Tuesday, June 15, 2021

It's Time to Stop Romanticizing the Past

   I hear it all the time from many people I know. "It wasn't like this back in [insert era]." "Kids these days are so weak. They aren't raised like they used to. Kids used to be tough." "Back in the Colonial era [or the days of the Ancient Israelites, or what have you], there weren't any teenagers. Kids grew up a lot faster. None of this nonsense we have now." Or "America used to be such a God-fearing nation, and look at us now! If only America was the same as it was in the day of the Founders." "In World War Two, we had real men, and now, young men get PTSD from social media posts!" I've even heard someone say that this is the only era where kids really disobey their parents, that before modern times, children obeyed without question.
   Look. I won't deny that the past had its bright spots. We wouldn't have civilization without the bright spots of the past. But, much like human nature itself, the history of the world is a long, varied history of misery and destruction and sin. We tend to focus only on the brightness of the past as contrasted with our present mistakes, but that gives us a rose-colored view of history.  This age isn't any better or worse than any previous time. The eras of the past did not have it more together than we do. The miseries we focus on that we claim are all our own are often reflected in the past by similar miseries.


   1. The past century is hardly the first with US government overreach. John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers, the second president of the United States, pressed for and signed laws that made it illegal to speak out against the president or government. He thought such talk was treasonous and would doom the republic. He made sure newspapers were shut down and people were jailed for criticizing him. Incidentally, this is the primary reason he was a one-term president.

   2. Abraham Lincoln had many instances of government overreach. Among those was calling up the militias of various states without prior authorization from the proper parties, writing executive orders that were treated as legislation even though he had no jurisdiction over the places he attempted to order around (ever heard of the Emancipation Proclamation, anyone?), and suspending the right of habeas corpus (that is, the right to be brought to court to determine whether you were lawfully imprisoned).
  
   3. The ancient Israelites did indeed declare their children adults at around the age our children become teenagers, which is understandable for a time when life expectancies are incredibly low and the most important part of becoming an adult is producing offspring. This, however, does not mean they were wiser than we are or that their teenagers were more mature than ours or that any of the ancient Israelites had it more together than we do. Here's a short list of things the ancient Israelites frequently did based only on Old Testament accounts: 
    sacrifice their children on burning altars to the idol Molech
    worship the literal sun
    sell their neighbors and each other into slavery
    frequently gang rape travelers (Judges 19, in case you were wondering)
    fight a civil war over said gang rape, ostracize an entire state, then kidnap Israelite women and force them to marry random men just to make up for rash promises made in the heat of battle
    sacrifice their children in the name of God (also in Judges, just so you know)
    worship any and every god that came along from other places
   frequently practice polygamy
    set up Temple prostitutes (not the gender you're thinking of) right outside the Temple built by Solomon
    somehow lose the Law of Moses for generations, multiple times
    occasionally resort to cannibalism and petition the king to mediate because one woman killed her son and ate him and the neighbor broke her promise to do the same
   I could go on, but I feel like I've made my point.

   4. The vice president of Thomas Jefferson killed a prominent politician while he was in office. Aaron Burr's political career was ruined after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

   5. While many Americans during the Colonial era were Christians, or at least attending church, the Enlightenment was spreading through Europe, an atheistic movement that depended on reason to figure out truth. This movement did not leave America untouched either.

   6. And let's not forget the glaringly obvious issue of the Colonial era we so hold up. Yes, many of the Founders hated slavery, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. But it was still very legal and very present in America and pretty much everywhere else in the world. Not to mention all the
    smallpox
    malaria
    yellow fever
    measles
    bad water
    dysentery
    cholera
    terrible medical practices such as bleeding
    surgery without anesthesia
    lack of running water
    high infant mortality rates
    backbreaking laundry and scalding soap
    reliance on wooden ships for overseas products
    no air condition
    general disregard for women
    lack of decent education available to the poor
    a life expectancy of 36 
    the church bells rang for the dead so much that they were deemed by law to be a public nuisance

   7. Talk about race riots. Back in the 1850s, there was literal guerilla warfare on both sides of the issue of whether Kansas would enter the union as a free or slave state.

   8. While I forever honor the sacrifices of the generation that fought in World War II, this is not to diminish them. However, we still ought to acknowledge their faults. For instance, the lack of regard for mental health professionals and mental disorders that led to many veterans struggling alone with alcoholism and other addictions, PTSD, and pornography. Not to mention the higher rates of domestic violence, disregard for women, and polio. Also, this was the generation that fully endorsed eugenics and even began practicing it until the news of the Holocaust broke.

   The point I'm trying to make is that while there were good things about the past, there were also plenty of bad things, and we can't pretend like there weren't. Many in mainstream society tend to only focus on the negative aspects of history, but we can't let this drive us to only focus on the positive aspects. Both are dishonest and don't lead to a proper understanding of the past. For if we don't know the mistakes of the past, how can we hope to not repeat them?

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Actorek: The Void

   My sister's new book is coming out! Check it out below! I'd say more about it, but my brain is mush from studying for a college term paper and all I have the brain capacity to talk about right now is Martin Luther's view on the Jews, so just see below for more information about this awesome book.

 


About the Book

 Which would you choose—save your sister or save the world?

 Emma Edsel’s first priority has always been protecting her blind sister Carla. So when Carla begins to develop science-defying abilities that threaten her life, Emma will stop at nothing to save her. With nowhere else to turn, she seeks help from Mitchell, the new boy at school who seems to know much more about it than he will admit.

 After his last mission went horribly awry, Mitchell Banks is relieved to have a simple task: seal a small, accidental portal between Earth and other worlds in the multiverse. He didn’t count on his growing feelings for Emma—and the dangerous levels of dimension energy contaminating Carla.

 Carla knows the voice in her head is evil. Manipulative. Feeding her with a strange energy she can control. She doesn’t know that she is the key to a coming global catastrophe and Mitchell’s boss will use any means possible to prevent it…including blackmailing him into murdering her.

 

Buy Now!

 

Add to Goodreads

 

About the Author



Morgan Elizabeth Huneke fell in love with sci-fi and fantasy at age seven when she first read A Wrinkle in Time and The Chronicles of Narnia. In the time since, she’s spent an inordinate amount of time exploring new realms and bygone eras through countless books, movies, and TV shows. She also spends a great deal of time talking to her imaginary friends and writing down their stories in books such as the Time Captives fantasy trilogy and Twisted Dreams, a sci-fi/fantasy Sleeping Beauty novella. On the occasion she remembers she lives in Georgia in the 21st century, she can be found working at the local library, playing and teaching violin and piano, singing along to Disney and Broadway soundtracks, making casseroles while blaring Casting Crowns, sewing her own clothes, turning pirouettes in the kitchen, and volunteering for political campaigns. 

 

Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of Acktorek: The Void! Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 Monday, October 26

·       Tour Announcement at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke

·       Book Review at Living Outside the Lines

·       Author Interview at Isamonkey Reviews

 

Tuesday, October 27

·       Book Spotlight at Jaye L. Knight

·       Author Interview at Living Outside the Lines

·       Interview with Emma at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke

 

Wednesday, October 28

·       Book Spotlight at The Music of a Story

·       Interview with Mitchell at Living Outside the Lines

 

Thursday, October 29

·       Book Review at Tricia Mingerink

·       Interview with Carla at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke

 

Friday, October 30

·       Tour Wrap-Up at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

32 Signs You're a Star Wars Super Fan

    AKA Signs you're a huge Star Wars nerd.

1. You know the difference between an AT-AT and an AT-ST.

Via Pinterest

2. You will correct anyone who confuses the two.

3. You know who Sy Snootles is.

Via Pinterest

4. You know who Sy Snootle's ex-boyfriend is.

Via Pinterest

5. You really wish you didn't know that Sy Snootles ever had a boyfriend.

6. You know who Maximilian Veers is.

7. You can pick him out in The Empire Strikes Back.

Via Pinterest

8. You know he has a son named Zevulon Veers that joined the Rebels.

9. You know that Jar-Jar Binks has a girlfriend.

Via Pinterest

10. Not only do you know who Mara Jade is, you know what year she was born, the color of her eyes, and the manner of her death. And her employer. And the colors of her various lightsabers.

11. You can trace the path Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber took through its life. In both Star Wars universes.

12. You're afraid to know how many times you've watched Star Wars.

13. You know who Bib Fortuna is the instant you hear his name.

Via Pinterest

14. You've heard of Tatooine, Klatooine, and Dantooine and know the differences between each planet.

15. You know Obi-Wan Kenobi's home planet's name.

16. You know who Porkins is.

Via Pinterest

17. You know the band "Figran Dan and the Modal Nodes." And you enjoy their music.

Via Pinterest

18. You can hear any Star Wars quote and instantly know what movie it's from, who said it, and what's happening in the scene it's in.

19. The Star Wars music from any part of any of the first six (or the only) movies is instantly recognizable to you, even though you don't listen to the soundtrack that often.

20. You know who Yaddle is and where she came from.

Via Pinterest

21. You know every change George Lucas made to every Star Wars movie. And you don't actually hate all of them.

22. You know who Captain Panaka and Captain Typho are, and that Typho is Panaka's nephew.

23. You know what model of freighter the Millennium Falcon is...though of course it's heavily modified.

24. You know the names of the seven different lightsaber forms.

25. You know that while he was a padawan, Obi-Wan favored Ataru, but after Qui-Gon's death, he switched to Soresu.

26. You know that Qui-Gon Jinn wasn't all that great of a master.

27. You know that he only accepted Obi-Wan as his apprentice after Obi-Wan threatened to blow himself up to save Qui-Gon's life.

28. You know what an ysalamiri is and can recognize it in the background of any scene.

Via Pinterest

29. You know that Jan Dodonna and Crix Madine both used to be Imperials.

30. You know that in Legends, Thrawn could not have disappeared into Wild Space with Ezra Bridger before the Battle of Yavin because he was briefly mentioned as Captain Thrawn meeting with the emperor after the Death Star blew up in Rebel Force with Crix Madine.

31. You know that Sebulba bought Anakin's pod when Qui-Gon sold it.

32. You know that Luke Skywalker once podraced.

I can't believe I know all that. What obscure Star Wars facts do you know?

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

How Pride Changed the World



    Pride is the downfall of humanity. It can be found everywhere, in every man. Even those who are humble are often, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, proud of their humility. But the unlikeliest of outcomes can emerge from the pride of a few men. 

   Way back in 1763, life was good in the American colonies. The people had formed militias, marched alongside their British brethren, and defeated the French. A new land was open for settlement and opportunities, and that was all thanks to their British domination. They were proud to be British subjects. They were happy.

   Others were not so happy. Fighting wars is expensive, and the British government had dug themselves into a money hole. No matter, they thought. We'll just raise taxes. The colonists in America will surely be glad to help finance the war we fought and won for them. 

   And they were right. The American colonists would have been perfectly happy to comply and give them everything they asked for. But a simple, ordinary event turned into a world-changing one. Something that should have been easy and barely a mark on the history books turned into the revolution that would rock the world. What happened?

   See, the colonists in America all saw themselves as normal British subjects with the rights of British subjects, just as if they were living in England. They had set up their own governments and legislatures akin to Parliament that were recognized by the crown as the only legitimate government for the colonies. After all, it was impossible because of the distance to ever have Parliament govern the colonies. And those governments were happy to do the crown's bidding just as Parliament was. All the king had to do was ask for a tax, and the governments would levy a tax. They had never denied a request for a tax before and they had no plans to change now.

   However, a certain pride had overtaken many in England, especially in the government. The colonists in America weren't seen anymore as equals, but as second-class, inferior to the people and government in England, unable to govern themselves properly, and bound to obey the government of Great Britain in all things. They didn't see the colonists as deserving of the English rights protected by the Magna Charta and the Glorious Revolution and so valued by all British subjects. They were simply servants, akin to the people living in the Caribbean or India or any other British colony.

   So the British government didn't ask the colonies to levy taxes to help pay for the war. They simply levied a tax themselves. The infamous Stamp Act of 1765 was this tax. And the colonists were furious. They were a people with a rich history of peaceful rebellion and restraint on government. They had certain prized rights that their ancestors had defied kings to ensure. They weren't going to take an incursion on their rights lightly. The colonists formed a congress made up of representatives from their legislatures that wrote up a petition politely telling the king that Parliament had no jurisdiction over them and could he please reign in the excesses and power grab of Parliament? Less politely, the colonists made the lives of Stamp Act collectors so miserable no one wanted the job, and Parliament was forced to repeal the Stamp Act.

   The incident could have ended there. But pride reared its ugly head and set the course of history on a different path. While repealing the Stamp Act, the members of Parliament declared that they did indeed have all authority to do whatever they wanted to the colonists. They told the colonists that they were indeed represented in Parliament, but virtually. In the same way as children, women, criminals, and the mentally insane weren't competent enough to elect their own representatives, but still represented by the members of Parliament, so too were the colonists.

   Naturally, the colonists didn't take such an insult well at all. They didn't appreciate suddenly becoming second-class citizens when they'd been equals to mainland British subjects for so long. So when the Townshend Acts were passed, they were completely ignored. And the path had been set. The British government would not budge in treating the colonists like the second-class citizens they believed them to be, and the colonists would not let themselves be abused without a fight. British pride and superiority had destroyed the amicable relationship of the British and the American colonists.

   And the rest? Well, it's history.



Monday, September 14, 2020

Actorek The Void Cover Reveal

   This is the moment you've all been waiting for! The moment you see the glorious picture advertising my sister's new book! And 
here


it


is!

   What? You mean you didn't come to my post to see a picture of a fife and drum corps in Williamsburg, VA? The horror!


   Perhaps this is what you came to see?

via GIPHY



   All right, all right, I'll stop playing around. Here's the actual cover!



*****Coming October 26!*****

 Which would you choose—save your sister or save the world?

 Emma Edsel’s first priority has always been protecting her blind sister Carla. So when Carla begins to develop science-defying abilities that threaten her life, Emma will stop at nothing to save her. With nowhere else to turn, she seeks help from Mitchell, the new boy at school who seems to know much more about it than he will admit.

 After his last mission went horribly awry, Mitchell Banks is relieved to have a simple task: seal a small, accidental portal between Earth and other worlds in the multiverse. He didn’t count on his growing feelings for Emma—and the dangerous levels of dimension energy contaminating Carla.

 Carla knows the voice in her head is evil. Manipulative. Feeding her with a strange energy she can control. She doesn’t know that she is the key to a coming global catastrophe and Mitchell’s boss will use any means possible to prevent it…including blackmailing him into murdering her.

 

Preorder the book here: https://amzn.to/2F4LyFc

 Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3lNHie2


   I also got the chance to harass interview my sister about the upcoming book. Read the interview down below!

What is your favorite Italian dish? ;)

I know you want me to say spaghetti. ;) Nope. I’m torn between lasagna and chicken parmesan, but I think I’ll go with chicken parmesan. And hey, there’s only one spaghetti meal left in the book.

What character do you most want to wrap in bubble wrap?

Um, I think the answer to that could end up being spoilery. So I’m just going to say one of the three POV characters. And once you get to the end of the book, I bet you will be able to figure it out.

Who’s your favorite sister?

How could you ask such a question? I mean, you proclaimed yourself the favorite sister when you took me to Endgame, but Bekah says if you were really the favorite sister, you wouldn’t have to ask. XD


   I know it's me. 


   Don't miss this awesome new book!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Poison's Dance Review

 

What are the Tattered Slippers?

The Tattered Slippers are six retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses by six different authors, each one fantastic and magical. You don’t want to miss any of them!

View the rest of the blog tour here: https://kendrasgiraffecrafts.blogspot.com/p/tattered-slippers-blog-tour.html



If he falls to the lure of the curse, the dance might trap him forever.

Alex has survived his first year as high king. The new counsel has improved cooperation between the kingdoms, and peace seems achievable. When the Tuckawassee queen sends him an invitation he can’t refuse, Alex must once again face his greatest threat for the sake of peace.

Princess Tamya of Tuckawassee, along with her eleven sisters, has danced from sunset until sunrise every night of her life. It is her gift and her curse. When Queen Valinda wishes to use the power their cursed dance gives them to rule all of Tallahatchia, Tamya must decide if she will do what is right even if it betrays her own sister.

Daemyn Rand has survived a hundred years' worth of battles. All he wants to do now is safely marry his princess. Will he be forced to choose between the love of his life and the high king he has loyally served for years?

They have faced certain death before. This time, they might not make it out alive.

Don’t miss this re-envisioning of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale.

My Review:

All right. This book clinched it. Alex is basically King Arthur (a la BBC). Not saying why until the end under a spoiler tag, but...yup. He's Arthur.

Alex has friends! Actual friends! I'm so proud of him! He's not lonely anymore! This book is definitely my favorite so far. So much Alex!

Gah! I'm not sure how much I can talk about this book without spoilers. My favorite part was at the end!

Alex is growing so much. He's earning his people's respect and working hard and pulling the nation together...

Daemyn's actually starting to grow pretty close to Alex, which makes me happy. Friendships are give and take, after all.

Was there more to this book than Alex? Yes. Do I care? No.

I really loved the portrayal of love in this book. Not saying much because spoilers, but single lady representation, people. It's super rare in books. I really appreciate that it's here in this book.

SPOILERS

Gah, so the part where Alex drank the hemlock? EPIC. Such an Arthur thing to do. Remember that episode with the unicorn where there's a glass of "poison" and Merlin tries to tell Arthur to let him drink it, but Arthur says, "You know me, Merlin. I never listen to you," and drinks it anyway? Yeah. Basically this. Daemyn's like, "I knew the other shoe would drop, I've died multiple times, it's better that I die anyway, I'm not the High King, just give me the poison," and Alex goes, "Nope," and downs it all. I'm so proud of him and that is definitely my favorite part, but AAA! He came so close to dying, y'all! I once read a Dear America book where a bunch of little kids got poisoned by water hemlock, so I knew the potency of the poison and that there's NO FREAKING ANTIDOTE. NONE. And yet this guy drank the poison. Wow.

END SPOILER

Just read this book. You won't regret it.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Poisons-Dance-Dancing-Princesses-Retelling-ebook/dp/B0873YZKZS/

Add Book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53251983-poison-s-dance?

Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn't writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.
Find her online at: Website ||  Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Instagram || Amazon 

 

 




Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Problem with Having "Christian Leaders"

   We have a tendency as humans to revere and look up to people. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing. When directed towards our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that's a wonderful thing. But when we start directing this tendency towards regular people, we start getting into dangerous territory.
   Now, I could take this post a variety of ways, but I specifically want to look at the way the church views big-name theologians, or those sometimes referred to as "Christian leaders". People like John Piper, Francis Chan, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Franklin Graham, even people like Charles Spurgeon, C. S. Lewis, John Calvin, and Martin Luther. Without a doubt, I could go to any church in the country and find a majority of churchgoers who revere one of these people or someone like them.
   So what are the dangers? What's wrong with having revered Christian leaders in the faith community? There's nothing wrong with having a healthy respect for and learning from someone. However, especially in the Christian community, we have to be careful when elevating certain people above the rest, placing them on pedestals, and saying, "Look at that man. He's so wise! He is the perfect example of a Christian in today's world."
   While there are some Christians given the gift and the calling to lead others in worship in a variety of ways, that doesn't mean those called to lead are suddenly now wiser and smarter and holier than the rest of us. So often, though, I see this mindset creeping in. Whenever a Christian is listening to a speech by someone who might not be a Christian, we tend to listen closer and test their statements before believing them. But when it's one of our own, too often we turn off our brains and take everything they say as gospel truth.
   "Take it with a grain of salt." We do this whenever we know somebody is saying something that could very well not be true. But why don't we do this all the time? No matter how wise or intelligent or well-read a person is, they're still just one person with one perspective. We live in a flawed world. Not one of us is right all the time. So why do we treat certain people as if they are the authorities on what the Bible says? Maybe John Piper, Francis Chan, and Franklin Graham know more about the Bible than you, but maybe they don't. I can guarantee they're not right about everything they claim the Bible teaches. No one is.
   This tendency to treat certain people as the leaders, the authorities, and the exemplaries of the Christian faith can get even more dangerous when those leaders fall. I'm not talking about minor mistakes in theology, I'm talking about major mistakes. Sometimes this takes the form of a once-revered leader descending into strange theology and cult-like teachings. Sometimes it's a news story about a beloved pastor secretly engaging in adultery, pornography, rape, or some other kind of sexual deviancy. Sometimes it's a belief about the Jewish people that helps contribute to the mass murder of millions.
   People make mistakes. Sometimes, they make massive mistakes. And when the people making the massive, public mistakes have been practically worshipped by the Christian community, it damages our witness. Just because someone says something smart or even wise about the Christian faith doesn't mean they are smarter, wiser, more knowledgeable, or holier than you. No matter who the person is, we must always always always test what they say. Take everything with a grain of salt. Never become a follower of a person other than Jesus. Never assume that because a person says one wise thing, they're a good Christian leader, or even a good man.


What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?... For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? --1 Corinthians 1:12-13, 19-20  ESV