Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Moved... Or Twitched...

Well, we moved again. Finally. We got the keys to the new house on the day after Thanksgiving and every single day since then Lori and I have either been packing or working on the new place. I actually took four days off work because things were falling behind and I needed to regain some sense of control. I was mostly successful.

We moved last weekend (thanks, Ray, Joe and Jim! - and Grammy for watching Melody during the move!) and it took the whole weekend to do it, so we're still setting up, finding things, etc. There's a lot to do and we're both beyond tired. Sometimes I think the only way Lori knows I'm still alive is that I twitch every once in awhile. This week, I'm back to work but only physically so. I find myself drifting off at the computer and I have to visit the bathroom to slap cold water onto my face. Still, we're in even though we can't find everything.

We did get our fake Christmas tree up on Sunday though. So there is some holiday joy to be found. We probably won't do a real one this year with all of the moving expenses, but at least we have the fake one. This is the first year we haven't had a real one but it's also extenuating circumstances.

Now if I can just get the rest of the drapes up, the mailbox back out front and find my writing stuff. After all, I've got a new draft of "Chance for the Future" due to my publisher on January 15. I'd better wake up and get cracking.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Silence is Golden?

There is a new trend sweeping America.


Everywhere, everyone wants you to be quiet.

I used to think, growing up in church, that it was just church people that wanted me to be quiet (I am a Christian not a church person). Don't sing, Don't dance. Be a good little girl. I remember sitting in church all my life knowing there was more to God. I remember as an adult experiencing the presence of God, only to have it quenched so a someone on the stage could read a quote from the latest Christian book.


But I have learned something extremely important over the last two years of my life.

It is not just church people who want you to be quiet.

People who don't know God... people who drink, party, smoke cigarettes, smoke pot and/or sleep around also want you to be quiet.

You see, in the PC world we live in you can do almost anything.

As long as you are quiet.

You can smuggle illegals across the border. You can boss people around. You can have sex out of wedlock. You can molest children. You can smoke pot, get drunk, take other illegal substances and transport drugs, all without a social security number if you like while taking advantage of goverment programs without paying the taxes it takes to fund them while concurrently taking home twice the amount of money as someone who actually has to pay taxes.

By the way Paul and I pay taxes. We both have since we were sixteen and we will until we retire. The Bible says, "Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's..."

Perhaps this makes sense on the surface. Naturally, those who are breaking the law prefer to fly under the radar. After all, they don't want to get caught and face the music. But let me take a moment to tell you what you can't do in America that might be sometimes loud, but is not a sin in God's eyes.

You can't discipline your children. Even though the Bible says, " Spare the rod spoil the child."

You can't have a heated discussion with your spouse. Even though the Bible says, "What God has brought together, let no man separate."

You can't worship God in your own home. Even though the Bible says, "In the last days I will pour out my spirit..." and "Now is the time when God is looking for true worshipers. Worshipers who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth."

As long as you are quiet in church you can commit any sin you want.

As long as you are quiet in the world you can commit any sin you want.

But if you are loud in the church or in the world and are living a pure life, people will judge you all the more.

Dance is loud.

Music is loud.

Singing is loud.

Drama is loud.

Artists are usually loud.

But if there is no room in the church for artists and no room in the world for purity... Then where does a Pure Artist go?

Launch Pad.

Hope to see all of the Pure Artists there.

UPDATE: The Launch Pad meeting place isn't quite ready and won't be until later this year. Sorry. We'll post here when the space becomes suitable to meet. Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Exciting News!
There's a Future for "Chance for the Future"

I have very exciting news to share today concerning my writing career.

This week, I signed a three-book deal with Blademaster Press, a small press out of Las Vegas, Nevada, to publish the first three Fairlight novels. The publisher is very committed to the books and has high hopes for their success.

Granted, an earlier version of each of these novels have been published in the POD trade paperback format in the past and therefore have been theoretically available online at (what I think are) bloated prices (and these POD editions will shortly be discontinued to make way for the Blademaster editions). But, even though Blademaster is a small press and the advance is modest, it marks the first time my work has been published in a non-self-publishing model. And this is THE distinction. I am no longer merely self-published. The Blademaster editions of my Fairlight novels makes me a published author.

Although the schedule has not been completely worked out and assuming all goes as planned, I'm told that the hard cover edition of "Chance for the Future" should release sometime in the summer of 2008. A mass-market paperback edition will follow sometime in the fall of the same year. Both editions should contain a new Chance short story (I'm working on it even now so it's REALLY new) so even if you have a copy of CFTF, you'll want to pick up a new one for that reason alone. But wait! There's more! The new edition of CFTF is also a brand new edit. CFTF was the first novel I published and I've grown a lot as a writer since I wrote it. Indeed, there were passages that made me cringe when I glanced back through it. Therefore, I've given the entire novel a polish and it's much better off for it. I'm very pleased with the new edit!

Summer of 2009 should bring the hard cover edition of "Hope for Tomorrow" with a mass-market paperback edition following in the fall of the same year. I'm told "Faith in the Past" will mirror the same schedule for hard cover and mass-market paperback in 2010. Both sequels will get a new polish as well, but they won't be as extensive as what I did for CFTF. Also, both sequels will probably also get a short story to distinguish the new editions.

So it's exciting to be me this week! I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity to revisit these novels in the larger marketplace. Lori was also very excited at this news and we're already thinking of ways to proactively promote and market the novels when they release. So expect future event news as well. Very exciting times, indeed.

And did I mention we're buying a house? See previous post...

Here We Go Again!

Well it saddens me to say that the previous post is already obsolete. Melody's last day at preschool has already occurred. At least at that particular preschool. Why? Because we're moving.


But this time, the good news is, we're buying a house! I'm not going to post the address here but suffice it to say that it's a really cool 1915 Craftsman house in the downtown area of Long Beach... about a five minute drive from my job at The Designory! It's on a really large lot and has a really long driveway. The garage is only about two years old and it even has a bedroom-sized basement (in addition to the three official bedrooms).

Unfortunately, life goes on hold again for the duration... probably until after January. Certainly Launch Pad will be on hiatus until then and I probably won't get much writing done between now and then either. But we're very focussed on this and it's all coming together swimmingly.

As with most nearly-100-year-old houses, there are some things we want to do to it before we move in, so we're going to be overlapping about two weeks with our apartment so we can make the new place ready without having to scoot around furniture to make it happen.

Escrow closes the day before Thanksgiving. The current owners get three days to vacate (basically the long weekend) and then it's time to get to work. I'm booking my moving truck rental for December 15. So it's move it in, set it up and put up the Christmas tree!

Lori is very excited that we'll finally own again and Melody is looking forward to FINALLY having a back yard. As usual, if I can keep my girls happy, it makes for a happier me.

Perhaps in January, when the dust settles and the holidays are behind us, we'll find Melody another preschool closer to our new home. We'll assess anew at that time.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Melody's First Day

Melody's first day in pre-school was today. Took a few pictures of her coming down the stairs this morning. She was very excited and Lori had her hair in the cutest pigtails.

Lori will be picking her up in about ten minutes. I'm going to call and see how it went...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fall Season: My Returning Favorites

Naturally, there are some shows that I watch coming back this season. And I must say I'm looking forward to picking up where they left off and seeing where they're going to take me this year.


Heroes : Returns Sept. 24, 9 pm, NBC
The coolest new show last year comes back to reveal who all died and who didn't and then to go on from there. Whoo hoo!


Smallville : Returns Sept. 27, 8 pm, CW
If you've given up on Smallville at some point, you should come back. Lex is getting darker, Lana seems to have died, Chloe seems to have died, Lois is a regular and this season. Rumor has it, we get Supergirl and Clark learns to fly.

Without A Trace : Returns Sept. 27, 10 pm, CBS
Perhaps the only procedural that's worth my time, Without A Trace seems to always be able to keep itself fresh, despite the innate formula of the program (person goes missing, team must find them by delving into the missing person's private life). Sometimes these stories are very dark and they affect me far differently than they did before Lori and I had Melody. And yet, we continue to watch. Last season's finale landed on a different night than usual, which caused me to miss it but it's airing again tonight (one week before the premiere) so I'll be all caught up and ready to go next week.

Supernatural : Returns Oct. 4, 9 pm, CW
Speaking of darkness... Supernatural gets one thing right that few others do. We do live in a world where supernatural beings exist. Despite the fictional mythollogy, it's kinda cool to see someone struggling with that instead of the usual teen angst on the CW. Welcome back Sam and Dean.

This year, there doesn't seem to be as many shows returning that I watch. Perhaps that's because two other returning favorites aren't coming back until later. Battlestar Galactica returns with a two hour movie entitled "Razor" in November before finally delivering new episodes in January of 2008. And Lost won't be back until January 2008 either.

- Paul

Fall Season: Brand New Shows

Unless I want to permanently attach my bottom to a cushion of the couch, there is no way I can watch every new show premiering this season. I can't even watch every new genre-related show this season. NBC, capitalizing on the success of their hit, Heroes, has really upped the ante this season. Besides, there are returning favorites I want to keep up with too. So I need to seriously limit what I'm going to add to my must-watch list. Here's what's on the early version of the list.


Chuck: Premieres Sept. 24, 8 pm, NBC
Perched right before the Heroes juggernaut is Chuck. The idea, as I hear it, is that there's a geek and somehow a national security database is downloaded into his head. If the geek were a stud, it would sound like Fox's defunct John Doe. But the premise has promise so I'll give it a go. For now.

Journeyman : Premieres Sept. 24, 10 pm, NBC
Coming in right after Heroes, and making Monday night sort of sci-fi night on NBC, is Journeyman. Which, the way I hear it, is sorts like Quantum Leap except the guy isn't a scientist and doesn't know why he's moving through time. Again, the idea is right up my alley so I'm gonna give it a shot.


Bionic Woman : Premieres Sept. 26, 9 pm, NBC
From one of the guys who re-made Battlestar Galactica, comes another re-make of a 70s sci-fi icon: The Bionic Woman. No Six Million Dollar Man this time (perhaps because it would cost way more than six million dollars these days to do this kind of work). The premise is somewhat the same, although she gets a bionic eye AND a bionic ear (the original had a bionic ear, while Steve Austin had the bionic eye). I'm a child of the 70s and 80s, The Six Million Dollar Man was my favorite show in grade school and I really like the new Battlestar. So I'll check it out.

Pushing Daisies : Premieres Oct. 3, 8 pm, ABC
Probably the most anticipated show of the new season, Pushing Daisies is getting the kind of buzz Lost (one of my favorites, but not returning until January) got before its premiere. The idea is that there's this guy who can bring things (people, plants, etc.) back to life by touching them. The downside is that if he touches them again, said thing dies again for good. The twist is that he brings back his sweetheart... and thus, cannot touch her. At least, that's how I hear it. Lots of possibilities here. The show's success will largely lie with the tone of the show and the likability of the characters. But it's getting a lot of good buzz so I have high hopes for it.

Sorry, every other show. I just don't have time for you. I can only take on so many new shows. I've got returning favorites too (which I'll get to in another post), so I'll probably have to eliminate a couple of these based on the first or second episode.

- Paul

Summer TV Roundup

The new network seasons are about to start and the short summer season is wrapping up. Let's take a moment to see how we did this summer.

First of all, USA Network seems to have perfected the summer series. Only one of the shows I've been watching this summer is from another cable channel (Eureka is on the SciFi channel) and both channels are actually owned by NBC/Universal, which just goes to show that someone over there has figured out a plan that works.

Not since MASH have I seen a show that is simultaneously funny and sad. Until I watched Monk. Tony Shaloub's defective detective is as nuanced as any character can be and this season was on an even keel with the previous episodes. For awhile, it seemed as if they had dropped the Trudy (Monk's deceased wife) storyline but they picked it up with flying colors for the finale. For a show full of laughs, once again both Lori and I were crying at the end of the season finale. Bravo, Monk! Looking forward to new episodes in January.

If Psych wasn't designed specifically to be paired with Monk, some USA network executive is the matchmaker to TV shows. The show centers on slacker Shawn Spencer who has a talent for detective work a la Sherlock Holmes. But because he's looking for the easy (and perhaps fun) way through life, he leads the police to believe he's a psychic since the clues to solving the crimes seem to always be over their head. Shawn is accompanied by his childhood friend, Gus, who plays the straight man to Shawn's antics and the dynamic between the two of them keep things going even in shallowest of mysteries. Psych is zanier, and not nearly the heartstring-puller that Monk often is. But its goofy antics, obscure 80's humor and likeable characters keep Lori and me coming back for more. The season finale hinted at a possible future romance between Shawn and Juliet (aka Jules) to whet our appetite for the new episodes expected in January. We're looking forward to them.

The Dead Zone
Perhaps the first of the USA summer series, The Dead Zone started out strong and only got better. Until this season. What happened? Most of the characters from the show are gone. Walt was killed off in the first episode! Bruce left town only to be visited once this episode. The kid who played J.J. has been replaced with another actor and nobody noticed (shades of Darren on Bewitched). Purdy disappeared (I guess he'll re-appear in the season finale). Stillson is no longer the guy who's going to destroy the world. I know they changed filming locations but if you're going to do that, at least take the cast of the show with you! That said, the stories this season haven't been that bad. There's been this thread weaving through them concerning what Walt was investigating when he was killed which brings Chris Bruno back an episode here or there to be present in Johnny's visions. But it's not the same. And what's up with Sarah? She wanted to be with Johnny all this time and now that her husband is gone and suitable time has passed for her to move on, she's going to go with Stillson (who she knows, according to Johnny, is going to destroy the world... or maybe he's not anymore)? I have yet to watch the season (series?) finale, but it just seems silly that she's going to move out because Johnny kept one thing from her. He's come clean. He was keeping it from her so as to not hurt her. And she can't forgive him, after how many times he's saved all of their lives and despite their relationship for years before he went into a coma? She needs to grow up. Her son needs a dad (Johnny's really his dad anyway, which isn't a show secret anymore either). It just all seems dumb. I'm hoping the finale resolves everything satisfactorily because I have a feeling The Dead Zone might actually be dead after this season. Here's hoping they have one more season though to at least make sense of this one.

The 4400
Here's another show that started out promising. In this case, it was a miniseries about 4400 people over the years who were abducted and then brought back all at once, none of them aging a day. As the series went on, we learned that it was not aliens, but humans from the future, who had abducted these people and their motives are still a mystery. And I mean, still. Four seasons later. The returnees, also known as The 4400, each have a special ability and the world becomes a different place. Last season, things shifted even more as a shot was developed that could give a person a 4400 ability... or kill them. 50/50 chance. This changed the stakes some and gave this season all sorts of directions to go. However, a lot of this season seems to have been business as usual. I have yet to see the last two episodes and it does seem that things are starting to move faster with Tom being one of The Marked (essentially possessed by a future human to advance their agenda in the present) but, like The Dead Zone, I have to wonder if this show will ever rise again to what it once was. Something about all of it reminds me of The X-Files... another show that was great until it sank under the weight of its own mythology. Still, I hope it gets picked up for another season. I'd like to see The 4400 redeemed before it disappears into television obscurity.

The SciFi Channel's only entry on my list is actually pretty good and it seems to be getting better in its second season. The idea is that there is this secret town in the midwest where all of the country's greatest scientists live and work on new technology. Admitedly, this leaves open all sorts of opportunities to have a technology-runs-amuck-story-of-the-week situation. Which happens. But its the twists on the formula and the quirky characters that make this show work. There are still a few more episodes left in the season (it actually overlaps a little with the new fall season) so I'm not sure how it'll wrap up but I'm looking forward to finding out.

Burn Notice
Every once in awhile you see a commercial for a show that looks like it might be fun. Indeed, Lori spotted the commercial for Burn Notice first and told me, "Hey, I saw a commercial for a show you would like today." And boy was she right. Michael Weston was a spy (presumably) for the U.S. government until he was uncerimoniously "burned" or cut off from the spy community. He was left with nothing but the clothes on his back, no money, credit, job experience he can talk about, etc. in Miami which, perhaps coincidentally, is his home town. So at least he can cry on his mom's shoulder, right? Not exactly. His mom is bitter that he's been gone for the past ten years, his brother is a slacker, the only guy who will talk to him from his spy days is keeping tabs on him for the CIA and he's blessed or cursed (you decide) by the constant companionship of a trigger-happy ex-IRA operative girlfriend who clearly wants more from him than he's able to give. The result is a strange cocktail of Magnum PI, Alias and maybe the first couple season of MacGyver. Already picked up for a second season, Burn Notice is fun, smart and fast-paced and it's worth a a few summer nights.

And things are about to get much busier. I'll be back soon to look ahead at what I'm looking forward to this Fall season, both new and returning.

- Paul

A Second Look: The Count of Monte Cristo

Before Captain Jack Sparrow raided the Spanish Main (but not before The Pirates raided the Carribbean in Anaheim... unless you count the Dumas novel), The Count of Monte Cristo took his cinematic revenge on those who wronged him. And his faith in God took a perilous journey into darkness. In the end, he learns a powerful lesson and the audience is all-the-wiser for it.

The 2002 version of "The Count of Monte Cristo" is one of my favorite period films. James Caviezel (Jesus, "The Passion of the Christ") does a great job of playing both the innocent sailor, Edmond Dantes, and the more jaded title character. The film also boasts Guy Pearce in a sleazy role and Richard Harris in one of his final performances. Indeed, for the acting alone, the film is a delight to watch time and again. But there's more to it than mere acting... It's a love story, an action story, a story of revenge. Indeed, everything The Princess Bride professes to be in fun, The Count is in cinematic reality.

I know I haven't said alot about plot, but I don't want to give anything away. If you haven't seen it, rent (or dare I say, buy) it. And if you have seen it, I'm sure you agree that it's time to watch it once again. This is one of those films that might have slipped under the radar but, in my opinion, is one that belongs in everyone's film collection.

It's only $10 over at Amazon. You're not doing anything more important this weekend anyway. So pick it up and enjoy yourself.

Now if I can just pick up a Monte Cristo sandwich at Disneyland next week...

- Paul

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sticks and Stones

The other day I heard a nearby teenager (who obviously didn't know what he was talking about) refer to my husband as a Pussy.

Later, I was telling Paul about it and without blinking an eye he said, "Well, we are what we eat."

I love my husband.

Reflections on Denominations / Launch Pad

My Mom and I were talking the other day and she told me a story that I had never heard before. Back when Paul, Melody, and I were in Colorado, my Mom attended my niece's baby dedication. It was at the church where I was blacklisted from the choir and the Sunday school class (which is another story, trust me). My Mom said that she was there during the worship time when people started popping up saying different things. She said that a woman in the middle of the choir (the woman who kicked me out of her Sunday school class and was instrumental in removing me from the choir) started saying a prophetic word. But my Mom said it was not prophetic. It was in the flesh. This woman said something along the lines of, "Lord, people's anger may last, but yours only lasts for a while." My Mom said this woman was not in the spirit, but in her flesh. This woman knew my Mom was mad about what this woman had done to me. This woman also had kicked me in the shins and threw a chair during Sunday school. So she had issues with anger as much as anyone.

There are many things about this news that are funny to me. First, instead of making things right by me according to the word of God, (Restore a brother and sister in love lest ye fall), she chose not to. Then, when she saw that my mother was angry about it, she used the house of God to pretend to condemn my mother. But it wasn't God or the Holy Spirit condemning my mother. It was this woman's flesh. The second thing that makes this humorous is that my mother is older and wiser than this younger woman. And my Mom knew exactly what this woman was doing.

I am amazed how people think they, in their flesh, can try to condemn people like God would. In a sense, they are making themselves God, which is precisely what Lucifer did prior to his fall from heaven.

The other funny thing about this story is this: The whole reason why I got blacklisted from the choir and Sunday school class was because I allowed myself to get angry and got in my flesh during a service. This is exactly what this woman did herself. My Dad told the pastor, "You are using selective grace." The pastor said, "I don't see it that way."

This same pastor sent my mother flowers and a sympathy card when my Dad died. This pastor was also responsible for my Dad not teaching Sunday school, probably the one thing for sure that God had called my Dad to do. But the pastor didn't want my Dad teaching Sunday school because my dad was better looking than him, thinner, smarter, better educated, more articulate and perhaps most importantly, my Dad wasn't a "yes" man.

This pastor's flowers and card were the first I threw in the trash after my father's funeral.

It was a joke.

Do people really think people are that stupid? You treat someone and their daughter like crap and then, once they are dead, you send a card and flowers.

A day late and a dollar short.

It is how you treat people when they are alive that counts, not what you do when they are dead.

Getting back to this alleged prophetic word: Let me speak some wisdom on this subject, since so many people don't know what they are doing. First, the prophetic word comes from the spirit of God. It can at times be condemning, but it is mostly to edify the body of Christ. A pure vessel (human) has to be right with God and be open to His word. They also have to be sensitive and hear what the spirit of the Lord wants to say to His people. It is your voice, but it is the words of God or the Holy Spirit, not words you want to say to condemn people.

The false prophet in the choir came from a CEA background. I was raised Assembly of God and, although they still look good on paper, sad to say they have gone the way of the mostly dead mainstream church. I will never attend an Assembly of God church again. I am fourth generation, but I like what T.D. Jakes says, "Are you traditional or transitional?" When you grew up experiencing the presence of God in a denomination and then that denomination opts to exhalt money, numbers, and popularity over God's presence, it is time to get out. This church had three suicides within the congregation. This shouldn't be a surprise. When you don't allow God's presence in church, people lose hope.

I'm sure every denomination and church has them but I've noticed that the CEA denomination has a lot of screwed up people. First let's go back to the 1960's when my dad attended a CEA church. He told me how all the women wore long white dresses. But he and my Mom, who dressed normal, waited until they were married to have sex. Meanwhile, all of the long white dress women were doing it with men in the CEA. The grandmother of the choir false prophet looked at my mother, who was at the alter (My mom was crying and speaking in tongues and had been saved since she was a young girl) and said, "Are you saved?" My Mom just kinda looked at her like "Yes. Duh!"

This woman wasn't super-spiritual. She was mad at my mother because my mother was prettier than her daughter. Her daughter had broke up with a guy and that guy was dating my mother. She gave my mom dirty looks in the restaurant because my mom was with her daughter's ex-boyfriend that her daughter broke up with.

Talk about nerve!

I guess fleshly church runs in the family. But the CEA-screwy people connection doesn't stop there. When I was in the fifth grade I attended a Brethren school. There was a girl in my class that was part of the CEA. When I didn't let her copy my homework, she squeezed my breasts! As a child, I just thought she was mean. But now as an adult I realized she was probably sexually molested and very screwed up. And as a former teacher, I can now look back and realize that my teacher wasn't doing a very good job. I would have noticed something like that going on in my classroom.

When I started attending the church where I was eventually blacklisted, this same girl was playing piano. I remember thinking, "Is she well enough adjusted to be playing piano in church?" But I didn't say anything. Come to find out, she ends up having an affair with a married man... the music minister! And then she had a child out of wedlock with another guy. The things that are allowed in the CEA! I know for a fact that there is a known child molester on the board of a CEA church. Indeed, it's not just the Catholic church who have to deal with these very same problems. I believe the CEA denomination has many people who were molested within the denomination and that is why they are so screwed up.

The mother of the man who kicked me out of the choir (Both CEA) and refused to let me back in told me a story of how her son didn't get to do something in kindergarten and because he was mad he told the teacher, " I didn't want to do it anyway!" His mother thought it was funny. These same CEA pastors snubbed an epileptic and a crippled couple because they could no longer tithe at their church (because they bought a home and were moving).

How cruel!

I remember thinking, "What a brat!" If Melody ever does something like that, I won't be laughing about it. She will have privelages taken away. Like I always say, "Anybody can reproduce, but it takes a lot of work to raise a kind, decent human being." When your child is a brat, you don't laugh it off. You discipline them.

There is only one thing worse then a child brat: an adult one. They cause a lot of damage to a lot of people. And thank God that there will be no prima donnas in heaven. I know a lot of married woman who told me they went home crying from this choir director and their un-saved husbands were going to beat him up. That may very well be the best thing that could ever happen to him.

The cousins of the CEA brother and sister who kicked me out of the choir and Sunday school class (who used to be in the CEA) were on staff at Ted Haggard's church in Colorado Springs (Paul and I visited New Life when we lived in Colorado). They knew he was doing drugs and men and they didn't say anything for three years. Only when it came out, did they say or do anything.

That is just plain wrong.

THEN New Life put these men in charge after Ted Haggard left. What's up with that? How can people who cover their leader's sins be trusted to lead people in righteousness? Totally wrong!

I am so glad Paul and I prefer to operate outside of denominations when at all possible. We don't even go to Brethren which is how Paul was raised (actually, Paul was brought up in the United Bretheren church). We've tried many different churches. Unfortunately, at this point, I've come to the decision that the best thing I can do for my daughter is to teach her the word of God and worship God with her. Church or no church.

Church can be a scary place. Especially for children.

Paul and I have a vision of something just a little different.

It would be a home for those who are tired of religion and the politics of church. A place for Word and Worship. We call it Launch Pad. It's not meant to necessarily replace church, but it is intended to be a place to worship without all of the dumb stuff that modern churches seem to have adopted... without that stuff that gets in the way. When space permits, the plan is to meet every 3rd Saturday of the month at 6 p.m at our home, probably in our garage. We will never take a salary and we will never allow anyone to be alone with your children. Paul and I were both raped in different ways (not sexually) by the church. We want a safe and secure place for us, our daughter, and you and your children.

Launch Pad: Worship without weird. Cool without sin.

E-mail me for more information:

Friday, September 14, 2007

Our Neighborhood The Beautiful

: sing to the tune of America The Beautiful :

Oh beautiful 2 a.m. parties
with beer and loud talking
The post-it notes
The rampant sex
And a home for border-hopping

I don't agree
But I deal with it
Because they should be free
So I will sing and worhsip God
Me and my family

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lori: Mommy, Wife and Fan of Delicious Flavor

Well I'm flabbergasted.

It's one thing to write a wonderful article about Melody but I honestly had no idea that Lori was gonna write that article about me.

And the quotes at the end had me seriously cracking up. Which is why I put in my own inside joke in the title of this post (if you watch Psych on USA, you might get the reference).

Whether I'm a worthy Mr. Darcy or not is perhaps up for debate. I do appreciate, however, Lori's willingness to be a good sport. Until she met me, she probably had little exposure to Science Fiction or Fantasy. Now I make her watch it and even read it (especially when I write it). Lori's very supportive of my writing now that we've worked out my writing schedule and she even scours the local papers for opportunities to present my work. Indeed, the appearance at the Second Saturday Art Walk was her idea.

Lori is a gifted singer and piano player, an annointed worshipper, and I've never met anyone with a stronger yearning for the deeper things of God. She's extremely smart, almost to my own detriment sometimes. She's always got an opinion on any given subject, which makes her a great pre-reader of my work. She doesn't just tell me what I want to hear. I can't get away with lazy writing with her around. If there's a question, she's going to ask it and I'd better have a good reason for doing whatever it was I did. She's firey passionate about what she cares about and she has a refined sense of humor. At home, she's a responsible mother who cares as much, if not more, about Melody on the inside than she does about her outward appearance (despite the fact that both mommy and daughter are always stylish). Oh yeah, she's not bad to look at either. She has beautiful blue eyes (that we thought Melody had inherrited but now Melody's are going green) and a winning smile.

Did I mention the dangerous curves? Oh, behave!

Lori's my friend. We have slumber parties when Melody goes to sleep and we both crack up watching Red Eye on Fox News. She spends a lot of the week at home. So when the weekend comes, she's ready to escape. I, on the other hand, pretty much only spend the time I'm sleeping or writing at home. Nevertheless, we love to plan weekend outings, watch movies, go for walks, hit the road with the top down, etc. and she's always up for a trip to Disneyland.

Sometimes, if Lori's gone to sleep before me while I'm still up, I'll watch her sleep for just a little bit. When I think about everything that she's gone through with the church, waiting to get married, the rough pregnancy, moving to Colorado and back, her dad passing away shortly after mine did... I want to protect her. And after all, that's my job. Even though we're a team, in the end I've got two girls to protect.

All I can do is my best.

It's true, as Lori says, I sometimes write poetry. And I have, on more than one ocassion, penned something for Lori.

I Need A Hand
Paul M. Carhart

A lonely life I've led
Spare time to find so hard
At home, an empty bed
At work, a full dance card

My heart, a hollow shell
My mind, a frenzied cur
My soul, it tipped toward hell
Until I fell for her

Now I am a knight
A chivilrous sort of clown
No need for me to fight
I've put my weapons down

My intentions now are pure
My destiny is planned
My fallen state is cured
By the touch of Lori's hand

Thanks for taking care of me. Thanks for clearing the way so I can have a writing schedule. Thanks for raising our little girl. Thanks for loving me and for putting up with me.

- Paul

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Not too long ago Paul, Melody, and I were driving down PCH. I love PCH. I have been to New York and the Bahamas and have yet to find a drive like PCH. Even in Colorado Springs, with the beauty of the mountains, it didn't compare to the Southern California coast. Wish they all could be California roads.

As we were driving, I looked over at my husband. I looked back at my daughter. "Mommy, this is fun," she declared. A scripture came to mind. "I will renew your youth like the eagles." Paul's yellow convertible Mustang is a fun car. When I drive in it it makes up for all the times I didn't have a date in high school.

I thought of all the years in junior high and high school when I didn't have a boyfriend. How I had a college boyfriend and it just didn't seem right. And then was single for 33 years.

I know a lot of people who got married young and I am so much better off than them. Not only with my choice in mate, but with the career I had and the financial place we are in. Not that being a stay-at-home Mom is easy.

Paul and I often joke that even though we have been married for only 4 years that it seems like 25. We got pregnant two months after we were married. Melody and I were both in the hospital a month and we had massive medical bills (that we actually paid off!) Both of our Dads died within 3 months of each other. The night I found my Dad's body I was a mess and Paul just took over and called 911. I don't think I could have got through that night without Paul. We have moved five times. Not to mention that we are both first born children, strong-willed, both single a long time and set in our ways.

There were the flowers that Paul sent me when we were dating. There was the poetry he wrote me. The love and the romance. It was all special and wonderful.

But my most favorite memory of Paul is when he slow-danced with me in ICU. When he would go and hold Melody and sing to her when I was too weak to do so. When I was lying on the bed at our house in Colorado and he was dressing my un-healed incision. I thought he must really love me to do this. We went from having sex every night to Paul wiping up my vomit. Like I said that's true love.

Paul and I are emotional artists. We both have horrible tempers. But with God's help we are getting them under control. Anal people always want to say that artists are bipolar. Some are. But just because you are not stable and boring all the time doesn't mean you are bipolar. I love this quote: "The pitiful and the magnificent of the hypersensitive are the salt of the earth." That is Paul and Lori. We are either really happy or really sad. There is no in-between. Melody is the same but squared.

I love eating dinner with Paul. I love watching tv and movies with him. He is my best friend. He is my lover. He is the father of our child. I love when we pray together and worship God together. I love listening to 80's music with Paul. Paul introduced me to Delirious? and Superchic[k]. Two of my favorite bands. Melody loves them too. He even goes and see artsy movies with me which most guys would never do. He doesn't watch Monday night football or play golf. That's what I'm talkin about.

With everyone out there bragging about how many people they have been with, I have to tell you this. I am glad Paul and I waited. He was worth the wait. He is a good lover. He rubs my feet.

Sometimes when you wait, you might think you missed out. But God has been bringing people across my path to show me that I haven't missed out. In fact, I am actually better off than the girls and boys who sleep around.

If you are reading this and are alone, know that God has someone for you. God does not want us to be alone.

God gave me my English gentleman. He is my Mr. Darcy. He opens doors for me and he walks on the outside of me. Just like I used to see my Dad do for my Mom. I love when Paul holds my hand and hugs me. I love his kisses. I still remember the LAX kiss. I love you Paul Michael Carhart!!!

Oh behave!!!!

My God, you're a firecracker!!

Are you a fan of delicious flavor?!!


I remember the first time I felt life inside of me. What a unique feeling!

I remember thinking of all the women at church who mocked me for wanting to be a mother. I remember coming to a low place in my life when I accepted that I might never have children and never get married. The thought of that made me not want to go on.

But how God steps in when everyone else says it will never happen!

I remember the fear that gripped me when the doctor said they were going to take Melody out at 7 months. I didn't get to deliver naturally, which is what I always wanted. I also didn't get to breast feed, which is another thing I aways wanted to do. But I was so happy that she and I were both alive.

I remember going into surgery and asking God to keep his Holy Spirit on Melody. I remember lying on the operating table as they were putting me back together. The nurses were weighing Melody. One of them said, "Look how cute she is. Look at how peaceful she looks." When I heard that, I knew God had kept his Holy Spirit on her. I cried. I thanked God.

As she progressed well in the NICU, I ended up in the ICU. I remember death coming at me. The nurses said I was halicinating but I wasn't. I knew exactly what I was doing. I was yelling out the name of Jesus and speaking in tongues. I had too much will to live. I had a new husband and a new baby and I wasn't about to let the enemy take my life. The devil is a liar.

Once Melody and I got home, she had to be on oxygen and zantax (sp?). Her first year in Colorado was a cold one. She was sick almost once a month. It was a rough year. But God protected her.

I remember the first time she smiled. The first time she crawled. The first time she walked. Her first word, "Da-Da"

Women do all the work. Men get all the glory!!!

I love to watch Melody dance. I love to watch her sing and play piano. She loves to learn. She loves learning her numbers and letters. She loves to read the Bible with Mommy and to worhsip God. She is a beautiful girl on the outside. I am still working with her on how to be beautiful on the inside. I love Melody's hugs. I love Melody's "Kisses on the cheeks."

Sometimes when Melody and I are alone she says to me, "Mommy, tell me the doctor story." And I tell her how she was born... How God kept his hand on her. I tell her how Mommy and Daddy didn't ever think they would have children. How blessed we are to have her.

Whatever you desire today, don't let anyone tell you it won't happen.

It will.

Maybe you want a baby.

Maybe you have another dream.

Whatever it is, God is no respector of persons.

Don't let embittered people bring you down.

I almost did. But God stepped in.

Whatever dreams you have, God will bring them to pass. You may not have yours as soon as someone else but, in the long run, you'll be better off. Good things come to those who wait. Blessings come to those who may suffer for a season but are blessed for a lifetime.

Don't settle! Wait for what God has for you. It is worth the wait.

Mommy loves you, Melody Hannah!!!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Upcoming Book Signing: September 8

I hate to post something so closely on the heels of Lori's great post (and thus pushing it down the page a little further), but I just discovered that I will be signing books in Downtown Long Beach on Saturday, September 8.

Every month, Long Beach does the "Second Saturday Art Walk" where artists of all types gather to show and sell their wares. The event takes place on Linden where it crosses Broadway. There's everything from painters and jewelry makers to musicians and writers. It sorta reminds me of the Creative Underground (those of you who ever listened to my now-defunct internet radio show and/or read my novel, "Chance for the Future" and its sequels will know what I'm talking about).

The event takes place between 4 pm and 10 pm and I will be there with plenty of copies of "One of the Girls." This is my first public signing since we've been back to California (school signings don't count as public). We're only gonna charge $8.00 (tax included) a book (nearly $1 off cover the price) and, of course, I'll sign whatever you buy. Naturally, I should point out that this Young Adult contemporary superhero fantasy with-a-twist would make a great holiday gift so come on out and snap up a dozen or so for all your friends and relations. Neither you nor they will be sorry.

Even if you already have a copy of "One of the Girls" or can't afford to throw down $8 right now, don't hesitate to swing by and say "hi." I'm sure I'm gonna have time to kill and I'd love some company (I'm sure Lori and Melody will be with me part of the time but I don't expect them to remain for the entire six hours).

And make sure you scroll down past this announcement to read Lori's post on the subject of Spiritual Bimbos as well as one who is decidedly not one.

More info on One of the Girls:

Thanks! See you there on the 8th!

- Paul

Mom Hedgpeth: No Spiritual Bimbo

You know, I always knew I had a good Mom. But it wasn't until I had to deal with women in the church that I came to understand what a good mother I had. My mother taught me to be kind to people. She taught me that it is not about what you can get from people but what you can give to them. My mother is a Proverbs 31 woman. So am I. But most women, Christian or not, choose to be contentious women because it is a easier walk.

Thanks for being the best Mom in the world! I am going to raise Melody the same way.

I was watching TV the other night and Pamela Anderson was being interviewed. She was talking about how hard she had to work at her Baywatch run.

I laughed. I said, "Really?" I thought back to all of my hard work.

Working seven minimum wage jobs while going to high school and graduating with a B.A. from CSULB. Then, going back for my teaching credential at UCLA. Teaching full time, going to school Tuesday and Thursday nights and all day on Saturdays. Having only enough time to sleep in some on Sundays (to be able to get through the next week), throw in a load of laundry, and go to church Sunday night.

Now I am a stay at home Mom, which is not only the most important job in the world but one of the toughest. Still, it is not as hard as working and going to school. But if anything convinced me to be a stay at home Mom, it was my teaching career. There is a whole generation of children who not only can't read, but who are not being taught the basic manners that my Mother taught me. When a student of mine would say something rude or act like a brat in my class, I would tell them that was not allowed. The number one response was, "But my Mom lets me say that at home!" And I would always respond, "This isn't your home. This is Miss Hedgpeth's room. Different rules here."

They would look at me in shock. They would look at me as if I was the meanest person in the world.

But you know what? Even my toughest kid wanted my approval. And not only did all my students love me for teaching them academics, they also loved me for teaching them manners. They craved discipline because they didn't have it in the home. Because love isn't just the warm fuzzies. It is the strictness as well.

My daughter Melody tests me all day long. She cries when I take privileges away. She'll cry for 10 minutes. She'll scream as if the world is coming to an end. But when it is over she comes to me, kisses me on my arms and says, "Mommy, I am going to be a good girl. Mommy, I am not going to be a brat."

Yeah, I am sure the Baywatch run was really difficult.

But you know, I can accept this "Bimbo" mentality because that is how she makes her money.

However, this same "Bimbo" mentality is sadly part of the American church. And it should not be.

For 37 years I have stood by and listened to church lady gossips speak as if they have wisdom when they have none. Wisdom comes from walking the walk. It doesn't come by sewing blankets and cooking. Spiritual Bimbos have been talking long enough. It is time for some women with wisdom to speak and speak truth, not lies.

There are a slew of young and old Church ladies that are guiding and teaching young women. They speak as if they have wisdom but they have not walked the walk it takes to have it.

In order to have wisdom as a woman of God, you have to not only continue to grow in the Word and worship, but you have to allow God to break you when trials come your way. It is through brokeness and crying that you mature. When you harden your heart and toughen up as a woman, you just become a "witch" and the only thing you are going to contribute to others is how to become a spoiled brat like you.

I was attending a local church where a Spiritual Bimbo didn't like me. She called me a freak, she kicked me in the leg in church. She lied and told people I said I was hearing voices. She and her same-sex lover used to make fun of the fact that I wanted to be a wife, a mother and a missionary. They didn't want to admit to their sin of gossip so they said I was hearing voices. I have never heard voices and I never said that I did. But they lied anyway. I was prettier than both of these women, more educated, a better baker, more talented, and I was reading God's word, worshiping, and walking the walk, Counting the cost. They were playing church. They were jealous. She wrote me a letter and left a message on my answering machine stating, "Don't fight us, you will lose." When my father addressed to the pastor that he wasn't aware that anyone in the kingdom of heaven "loses," the pastor didn't respond.

He, by the way, left the same message on my machine. And he claimed to have a pastor's heart. Whatever.

Spiritual Bimbos can be male too. I'm reminded of the time a pastor in a local church said to a young man during a sound check, "Do you like to be with boys? I love to be with boys! Why don't you come and be with me and all of my little boys?"

This same male bimbo left a message on my answering machine and wrote in a letter that I was going to hell. He refused to reinstate me into the choir (see below for more about that). The Bible says, "Restore a brother and sister in love, lest ye fall." He had a lover in the choir. I was a 33 year virgin on my wedding night. Whatever. I was walking the walk. He was playing church.

Another all-time classic was when another pastor said to me, "You know Lori, my wife said, 'I wish somebody would just marry that poor girl." I had to laugh. I had almost every man or woman in that church hit on me at one time or another. The reason I wasn't married wasn't because I couldn't get man. I could have had a man. I had a USC football player who was cuter than the average actor ask me out for a beer. I had a Baptist board member hit on me at the gas station. He was married with kids and commuted from LA to Riverside and wanted to set me up as his mistress in some apartment. Grooooosssss!!!!! I wasn't married because I was walking the walk, counting the cost. What these men were offering me was sex, not a marriage where I could raise my children. I was and am a beautiful, college educated, singer, piano player, and godly woman who has lived a life of integrity. I wasn't a poor girl. I was a good girl! And by the way, let's get over the Virgin Myth. The only diffence between a good girl and a bad girl is the wedding night.

A good reputation doesn't become bad because of couple of Spiritual Bimbos gossip about you.

A good reputation becomes bad when you fornicate in the house of God.

I wasn't opening my legs for every guy like all of the choir and the rest of the girls in the church who were getting married. God didn't give them a man. They were sleeping around.

Another good Spiritual Bimbo story was when I told a pastor that a married man in the church came up to me and asked me if I was a bad girl. The pastor looked me straight in the eye and said, "That man is a good man." In shock, I turned to look at his wife and she put her head down. Not what God meant by submission at all. God wants women to protect other women, not let men get away with things because they are men. Another man in the choir used to rub his hands on my back during worship time. I told the pastor about this and he said he would talk to him. He stopped for awhile and then one night during choir practice everyone was laughing and being lustful and he gave me a dirty look and rubbed his hands on my back as if to say, "Well, the pastor may have told me not to but I am still gonna do it."

I was kicked out of a church choir because I got angry in public. The choir director got angry every week at the choir. I was a virgin who didn't drink or smoke. I got kicked out of a Sunday school for saying someone was fat when those same people would gossip about me and called me a freak. The choir director asked of group of singers to sing with me and they refused to do so. One night when I was in the prayer room praying, I heard them all having sex in the church. Whatever.

By the way, until these two pastors restore my reputation to the choir and Sunday school and tell people the truth about me instead of the lies they spread to cover their own sin, they will not have peace in their life. They always reminded me of bratty first graders who never grew up. They were brats as children and nothing changed when they became adults. You can not do wrong by someone and be a pastor and get away with it. God will hold you to a higher accountability than others.

Another great Spiritual Bimbo moment was when this lady said to me, "Well, all the men in the church look at you!" She was jealous. But what was so stupid about that comment is that is doesn't matter how many men look at you because when you are a Christian woman you are only going to sleep with one man and not until your wedding night. This same bimbo, when I addressed her about gossiping said, "Well, everybody does it!" Wow. What a Godly example. This same woman told me that it was my "Last Chance" Really? That's funny because the Bible say two things:

"God's mercies are new every morning." And, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins."

See why it is good to read the Bible? Spiritual bimbos take things out of context because they are too busy working in the church instead of reading God's word. My Dad told me that when this woman sang, she not only sang off key but he could she demons manifesting. Kinda sad that the pastor and his wife promoted this woman. They did so because she went around and fixed the votes so they could have who they wanted on their board. And by doing this, secure their job so they could never be voted out of the church. Not everyone who is a pastor is there because of God. Many play politics to secure their job and they use whoever it takes to get there. Or they just inherit a church and it is a better gig then having to work at Wal-Mart.

Another one of my favorite spiritual bimbo moments was when the church treasurer told me I only tithed pennies. There were two things funny about this statement. First, according to the Bible, a widow's might is just as important to God as someone who gives a lot. Second, at the time for a single woman, I was making pretty good money. I not only tithed, but I gave extra to missions, supported a child in mexico, and payed for four years for a student to go to college in India. Besides her lack of spiritual wisdom, it is just plain tacky to tell someone that when you are the treasurer.

One time, a married woman in the church was ministering in music. This Spiritual Bimbo had an affair on her husband, shared it from the platform and then said, "Well, could you blame him?" Not only was it tacky and rude but it was totally an ungodly thing to do. You don't try to be a role model to young people by screwing up your life and then bragging about it. You are a role model to young people by walking the walk and counting the cost. By the way, you don't have to be pretty to have a husband or have an affair on him. You just have to be easy.

One of the cruelest Spiritual Bimbo stories was a time in my life when my mother was going through a very bad depression. I went into the women's restroom. This lady and her daughter were in there. The daughter says, "Mom, you are such a good Mom. Thank you for making cranberry cookies." And then she looked at me with this mean look and so did her mother as if to say "well your mom is sick so you don't have a good mother." What is funny about that is that my mom, even with her depression, was a better mother than hers because she would have never allowed me to be that cruel to a person. Plus, my Mom makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever had anywhere. Anal women bake cranberries and pound cake. Artistic women bake chocolate!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My last and final Spiritual Bimbo story involves women who get saved and think they are more mature than women who have been walking with the Lord all of their life. There was a woman in a church who had had four abortions, a child out of wedlock, and then hooked up with a guy and got married. I'd had one of the roughest weeks of my life. And prior to marrying my husband, I hadn't dated in six years. I lived by myself and desperately wanted to be married and have children. The pain was sometimes too much to bear. It was the hell of loniness that only a virgin would know. I had cried alot the night before but I put my make up on, dressed nice, and went to church. I was extremely broken. After the service I went to the restroom and washed my hands. While I was doing so, this woman, who wanted to be Miss Ministry and Miss Spiritually but hadn't walked the walk, says to me, "Lori, you should be more friendly. You are not friendly enough." I just looked at her and said, "Everybody is different. God created us to all be different or the world would be boring." And she said, "Well you could at least be friendly!" I just said, "Ugh." You see, she didn't have a clue what it was like to be alone or what kind of hell I was going through. She wanted to be in ministry but she hadn't walked the walk it takes to truly have compassion for people and realize what kind of pain they are going through.

You can't live your life anyway you want, come to God, and immediately expect to impart wisdom to other people. It is the blind leading the blind. If you want to impart wisdom to others, you have to count a cost, walk the walk. Any woman or man can be a Spiritual Bimbo. But I challenge you today to walk the walk, count the cost, and allow through your trials in life for God to break you. It is then and only then that God can truly use you in other people's lives. Don't get so busy with "church stuff" that you don't take time to read the word and worship God. That is where the growth is. Spiritual Bimbos are a dime a dozen, male and female. Choose today to be a man or woman of wisdom. Sharing your opinion is sharing your heart and confidence comes from living a life of integrity. Integrity is what you walk, not what people say about you. Gossips will speak well of a pastor even if he is living in sin. Gossips will speak bad about a virgin, even if she is living a pure life before God. But that's how they get the latest choir solo, even though they don't have a clue what singing for God is about.

Mom, thanks for being the best Mom in the world and one of my best friends. Your intelligence, Godly wisdom, and common sense are what made me a kind human being. And I am going to pass that down to Melody.

Thanks Mom!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Melody's Site Updated

Just thought I'd put a quick note up here on the blog that Melody's website has been updated this morning with about a year and a half of stuff (I think it's six new pages). She loved watching me build out the new pages so we thought we'd share our little princess with the rest of you.

Visit Melody's Website

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Food Sticks, Anyone?

Anyone out there remember or ever hear of Food Sticks?

Learn more.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Daddy Hedgpeth

I have always loved and respected my father. But now, after a year and a half of his passing, I have more and more respect for him everyday.

I respect him as a husband who loved my mother.

I respect him as a Father, not only for loving me but for disciplining me even when many are creating laws against spanking.

I respect him as a businessman who worked hard all of his life.

I respect him as a Creationist who loved science and astronomy, not just with his intellect but with Biblical knowledge.

I respect him as a grandfather who gave Melody a love to read the Bible and to know that "Ga-Ga showed me the moon!"

I respect him for providing for my Mother, even in death, so she doesn't have to work and is debt free.

I respect him as a Veteran who served in the Navy for four years.

But the thing I respect most about my Father is that he was a Christian man.

I know Pastors with mega churches who take drugs and cheat on their wives. I know Pastors who are in all kinds of perversions and who are pedophiles. These human beings are church people. Church men and church women. They play church, participate in the programs, etc.

My Daddy was a Christian. He read God's word. He worshiped God in spirit and in truth. Not for the woos or applause or for a paycheck. He did it because he loved God.

I have had people in my life who had a father… someone to take care of them. But they didn't have a "daddy" and that is so sad because those people miss out on the strong bond and relationship that is possible. Many people have fathers and are way to critical of them. No father is perfect. He did the best he could. Be thankful you have one. I know many of my first grade students who would have died to have a Father. If you have one, stop being critical. Be thankful. And if you don't have one, then know that God is a father to the fatherless. God can never take you to a baseball game but he can carry you through difficult times.

Having a daddy makes you a strong person. I remember one time in my life when a man suggested I needed counseling. This man had no relationship with his father and was extremely jealous of mine. He used the words "lick it!" during a sound check in church. Obviously he had many stronger issues than I have ever had to deal with. Many times people who are way more screwed up than you like to say you need help when, in actuality, they wouldn't be strong enough to walk a day in your shoes. I had another man and woman make fun of my daddy and me and that was because they both had a horrible father relationships and were jealous of the one I had.

Most women I have known in my life who would fit into the "witch" category have major father issues. Women who have to gossip or stab other women in the back either don't have a father or they have one but not a daddy.

It is my firm belief after dealing with church women that they wouldn't need to gossip if they had a good relationship with their father. When your father tells you you’re smart, pretty, funny, etc., you have confidence. Then, when you marry, you marry a man who appreciates the qualities you have. You don't have a need to put other women down when you have a daddy.

There are four vicious women I have known. They are church ladies. They go to church every Sunday but tear down the reputations of others to promote themselves. All four of these women do not have good relationships with their fathers.

When a women has a daddy, she has the confidence to know that she is pretty, smart, funny, talented, etc. because her Daddy instilled that in her. Thank you, Daddy.

Just like as Christians, when we read the word and worship God, we can have confidence in who we are in Christ. A Christian man or woman has confidence based on God's word, not by gossiping and putting others down. That is something church men and church women have to rely on because they haven't got past church.

Daddy, I know you are up in heaven worshiping God. Someday we will all be up there with you. What a day that will be. Thank you, Daddy for being a Christian not a church man.

When I was attending a local church, a man who was on his second marriage told me to be "Married to Jesus." A women who was married with children and had a gray beard and hair told me "It's not God's will for you to be married". This women with a gray beard came on to me sexually during a church service. The pastor’s wife told me, "You need to come to a point where you can serve God even if you never get married." She was, of course, married with children. She cracked her knuckles, and wore her hair like a man. Then there was the woman who told me, "Well, I didn't get married until I was 30!" And she was rather a plain Jane. Another woman told me, "Well Lori, you are like Jesus. You won't get married until your 33." Of course, that sounded weird. I guess she didn't read the Bible enough to know that Jesus never got married. The final straw was when the biggest church gossip told me a story about her granddaugther's 1st grade teacher who was "Tall and was never going to get married." She was slamming me because I was a first grade teacher, was tall and at that point was still single. By the way being the height of a super model is sexy!! (Or so my husband tells me!)

I went to my dad and told him all this and do you know what he said?

"You can't hold hands with Jesus. You can't have sex and babies with Jesus. Jesus can be a spiritual husband but he can never be a physical one."

A daddy is sooo practical and not weird.

Three months later Daddy Hedgpeth hooked me up with one of the best men I have ever met, my husband Paul Carhart.

Is Paul Carhart perfect?

No. No human being is. But I tell you this: He is faithful to Melody and me. And I know if 300 people in a church were becoming pedophiles to please the pastor my husband would have the balls to not participate.

And so would my daddy.

Thanks Daddy. I love you!

Why Isn't It Chocolate?

Have you ever peered into a box of donuts and found the only thing left is a maple bar?

Why isn't that a chocolate bar?

It wouldn't have cost any more to get chocolate instead of maple.

This is what I call the Why Isn't It Chocolate Syndrome.

There are a lot of things that suffer from WIICS.

Jelly beans. Why aren't they Goobers? Skittles. Why aren't they M&Ms? Licorice. Why aren't they really long tootsie rolls? You get the picture.

Besides, if it's not going to be chocolate, the least it could be is peanut butter.

I'm sure I've missed a lot of things so help me out. What is in your life that should be chocolate but isn't?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I Know What I'm Watching This Summer

The summer series (virtually invented by USA) is back with the return of The Dead Zone and The 4400, both of which I enjoy. My other favorites are also on the cusp of returning. Add to that two new entries: The Starter Wife (a Debra Messing-starring miniseries that Lori and her mom both liked... and even I looked forward to) and the new Burn Notice and it looks like my mostly mindless summer viewing is set.

The Starter Wife
Lori dug this roughly six hour miniseries about a Hollywood wife, basically the brains behind the studio exec, who gets traded in for a younger pop tart. Snarky writing ensures that hilarity ensues. I think it's still airing on USA and, knowing them, they'll probably have a marathon of all of the episodes at some point. Pretty fun, mindless, shallow Hollywoodsy stuff.

The Dead Zone
Returning against all odds and amidst rumors of its demise, the Anthony Michael Hall starring series based on the Stephen King novel gets a slight make over as the first new episode kills off a series regular. The aforementioned decommissioned character is still omnipresent though as repurcussions of his/her death ripple through the other remaining characters (I say "other remaining" because two other series regulars seem to have simply disappeared from the series as well). The other strange change is the fact that now Vice President Greg Stillson (the always supurb Sean Patrick Flannery) seems to no longer be the bad guy... or at least he isn't as bad as he once was. It seems The Apocolypse is no longer on the horizon! What the heck? Anyway, the writing on this show has always been top notch, so I'm going to trust them to take me somewhere worth going. I'll be interested to see how all of these threads come together. If they fail to come together... well, in that case I'd be surprised if Johnny Smith gets another season. Which would be too bad. New summer episodes of The Dead Zone are currently airing Sundays on USA. Check local listings.

The 4400
Before there were Heroes (but not before there were X-Men), there were the 4400 people who were abducted over the years and returned to Earth four years ago, each with some sort of strange ability. Last season, Jordon Collier (the always-intense Billy Campbell) apparently returned from the dead and made "4400 abilities" more common. All you had to do was take a shot and you had a 50/50 chance to get an ability. Of course, if you didn't get an ability, you died. This raised the stakes in this once-freak-of-the-week series and I think, based on the first two episodes this summer, it's for the better. Again, sharp writing makes up for the substantially lower cable budget so I'm watching with eyes wide open to see where they take me. So far, I haven't been disappointed. New summer episodes of The 4400 are currently airing Sundays on USA. Check local listings.

Burn Notice
Here's a new idea. Take the guy from Touching Evil. Make him a secret agent who gets fired (a "burn notice" is put out on him) and thus cut off from all of the resources he normally has at his disposal, including his bank account. Strand him in an exotic locale. Oh, the budget doesn't allow for the exotic locale? Okay. Strand him in Miami. Then throw in Bruce Campbell as the out-of-work-spy best friend to get all of the real geeks to watch and mix it up with a hypochondriac mom (Cagney and Lacey's Sharon Gless) who wonders what's wrong with her as she chain smokes and some Magnum PI-like over-the-top narration. The result? A pretty funny, if somewhat identity-deprived, quasi-spy show that, despite its first episode taking place during Christmas, is perfect summer viewing for the likes of me. Only one episode has aired at the time of writing this (roughly 90 minutes). You can probably find it in rerun on USA. New episodes air Thursday nights on USA. Check local listings for times.

It's been almost a year since this quirky sci-fi dramady about a hidden utopia made up of the country's most gifted scientists originally aired and I'm looking forward to where they're going to go this time. Airs Tuesday nights starting 7/10 on SciFi (the only one of these shows NOT on USA, although they're both owned by NBC-Universal).

The defective detective is back. Although the mysteries have never been too tough (think two steps up from a Scooby Doo mystery), the real joy of this show is watching three-time Emmy-winner Tony Shaloub do his Monk thang. It's hilarious. And rightly so since this show is much more a comedy than it is a crime drama. Shaloub does a wonderful job of walking the line between pathetic victim to selfish victim. Whatever the case, Adrian Monk is still the victim except when he's solving the crimes. New episodes air Fridays on USA starting 7/13. Check local listings.

If ever there was a series designed to play along side Monk, it would have to be Psych. And despite the fact that this series was likely such contrived, I still find myself looking forward to the next episode. The idea is this: N'er-do-well Shawn Spencer is a young man with a gift for observation a la Sherlock Holmes (or Monk, but without the disorders) that was nurtured by his police detective father from a young age. He's so good, in fact, that no one believes him when he tries to help the police solve a crime. So, in order to bring the bad guys to justice and thus help the coppers, he pretends he is a psychic (a la Johnny Smith on The Dead Zone). And to perpetuate his success (as well as future episodes of the series), he starts a psychic detective agency and drags his straight-man childhood chum along for the ride. To give you an idea of the tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek feel of this hybrid comedy, Spencer names his new psychic detective agency Psych (as in you've been psyched out). New episodes air Fridays alongside Monk on USA starting 7/13. Check local listings.

Of all my summer shows, Lori probably likes Monk and Psych the best. She also enjoys The Dead Zone. The others? Not so much. But she still watches them with me.

So now you know what I'm watching this summer. What are you watching? Grass grow?

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Second Look: Superman Returns

I just want to bring fire to the people. And I want my cut.”
- Lex Luthor

Now that we have Melody, Lori and I don’t get out to the movies much. We did check out The Holiday this year and we both liked it. More on that later. We also caught “Superman Returns” when it bowed last summer. I liked it. I recommended it, actually. But there was always something somber about it. Over the holiday break I got a chance to watch it again and, as I’ll do in these recurring “Second Look” articles, I’d like to share my thoughts and opinions regarding “Supermans Returns” the second time around.

Most of the pieces are in place to make a compelling sequel to the first two Christopher Reeve Superman films (wisely ignoring Superman III and Superman IV). The special effects are phenomenal. If you love Superman the way I do, you’ll enjoy just seeing him zip through the air. Finally the effects can pull off what it should look like. The big rescue of the airliner itself is worth the price of admission and there area few other really cool action scenes. Surprisingly, though, this is not as much of an action/superhero movie as you might think.

Most of the cast does a great job of extending the characters established back in the seventies. Brandon Routh isn’t Christopher Reeve, but he does a decent job and I actually like him as Superman. Kevin Spacey makes a compelling Luthor. He’s a more sinister, hardened man than the Hackman version from before but he’s still obsessively interested in real estate. Probably the only character that I felt didn’t translate well from the previous films is Lois Lane. Kate Bosworth isn’t a bad Lois. She smart. She’s feisty. She’s pretty. But it’s a stretch to go from the broadly painted Lois portrayed by Margot Kidder to this younger, prettier Lois when it’s supposed to be five years later. It works okay within the context of this film, but if you’re going to treat SR as a sequel, which it was clearly designed to be, it jars you from the story, which destroys the suspension of disbelief required for any story to transport you from your world into the world of the story.

Is this what makes “Superman Returns” somber? No. It’s just a minor nitpick. What makes it somber to me has to do with the basic premise of the movie, which is actually intriguing. Superman has been gone from Earth for five years and comes back to a world that has decided it doesn’t need him. Perhaps the biggest betrayal is that Lois has actually won a Pulitzer Prize for an article detailing why the world doesn’t need him. So Supes is understandably depressed. Add to this the fact that Lois has moved on (she’s about to marry Perry White’s nephew with whom she’s apparently had a child) and you can see why there’s a somber taint to this picture. It’s Superman’s movie. We see things through his eyes and we even sorta feel sorry for him.

Some of the films revelations go to great lengths to lift this mood. There’s this whole God/savior parallel that is clearly prevalent in several scenes and, for the most part, I’m pretty cool with all that stuff. I like multiple thematic levels in my storytelling, thanks very much. There are a couple pretty good plot twists that point the franchise in an entirely new direction. But even after this, there’s still a melancholy feeling. Even when Superman is accepted again and he’s discovered his place in the Father/Son scheme (did I mention they did a great job of bringing Marlon Brando’s Jor El back from the dead?) you still sorta feel like it woulda been cool if there was more to the whole thing.

Which I guess is the point. Perhaps this somber tone isn't out of place at all. It's merely the story that Director, Bryan Singer wanted to tell. Besides, it’s recently been reported that Singer will be making the next sequel, “The Man of Steel.” So I guess we’ll see where he’s going with some of these loose ends and hopefully we'll lighten up a little too.

And let’s forget about Lex Luthor for at least one movie, please. With these kinds of special effects, we need to finally see Big Blue open up a can on a gang of intergalactic baddies.

Now wouldn’t that be cool?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Writing Update:
Bringing One of the Girls to One of the Schools

This is something I’ve been hoping to do for some time.

Next week, I’ll be speaking at Craig Williams Elementary School in Bellflower, California to all of their fourth, fifth and sixth grade students on reading and writing and sharing One of the Girls. I’m told it’ll be nearly 300 students.

Pretty exciting! I wrote One of the Girls to be a childhood adventure that I would have loved when I was a kid. I embedded in it the superhero elements I loved growing up combined with aspects of Hardy Boys-style mysteries. In short, these kids are who I wrote this book for.

In preparation for the event, I made flyers that each student took home to their parents with instructions on how to get a signed and/or personalized copy of One of the Girls. I’ve discounted the book by about a dollar and am handling the tax myself to keep things priced as low as I can. I also made some small posters for each teacher to hang in their classroom as a reminder. Apparently some of the posters may go in the main office as well. I’m told the flyers went home last week. I’m hoping to use events like these to vastly expand my readership and to duplicate this event at different schools (and likely at different scales) across Southern California. In fact, I recently sent out a packet to do a similar thing at another elementary school in Long Beach. Hopefully I’ll hear back from them soon and I’ll be able to do another event on the heels of this one.

This is a bit larger event than I originally anticipated (I approached them with the idea of speaking to one classroom) but I’m up for it and I’m looking forward to it. Indeed, either extreme suits me fine.

So here we go! The plan is for Lori to go with me, so I've got good support going in. I’m finalizing my outline this week and, after the event, sometime late next week, I’ll post again with news on how the event went.