Monday, June 30, 2014

An apology...

I have, on occasion, been less than complimentary to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Today, however, I realize that I owe five of the nine justices a bit of an apology.

To the majority, then, I address this heartfelt apology:  Dear majority who ruled in favor of religious freedom today, I apologize if on occasion I have insinuated that the members of the present SCOTUS could not find their hindquarters even if provided with a map.  Today’s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby proves that at least five of you can do so.  Even if the map has to be both detailed and narrowly constructed.

Still, I will--gratefully--take what I can get.  Every little bit that stands between religious believers and the tyranny of the secular majority counts.  A lot.

Now, protect the nonprofits coming your way, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor or EWTN, and you may earn an actual cheer.  Possibly even two.  (I am reserving three cheers for times when the Court appears to remember to read the actual Constitution before ruling, but to be honest, I don’t expect to see that in my lifetime.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Checking in...

I feel like an absentee blogger these days!  On the bright side, I’m nearly finished with the mermaid/vampire young adult book I’m writing.  Next up: finishing Book Five of Tales of Telmaja while starting to edit Book Three.  Advanced reader team: you may be getting emails soon(ish) to ask you if you want a draft of Book Three sent your way!

If you haven’t found my books’ Facebook page, I think this will take you to Erin Manning, Tales of Telmaja on Facebook.  I’ve been posting regular updates about my writing endeavors as well as my mostly impossible goals there.

My plan is to resume regular blogging sometime in August, when it’s too hot to do much of anything anyway and people might be reading blogs again. :)  See you then!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Happy Birthday, Hatchick!

Technically, I’m still on a bit of a blog break as I work to finish some writing projects and restore some much-needed sanity to the end-of-the school year homeschooling endeavors.  But today we are celebrating the 16th birthday of our beloved youngest girl, affectionately nicknamed “Hatchick” on this blog, and as is our custom I will turn the blog over to her to post whatever she likes!  Without further ado, then, here’s our birthday girl!

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Hello, this is Hatchick!
So far 16 seems a bit different than 15, though I am not sure quite why. Today, I am having a lot of fun with my family, and a certain kitten is having a lot of fun with the blue streamers hung from here and there about the rooms. I am very excited to be 16!
Speaking of kittens, I have been having fun with the camera this year:




It’s Super Smidge!

...Emmett prefers to sleep.


These flowers showed up in our backyard near Easter. They were very small, about the size of a finger. I have no idea what they are, but they were pretty!

Action shot! I waited for a long while to catch a picture (and video, but it isn’t posted here) of these planes as they flew close-by in this formation!


I had hoped that there would be a lot of drawings that I could add here, but unfortunately it appears that I haven’t drawn nearly as much as I thought that I had this past year. Oh well. This picture is a picture of Team Rocket from Pokemon. I first did a sketch of the picture, then colored it with markers, and then uploaded it to the computer and colored it with Seashore.


Thank you so much for reading this post! I am looking forward to a great year!
~Hatchick




Thursday, May 22, 2014

Getting back into fiction writing

I'm still attempting to get back into fiction writing on a regular basis.  The school year is drawing to a close; my second oldest will finish high school in a few weeks (yay!); and it's time I started setting some real deadlines for my two outstanding projects.

So, of course, I've decided to add a third.

It's not another Smijj/Telmaj book, actually.  It's a not-yet-completed story that reads a bit like an alternative universe Regency romance, except that it features evil mermaids, kind-but-slightly-nerdy vampires, and a human girl in the midst of all the faintly Gothic weirdness.

My daughters love this manuscript.  They keep begging me to finish it and make it available through Create Space.  So, even though I need to have Book Three in the Tales of Telmaja series edited and available for sale by late fall at the latest, and even though I need to finish the manuscript of book five, I am also working on finishing the as-yet untitled mermaid/vampire book, with a deadline for the completion of the first draft that is completely ridiculous.

Which is a long way of saying that I'm taking a blog break.  Like most of my breaks, it won't be total silence; I'm sure I'll have things to say.  But for the next few weeks, I won't be posting anything like daily.  For those of you who read my blog daily, your patience, as always, is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The wicked pro-gay marriage culture of stupidity rolls on

So, yet another pathetic judge dreaming of immortality, or at least recognition, decides to toss out Pennsylvania’s sane, sensible definition of marriage in favor of a mishmash of nonsense and offensive rhetoric.  Nobody takes His (dis)Honor apart more satisfactorily than Joe Grabowski in his open letter to the idiot judge:
You see, Your Highness - er, rather, Your Honor ... or, well, which do you prefer? A careful reading of your recent decision leaves me in doubt - I am one of those who believes that the institution of marriage is fundamental to the health of society, and that the family founded upon the union of husband and wife is the sine qua non of a healthy public order. I also believe that the "first of the firsts" of our rights as citizens - the right to free exercise of religion - is most threatened today by attacks upon this institution. Yet you, in your decision issued yesterday, wrote that laws defending this institution should be "discard[ed]... into the ash heap of history.”
That was, by the way, a fabulous turn of phrase. Did you write it, or a clerk? I hope no overtime was spent on it, but I do know how evasive le mot juste can be and how easy to rationalize can be one's attempts in tracking it down. I note especially your careful avoidance of the more standard idiom - pardon me, but I can't help observing the fact, having a Masters in English myself - that you chose not to reference the "dust bin" but the "ash heap." Of course, to non-British readers, perhaps "the ash heap" registers more readily. Or perhaps did you intend something more? There have been, after all, those in history who have suggested that laws attested in Holy Writ be ultimately relegated to "the ash heap" - and perhaps you meant purposefully to ascend to their ranks? [...]
You write further in your decision that '[w]e as a people are better than what these laws represent" - with "these laws" referring to enactments such as Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996. Here, I'm afraid, I must beg to disagree. Saint Paul tells us that marriage between a man and a woman is a type of the relation which Christ has to His Church. Whether you agree with me that that Man was divine, you must certainly admit that there's a certain beauty to Saint Paul's assertion in this regard. Yet, as I look around the world today, I don't see that beauty reflected in marriage. Men and women don't seem to bear the same manner of commitment in approaching marriage as Christ bore on his way to the Golgotha. They don't seem to be willing to commit 'til death do them part, or to the sacrificial and self-giving love exemplified in Christ's outpouring on the Cross. They seem much more apt to prefer their own advancement, their own good, than the good of the other - to say nothing of the good of the only-as-yet-imagined others that might spring from their sexual union, their children. Sex is for their benefit first, and not ordered toward the good of others. And so when it results unexpectedly in a new life, it seems to be the case that often one or the other - and I'm ashamed to say, it is most usually the man - will run from the obligation implied in the act of depositing his or her seminal biological potential into an equation outside of his or her complete management. Thus, we have "dead-beat dads" and so many other social ills.
In the face of such problems, I am inclined to think that we need, if anything, to bolster the notion that sexual congress demands commitment, that responsibility to the consequences of one's sexual actions are demanded by the choice to engage in those actions. I am also inclined to think that we grow stronger as a society to the extent that men and women accept such responsibility and do not look at the first opportunity to pass it on to the broader population. And I am finally inclined to think that there is no better way of maintaining and communicating such expectations than promoting the institution of marriage.
Joe’s letter is superb; I hope you will go and read the whole thing.

I am afraid I am not capable of writing such a letter to the judge myself, not only because I am not a resident of Pennsylvania, but also because such a letter would require me to pretend to respect the judge.  And I don’t respect him.  Under that black robe is the soul of a political prostitute, a charlatan who cares nothing for law or justice and everything for the prevailing winds of political opinion.  At least when Richard Rich sold his soul for the praise and acclaim of the powerful and pretty, he got Wales in the bargain.  Jones doesn’t even get Pennsylvania, and I have to think that those American Humanist banquets are more along the lines of appropriate punishment than any sort of reward.  But maybe, if he grovels and spins and bootlicks and toad-eats just a bit more, he’ll be invited to play himself on some upcoming episode of Modern Family, or something.  Which would be just about the most fitting reward for his service I can imagine.

The wicked pro-gay marriage culture of stupidity rolls on apace.  But the craven and the evil and the stupid have been trying to destroy virtue ever since a certain Crucifixion, and they won’t succeed now, either.  Their victories will all be Pyrrhic and their celebrations short-lived.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Back on Facebook

Well, I'm back on Facebook!

And if you go to my Tales of Telmaja blog, you can find the nifty Facebook button along with the super-neat email and Amazon(tm) buttons my talented oldest girl and her super-sweet aunt made for me.  'Cause I'm hopeless at this stuff. :)

Visit the Tales of Telmaja Facebook page if you're a fan of the book series!  And check back for updates on the editing of Book Three, the completion of the first draft of Book Five (soon, I hope!) and other important information for Smijj fans and Telmaj followers. :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

The call to love

I missed this May 9 tweet on Pope Francis' Twitter account:


I love this tweet for three reasons:

1. It shows our Holy Father's gentle sense of humor.

2. It shows that our Holy Father recognizes something that some priests and bishops honestly don't seem to: that married life, with all its consolations, isn't somehow "the easy road" as compared to priesthood or religious life.  To be fair, I've known lay married people who think that priesthood or religious life is "the easy road" because it doesn't involve toddlers and 2 a.m. feedings or the sheer amount of recreational vomiting children seem to be capable of, and that's not the right way of looking at those vocations either.  The truth is that the path to sanctity--to holiness--is a sacrificial path no matter what one's vocation, as His Holiness points out.

3. It contains in a nutshell the Church's teaching that marriage involves a total gift of self to other.  One reason the Church will never accept gay marriage or adulterous marriage or any other perversion of marriage is because you can't be giving yourself as a free and total and sacrificial gift to someone while at the same time actively participating in gravely sinful conduct with that person that could well lead to that person's eternal damnation.  The definition of love, like the definition of marriage, presumes that you want only the best for the person you love--and eternal damnation isn't something anyone wants for his or her beloved.  Is this hard?  Yes, whether you are gay, whether you are a heterosexual adulterer, whether you really want to live with someone you can't marry in the Church, because love IS hard. Love IS sacrifice.  But it is also joy, which is something that gravely sinful conduct never, ever is.

Marriage, like every Christian vocation, calls us to empty ourselves of our selfish and sinful desires, to take up our Cross, and to follow Christ.  There are tremendous joys in marriage as there are in priesthood or religious life or even the call to remain single for the sake of the Kingdom.  This is contrary to what the world preaches, the empty false gospel of instant gratification and total selfishness. But the call to love and the call to sacrifice are always the same call.