Violent Video Games, Alcohol & Guns Are a Bad Mix, Even for a Praying Man

Wow, nearly 24 hours since my last entry. Much has been learned about yesterday’s shooter. It seems he was a very disturbed man with a military background who loved violent video games, heavy drink, and guns. That’s a dangerous mix for any person. To exacerbate the problem he had obviously reached out for help after calling emergency services to acknowledge that he was hearing voices through microwave frequencies. I haven’t seen the news today, and gleaned this from a radio news report, but the fact that he called for help leads me to believe that any help he received most likely included SSRI drugs for PTSD.

While in grad school one of my last research papers focused on soldiers suffering from debilitating stress disorders, compounded by alcohol and drug addictions in many cases. Case study after case study revealed how behind closed doors wives and other family members are striving to live normal lives amidst returning soldiers realizing there are no signature jobs with their names on it, and returning to the stark quiet of a college classroom left them unable to function and focus in these settings, thus dropping out in many cases.

Professional counseling sessions left them with prescriptions for hard-core drugs that only compounded their problems, as most served as a numbing agent, forfeiting the ability to coherently address the root of their problems.

So, yesterday morning when I heard on the radio that there was a shooter at a military base in D.C., I have to admit I wasn’t shocked. Unlike previous occasions when a mass-killing event took place, I didn’t bother seeking out a television to watch the reel-in reel-out takes looping over and over. I noticed, too, that the morning show I was listening to did not even mention the event as it unfolded though it was live radio. At first I thought the show was taped, but discussion of current events let me know it was airing in actual time which left me to believe that the host simply chose not to fill her precious three hours of air time talking about something that has happened far too many times in recent months, years.

If anything can be gleaned from the most recent incident, is parents are responsible for what goes into their children’s ear and eye gates. Ironically, I also did a research paper on the connection between mass-shootings and violence in video games, as I am convinced that filling a mind with darkness will eventually penetrate into the light through malbehaviors. I learned in my research that the primary reason video-game manufacturers are not more scrutinized than they are, is because they are a multi-billion dollar industry and have enough money to win legal battles in major court cases.

But let’s face it, this guy knew he was in deep with anger issues, and whatever help he sought obviously wasn’t enough. In my field of counseling, sadly, most clinicians are required to have Ph.D.’s to address people with mental health issues. The statutes on counseling really need to change because in many cases, clients simply need an ear to listen, and compassion to know that the healing they are in need of involves the Great Physician, more than someone in a white lab coat, with a white prescription pad, scribbling Big Pharma drama as the solution.

I couldn’t help but think, what if he didn’t have violent video games in the equation, nor alcohol issues, how his problems might have been more manageable. Oh yes, I must not forget that he was hearing voices. In the days to come, I am sure he was on some anti-anxiety meds for post-traumatic stress.  This guy was a perfect example of what happens when you measure competency by degrees and licenses. One last thing: In my last post I mentioned the need for prayer to return to the public school. I stand by that belief today, despite the fact that I have learned that the shooter was indeed a praying man, as he spent hours at a Buddhist temple. I’m sure it was shoddy reporting, but I could have sworn that someone said he listened to Buddhist chants while playing violent video games. That doesn’t make sense, so don’t quote me on that. But, wow. There’s a lot more I want to say, but I’ll end with this: By now the guy has been given a chance to meet Jesus; Who has given him ears to hear and eyes to see that the way to the Father is by Him. Let's pray that as his knee bowed at this knowledge, mercy was granted, and he found an entrance into heaven's gates with the others who, most likely, lost their lives at the hand of a deranged sniper.


A Name is But A Name; or Maybe Not

Now that my book has been released, I'd like to share a little about 'her' to continue decompressing from the hard work it took to bring the endeavor to life. I'll keep it brief and to the point. For those of us who have had to name our children, for most of us the name just breathed into our spirit, sometimes hours before the little gift of joy arrived.
For me, the title Letters to My Daughters came to me one day out of the blue while I was writing. As the words came together on the page it seemed appropriate that this memoir was becoming a conglomerate of essays about personal life-lessons that I want to be passed down generationally; thus the title Letters to My Daughters. In this knowing, probably about midways the writing of the book, I simply adopted it scribbling L2MD notes on many edits.
When the day arrived for her to be launched onto the Kindle scene, I uploaded the cover and the book, content with having given it my best. As a perfectionist in recovery, my best is never really my best, I just have to let her rip at some point or nothing would ever get done. A few days after the acknowledgment that the book had published, I signed in to take a second look.
I queried the book title in the Google search engine and did not find it there. To my initial lament, I did see other authors who had similar and same titles as my own. I saw that the President has a book with a similar title, and Maya Angelou has a singular tense of my book title. And to top it off, there are several authors who have adopted the exact book title as my own. Clearly, looking at the published dates, it's more that I adopted a title the same as theirs without a clue that this title had already been used in various ways.
I said my initial emotion was lament; that after all of my hard work, I was sharing a title. It's kind of like naming a child. I thought the name would be unique and 'catchy'. No, it turns out it's more like Jan, Mary, Sue. Of course no offense to people who own these names; simply making a point.
However, soon after that initial disappointment, I took pause and realized some very well-known people, including one of my favorite authors had launched books several years earlier with a similar mindset, and I was humbly honored; sort of like, great minds think alike.
That's it. Thanks for letting me decompress on your shoulder a bit. I genuinely appreciate it.

Sadly,Today's Mass Shooting Almost Taken In Stride

Wow, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this morning’s shooting seemed much like ‘another day; more of the same.’ Is God removing His Hand of Favor from the U.S.? While I’d like to think not so, it seems every new 24 hours brings with it another tragedy, another sorrow.
Just last week we memorialized September 11th, twelve years removed. While it’s hard to believe it’s been more than a decade since that epic drama unfolded before the world’s eyes, I look at today’s America and realize that the primary perpetrator’s goal seems to be succeeding. For those who may not know, or don’t remember, the toppling of the Twin Towers was symbolic of a plan to destroy the American economy. Thankfully my children are old enough to remember the heinous act of that day. And gratefully, they don’t feel the crunch of the economy as much as some, it is clear that the America they live in, in many ways is far removed from the America I grew up in. No, it was not a perfect America even then, no country ever is. But, I grew up in a much simpler time when stores closed on Sundays; a morning prayer was recited in the public schools every day, and girls wore dresses,boys wore pants (really!)
However, today with the inception of the internet, buying and selling is a 24-hour exchange. The talk of praying in school is denied because well, it might offend people who don’t choose to pray. Whether acknowledged or not, our country was founded on the Christian faith. But, that’s not even the largest issue at hand here. The issue is that children cannot pray, no matter what their religious faith is. I remain hopeful that prayer will return to the classrooms of the U.S. even if it means that people of differing faiths pray in mutually exclusive rooms. You see, God says clearly in His Word to us that if we deny Him, ultimately He will deny us.
Decades later we see where locking Him out of the classrooms has gotten us. Evil has been unleashed and continues to grow; as otherwise lifetime teachers leave after a few years, out of fear of losing their sanity, and some their lives. I had the grand experience of teaching for a few years. I watched kindergartners literally bounce off walls, as they were known commonly as ‘crack’ babies. While the praying teachers may not have been able to lead the class in prayer, it did not stop us from silently praying with fervor for the class to not be destroyed by one or two of these children who entered our classes each year.
Yes, I grew up in a time when girls had to wear dresses to school. We wore pants at home and most other places, excluding church; but, dresses were a requisite for girls. Grant it, what a student wears to school matters a lot less than what moral values they come cloaked in. For some children, cursing out the teacher is standard norm; and have parents who blame the teacher for the child acting out. It’d be laughable it wasn't sad.
I realize I have traversed far from the original direction of this entry; however, I can only believe that America and her children would be better-served if something as powerful as prayer was welcomed back in schools. Recently, we rallied a call to our government officials to not vote for an attack on Syria. Today, we would do well to start petitions outside the church doors as people are leaving; to sign in favor of mandating a return to morning prayers in public schools. I will always remember that one lone vociferous atheist who succeeded against the silent majority in casting this treasured tradition outside school walls. And look where that’s gotten us.
I won’t expound any further. Unless you've been living under a rock I think you know how violent video-game obsessions and vulgar music has contaminated the hearts, minds and souls of too many young people. They are allowed to be pumped up with synthetic drugs to calm them down, and then given alternate prescriptions when they’re too dumbed down. We tire them out with a lot of never-to-be-used knowledge, while denying them the very thing in life that helps ground most people: a functioning faith and belief that there is a God of this vast universe who despite modern-day calamities genuinely loves His children.
No single person will bring America to her knees. Her own people will stand accountable at the judgment for not standing for the God they say they believe in. Every time a Christian votes for something that is anti the Word of God, they may as well say they’re asking God to turn His back on America. Today, America is the most free-willy nation she has ever been. Gays can marry. Heterosexuals don’t have to marry, just live together and have multiple ‘baby’ mamas. Smoking weed, though obviously a brain-cell destroyer for the recreational user, has been made legal in several states. And, people get paid to not work under the guise of ‘unemployment’. We won’t talk about how student-loans are the new payday lender for many young people, even if they don’t realize it as such.
Enough said. Another day. Another mass shooting. As sad as it is for everyone involved, and for those not directly involved as well, I am seriously not surprised. Let’s turn it around America. Do your part. Remember, to not be part of the solution is to be part of the, say it with me, all together now, PROBLEM!


Welcoming the Arrival of My New Baby "Letters to My Daughters" at Kindle BookStore

This blog is to share a birthing experience I recently encountered. No, not your typical, nine-month til date of delivery, it's a girl, it's a boy, it's twins type of pregnancy. This birthing experience, although as grueling as any woman's most difficult labor, was the coming-to-full term launch of my first book as a published author. Yoohoo! I almost teared up, and beamed with great joy when I received the congratulatory kudos from Kindle that "Letters to My Daughters" was ready for sale in the bookstore. I had fulfilled my goal of becoming a published author, a daring attempt to share a God-talent with underlying hopes of making the world a teeny-bit better place. However I came to the realization that all authors no matter how humbly they claim to write for no other sake than writing, have a desire to be encouraged by his or her readers, both verbally and financially.

Let me be among the many writers in the virtual world to say that writing is hard work. No, let me expound a bit further. Writing is very, very, very, hard work; especially when you edit, format, and design your own cover, having never had the experience beforehand. In so many ways, this experience as a self-publisher was congruous to the actual pregnancies I experienced in my twenties. There was the exhilaration when I realized that the Holy-Ghost had planted a seed in my spirit, that actually began to grow from the first line, to months and months later, thousands of words coming together to form sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters, with a beginning, middle, and an end.

There were days when the book slept in my 'womb'; although, I knew it was still growing, as I jotted notes on my portable device to add when I nestled up to my PC. There were days when I bore the grave concerns associated with almost losing this creative endeavor when months into the 'pregnancy' my system was hacked, almost causing me to lose something, clearly, I had begun to love. After a  successful System Restore I was able to retrieve the document and learned how precious a flash drive is to an author. I began to see it as an ultrasound scanner that provides proof of the health and sex of a child. If I wrote, or edited even one single line, I felt the need to flash the change; because the book's consistent growing seemed so much like the embryos that had graced my womb decades ago. I believed that the continuous nurturing with love would result in a full-term delivery by the grace of God.

And graced me He did. A couple of weeks before her delivery, I began to have those nagging pangs that come near the end of a pregnancy, as a hint that the birthing process was near. I went to sleep thinking about the loose ends I needed to tie up before the arrival. I woke up with a strong yen to read and research the best ways to bring her forth into the universe via formatting with the least amount of pain, suffering and drama. I drew strength from my real-life pregnancies and knew that this work God had started in my spirit was going to be birthed to completion.

About three days after the final edit, I began experiencing the proverbial labor pains. I knew that the time was drawing near to bring forth this creative work into the universe. I was both excited and anxious at knowing I was so close to giving birth. Finally, the time arrived. In my mind, the calling up of the Kindle Publishing site was like the water breaking, and the point-of-no-return beginning. Uploading my work to the site was like the first significant labor pang. I hit the publish button and received an "invalid formatting" message. AHHHHHH!!!!!! Ok, unlike a real pregnancy, I simply took a deep breath, and went to the Kindle Guide to see what it would take to correct it. But, indeed, after hours and hours of perseverance, and several attempts between the copy, and converting the cover from a pdf to a jpeg, I had that inevitable moment, as in a real-life pregnancy, to shake my head in angst, wanting to quit, never to go through this agony, ever, ever, again. But, this close to the finished line, and an awareness that this had to come out,
just like that, the Holy-Ghost angels encompassed me with the strength I needed to push one last time. And push I did. I uploaded the work successfully, and I am grateful to say that at 1:01 a.m. on September 9, 2013, little "Letters to My Daughters" breathed new life outside of the 'womb'. My elation was, dare I say, almost grander than the delivery of my precious children. Unlike, actual pregnancies when most new moms just want to rest or sleep from all the hard work associated with labor, I wanted to pop open a bottle of sparkling water, grill an Angus steak, celebrate, rejoice, dance, laugh, and ultimately Praise God for His Awesomeness! Being that it was early in the morning, and there was no one but me and the Triune God who had helped me through this long-term pregnancy and grueling labor, it seemed apropos that it would simply be me joying with the Holy-Ghost angels to celebrate this birth. Afterall, no one could genuinely appreciate what it took to get from start to finish. Any effort by another human being would seem trite.

Women boast that a man could never know the pain of giving birth. The birthing of "Letters to My Daughters" causes me to defer my opinion, in that any man, any person, who has ever authored and self-published a book has come exhaustively close to what is associated with a real-life pregnancy and birthing.

The next day, I woke up with a broad smile knowing that God was faithful to bring to completion the work He had birthed in my spirit.  I had a good day, and knew that I had done something I had never done before. I was officially a published author of a Spirit-filled book; a dream accomplished, fulfilled.

So, there you have it. I'm feeling like a new mommy, years beyond my ability to give birth, joyful that it doesn't come with lost sleep, diapers, and bottles. And, ughm, oh yes, as many women in the heat of labor's most sharpest pangs, and unsuccessful pushes, raging to never, ever, go through this again; within hours of her delivery, I felt the stirring to give birth to the next seed planted in my spirit.

I apologize that after careful research, I am not doing the Kindle Select at this time since it got mixed reviews, and I want to try my hand in different venues, namely Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. I priced it at a cool $9.99, calculated at 10-cents a page for writing (85 pages), and a modest $1.49 for formatting and editing. I believe we put our money on what we value. One can easily spend $10. at the fast-food drive-through which debatably sub-nourishes the body for a few hours; or be better served spending this same amount on something that gives replenishing nourishment to the mind, body and spirit.

This book is designed for single women of all ages; but primarily women ages 18-35. It is a memoir of my life and the hard-knock things I learned along the way. In the coming days I will discuss the book in more detail, but this writing was foremost to share a brief part of the experience with you.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge that there are some special angels out there in the internet world who take the time to share their knowledge and expertise with the rest of us indies. One that stands out and really blessed me to regain my focus when I was in one of those never-again moments of tiresome and wearying labor can be found at: http://selfpubauthors.com/2012/06/15/formatting-your-ebook-for-kindle-barnes-and-noble-or-epub-and-smashwords/. I hope to post a special thank-you on her site in a few days.

Well, that's it for now. If you have a few minutes please check out my new delivery at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=letters+to+my+daughters+mytu+sense. Unlike a newborn, where you get what you get, no sending it back for reshaping this and reshaping that, I have found myself resending the upload for retweaking. The first chapter reminds me of a new pregnancy, still getting my bearings for the long months ahead. I hope you will give this book a try. If it's not your cup of tea, refunds are available; but, I think for the most part it's worth the read. Be blessed.

Praises to God. I am a published author. Amen.