Monday, December 23, 2013

If you're offended by talk of politics and religion, don't read this

This is unlike my usual blog posts. You've been warned.

If I learned one thing in my travels through the history of Nazi Germany, it was that the world needs more words and actions which support justice. Only through voices speaking in love and truth will change come about, injustice eradicated. 

We've all heard of the United Methodist pastor in Pennsylvania who performed the marriage service for his gay son and his fiance. The pastor underwent a church trial and has been defrocked for performing the service which violated the rules of the UM Book of Discipline. There has been quite a bit of discussion about this event on the UM Church's website and some eloquent, passionate pleas for a more loving approach to controversy.

I am not a pastor, nor am I schooled in the content of the Book of Discipline. But I am a member of the United Methodist church by choice. I try to live as a Christian, making mostly vain attempts at following Jesus' example of a loving, generous spirit.

The Jesus we know from Scripture spent his days ministering to the outcasts of society, those whose rights were limited by law and status. And he often blasted the Pharisees, the church rule-makers, for their hypocrisy and for attempting to speak for God. I have no doubt that, were he here in the flesh today, he would support gay marriage and bless it within a church. And he'd blast the use of a book of rules to make decisions over the use of God's love to accept and nurture his children.

Our days can be lonely, and commitment is hard to come by. Yet God created us to be in community, beginning with committed pairings and expanding out from there - couples, families, neighborhoods, church communities - people who will watch out for each other. Having others beside us as we dance with joy or slog through the muck of grief is what it's all about. It's what God planned for each and every one of his children.

As a member of God's family, I intend to honor that plan. I support Pastor Schaefer in his performance of the church marriage of two gay men, just as I support the church marriage of two committed people of any gender.  


Sunday, December 15, 2013

A kick-start and a giveaway

When I self-published Risking Exposure, my first and foremost goal was to get people to read the book. So I gave away dozens of copies - to family and friends, to school libraries and public libraries. I entered it in contests and sent it out for reviews. I arranged for book signings and have scheduled presentations. It's been a blast.

But lately I've been selling more print copies in person than any of the online sources, digital or print. So I knew my online presence needed a kick-start.
I did a giveaway on Goodreads for the month of November, and 180+ people marked it as 'to-read.' I've gotten some wonderful reviews there and on Amazon and B&N. Still, online sales remained flat.

So now I've enrolled it in KDP Select, a Kindle program that monopolizes my digital sales for 30 days. That meant I had to take it off B&N's Nook, but I've sold very few there so I have to hope that doesn't put someone off. In exchange, the book (hopefully) will get increased visibility on Amazon and can be loaned electronically through their KOLL.

KDP Select also gave me a chance to enroll the e-book in a giveaway - so from now until Tuesday Dec 17th, Risking Exposure is completely FREE for Kindle on Amazon. Download away, share the link, tell your friends. The more readers I get, the happier I'll be.

Especially if those readers write reviews, which draws in more readers, who will write more reviews...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Another first


Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend the day at Philadelphia's Fort Mifflin on the Delaware for their WWII Reenactment of the Battle of Schmidt. One hundred + guys dressed as Allied and German officers and soldiers took part, and hundreds of spectators came to watch and tour the exhibits. I'd never seen anything like it.


In the barracks adjacent to the reenactment field, I had a large display area for my books and research materials. I had the chance to talk with lots of people, both reenactors and spectators. The 1938 Sears-Roebuck catalog and the reproduction Nazi propaganda pamphlets generated the most interest and discussion.

The reenactors and I have something in common - we like to get 'into the skin' of another era, to think about and act out scenes which occurred before we were born. Perhaps by putting on that skin, we see our commonalities across years and cultures instead of our differences. We learn compassion for what others have gone through. Compassion alone can keep us from repeating the mistakes of history.

While I was watching the reenactment, a 9-year-old boy sat nearby, watching also. He was dressed from head to toe in the Hitler Youth uniform seen late in the war, when children his age were sent into battle to defend what was left of the Reich.

I hope and pray compassion wins before that ever happens again.


Sunday, December 1, 2013


During the weeks since Risking Exposure was published, I've experienced lots of firsts. First sale, first review, first book signing ... all exciting moments I cherish. Well, this weekend I had a book signing at Duffy's Coffee House, a great family-run small business in Clarks Summit, and I had another 'first.' 

A girl named Stefanie about 12- or 13-years-old walked up with her mom and her brother, a copy of my book tucked in her hand. It seems that after reading about the book in a newspaper article, they ordered it online. Stefanie immediately read it and loved it, and when she learned that I'd be at Duffy's, she asked her mother to bring her there to meet me.


She looked through my photo album of Munich and listened as I pointed out various places I included in the novel. She checked out the 1930s Balda camera I used as the model for Sophie's camera, and we talked about our mutual interest in creating, writing, and history.

I've taken great pleasure in learning that folks I know have read the book and enjoyed it. They've written reviews and shared it with others, and I wouldn't have gotten this far without their support and enthusiasm. But I can't even tell you how thrilled I am that this young girl I've never met wanted to connect with me in person because of my book. That's a first I'll never forget.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I'm gonna get philosophical here...

This week marked two major anniversaries in US history - the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. Unless you spent the week under a rock, you've been inundated with video clips and interviews, musings about how the event shaped the country, and speculation galore of how different our lives would be if the event never happened.

But this begs the question - aren't our lives shaped continually by millions of events which are outside our control? True, some are momentous ones, like the delivery of a speech which encapsulates a national mission or the murder of a young, charismatic leader. But I'll go out on a limb and say that as individuals, we should be more focused on the events and actions that are within our control. Small events sparked by our own choices may seem insignificant, but they shape our daily lives at least as much as huge national events.

On a daily basis, we can choose to engage in individual acts of generosity or stinginess, to behave in a way that is cruel or kind. We can offer the gift of friendship or we can turn our back on loneliness and need. We can lend or withhold encouragement and support, and we can speak our mind in the face of injustice or we can keep silent and allow injustice to reign unchecked.We're intelligent people; we understand how our behavior affects someone else and in turn influences their behavior ... and that it spreads from there like the proverbial ripples in a pond.

So my wish for all of us as we begin preparations for Thanksgiving is this: May we live well enough that one small act of ours might result in thankfulness in someone else. And may that person pay it forward and pass it on.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Flying on a dream through book club night

This week, I had the pleasure of being a guest at a book club discussion. They'd read Risking Exposure as their October selection and invited me to join them. I was driven over the river and through the woods to the home of Laura and Charlie, where I was treated to a fabulous home-cooked pasta dinner and hospitality galore. Amid the banter of these book club members, Laura, Margie, Sarah, Hildy, and Sandy, long-time friends and founders of the Dietrich, talk kept circling back to writing, the power of stories, and my book. They spoke about it animatedly, with passion and curiosity and obvious appreciation. I sat in the glow of the idea that perfectly intelligent people had read my book and wanted to discuss it! What a trip.

Laura left me practically speechless. She brought out her print copy, dog-eared and well-loved and laid it on the table, turning the bent cover back to reveal a first page covered in her notes. I was astounded. She'd obviously spent many hours with this book, perhaps as she recovered from recent knee surgery. I could picture her curled in a corner of the couch, the open book nestled in her lap, with a pen nearby to jot down her thoughts. She even had favorite lines, which she quoted with relish.

The entire evening was surreal, an experience that was as encouraging and uplifting as any I've ever had. I hope to be able to pass on that kind of support to others in their creative endeavors.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Enjoying the ride

I've always enjoyed connecting with other writers, listening to their work, encouraging, sharing ideas and struggles. When I had my first magazine article published in Highlights High Five, several friends purchased copies and asked me to autograph my story. Ditto for my short piece in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Children with Special Needs - I gave signed copies to family and friends. But I had no idea how much fun it would be to sit at the "local authors" event at Barnes & Noble and have people ask me to sign copy of my book!

I shared the event with Wendy Tyson, author of two mystery novels which are both being serialized, and John Dziak who has edited and published the work of the late Dick Zborovian, capturing personal stories of miners' lives in Black Lung. Meeting them both was great - and they came with their own fan clubs which increased foot traffic for me too!

I had some amazing support. Long-time friends and neighbors Joanne and Tony Cantafio drove from Scranton for the event, just to be able to walk in the door and have me sign books they'd already purchased online. Gerri Misunas, a PT I worked with 30+ years ago, stopped in to buy an autographed book even though I haven't seen her in a decade. Nicole Decker, an old friend of my son's, drove over an hour to buy a book and have me sign it even though she works four miles from my house and could have stopped in there any time. Truly, I am blessed to have folks who care that much to go out of their way to offer support.

And get this - my fabulous book cover designed by Michael Rausch caught the eye of the cashiers at the front registers. Both of them came back and bought autographed copies of Risking Exposure for their own reading. I encouraged Michael to enter the cover design in a contest. It's that good, and he's that talented.

On Tuesday, I have the honor of attending a book club/dinner meeting with a group who read Risking Exposure as their October selection. I don't know what to expect. I'm just enjoying the ride.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What's working ... and not

I have a pay-it-forward and pay-it-back philosophy, so the business end of marketing doesn't come naturally to me.
But I've been fortunate on several counts -
-I live in a geographic area where the local newspapers are quite willing to run homespun press releases and grant interviews to no-name self-published authors like me. The Times-Leader, Wyoming County Examiner, and Abington Journal all shared my excitement with their readership, and I am grateful for that publicity.

-My friend and fellow Dietrich Writers Group member Hildy Morgan dedicated most of her weekly column in Advance to my book a couple weeks ago. She is an unbelievably generous, kind soul.

-I've contacted my local Books a Million and Barnes & Noble chains to see about getting my book in their stores. I learned that they won't order copies for their shelves because the publisher is print-on-demand and won't accept unsold copies as returns. That means potential readers have to order it through Amazon or through the customer service desk at the BAM or B&N store. So much for seeing my book on their shelves.

-BUT, B&N has local author signing events a few times a year. I'm signed up to participate in one this Wednesday night at 6pm in Wilkes-Barre. I bring the books to sell and I benefit from the publicity they've created.

-Hildy's book club read Risking Exposure as their October selection. I've been asked to come to their meeting on the 12th as they discuss the book. An amazing opportunity for me.

-I've been invited to do a brief presentation and a full-day book signing at Fort Mifflin on the Delaware on December 7th during their WWII re-enactment weekend. I've never been part of something like that before either.

-I've been invited to do a feature presentation and book signing at the Dietrich on March 9th, talking about the process of taking my book from idea to finished product. I'm donating a number of books to the Dietrich for that event, and anyone who wishes to purchase a copy can do so there at the retail price. That way, the Dietrich benefits $8.99 for each copy sold, a small payback to a non-profit which has supported my writing efforts for several years.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sequels, quotes, and donations - oh my!

A number of people have asked about a sequel to Risking ExposureAs I mentioned previously, I haven't gotten that far, which leaves me open to input. Some input has been funny, some poignant, but all has been encouraging and well-intentioned. Here are some of my favorites -
I know exactly what should happen next. When you're ready to write it, let me know.
It didn't turn out to be as grim as I expected. So you can write a sequel if you want, just don't kill her off.
What's with Werner and Anna? Maybe you should write a Fifty Shades of them.

The funny thing is once I start writing, the characters drive the story and develop the plot for me. I create them and tell them where we're headed, then they chart the course. So chances are I can't use other people's ideas as my outline. I can barely use my own. But I definitely won't be writing a Fifty Shades of anybody.

Enough about that.
I've been blessed with healthy children and grandchildren and a long career providing physical therapy services to children with disabilities. In their honor, I'm creating ways to give a portion of what I make on the proceeds of Risking Exposure to agencies who support children and their families, as well as the agencies who supported my writing and research.

Through the end of November I'll give to my church, followed by the March of Dimes in December, and the Dietrich Theater in January (in conjunction with my presentation there.) Hopefully some of you will share this information and help me with marketing - sharing on FB or Google+ or Twitter or whatever. Thanks in advance.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Of time, presentations, and characters who won't be deleted

I've dropped off copies of Risking Exposure to a number of local libraries and schools, and that's given me a chance to speak with librarians about the book. Several of them suggested ways I can connect with the readers, including presentations about 'how I wrote a novel' or about the research I did to create the setting and historical details. I'll present at the Dietrich on those same topics this winter as part of a fundraiser for them, probably to a combination of adults and youth. So I'm excited to share my experiences with two different audiences, both interested in developing their love of reading and writing stories.

Now to develop those presentations. And to write the rest of the stories swirling in my mind. I need to find time. The classic lament of adulthood.

The writing time I've chiseled out for myself has recently been taken up by marketing, in addition to other wonderful and necessary things put on the back burner during my final push toward publication - time with my family, involvement in my church, and the Factoryville Playground Task Force.
Oh, and I work. And I should probably clean my house.

As I've mentioned before, I cut many characters and their subplots cut from Risking Exposure during a long series of edits. Now those characters call to me from the Deleted Scenes folder on my computer. Their stories want to be told, and I want to share them. Kindle and Nook. And threads of a sequel to Sophie's story comes to me unbidden at times, so I jot the ideas down and wait to see if a story fabric can be woven from them.
My plan is to edit a few of them, turning them into short stories for release on

I'll get to it. As soon as I find the time.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

What am I doing marketing my own book?

What I know about marketing could fill a teacup. A toy teacup. And yet here I am with a finished product, trying to get it in the hands of consumers.

So I started where I usually start, with research. I read up on how to market and was bored to tears.
That wasn't going to get me anywhere. Then I read other writers' experiences in self-marketing, the strategies they used, the lessons they learned. I soon found that their goals were money and fame. Those aren't my goals, so using their strategies wouldn't get me what I want.

I want to connect with readers.
I want people who don't know me to read Risking Exposure and learn about the plight of people with disabilities during the Nazi era. I want readers to understand that acting against injustice when the entire society in which you live has warped the very meaning of right and wrong must be incredibly difficult. It takes courage beyond what most of us use in our lifetimes.

So here's my marketing plan in a nutshell - donate and spread the word. I am donating copies to libraries and schools, as well as to non-profits that support writers and people with disabilities. I am spreading the word through Facebook and hopefully through newspaper articles. And of course, through word of mouth.

If you've read Risking Exposure, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads and spread the word. Thank you!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thoughts from the basement: Literary equivalent of a new wardrobe

Thoughts from the basement: Literary equivalent of a new wardrobe: In my last blog post, I compared the Kindle launch of Risking Exposure to sending my adult children off into the world. That would make th...

Literary equivalent of a new wardrobe

In my last blog post, I compared the Kindle launch of Risking Exposure to sending my adult children off into the world. That would make the launch of the Nook version and print versions the literary equivalents of new wardrobes. So, Sophie and her story are fully outfitted for a variety of weather (and several reading formats.)

My plan from here is to give back to folks who have helped me along the way. First and foremost is the Dietrich Theater which houses my Writers Group. The theater/cultural center is a non-profit committed to the arts in our community. They have housed our weekly group meetings for a decade or so, and have allowed us use of their copier free of charge. I wrote the novel with the guidance provided by ongoing critique from my fellow writers there, so giving back to them is a no-brainer. I plan to develop some sort of 'all the proceeds go to the theater' event in association with the book, and hopefully hold the event this fall.

Since I am my own publisher, the book has zero publicity unless you as readers help. I don't want the book to, as Billy Joel so aptly says, "get put in the back in the discount rack like another can of peas." If you enjoy the novel, please leave feedback on Goodreads, Amazon, or Nook so others who stumble across it can see your rating. Thanks!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My book leaves the nest and goes live on Kindle!

I have spent years caring for Sophie's story, fostering its development, feeding it and letting it rest, smoothing over its many rough spots, and watching it grow with pride. So my analogy is easy - sending Risking Exposure into the world is a bit like watching my children set off on their adult lives. Just not as heart-wrenching.

A parent knows when it's time for a child to leave the nest.
Risking Exposure had received some 'close calls' in traditional publishing but as the saying goes, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. It became clear that if the story would ever leave the comfort and safety of my computer and fend for herself in the bigger world, I'd have to help her find a place to live, then pack her bags and send her off myself.

So I did. I spent countless hours learning about the options in self-publishing, watching tutorials, reading articles, studying various design features of the books I own. I found a tremendous amount of help on Create Space and KDP sites, and decided to use their formats to give Sophie's story a home. Next, I did what all women do when we find a new home - I went shopping.
My friend Lisa at Lisa Lee Photography took some great professional shots for my book jacket and website. And speaking of websites, Michael Rausch from my writers group at the Dietrich is designing mine. And the biggest and most important purchase of all - Michael Rausch also designed my book's cover.
Pretty amazing.

Now I've sent her off. The Kindle version is available! My files have been uploaded to Create Space and are 'pending approval.' If all goes well, I'll have a print copy to proof before the end of the week. That will (hopefully) make the print version available by the week of the 22nd.

Like all parents sending off their young, I have big hopes for Sophie and her story. I hope she'll make some friends, touch some hearts, and find her own way in the world.
If you enjoy Risking Exposure, I'd love to know. You can email me at Or leave feedback on Goodreads, Amazon, or Create Space. Thank you!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pursuit of a fuller truth

Yesterday, I watched this TED Talk by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie entitled "The Danger of a Single Story." She describes the inherent limitations in our understanding when we see a group of people from only one point of view. The video clip is less than 20 minutes long, and this young woman is articulate and engaging. I recommend taking the time to watch it.

The preconceived notions westerners had about her and her family, notions that were formed in and perpetuated by popular literature and media, were stereotypes caused by a dearth of knowledge and a superficial truth. Her point is well-taken - if we are given only one point of view, 'a single story,' then stereotypes will perpetuate and the depth and dimension of the truth will elude us.

Our job as writers, teachers, bosses, parents, community organizers, etc. is to speak the truth in our work, revealing multiple facets of our subject matter. It's our duty to convey more than one side of the story to our audience so they come away with a fuller understanding. And fuller understanding will be closer to the truth.

We've all read sad, horrible stories set in Nazi-era Germany, and unfortunately many of them fall into this 'single story' mold. I didn't want my story Risking Exposureto be another one of those; I wanted it to reveal a different facet of the truth of that time and place in history. So I chose to tell the story through the eyes of an insider, a girl in the Hitler Youth who has only been told the preferred truth, her society's 'single story.' When changes in her life open her eyes to other dimensions outside of that single story, she sees a fuller truth. Hopefully, readers will also.

Monday, September 2, 2013

How my 8th grade self's tombstone rubbing ended up in my book

In my adolescence and early teens, I had the good fortune to spend a couple weeks of summer vacation on Cape Cod with my friend Anne and her family. Anne's mom was a high school English teacher with a fascinating blend of etiquette and quirkiness. When we visited a local grist mill, she encouraged us to role-play Don Quixote fighting windmills; when we went clamming, we were treated to lengthy explanations of the plight of local fishermen. I came to expect a new perspective at every turn.

So the day she handed me a long roll of white paper and a brown wax block, I wasn't surprised. "Where are we going?" I asked. "To the cemetery," she said. "To collect poetry from old tombstones and hang them in the classroom."

I'd never seen poetry on a tombstone, just names and dates and maybe a little phrase like, "Loving mother," or "Forever at peace." But I was game. And sure enough, in the old sections of Cape Cod cemeteries, she led us to whaling-era tombstones etched with elaborate poems. Poems about the brave young man whose life was cut short by the merciless sea, the fair maiden who walked the pier awaiting his return and probably still walks there today, the stooped old woman who watched from the Widow's Walk atop her waterfront home, hoping and praying for her son's return. Dutifully, I rubbed the wax block over the paper to catch the words beneath, then carefully rolled the paper until it could be hung in the classroom. Honestly, I've forgotten most of them.

But the sentiment expressed on a very simple tombstone has stayed with me to this day. It was a plain stone, etched with a woman's name and the dates of her birth and death. Centered above that was the single phrase, "She hath done what she could."

I sat back and stared, stunned by that beautiful truth. Such an incredible testimony to a life well-lived. What more can we want than to do what is within our power to do? This woman may not have had money or success in the eyes of the world, but she had used the power given to her.

All these years later, that simple phrase still resonates with me. When I wrote my novel Risking Exposure, I integrated the search for that truth, that power into the main character's story line. The last words of the book are "I have done what I could." A totally satisfying ending for a story, taught to me by the memorial of an 19th century stranger's life.

Monday, August 26, 2013


A couple months ago, a woman in Writers Group at the Dietrich mentioned a story-sharing website called Wattpad so I checked it out. It's part social media, part writers-seeking-an-audience. Some confident writers use it to connect with readers and gain a following. Some have seen their stories there read over 200,000 times, garnishing tens of thousands of 'votes.'
New writers often use the site to get feedback from real readers on their work. And it offers something to readers as well. The anonymity provided by the internet might give a reader space to offer constructive feedback instead of a more saccharine "that's a nice story."

That same woman from Writers Group mentioned an acquaintance who posted the first couple chapters of her book a few pages at a time on Wattpad. In a few months, she gained about 7000 'followers' of her story. She self-published it and had thousands of immediate sales. Her audience was ready-made and the initial burst of sales was enough to put her on the best-seller list for a time. Was the story really that good? I couldn't say. But her marketing plan was awesome. She essentially used crowdsourcing not to develop the product but to develop the readership, to create a platform. That's exactly what happens on American Idol, The Voice, and a dozen other reality shows. Why not in stories?

If you want to see some of my stories on Wattpad, I'm jeanne42.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Quotes, pt. 3. Why I write

I write to document my heart. The process begins with curiosity, a tentative 'what if' connection between fact and imagination.
When I learned that people with disabilities were targeted in huge numbers during the Nazi era, I began exploring the literature. Sure enough, an entire pogrom called T4 was devoted to extermination of people in residential facilities for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. My questions took form. 'What if a young Aryan became disabled? Would they have become a target as well?" As I moved along the research journey which dominated my free time for years, a fictional character took shape. She is Sophie Adler, a shy member of the Hitler Youth who is also a skilled photographer. Her story, Risking Exposure, will be published in September.

The story of Sophie is fiction, but the fate of thousands of others like her was not. Their tales have not been well-covered in Holocaust literature. The field is filled with horrific stories of extermination of Jewish citizens, but few titles explore the other targets of Nazi persecution - people with disabilities, people who are deaf, homosexual, Communist, Romani (Gypsy), and Jehovah's Witness. Since I have spent a lifetime working with people with disabilities, I knew my storyteller's heart would create a tale about one of them.

Other writers answer the question of 'Why I write' more succinctly than I.

Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself.... It's a self-exploratory operation that is endless.”―Harper Lee

All that writers can do is keep trying to say what is deepest in their hearts. – Lloyd Alexander

A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought if he had not started to say them.
-William Stafford

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quotes, pt 2 - why I read

More quotes from my collection, this batch about the value of stories.

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading. – William Styron
Through a well-told story, I can live vicariously in another era, in another culture, or in an alternate universe. I can inhabit the experiences of a hero or villain, of a frail old man, an anxious teen-age girl, or a struggling single parent. These experiences have increased my empathy toward people whose lives are different from my own.

After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in this world. – Philip Pullman
Maybe that's why, throughout human history, stories were told wherever people gathered. Your Thanksgiving table has hosted a tale or two, I'm sure.

In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but how many can get through to you. -Mortimer J. Adler
Here's what's gotten through to me in hundreds of books - a story would be boring if there were no struggle, no risk-taking, no effort needed to reach success. Who wants to read about someone who has it easy all the time?
I've learned that the same holds true with life. It's the problems we face and the fact that we overcome them that gives us hope and forces us to grow and eventually succeed.

So here's the last word on the subject.
Let us read and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.

Monday, August 5, 2013


In all the 'stuff' that comes into my life, I differentiate between stuff I accumulate - dust bunnies, unfiled paperwork, and toys that need repair, and stuff I collect - recipes, vinyl record albums, photographs, and quotes. The quotes are saved on my computer in an ever-growing 60+ page Word file, and I've got a Pinterest board with a bunch more. I'll share some this week. This particular batch is faith-based.

"The older I get, the surer I am that I'm not running the show."
There's both complexity and order within our immense universe and within the microscopic world. It's completely illogical to think that happened by chance. It's designed that way by a Creator much grander than I can imagine.

"I believe in the sun even when it's not shining.
I believe in love even when I am alone.
I believe in God even when he is silent."
The origin of this quote is vague, although many sources say it was found written on a cellar wall in Cologne, Germany after WWII. These sources assume it was written by hidden Jews. Holding onto faith in such incredible circumstances is amazing.

"The number of 'followers' you have doesn't mean you have a better idea. Hitler had millions. Jesus had twelve."
No comment needed.

"Come to the edge."
"We can't. We're afraid."
"Come to the edge."
"We can't. We will fall!"
"Come to the edge."
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.

Faith and trust are intertwined; my thesaurus uses them as synonyms. Flight requires trust in our forward momentum to overcome gravity, trust in the air currents to provide lift, and faith that your wings will work. When it all goes as it should, it's somehow both wondrous and completely expected.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Better targets of the governor's attention

Fact: Governor Tom Corbett has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the residents of Pennsylvania against the NCAA regarding its sanctions against Penn State University.

Disclaimer: I'm not fluent in legal-speak and I have no interest in personally investigating what the NCAA is or is not legally able to do.

Fact: The suit stems from the Jerry Sandusky case, in which football and money were deemed more important than children.

Disclaimer: I like a good game as much as the next person, but I value children a whole lot more than sports. I think sport performance and the accompanying money, fame, and clout often become more important than the moral behavior of those involved, and this is a sickening example. Children should be protected from adult stupidity on all levels.

If he were truly interested in what's best for the WHOLE commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ALL its residents, not just sports lovers or Penn State fans, these (underfunded, pitifully broken) systems would have been better targets of the governor's attention.

*Pennsylvania's roads are in constant disrepair. Our bridges are even worse, aging and crumbling from the deadly combination of time, increased truck traffic (can you say drilling?), and repeated storm damage. A bridge just a mile from my house has been out of service for 7 years, tied up in bureaucratic wrangling and lack of funds. Bad for residents of Pennsylvania.

*Pennsylvania's schools are underfunded, causing massive teacher layoffs, higher student/teacher ratios, and cutting essential programs. Bad for the residents of Pennsylvania, present and future. Didn't I say children should be protected from adult stupidity on all levels? Shouldn't that include our own government?

*Pennsylvania's state pension system is underfunded. Reports continue to show the cost of public worker retirement benefits is higher than anticipated, and baby boomers are just getting started drawing down funds. Bad for the residents of Pennsylvania, present and future. Ditto the questions raised above.

*Public services to support children and families in need continue to be cut. The cynic in me says it's because children don't vote, and the working poor are too busy trying to survive to be politically savvy. It goes without saying that the same type of program that supports children like Jerry Sandusky's victims has received less funding than in previous years. There's no logic to explain that. Again, the same questions apply.

If Gov. Corbett applied the same logic to these injustices that he applied in filing the NCAA lawsuit, he'd have to sue his own administration. Guess that won't be happening. We as the residents of Pennsylvania have to make him accountable using the only power we have.

November 2014 can't come soon enough for me.