Friday, March 28, 2008

another very TCK rant, if you can stand it

...and if you can't, stop reading. ;o)

Okay, so a few days ago, I wrote about how I get really irritated when people give me 20 seconds of their attention, then turn me off right as I'm in the middle of answering THEIR question.

This isn't going to be a rant about that again.

But this *is* going to be a rant about something else to which I react with anger.

I'll be brief.

To Whom It May Concern--And You Know Who You Are:

Do not tell me I'm not a "good American" because I get upset when you bash Europe. To my face.

Do not tell me that I sound more German than American in my opinions. If I *am* more German, then it is none of your business.

And do not tell me that I need to decide which country I want to be a citizen of in my heart.
Do not have the audacity, the utter gall to say such a thing to me.


I'm done.

This isn't a cross-cultural re-entry issue for me. This relates to the ever-difficult, ever-present, life-long struggle of feeling torn between cultures. Even after I complete the current cultural transition phase, this isn't going to go away. I accept that, so please don't anyone worry that I'm having a meltdown. I'm not. I just read something this evening that reminded me of the incident described above, and I realized I'd feel better about it if I aired the dirty laundry in public.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

you may quote me on this

Occasional incoherence builds character!

While you're at it, don't get stuck in the metaphysical toe cheese.

That really swings my verge.

(And on a side note, here's what the online translator does with those sentences... German:
Die zufällige Zusammenhangslosigkeit baut den Charakter! Während Sie - darin, sie sich in metaphysischem Käse der Zehe nicht verstopfen. Das schwingt meinen Rand wirklich. English:
The accidental unconnectedness builds the character! While you do not block yourselves in metaphysical cheese of the toe - in it, they. This swings my edge really.

*Love* it.)

something to chew on

I found this quote that I'd scribbled down somewhere. I have no idea who said it, but it's an excellent thought.

The worst thing that could happen to you is that you go to your grave a respectable fraud who spent your entire life worrying that someone would find out, but you ignored the only one who saw it all.

Monday, March 24, 2008

i finished chapter 23 today!

...which really swings my verge. ;o)

a few more interesting scriptures from the FHV

...FHV = Freed-Hardeman Version, which I mentioned sometime last week, or maybe week-before-last, but I'm in a hurry right now, so I'm not gonna look it up. Anyway, here are the verses of current interest:

Matthew 5:31-32
It was said, "Whoever divorces his wife is to give her a bill of divorce." But, I assure you, any man who divorces his wife except for fornication leaves her debased, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
(Emphasis added because that makes so much more sense than any other translation I've ever read or divorce-related doctrine I've ever heard!)

John 21:15-17
After breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?"
He replied, "Yes, Lord, you know I like you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." A second time, Jesus asked, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?"
Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I like you."
Jesus said, "Shepherd my sheep." The third time, Jesus asked, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you like me?"
Peter was grieved because Jesus had asked for the third time, "Do you like me?", and he replied, "Lord, you know all things: you know I like you."
Jesus answered, "Feed my sheep."
(emphasis added)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

some culture shock thoughts

Before I begin, here's another caveat emptor (I've been using that phrase so often lately, I really should make it a tag): I am not bitter; I am not trying to criticize; I am not complaining; I am meaning no offense. I am venting, and I am feeling frustrated, and I am making observations. So there are your grains of salt with which to take the following:

One. If you ever really want to annoy me: ask me a question, give me twenty seconds of your attention, and then, as I am answering YOUR question, either walk away from me or turn away and start talking to someone else.

This has happened numerous times since we arrived here in November. And the culprits are not inattentive children or flighty teenagers. The culprits are allegedly friendly, allegedly sensitive, and allegedly well-adjusted adults who ought to know better.

Forgive me my intolerance and closed-mindedness, but that is rude no matter what culture you're in. Please spare me your alleged interest in who I really am.

I know this sounds bitter, but I'm really not bitter. Frustrated. Annoyed.

Two. A lot of people here profess to be very proud to be American, proud to be part of this country. And yet I observe the same people, littering and wasting natural resources (leaving water running, leaving lights on, leaving cars running while the drivers duck into the store for 15 minutes...). Germans are, for the most part, lukewarm when it comes to patriotism. And yet they will drive you nuts with everything they insist on doing to protect the environment, to take care of their land (like separating trash into four different types for disposal and recycling; I am so brainwashed, I *still* feel guilty about putting everything into one trash can!).

So of the two cultures, which is really more patriotic?

Annoyed. Not bitter. Frustrated. And ***confused***.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

an 'i am' poem

message to a friend who was

i am penitent and hopeful

i wonder if i will ever be able to ask your forgiveness
i hear a voice whispering discouragement into my heart
i see myself speaking to you of my sin
i want to assure you that i desire nothing of you
i am penitent and hopeful.

i pretend no more
i feel myself growing beyond the confines of who i was
i touch the places in my past that hurt
i worry that you resent me
i weep not, though: for
i am penitent and hopeful.

i understand that i cannot fix this
i say these things to you because i must
i dreamt i was not prideful, but i have awakened to what’s real

i remember our laughter

i hope i will one day have the honor of asking your forgiveness

i am penitent

and hopeful.

The above text © 2007 by Courtney Weger Cantrell.

Monday, March 17, 2008

dream #145

Drowning People of All Nations, Unite!

Last night, I dreamed that I was in Communist East Germany, and the Stasi were chasing me. I tried to hide in a skyscraper that was an apartment building. But as luck would have it, the Stasi had chosen that particular building in which to kill all of the occupants by drowning. I was caught up in the chaos of fleeing people and Stasi officers’ giving orders.

Somehow, I ended up pushing myself through a crowd on the stairs and getting into the basement. I thought I could find some loose boards among the panels that covered all the windows. But somehow the Stasi had managed to make the whole building watertight. They began pumping water in, and the basement started to fill up. Together with a few others who had kept their heads, I found a section of boarding that was loose. By holding our breaths and diving down to the floor of the basement, we managed to pry the boards away, let some of the water out, and help a few people escape before swimming to safety ourselves.

When I emerged from the basement, I found the streets full of people and Communist troops. A full-scale revolt had erupted, and the citizens were taking up arms and fighting back. I joined a crowd that was standing on some crumbling concrete steps, listening to a man give a revolutionary speech. A lot of the people had weapons that looked like shotguns. Then the dream ended.

keeping the joy alive

And, speaking of geekdom, here's a little something I just have to re-post every few years. I share it because this guy, whose name I believe is Gary, just makes me really happy. Every time I see this, I smile...

...and I sing and dance along. Huzzah!

"Gary" sings "Dragostea Din Tei".

Sunday, March 16, 2008

i couldn't agree more, and i am a geek

As regularly as I read any blog (which has not, of late, been regularly at all), I peruse the blog of Wil Wheaton. On March 6, 2008, he posted the following:"

"Some books contain the machinery required to create and sustain universes."
-Tycho, at Penny Arcade

Yeah, let that roll around in your head for a little bit. It's really as simple and beautiful as that, isn't it?

I see a bookshelf, filled with different books from different authors, all acting as portals to different worlds and different times. The author may give them birth, but it's the readers who keep them alive.

--yellow text penned by Wil Wheaton

That's exactly how I feel about books and about reading them. I've mentioned the worlds and universes aspect before. Here.

As for why I'm a geek....well, Wil Wheaton's a geek, and I love his blog. I don't always like his word choices, but I ignore them because I like how he writes and the fact that he revels in his geekdom. Besides, he played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: TNG, and I loved him heart and soul when I was 13.

I revel in my own geekdom (see here and here,) but I suspect my secret recalcitrant side often prevents me from engaging in revelry in public. I admire Wil for his blatant and unhesitant revelry. I find, though, that I become more and more open about my geekiness as I get older, so perhaps I am learning something.

And, in the spirit of such...

Happy Belated π Day!
Happy Belated Ides of March!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

they might be germans

Today, I've had "Particle Man" stuck in my head for some reason, and as I was unloading the dishwasher, I randomly started singing it to myself in German. So here's a snippet of translation for your enjoyment:

Partikelmann, Partikelmann,
er tut was ein Partikel kann.
Ob er lebt ist unwichtig,

Isser 'n Punkt?
Oder isser 'n Fleck?
Wird er unter dem Wasser nass?
Oder durchnässt er das Wasser selbst?
Keiner weiss,


P.S. For my German friends: "Particle Man" is a song by a group called They Might Be Giants. And all this has led to singing the politically rather incorrect "Drie Chieniesien miet diem Kientriebiess" in my head. I don't know why.

most recent novel-related facebook status updates

March 10, 2008
Courtney is now far enough along in the story to know there will probably be 35 chapters.

March 11, 2008
Courtney finished Chapter 27 today!

March 13, 2008
Courtney has figured out that she MIGHT have the first draft finished IN 10 WEEKS!

And today, I am working on Chapter 23. Note: I am not writing chapters in numerical order. Chapters 1-22 and 27 are completed, but I also have bits and pieces written for 24, 26, 28, 30, 31, and 35. Filling in the blanks is fun! ;o)

Ten weeks till first draft completion is probably an overly optimistic assessment. More realistic would probably be 12 or 13. But we shall see. I have still done more work on the story in the last few months than I have done during the previous two years! YAY!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

thoughts on a bible translation

So once again, I'm trying to make daily Bible study part of my lifestyle. Over the last 2 years, I had made daily study a priority. Yeah, I had "backslides" or "relapses" or whatchacallits, times when I forgot or put it off or just didn't do it because I was feeling recalcitrant. (There's that word again!) But still, I was generally moving in the right direction, knew myself a spiritually stronger person, and knew myself as becoming ever more vulnerable to and intimate with God.

Since Ed and I moved back to Oklahoma, my daily Bible study has been nil.

There have been lots of reasons for this, but I don't want to get into all of that now. It's cultural-transition-related, so perhaps I'll write about that some other time. The point of this blopgost is to say that I am once more reading daily ( --> spending time with God daily), and I would like to share some thoughts about the Bible translation I have been using.

I'm not sure what the official name of this translation is. The cover reads as follows:

The Everlasting Gospel
New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs, and more
Hugo McCord, Th.D.
FHU Press

What I have is the 4th edition. Its foreword refers to the translation as the Freed-Hardeman Version (FHV). For simplicity's sake, that's how I will refer to it, as well.

I'm no Greek scholar, but I'm working on it. ;o) I've been studying N.T. Greek (Koine) for over a year and am pleased to be able to say that I now have a rudimentary understanding of the language which can certainly get me into a lot of trouble. ;o) That said (and I hope, by the tongue-in-cheek, you realize that I am considering myself anything but learnéd), in what little FHV reading I've done, I've identified a few problems in the New Testament translation. (I can say nothing of the Old Testament translation, as I've not yet dared to tackle Hebrew.)

So far, these seem to be little things. Most recently, I noticed that the FHV calls the Jewish 7th hour "7 o'clock" (John 4:52), which is incorrect. The Jewish 7th hour was equivalent to our 1:00pm. A minor detail...but it begs the question what other things have been overlooked. There's more to be said on this subject, I'm sure, but let me digress into what I actually wanted to write about when I set about writing this blopgost...

...which is this: The FHV translates several passages in such a manner as to clear up some major theological issues of our day. I won't name the issues, and I won't point out the particulars of why I'm quoting the verses I quote below. Suffice it to say that the translation of certain words and phrases in the N.T. scriptures concurs with what I've been taught, so far, by three different Greek scholars. Not that this makes me an authority or in any way reliable--I am simply giving my opinion. Given another 40 years of Greek study, I might change that opinion. But for now, the scriptures:

John 3:16
God so loved the world that he gave his unique Son, so that no one who believes in him will perish, but he will have eternal life.

Acts 2:38
...Change your hearts and be immersed, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ into the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:5
...he saved us, not by works of righteousness which we had done, but according to his mercy, through the bath of the new birth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit...

Matthew 3:8
Bring forth fruit as evidence of a change of heart.

Matthew 5:48
You therefore shall be mature, as your heavenly Father is mature.

1. Corinthians 10:13
...God is trustworthy, and he will not allow you to be tried beyond your ability. With the trial he will provide an escape, so that you can bear up under it.

Acts 2:4
All [the apostles] were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began speaking in other languages as the Spirit empowered them.

Acts 10:46
They were hearing the Gentiles speak in languages and praising God.

1. Corinthians 14:5
...He who prophecies is greater than he who speaks in languages, unless he interprets, that the assembly might be edified.

And so forth.

A note on the foreword: McCord definitely had a sense of humor. (I say "had" because I heard that he's dead.) He writes, "...the KJV uses words such as 'grisled,' 'holpen,' 'sith,' 'unicorns,' 'strawed,' 'bewrayeth,' 'wist,' 'wit,' 'wot,' and 'trow'...while advising readers to use 'sound speech that cannot be condemned' (Titus 2:8)." ;o)

And a general note on various translations: I'm a strong advocate of perusing multiple translations at once. When I'm studying or preparing a lesson, I usually use at least 5 or 6. It keeps my mind open and helps me to see nuances. So no one should take this post as my recommendation of the FHV above all other translations. It is one of many I use; but it just happens to be one I'm currently very interested in, and one that translates a few things in a way I haven't seen in other translations.

Monday, March 10, 2008

courtney's cure for writer's block

Shannon voiced a writer's block difficulty, so I thought I'd share here what I wrote to him on Facebook:

Courtney's Cure for Writer's Block, Gleaned From Various Writing Sources

1. Grab Inner Editor by scruff of neck.

2. Drag him down to the darkest depths of the deepest mental dungeon.

3. Lock him behind the most solid steel door available.

4. Break the key off in the lock.

5. Skip light-heartedly back up the mental stairs.

6. Write, write, write...

7. ...and write anything, even if it's just stream-of-consciousness stuff that has nothing to do with your current project, without thinking about it, without changing anything, without correcting anything, without stopping, for at least 20 minutes.

8. Take a break and go do something completely unrelated to writing.

9. Wash, rinse, repeat.

That all sounds very tongue-in-cheek, but it really does work. The principle is just to give yourself the freedom to write anything and everything, without stopping to think if it's "good enough" or not. It's all about getting past the intimidating, blank white space--paper or word processor screen--you're trying to fill! :o)

*much eye-rolling*

On the radio the other day, I heard a "Jenny Craig" commercial. One particular line of their spiel caught my attention:

"You can lose weight for $49.95 a month!"

Well, hidey-ho and guess what, neighborinos....*I* can lose weight FOR FREE! HA!

What an utterly ridiculous commercial.

Friday, March 07, 2008

a conversation from today

Courtney: Does your stomach still hurt?

Ed: It comes and goes.

Courtney: Your stomach?

Ed: Yeah.

Courtney: I bet that feels kinda funny.

linguistic amusement

Someone might notice that I updated my links list today. (See far right column.) Among those links is now a link (how word-well-wielding is that?) to, which I reference multiple times an hour as I write.

I know that while penning my first draft, I should ignore my Inner Editor and worry about finding synonyms later, but I can't help myself. I think I'm addicted. And the Inner Editor is more than happy to supply me with synonymical drugs.

Anyway....I was just indulging my habit a few minutes ago by looking up another word for "relentless." gave me "ruthless." Which led me to the following musings:

Why isn't relentful the opposite of relentless?

Relentless is related to the verb relent.
If relentless and ruthless are basically interchangeable, why can one not make a verb out of ruthless?

As in:

1. I no longer felt relentless, so I relented.
2. I am begging you to relent!

1A. I no longer felt ruthless, so I ruthed.
2A. I am begging you to ruth!

I'm so glad to have gotten this off my chest. I'm going to go back to my story now.

Monday, March 03, 2008

another good quote

“Truth often carries with it the inherent necessity for change. The most common expression when real change enforces itself is the plaintive cry: ‘Why didn’t anyone warn us?’ Truly, they do not hear-—or hearing, do not choose to remember.”

~Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson,
“Dune: House Corrino”

a thought

"Every majestic oak tree was once a nut who stood his ground."

--Author Unknown

I'm a nut. What are you?