Category Archives: Opinion Blog

Freedom -the ability to think freely/by RL Brown

A mind free to think 
Imagines, reasons, then decides
to act with forethought.
Haiku by RL Brown
C S Lewis/PIC: stories.gordon.edu

CS Lewis said that imagination is key to reason. But your mind must be clear, lucid; looking beyond instant gratification to see reasonable danger. Reason trains the mind, imagination helps you see beyond what you know. Reason test, decipher, separate subtleties that are a snare. Your ready to think -to act beyond just yourself.

The drug trap. A mind clouded by dreadful need. The loss of love for others and cherished memories turns to disdain. Careless attitude of life that drags you down into the depths of despair. A despair so great that it takes you over an unimaginable cliff. Drugs trap you in a body and steal your life and freedom.

To imagine means to explore possibilities, reasons is to weigh actions with consequences with a depth of understanding and proceed with full knowledge, ready to bear consequences. Marx was an elitist fool who lived off others and yet abandoned his children to starvation. Marx was a type of man who celebrated the death of his uncle, so he could lived off his Uncle’s wealth without producing any of his own. China and Russia only pulled out of poverty because they allowed for free enterprise. Our country is not perfect but it allows for everyone life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… and all that goes with that, great success or great failure.

A mind free to think will imagine, reason and then decide to act. R L Brown

Picture Books for Today

Today’s picture book market is very different from when I was a child. The book market is more selective. There exits an underlying pc culture. Very few publishers like in the past take direct submissions from new authors. So now you have written a children’s book, but does it cut the mustard (meet current standards)? 

The first step is to compare your book to what’s currently written. Go to your library and read. Read in your genre, then read books out of your genre. But read current books. Water is Water by Miranda Paul is a perfect example of a nonfiction narrative that varies vastly from the expository/factual nature of picture books in the past. Books like I Talk Like a River explore the world of a stutter and address personal issues that kids face beyond friendship or bullying. So, read and find your mentor texts. 

The second step is to know your craft before sending the query letter. Editors and agents get so many manuscripts that if they are not near perfect, they toss them. It’s like a resume filled with grammatical errors or false information. Research your agent, editor, or publishers. Make sure they are open to submissions in your genre. 

The third step is to use the tools at hand. Microsoft Word has a review function that reads your work out loud. Use Grammarly or one such program to edited your work. Don’t pay someone like I did to take the extra space from behind the period when you can do it yourself. Crtl A copies, and Crtl H brings up a dialog box to make edits all at once. 

Lastly, participate in a good critique group. Not an online, never see your face type but a Zoom group. It makes people accountable for what they say and why. A picture book must allow the reader to see for themselves what you are trying to say, not telling them what you think. For young readers, you are helping to develop their imagination. A mind free to think will imagine, reason, and then decide to act. (My synopsis line from a CS Lewis study with Hillsdale college.)

I will end by saying I had made every newbie mistake in the book by sending my manuscript out before it was ready. Take your time, learn the process, research, get your work ready, then submit. 

Freedom is lost in ignorance. by RL Brown

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cropped-img_0312.jpg
Photo by R. Brown
Niagara Falls

Stupid is now an offensive word, but impugn, denigrate, or besmirch a political opponent with expletives, and they praise you for your lack of articulation skills. When trapped by blind hatred, acrimony becomes a course for action. The ensuing incompetence best describes those so full of discord that they seethe and bathe in malice until reasonable or contemplated thought perishes. The result is not free speech but a distilled compilation of whiny, immature thinking which doesn’t include an original opinion. (Yes, this is a negative first paragraph).

Critically thinking is essential to free speech, and losing the ability to form an opinion based on facts is the loss of free speech. Our Founding Fathers truly understood the concept of freedom of speech. It comes with a depth of knowledge and personal responsibility to ponder your words, weigh them, then speak for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Equality doesn’t mean equal, nor does it mean taking what others have earned. The pursuit of happiness does not mean life is fair. It isn’t.
My point is to step over or away from those people and continue to pursue your dream(s). Freedom means the right to be responsible for yourself, your words, and your actions. Know and understand what freedom of speech means, know your history and why the electoral college is valuable for the individual voter. Discover the truth, weigh your words and then speak.

A simple fix

God established Israel for his love for man. America was established on man’s love for God. The 10 commandments are the basis for our laws. The Constitution was written not to be fixed but to ensure the progression of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all men. ‘Men’ as a term is a generic term for humanity. To say we need to fix our nation is incorrect, we are a nation becoming…. God transforms man’s heart, and the nation is healed.

It is such a simple fix but so hard to grasp when a heart is set against God.

Not so simple to fix when a nation’s heart is set against God.

A Giant Stick by RLBrown

Haiku: Winter folds a tree- into a counterfeit death – Gray, boney, lifeless.

Photo by RL Brown Petit Jean Mtn

As I sit on the back porch, high in the Ozark mountains looking down into the valley, I welcome the cool morning breeze. The rolling mountains covered in deciduous trees are in full bloom. Billowing white clouds stationery in the pale blue sky, show hints of rain in the underbelly. Tree limbs sway in the wind, leaves rustle ever so briefly and stop. A red-headed woodpecker sails pass without stretched wings maneuvering the air currents with ease. With slight turns between the trees, he disappears. Birds sing their early morning songs, hidden from sight. Shaded spots cover the mountainside from the clouds above offering its cool shade as the day heats. Life plays and dances in the wind, life grows in the sunlight’s warmth and exists as created.

But standing amid this background of life is a giant dead stick-gray, boney and lifeless. It stands in contrast to its surrounding. Haggard branches extend outward out of place in the middle of summer encompassed by life. Its lifeless form yearns for the dead of winter, for the facade of a counterfeit death, so to fit in.

So, don’t let your Christian life be a giant dead stick, comfortable with your Christianity in the dead of winter. Dig your roots deep, grow in knowledge and wisdom, and overflow with gratitude.

Jeremiah 17: 7-9 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green. And will not be anxious in a year of draught nor cease to yield fruit. The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the Lord search the heart and I test the mind…

Post By Dave Ramsey and An obvious point of view by Rhonda Brown

An obvious point of view : It was never about President Trump. It was about a stolen election, a constantly and consistently lying press, vitriol against the Constitution, and the right to keep this country based on Judea-Christian values. Without this plumb line, this country steers without a rudder. Never once did these elected officials seek the truth, nor the media search for the root of corruption. You think turning hollywood back on is going to lull the minds of Americans, not for the woke. I turned off cable a long time ago, I work to find viable news sources. I put my trust in you, Tom Cotton to speak up for us. Don’t let us down! How many people this summer died and had their lives destroyed by antifa, marxist press refusing to cover the violence, silence from elected officials and now you speak out. We, the people, have never tolerated violence, we want the truth revealed against obvious fraud in the election process and those guilty prosecuted.

Post by Dave Ramsey “This morning, I realized that everything is about to change. No matter how I vote, no matter what I say, lives are never going to be the same. I have been confused by the hostility of family and friends. I look at people I have known all my life so hate-filled that they agree with opinions they would never express as their own. I think that I may well have entered the Twilight Zone. You can’t justify this insanity. We have become a nation that has lost its collective mind. We see other countries going Socialist and collapsing, but it seems like a great plan to us. Somehow it’s un-American for the census to count how many Americans are in America. People who say there is no such thing as a gender are demanding a female President. Universities that advocate equality, discriminate against Asian-Americans in favor of African-Americans. Some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, and other people are not held responsible for what they are doing right now. Criminals are caught-and-released to hurt more people, but stopping them is bad because it’s a violation of THEIR rights. People who have never owned slaves should pay slavery reparations to people who have never been slaves. After legislating gender, if a dude pretends to be a woman, you are required to pretend with him. It was cool for Joe Biden to “blackmail” the President of Ukraine, but it’s an impeachable offense if Donald Trump inquiries about it. People who have never been to college should pay the debts of college students who took out huge loans for their degrees. Immigrants with tuberculosis and polio are welcome, but you’d better be able to prove your dog is vaccinated. Irish doctors and German engineers who want to immigrate to the US must go through a rigorous vetting process, but any illiterate gang-bangers who jump the southern fence are welcomed.$5 billion for border security is too expensive, but $1.5 trillion for “free” health care is not. If you cheat to get into college you go to prison, but if you cheat to get into the country you go to college for free. And, pointing out all this hypocrisy somehow makes us “racists”! Nothing makes sense anymore, no values, no morals, no civility, and people are dying of a Chinese virus, but it is racist to refer to it as Chinese even though it began in China. We are clearly living in an upside-down world where right is wrong and wrong is right, where moral is immoral and immoral is moral, where good is evil and evil is good, where killing murderers is wrong, but killing innocent babies is right. Wake up America. The great unsinkable ship Titanic America has hit an iceberg is taking on water and sinking fast.”

Rhonda Brown: I will add in the 60’s and 70’s Christianity was attacked and dismissed on a scientific basis. Evolution Theory vs Creationism, just remember a theory is not fact. Today, we are told to throw science for non-genderism.

Without a plumb line for truth, we sail a rudderless ship. “Behold I am about to put a plumb line in the midst of my people. I will spare them no longer.” Amos 7:8

Cover Reveal! A POEM IS A FIREFLY by Charles Ghigna & Michelle Hazelwood Hyde (plus a giveaway)

There is a place I drive after dark, stop and watch the forest floor light up. Congratulations on your book release.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

by Charles Ghigna, aka Father Goose

We are excited to have Tara Lazar host our cover reveal today. Thank you!

A POEM IS A FIREFLY was truly a joy to create! I wanted to introduce the magic and wonder of poetry to young readers in a new and exciting way. My mission was to show children that poetry lives all around them, especially in nature. All they have to do is stop and look around. What better way to introduce children to the marvels of poetry than to have a friendly bunch of woodland animals gather in a forest clearing to answer the question, “What is a poem?” Of course, I wanted each character to show their answer in a metaphor, along with a catchy rhyme. What an exciting challenge that was! I only hope children and their parents have nearly as much fun reading A POEM IS A FIREFLY as I did in writing it.

It was also a…

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