hangs out by your desk might avoid you for a week or so after.

♥ Shannon

On Friends

Thoughtful Thursdays

Last night as I was scrambling for a blog topic I asked my friends for suggestions. This is post is not one of their suggestions. However, I worded my request as so, “Viable ideas, or ones so hilarious I don’t care.”

The following are just a sample of the ideas I received:

(Haley’s was more a stream of consciousness, that I think may reveal a few things about her. LOL)

Hales: “The ‘F’ word*, the Writer Bae Tribe (our lovely group of scribblers), the sun, the moon, idiots–”

At which point Dawn took me off hold and proceeded with:

  • Why Thin Mints don’t make you get thinner.
  • The word bed actually LOOKS like a bed.
  • What if Peter Parker had been bitten by a radioactive squirrel instead?
  • Why an iPhone charger isn’t called ‘Apple juice’.

There were so many more, and as I read I just went all heart-eyes over these ladies.

So why aren’t I writing to you about Peter Parker’s missed opportunity as Squirrelman? Because this beautiful example of why I love these ladies, and my other two favorite people in the world, Kate & Mel, got me thinking about a conversation I had earlier in the week with one of the girls about friendships.

As we were chatting about the dedication in my newest book, and how real life wounds tend to work themselves out like emotional splinters in my writing, I made a comment about how a former friend and I simply grew apart, and I was too stubborn to see it.

When we’re young we make the majority of our friends through close proximity at school and school-related extracurricular activities. At this point in our lives, we are young and still forming who we are going to be. It’s cliche, but it’s true: We’re finding our self.

As an introvert and a fairly self-reliant person, I’ve never had droves of friends. I usually have one very close friend and a handful of casual friends. As a young person I had a few ‘best’ friends that I was determined would be my friends as long as we lived. I couldn’t understand and blamed one of them when, after she moved out of state with her family, our friendship fell apart. It was the age of AOL Instant Messenger, we had been friends for four years, we loved each other –what happened?

A few years after that, someone I considered a sister just about broke my heart clean open when our friendship fell apart.

I thought, maybe I’m just not cut out for friends?

Which is kind of a stupid thought, but I was still a teenager, so please forgive the histrionics.

It’s taken me an embarrassingly long amount of time to really synthesize what happened. There was nothing wrong with the friends I had as a young person and there was nothing wrong with me. We grew up. We became different people. We no longer had the ties of school and the bonds of proximity aiding our friendship. People who, I felt, needed me, no longer did.

It’s a painful realization, finding out you’re no longer needed by someone you loved. For a sensitive nature like my own, it feels like rejection.

It’s not. It’s just the natural course of the world.

What I’ve realized in the last ten years, and boy was it slow going, is the friendships we make as adults have a lot more staying power. Deep bonds forged by fully developed psyches may pull and stretch with time, but they are a lot less likely to snap.

So as I watched all of my friends’ ideas stream in and they were exactly the kinds of things I would love to rant about, I realized again (I do this about once a day with these ladies) how lucky I am to have found them and connected. Some friendships are fast and deep and shock you with their intensity. Others sneak up on you, growing slowly like a tumor until you feel it in every breath you take and you can’t remember what your life before it was like. Some won’t last, but a few might just last forever.

People, friendships, don’t come with warning labels. Even if they did, would you want miss out on the opportunity to love an awesome person, even for a short time?

Trial by fire, my friends. Pain builds character, and every lesson learned is valuable. But the good memories we make on the way are worth every bruise and scar.

♥ Shannon

 

*Hales never says “F word”. I have cleaned this up for the blog. Sorry for censoring you, DB. ♥♥♥

Word of the Week: Minacious

Word of the Week Wednesdays

Minacious- /[mə̇ˈnāshəs]/ – adjective- of a menacing or threatening character

Circa the 1650’s from the Latin stem minaci of minax – “threatening” + ous. Related to “menace”.

This is one of those words it makes me sad to see passing out of vernacular. What say you we bring this one back?

The thunderheads blanketing the mountains had an especially minacious feel this evening. 

He regarded me with such a minacious grin I found myself reaching for my weapon.

♥ Shannon

Trash Pandas From Hell

Attack Tuesdays

CaptureIt didn’t take me long to find overwhelming evidence in support of raccoons being pure evil. A quick internet search turns up hundreds, possibly thousands, of reports of the wily little banditos attacking and killing small pets, going after children, and savaging full grown adult humans.

Thought he was cute? Think again.

tsE4inUQ_400x400Most people would consider raccoon a pest and/or rodent, and they might be surprised to learn that the raccoon is actually more closely related to the bear. When you consider they are omnivores, spectacular climbers, enjoy fishing and are incredibly handsy–it makes a little more sense.

Truly they seem to have the all the rage of a bear tucked compactly into their tiny little bodies.

Raccoons don’t wait for you to offend or threaten them, they come out swinging. My theory is they’re sick of being called pests and disease ridden.

downloadJust because they like to riffle through your garbage and come jamb-packed with roundworms, rabies, and leptospirosis (oh my!) doesn’t mean you get to call pest control every time one ends up in your yard. (Though I do suggest it.)

The problem is, they’re smart little monsters. Do you really think they don’t know what we think of them? Raccoons have feelings too you, you know. Did you ever think of that?

Whatever, better watch yourself when you take out the trash next time.

♥ Shannon

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Fun fact: In German, Chinese, Japanese & Italian the different words for ‘raccoon’ all translate to ‘wash-bear’. And in the Powhatan Native American dialect and Spanish it translates to ‘one who takes everything in it’s hands’.

Giant Malevolent Rabbits

Mythical Mondays

7f145c1358efe6db418011b8856f3c03You can spell it one of a million ways, but no matter which shape the letters take, pooka spells trouble.

Not murder trouble, but definitely mayhem.

The phooka, puca, pooka (or any of the other 8 billion accepted ways to spell it) is a shape shifter of Celtic mythology that seems bent on it’s own amusement. You might think that sounds like fun, but these things are more contrary and changeable than felines.

Plus, if you offend one, you can just kiss your life away. Oh, it won’t kill you. The pooka is a firm believer in ‘to the pain’.

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It will destroy everything you love and totally ruin you.

Unless.

Yes, it offers you an escape route. One wild ride. I kid you not. Offend the pooka and be prepared to take the wildest horseback ride of your life. It won’t kill you, but it will scare the bejeesus out of you.

The thing about the pooka is, it’s very hard to pin down. It can appear as a horse, a cat, dog, rabbit, goat or anything really. It either has black fur, or pure white. It seems the only way you’ll know it is by the glowing golden eyes.

The pooka has the power of human speech, and enjoys holding conversations with humans in which it plays more tricks and delights in confusing them. It’s known for being mischievous, but on rare occasions it can be incredibly benevolent.

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In most cases, when a human surprises the pooka with kindness, it reacts favorably and returns that kindness tenfold.

It’s a fickle beast, and much feared in Irish folklore. Farmers leave behind a bit of their crops for the pooka as a peace offering and November 1st is known as pooka day. It’s the day after harvest is complete, and the only day you are safe from the creature.

It’s only in the last century or so that the pooka has been seen as somewhat more harmless. I blame Jimmy Stewart, personally. He could make a manticore seem sweet.

So don’t forget to put out a little extra grain on October 31st, unless you want to deal with an angry pooka. And if you do piss one off, trust me, it’s best to take the midnight roller-coaster ride on it’s back option.

♥ Shannon