Bethany Book Fair

I am happy to announce I will be at the Bethany Book Fair this year in Mankato, MN. Got some cool posters, cards, etc., to give out and books to sell, namely Trolls for Dust, Seasons One and Two. Season Three is still in the works. The fair is part of the Fall Festival there and is on October 2nd, from 10AM-3PM in the SFC Younge Gym. Also, I am trying out a free ebook giveaway on Amazon. Never done this before, so we’ll see how it goes. It is for Trolls for Dust, Season One, and goes from October 1-5, 2021.

Happy Reading, everyone!

Vindication is coming, is already here.

Have a busy day ahead of me, so not sure I’ll get around to any reviews, but want to encourage everyone to follow Project Veritas. Like them or hate them, they are doing work that the main stream journalists often aren’t. This forcing of the COV vaccine, any vaccine really, but this in particular is one of the biggest crimes of humanity and especially of government that is supposed to watch out for our well-being.

Every day, story after story, the reasonable stance not to take the vaccine is being vindicated over and over and over again. I thank God for all willing to stand up and tell the truth and for whistleblowers like this woman. Wish that I could be that brave. I am so sorry for all those that have been harmed by this and also for all the many living in constant fear. God bless and here’s the link. Not sure how long Youtube will keep it up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obdI7tgKLtA

Autumn in Minnesota and updates

Autumn, Fall, Pumpkin Spice Season, whatever you want to call it, I love this time of year with the cooler weather perfect for leggings, jeans and sweatshirts. In Minnesota it always feels even more special, with all of the corn and beans ripening, the apples ready for picking, and the trees changing colors. Backyard grilling and fires over which to roast marshmallows. County and state fairs with delicacies galore. Favorite stop offs like the giant yellow candy store in Shakopee and pie at Emma Krumbee’s. New possibilities like zip lining at Kerfoot or exploring trails in Henderson. Hiking at the state parks and taking day trips with friends and family. Hunting for future Christmas gifts. Cooking fall dishes like butternut squash soup or spicy Indian food. Attending Trunk or Treats or Halloween/Fall parties. Drinking hot cider and hot cocoa. And especially, curling on the couch with a hot drink and a good book. Minnesota is awesome all around, but especially in the fall.

North Shore, Fall 2020
Tallest waterfall in MN – on border with Canada, Fall 2020

Some Updates: Only two more books, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle, until I finish The Chronicles of Narnia. So far The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is still my favorite.

I will be selling books at a book fair at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN, on October 2nd, so if you want copies of Trolls for Dust or an autograph, stop on by.

Loving The Possessed by Fyodor Dostoevsky so far and beginning another Brandon Sanderson one, Elantris. I am really trying to like and read Throne of Bones by Vox Day, but so far it is one long battle and that’s about it. Liked Summa Elvetica a lot better, but I will keep at it and hope once the story really picks up I will like it. Have another interesting fantasy series on my list: The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolf. Sounds like it might be difficult to get through, too, but I met a big fan of the series who really talked it up, so at least have to try it. Also reading The Moon-Spinners by Mary Stewart. Saw the movie based on this with Hayley Mills awhile ago and it was a trippy adventure. The book is waylaid by a lot of scenery description. Am I the only one who finds most detailed scenery descriptions unnecessary in stories? Guess I’m more of a get the plot moving or characters moving kind of girl.

As far as Kdramas: I am rewatching the awesome The Lookout or The Guardians starring Kim Young Kwang (Pinocchio) and Lee Si Young (Playful Kiss). It’s got a stellar soundtrack and lots of action and intrigue. Started Witch‘s Court/Witch at Court with Jung Ryeo Won (The Lord of Dramas) and Yoon Hyun Min (Tunnel). Although I’m excited to see Yoon as a leading man here, it’s a heavy topic: Two prosecutors end up working in the Crimes against Girls unit. Jung’s character is thus far rather unsympathetic to her sex, but I think that will change over time. She plays a character you love to hate that will turn into one you’ll just love. At least, I hope so. Both leads have good chemistry so far and the acting is good. They seem like real people. Maybe not regular, but real people.

Ignorance is Death: Plague of Corruption Book Review

Oftentimes we think of corruption as a minor ailment in our society. The saying is that power corrupts, right? Anyone in a position of power is likely to be a bit corrupt, that is, a bit selfish and looking out only for themselves and their own interests, and their own agendas. And while it is true that in a sinful world we can never stamp out corruption completely, we should still be smart enough to understand that it shouldn’t be tolerated. Corruption isn’t just a rot slowly eating away at something, no, it is the complete distortion of something. A corrupt government, for example, is not a government, but a different entity entirely. A government governs, a corrupt government destroys a country.

Plague of Corruption by Dr. Judy Mikovits and Kent Heckenlively deals specifically with corruption in healthcare and science. This corruption is horrifying, but really not surprising considering that almost every level of our society is now corrupt. Almost every institution in America, and other countries as well, is doing the complete opposite of what they were created for. Selfishness doesn’t adequately describe it, and it’s certainly not a minor ailment. What this book describes is abominable on so many levels. Health care is so far from being about health that the question arises: What exactly is the purpose of the health care industry now today? Science, too. Whatever “science” is that people love so *&^% much, it’s not the observation of the real world and how it works. And it’s certainly not about asking questions.

This book was a good read, but the latter half is much better than the first. The authors take their time and use a roundabout way to get us to the destination. I enjoyed the second half largely because I was familiar with much of the information already and was intrigued to see it all fit together with the information from the start of the book. Mikovits begins with a harrowing tale that could easily be a crime show segment or something from a John Grisham novel. Those already skeptical of what’s coming would at this point perhaps roll their eyes and put down the book. But if they did that they would be missing a great deal. Not missing so much the information this book gives, but the questions it raises. Questions we should all be asking now and questions we or our great-greats should have been asking from the beginning. Ignorance is not bliss, as the saying goes. Ignorance is death.

My brother-in-law is fond of saying that babies are stupid. From one perspective, yes, they are; from another, babies are simply ignorant, and that is why for the first few years of life a parent’s number one job is to keep their child alive. Parents have to teach their kids about all the ways they could die and how to avoid them. Babies will really stick their fingers in an outlet, because why not? Babies are so cute and innocent, and as adults we can aspire to be like that because it’s good, but we should never aspire to ignorance. As this book shows. Ignorance equals death, if not for ourselves, perhaps for future generations.

As you can already tell this is going to be a lengthy review. I have a lot of thoughts about the material and there’s just so much to unpack in the book and about Mikovits’s story. She is a scientist that began work in 1980s largely dealing with retroviruses, cancer, and the like. She and her colleague, Dr. Frank Ruscetti, who was a founder of the retrovirus field, and isolated XMRV, or Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus, and its connection to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Yes that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The most famous retrovirus is HIV and the book has much to say about that, too, and the corrupt Dr. Fauci.

As the book unfolds, it describes corruption in science, corruption in the law, corruption in government, corruption in testimony for the government’s vaccine court, which few know exists, but the heart of the matter is the physical manifestation of all of this corruption: Vaccines. Vaccines don’t equal dollar signs so much as they equal power, and absolute power at that. This book was written just before COVID hit and it’s obvious how all of the corruption and problems Mikovits describes are directly correlated to the medical tyranny we see today, right down to that dapper little Fauci.

So what’s wrong with vaccines, exactly? That’s the wrong question. Maybe the question should really be, what’s right about them? Mikovits takes one component: animal cell lines used in the manufacturing of vaccines and other medical research, and explains in detail the harm just that one thing in a jab is doing to the human body. Or could be doing to the human body. The staggering thing is, we really don’t know the affects and/or damage. Mikovits would encourage further study. Who knows, maybe further study would reveal more about what’s right in vaccines?

In her career, Mikovits came across quite a few instances where it was clear that these retroviruses were from animals and had been passed onto humans somehow. Each time she questioned a medical source, whether growth hormones given to cows, or vaccines given to people, she ran into trouble. Questioning these things is not allowed. Basically our corrupt institutions know quite well that these things are damaging people. They know exactly what they are doing and either they simply don’t want to get caught or they just don’t care. The animal cell lines used in manufacturing vaccines are directly related to HIV, XMRV, and other retroviruses and they are being passed to us, into our bodies are doing damage, causing AIDS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and who knows what else.

“We are mixing animal and human tissue in laboratory cultures, then injecting them into human beings in a way that bypasses their traditional defenses, such as stomach acid breaking down pathogens.” – p. 124

Not only that, but we are injecting several pathogens at once with complete ignorance of what that combo does to the human body. In addition, we have no idea what injecting multiple pathogens along with animal cells, human cells, and the host of other poisons and chemicals also in vaccines actually does to the human body. How is this at all considered either safe or good for one’s health? I say ignorance, because it’s true. No one wants to know, not so many of the patients, or the doctors, or the health officials, or the scientists. When a person has a health problem after getting a vaccine, the vaccine being even a possible cause is across the universe in most people’s minds. When the CDC does a study on autism and vaccines and finds there is a connection that they should study further, they instead destroy the evidence. For some strange reason vaccines are considered a holy thing. A perfect creation made by humanity, far superior to the immune system that God gave us. Far superior to any medicinal plant God created. Sometime it’s like something beyond ignorance or even brainwashing of the general public. It’s a spell. If there ever really was an actual spell on people, this, to me, is it, this unquestioning acceptance of all things vaccine.

It’s only now, with COVID that more and more people are actually starting to question vaccines. And evil is showing its stupidity in forcing the vaccine, causing even more to question not only its effectiveness, but especially its safety. The stories Mikovits shares of people suffering, really suffering from vaccines and the disease and autoimmune disorders they have brought, are heartbreaking, as is the callousness of the powers that be. There are plenty of doctors and scientists who are not corrupt, who do want to, and can actually help. It’s just that they all have been and are now so often silenced from the public discourse.

Mikovits mentions her faith in God a few times in the book, but the fact that she ends in hope speaks volumes as well. She has hope that all this immune dysfunction people have now from vaccines can be remedied. Among the remedies, she mentions diets like keto and also practicing fasting. I cheered at that. So many people are finding better health by doing and especially eating the opposite of what their doctors tell them. Is it possible for corruption to simply fail when no one’s buying into it any longer? I hope so, I really do. People are waking up to the truth, and it has been a very slow process, but the tyrannical overreach has hastened things along considerably. That’s a strange thing to be grateful for, but I am.

No matter what side you’re on when it comes to health and science, I think Dr. Mikovits’s story is important and this book worth reading. We should be able to agree that both health and science need major cleanups for the good of future generations. We should be able to agree that people asking questions should not be silenced, but listened to. We should be able to agree that in matters of especially health, people need good information to make their decisions, and also that it is their decision. We should agree that those in power in both health and science need to be held to account. Again, ignorance is not bliss, it’s death, the death of our health, the death of our society, the death of even the knowledge that we’ve collected. If science cannot be questioned, then it is no longer science, but a cult or religion. Even God himself allows questions, invites them, even.

Not sure how many times I used the word “corrupt” in this review, but, whew, it was a lot. Plague of Corruption showcases how corruption is a plague on almost every aspect and institution supposed to keep us safe. This, I knew, and this we all know on some level, but Mikovits’s story really brings it home with all the connections from her research from the 1980s until now. A good read and thought provoking, giving many aspects to go and research for oneself, if one so chooses, and hopefully many have and do.

Until next time! –Pixie

In Sharing Truth, How Much Does Motive Matter?

My personal Bible study for fall is the book of Philippians and the devotion book Joy: A Study of Philippians by Deb Burma. It’s a 40-day study, but will take me longer as I am not an every day, diligent Bible studier. The depth of the Word of God is so awesome, because one can study a book or rather letter like Philippians and even though it is short, get so much wisdom and goodness from it. This is because Paul’s words are God’s words:

For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. –2 Peter 1:21

Here is the passage that really struck me today:

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this, I rejoice. –Philippians 1:18

Paul is speaking here about the fact that because he is under house arrest, others are preaching the Gospel when and where he can’t. Some are doing out of genuine love and willingness to share God’s Word, others are doing it out of selfish ambition. They actually want to compete with Paul in some way or think if they preach the Good News it will cause more trouble for him. Paul rejoices, because whatever their motives, these people are still preaching Christ crucified and resurrected. They are still preaching that Jesus is our savior from sin, death, and the devil. From this perspective, even the false motives don’t matter.

It’s a humbling thing, really, especially considering churches in America. We have so many different denominations and each one thinks they are right in how they interpret Scripture, etc. Some do have actual false teachings and are wrong in that, but our fellow Christians are Christians. For me, even if Christians speaking God’s Word aren’t Lutheran, I should and can be happy that God’s Word is being preached. And it’s humbling to think that even if maybe, say, my motives or my church’s motives were more pure or something, it really doesn’t matter if we’re not preaching Christ to people. The important thing is that Jesus Christ is preached to everyone.

This is why I am so happy to be on Gab these days. So many Christians there and although we don’t necessarily believe the exact same things, when people are clearly declaring the Gospel and as owner Andrew Torba often says: Jesus is King! I am glad and rejoice that they are sharing and spreading God’s Word. How can I not be? And maybe a few of them have money as motivation–Christians often love supporting especially Christian businesses, etc., but still, if they are preaching the truth, that is what really matters!

God’s Word, the Law and Gospel, are the most important truths to share in the world, but this passage got me thinking about other truths. These days the powers that be are liars and following the father of lies, the devil, and they do this in many, many areas, health, politics, you name it. Many of the people speaking the truth are labeled as kooks or conspiracy theorists or grifters. But if people are making money by telling the truth, or at least by telling their stories, is that really such a problem? Does it really take that much away from what they are saying? Is what they are saying more important or why they are saying it? It’s a question that is perhaps answered differently depending on the circumstances, but I think that Paul’s advice above is good for truth in general: We should seek to find out the truth. Maybe the people sharing the truth have bad motives, but they are still sharing the truth! We should take notice and perhaps seriously consider what they are saying. It’s easy to be confident that we already have all the facts, etc., but so often these days we don’t. Things are purposefully hidden from the general public.

I’m reading Plague of Corruption by Dr. Judy Mikovits and Ken Heckenlively, JD. It’s a story that would make for an exciting movie. It’s also, I think, a story sharing truth, but some are skeptical of Mikovits, one, because she’s criticizing those in power like Tony Fauci, and two, because she’s making money sharing her story and giving her opinions. But so what? What does that matter? The truth she’s sharing is what should matter most. Right? So many friends and family automatically dismiss these kinds of books, even though the authors fit any “expert” category they may be looking for. All doctors and scientists do NOT agree about either science, health, or understanding the human body. There are so many points of view and the more one reads them, the more one realizes that whatever “science” is, it has a long, long way to go in understanding the complex, God-created creatures that we are.

With politics, especially, we are our own worst enemies sometimes. If the party or political view opposite ours is sharing truth, we often overlook it because the “right” person isn’t saying it, or they are, likely, trying to make our party or side look bad, but truth is truth. I’m not saying motivations don’t matter at all, but sometimes it’s what’s being shared that’s important. We should to some extent get behind anyone willing to investigate and share the truth. We should be happy whoever is sharing the truth. These days as we are staring more and more into the face of outright tyranny, I appreciate anyone revealing the current lies surrounding health, science, politics, and the like. I am thankful for everyone standing up against the tyrants, no matter their background.

These are such strange, often unreal times to be alive. It’s as if all of those cool revolutionary and dystopian movies and stories we used to like so much are all becoming reality. But I rejoice to more and more people waking up. If they can wake up to more common lies from the powers that be, maybe they can and will wake up to the worse lies from the devil. Maybe they will realize that they, too, are not little gods, but are sinners that desperately need Jesus Christ and his perfect life, death, and resurrection to save them from eternal damnation. Look for a fuller review of Plague of Corruption next time.

If you maybe think you’re not getting the truth from the MSM about current events, check out Gab. You can decide for yourself whether the people are sharing the truth or not, but at least you can get a look at the other side you maybe haven’t heard before. Up next time: Full review of Plague of Corruption.

RRR: The Duchess and the Devil

As you can tell by the title, this Regency Romance was ta-cky! By Sydney Ann Clary and published by Zebra Books. This was a second printing in 1991, copyrighted 1988. Surprisingly, this is the first of this box that has actually been a smutty romance novel. I half-expected most of the them to be smutty and was happily surprised when they weren’t. Eh, it would only have been a loss of $5, anyway. Because written porn is just as bad as the visual kind, I did not finish the book, but I do have some comments, so enjoy.

Clary is a great writer and storyteller. A lot of romance novelists are, but romance is given such a bad rap, not many maybe know this. It’s the smut that does them in, I’m pretty sure. Also, the majority of the stories follow the exact same formula: Man and woman meet, hate each other, then like each other, then fall in love. Why this is exciting over and over again, I can’t really explain, but there’s just something satisfying about either winning the other person or both winning each other together.

Our hero in The Duchess and the Devil is Deveril St. John, the Duke of Castleton. He’s tall, dark, and handsome, and has a temper and mommy issues. Groan. His mom’s a totally harlot. Double groan. Our heroine is Bryony Balmaine, also tempestuous, and used to doing as she pleases. Both are connected to her uncle, Lord Ravensly, who somehow gets each to promise to marry the other.

I’m sure that farther into the book the two do actually fall in love, but the fighting, fighting, fighting was just so irritating here. In everyday life this would be exhausting. Bryony is very annoying. Refusal of common sense just to refuse. Blah. Worse, Deveril forces himself on Bryony and later, though at least they are married, he thinks it’s ok to bed her while she totally out of it. I mean, he didn’t actually have a bottle of the date rape drug, but he might as well have. And this is our hero?

Due to his woman issues, Deveril also assumes that Bryony is basically a prostitute or has slept with many men. He concludes this simply because she had an poor and unconventional life in France. Deveril is a jerk. Any man who assumes this about a women is a jerk. Any woman who assumes the same about a man is a jerk. Thus, Deveril thinks Bryony is experienced enough that he doesn’t need to be gentle! Seriously, I can’t even.

He even says, and I quote: “Only a woman would risk further injury to herself to protect her virtue.” Doubtful that only women are concerned with virtue, but casting that aside, Deveril, dear, sometimes virtue is the only thing we woman have! And it should be considered as gold. It used to be considered as gold.

I’m sure as the story goes on, both behave better, but I didn’t really care to find out and had to retreat to an Agatha Christie mystery to recover. Christie’s great, because although her romances happen rather quickly in her stories, they are actually romantic.

Anyway, tacky, tacky, tacky! Did not finish.

50% Got What?

So many things I can’t wrap my head around these days. Not sure how to get ahold of a Pfizer vaccine insert, but if this lady reading through it is correct, wow. I hope, I really, really hope she’s correct that only 50% of the people got the actual vaccine and 50% got a placebo. Thank God, because it means my friends and family who’ve already taken the vaccine have a chance! Although the virus may be a mythical creature–thank you, Alberta!–the vaccine certainly is not, otherwise the world governments and corporations wouldn’t be so hellbent on forcing us all to take them. Now the story a few months ago of people all getting saline solution instead of vaccine makes sense. Now it makes sense that Pfizer got rid of their initial control group–they had been promised a much bigger one, the general public. But this makes me hopeful that at least the physical harm of this experiment will be limited. Sadly, the true harm of all of this is psychological and spiritual, and so far it’s had no limits. If you are a Christian, I encourage you to pray like you’ve never prayed before. The regular people of the world are all facing an assault the likes of which perhaps the world has never been seen before. All our great technology is being arranged to enslave us. Pray for all peoples, but especially for those in Australia, who are having a very hard time, and pray that Americans truly wake up and stand up. If America falls, there’s isn’t anywhere else to go for freedom. This tyranny isn’t going to stop unless we stop it, unless we say no. With jobs and income on the line, it’s a very hard thing to do, but it still is going to be easier to do now rather than later.

Thank God, also, that these evil people are planning on boosters, boosters, and more boosters. They just can’t help but overplay their hand. It’s funny that just as people were becoming wise to the futility and perhaps even harm of the flu shot that this mythological creature comes along, huh? And, what do you know, same symptoms as the flu? So, so interesting. The truth will out, I know it will and the greedy tyrants will be their own undoing. May God foil all of their plans and use them instead for His plans and our eternal good. These are trouble filled days, but exciting ones, too.

Let me share again something with you I wrote a few years ago. This is no longer fiction. I wrote this 9/29/2010.

A Society of Health

“Aaachoooiee!!”  Alyssa Taylor sneezed mightily into a tissue from the box on her desk.

“Bless you.”  Raymond Bins, her coworker said as he tapped away on a computer spreadsheet.  “Coming down with something?”

“I think it’s allergies.  Ever since we moved here––”

“Who sneezed?”  Ariana Blight stepped ferociously around the office partition.  She looked a bit like a crow with her tiny, birdlike frame, black sweater and pants.  Her dull gray hair was pulled tightly back into a bun that rested heavily on top of her little, wobbling head.  

Alyssa raised her hand.  “Guilty,”  She smiled sheepishly.  “Sorry, I know my sneezes are so loud.  My daughter always says I sound like a firecracker.”  She drew back into her chair as the older woman stepped up to her, the woman’s beady eyes bright with anticipation.  

“Do you have a cold?”

“It’s…just allergies.”  Alyssa exchanged a glance with Raymond who had stopped typing.  “This building is so full of dust…”  Ariana continued to inspect her, bending low enough to look up her nostrils.  “Is everything all right, Ariana?”

“You have mucus,”  She pointed to the left nostril.  “There.  It appears yellow, not clear.  Blow into this.”  The small woman brought forth a crisp handkerchief from the bowels of her sweater.  Laughing a little, Alyssa obliged.  Raymond rolled his eyes and made crazy signs that the old woman couldn’t see.  It had never been clear to them what exactly Ariana’s job at the company was, but she always seemed to know everything about everyone.  Ariana fearlessly opened the handkerchief and proceeded to inspect the leavings.  “As I thought. Yellow, going on green.  You, Ms. Alyssa Taylor, have the beginnings of a very bad cold, an infection.”

Alyssa shrugged.  “You know, I did feel a bit off yesterday, but I thought it was the weather.  And my allergies get so bad this time of year…”  She trailed off when she saw the glinting triumph in the older woman’s eyes.  “Is there a problem?”

Ariana Blight pulled a small flip-top notebook out of a sweater pocket.  She proceeded to read:  “United States Code, Title Forty-Two, Chapter Two, Section Eight Thousand Four Hundred and Nineteen:  All persons shall take precautions to prevent the spreading of the common cold.  Subsection D, Four:  Any person expectorating or sneezing in a public place shall be examined for infection.  If infection is found, said persons are duty-bound to report to the nearest Health Center and receive treatment.  Upon refusal to do so within one hour of infection report, said person may be subjected to a fine of One Hundred Dollars or up to Thirty days in the local quarantine cell.  Subsection D, Twenty:  Any and all persons failing to comply with this Chapter shall be labeled as a Spreader of Disease and a criminal under this Title Forty-Two.”  

“What?”  Alyssa blinked up at her.  “I don’t…I’ve never heard…”

“They didn’t publish it, you see,”  Ariana whispered softly, leaning over her.  “Only passed it, our wonderful…New Congress.  Now, let’s come along down to the office Health Center, shall we?”  Alyssa sat there blankly.  “Ah, and Raymond…”  The crow-like woman filled out a yellow slip from her pad of paper, ripped it off, and handed it to him.  “The citation number, should you wish to pursue legal action in the near future.  Being around her nine hours out of the day, you are the likeliest to suffer from her…negligence.”  Raymond took the paper and paled at its contents.  “Of course, should you also come down with said infection and fail to address it immediately, you will be issued a citation as well.”

Book Review: Speaking Boldly

As I am not super consistent with my devotions and Bible study, it took me a lot longer to get through Speaking Boldly: Sharing God’s Word Every Day than planned. Written by Edward O. Grimenstein, Speaking Boldly is about just that, instructing and encouraging Christians to speak God’s Word in their everyday lives. And, being published through Concordia, it’s a book from a Lutheran religious perspective.

I liked this book because it can be used for devotion and Bible study and it’s also really simple, breaking everything down to show why we don’t need to be at all afraid of speaking God’s Word in this world. The biggest point Grimenstein makes is that God’s Word is God’s. It’s not ours, and if those we share it with insult or mock us, it is really God that they are insulting and mocking. What makes the Word powerful, is exactly that it is God’s Word. Salvation and forgiveness of sins were never humanity’s idea. If we conceive of salvation at all, there’s only one way: A person must work his or her way into heaven. That’s about our extent of imagination on the subject. Generally, the reality that any good works we do can never make up for the sinful marks that we bear is brushed aside. Humans often ignore the truth or do not know the truth, so that necessarily limits our imagination.

Fortunately, God isn’t limited in this way, and He had a better plan, to send His Son Jesus Christ in our place to live a holy life, a perfect God-Man being who did every right thing that we could not and even remembered to do every right thing we forgot. But even that wasn’t enough: Jesus’ righteousness had to pass on to us, in order for us to benefit from it. Jesus took on the punishment we deserved and died once for the whole world. He died in our place and suffered hell and ultimate separation from God himself. And then Jesus rose from the dead to show that He had defeated death, hell, and the devil, and that now peace reigns between God and Man. We are forgiven, truly forgiveness, for what we have done, and we are right with God. It is literally the most amazing thing this universe has or will ever have witnessed. It is the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate love.

Anyway, all of that, all of that history, that Word, it’s God’s, not ours, and it is far older than this age, and we shouldn’t be afraid to speak it confidently and boldly to our fellow man. It is this Word of this forgiveness and salvation that everyone in the world needs to hear. Speaking Boldly begins by going through Creation and the wonderful news of salvation, and then digs into the definitions and uses of God’s Law and Gospel. Sometimes people are in a place where they need to hear the Law, as they need to come to repentance. Sometimes they need to hear the Gospel as comfort for when they are repentant or when they need comfort.

In our modern world, we often avoid talking about things like spirituality and religion, so how on earth is a Christian to even bring up Law or Gospel with anyone? Speaking Boldly goes through it step by step, but basically we must form genuine relationships for the speaking to even happen. And Grimenstein says the best way to relate to people is to listen to them, to really listen. Put down the smart devices, turn off the TV, forget about what you’re doing, and really listen to the person in front of you. If we listen well, it will become clear to us what we are to say, if we need to share Law or Gospel or both. Christians really listening will instantly distinguish us from the rest of the world. Instant light, instant salt.

Although in the past year I have become better, I am not a particularly patient person. Once upon a time, I used to be a very good listener, but lost it. Because it’s a skill that involves being around people, that’s perhaps why I lost it, becoming too involved in watching shows and reading books, plus the addition of living alone. When one is not around people, it’s easy to forget how to relate to them. This year I have been trying to do better at listening, and the results are amazing. Connections are made where there were none or fizzled ones before. Having patience is basically about time: Make it not exist when you are with other people. We can’t always do it fully, and it depends much on the situation and circumstances, but it becomes its own reward, being a great way to learn how people think and learn more about what they need and want. And most everyone wants some level of hope, love, and forgiveness, and that’s where we can step in to share God’s Word.

Grimenstein spends awhile on listening, as it’s just that important. Just like a doctor is no good if she doesn’t listen to what her patients are telling her, neither are we good if we don’t listen, either. It is vital for us to know when to share Law and when to share Gospel. Later on, he discusses other aspects to consider using the parable of the Sower and the Seed from Luke. There are a number of reasons why God’s Word is not received well or even rejected by those that hear it, and it’s more complicated than that they simply don’t believe. It’s important to understand what people are dealing with, their cares and concerns in the world, if they are believers, if they are being mocked or persecuted for their faith, or if they are simply not grasping that God’s Word and salvation is for them personally. Even Christians sometimes doubt that we’ll be in heaven. In those times, we desperately need a fellow Christian to speak the Gospel to us.

For the last chapter, Grimenstein discusses when the world “talks back.” He goes through many of the ways that right from the get-go, the world prevents us from speaking God’s Word and how to address that. The first thing, again, is that it’s not our word, but God’s. Salvation is real and should give us the ultimate confidence and boldness, for we are not speaking for ourselves, but for God who loves us far better than any human can comprehend. It’s more than okay if we lose our own lives in the speaking of God’s Word. We are but a mist on this earth, and then we are gone. Heaven is eternal, and that is where our true, eternal lives will be led someday, though I can scarcely comprehend what that will be like.

I realized reading this book that I need to improve on listening to people, but it also hit home that my everyday speaking needs to improve also. A great majority of the time I am among Christians, fellow Lutherans, and the Law and Gospel aren’t as much of our speaking as they could be. What Grimenstein is talking about is not just talking to people, but having heart to hearts with people, making things matter in the ways that they should. The examples he uses are fitting, and a couple of them surprised me–the possible depth of the conversations surprised me. I live in Minnesota. We’re “nice” and often don’t talk about things when we should talk about them. Worse, sometimes that evolves into being passive-aggressive, an underlying malice underneath that nice veneer. Shudder. It can be a difficult wall to break down, but, boy, is it worth it when it is broken down. Even so, it’s not talking about “things” that’s so important, but talking about our Salvation and Justification, our forgiveness of sins and why Heaven is obtainable for everyone. It’s not about us, it’s about God and what He has done for us in saving us.

This is a great book for either group or personal study. It’s not glamorous, but simple, in a good way. And it showcases how God so often uses imperfect people to get his message across. So many of those stories are in the Bible for us to consider. Humanity’s history is intricately tied up with God. That history is written down for us so that we can emblazon it on our hearts and speak boldly the truth of God’s Word.

2 Kdrama partial reviews: That Kiss!

Backstreet Rookie

Beautiful people can be funny, too. Backstreet Rookie starring Ji Chang Wook (The K2) and Kim Yoo Jung (Clean with Passion for Now) is a crazy comedy that reminds me of something Stephen Chow of Kung Fu Hustle fame would come up with. Sadly, I’m not digging it for now, but both Ji and Kim are pretty funny. Kim’s character’s violence is over the top and not meant to be serious, yet it just made me uneasy while watching. Beating people up when you don’t get your way isn’t really funny, no matter how it’s portrayed. What’s fascinating to me is the setting: Ji’s character owns a 24-hour convenience store, and even though I only watched a couple episodes, it was interesting to see him struggle with keeping the store running. He’s a hard worker sort of at the top of his game, but with serious self-confidence issues who lets a girl much his junior run circles around him. Thus, the comedy. Might give it another try later on to see if both characters improve.

Forest

Although this one isn’t a fairy tale, being set in a forest gives the show a fairy tale quality. Forest stars the handsome Park Hae Jin (Cheese in the Trap) and Jo Bo Ah (Tale of the Nine-Tailed) and is about a rescue worker and a doctor who end up as roommates in a remote forest village. The acting is great in this, both leads are their characters and have great screen presence and amazing chemistry. I take back what I said about Jo needing to work on her acting. She didn’t really have chemistry with the other leads I’ve seen her with. Here, the chemistry is blinding obvious. Park is spectacular and although his character is somewhat of a bad boy, he’s still likable and quite funny to boot. That reminds me, I never finished watching Man to Man that he was in… The second lead, No Gwang Sik is fun to watch, too. This is his first drama and he looks comfortable and great on screen. His looks bring to mind Peter Pan or Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The forest setting is refreshing and the cinematographer did an amazing job. Every shot looks magical. The plot, however, is all over the place, at least up until episode 13 (there are 32 episodes), and I really think this is one show that does not benefit from half-hour episodes. Because the setting itself is more relaxed than the usual city setting, it would have made more sense to put Forest into one-hour episodes. The timing is often too rushed and throws things off. As far as where the show is going, I’m not sure if we’re to suddenly find out this is a magical forest of some kind or merely that the leads have a childhood trauma they experienced there. Or is this a morality tale about corporations infringing on nature, a la Ferngully? We’ll see.

The romance is fun and the banter hilarious, but at times it is just bicker, bicker, bicker. Always thought it would be kind of fun to have a romance where you tease each other and fake fight all day, but now I’m not sure. Peace is probably a lot better, and more relaxing. But, wow, when they finally kiss is it worth it: all that pent up passion. Probably one of the best kisses I’ve seen in kdramas, and I’ve watched a lot. The key is that she really kisses him back, which doesn’t happen often on these shows. Did I mention their chemistry is off the charts?

Intrigued to see where the story goes and if Park’s character actually turns out being a good guy for both the forest and the girl. He keeps telling her she has a confidence problem, and it’s true. Both characters have psychological issues to deal with, but Jo’s character, the doctor, has deeper problems than just panic attacks. Her character and Ji Chang Wook’s character from Backstreet Rookie should get together to form a self-help club. Despite also having bouts of mental trauma resurfacing, Park’s character has perhaps too much confidence in himself. However, I think it would be sad to see him fall, as his character is so smart. It would be nice to see him win at the game he’s playing, and hopefully, that would end up being a win for all of them. Despite its flaws, Forest is definitely a show worth watching.

You’re My Pet: Oddballs Find Each Other

Kim Wa Petto, or You’re My Pet is my second Japanese drama. Although I didn’t love it like Pretty Proofreader, the frustrating characters make one think, and it ends happily, which is always best case scenario with a RomCom. This one is the 2017 version by Fuji TV starring Noriko Iriyama and Jun Shison.

Sumire Iwaya (Iriyama) is a reporter with beauty and smarts who struggles at life and is basically her own worst enemy. One night she gets very drunk and mistakes a young man hiding in a cardboard box for a puppy she had as a kid named Momo. Takeshi Goda (Shison) carries her home and ends up staying…as Sumire’s pet! If that wasn’t weird enough, there is an age gap of ten years. Takeshi, or “Momo” is 20 and Sumire about to turn 30. The pet thing is strange on its own, but made worse by the fact that Momo easily could pass for a teenager.

Despite all of that, I liked the main relationship and romance and wanted to see more of it. Here, chemistry is a key factor. The two leads are an instant family, though the specifics of their relationship get worked out over time. In contrast to that, we watch Sumire suffer miserably through a relationship that can never work. Sometimes chemistry just doesn’t develop, even with time.

It was tedious and also horrifying to watch as Sumire fails time and again to simply be herself with a man she was once in love with. Shigehito Hasumi, played by the handsome Terunosuke Takezai, is unfortunately equally clueless. Both are not comfortable with each other, but persist and persist, as if loveless sex can simply cover over the problem. It was so irritating it made me want to tear my hair out, but sometimes it takes people forever to realize the truth, and, more importantly, to act on it. Later on Hasumi gets a “pet,” too, and it is actually those humans that help the two finally understand that their relationship is just not going to work.

Takeshi says he likes Sumire in part because she’s not a fighter, she won’t compete for him or run after him or anything. That kinda makes sense because usually the men like to do the chasing, but he is truly blessed with a patience for her as she stumbles through a personal life filled with insecurity and lack of self-confidence. The pet thing begins as a sort of joke, Sumire is really trying to get Takeshi to leave and is surprised when he agrees to be her pet, or, rather agrees to make her his Sugar Momma. We find later that on the first night she kissed him, and perhaps it is that which is still keeping him around. But the only satisfying explanation is that they have instant chemistry and get each other in a way no one else does.

As for Takeshi, we get to know him in his profession as a dancer–a profession in which he excels–however he seriously lacks screen time compared to Hasumi. Incidentally, we don’t really get to know Hasumi, either, but despite being overbearing in his attentions to Sumire and failing to notice how uncomfortable she is, he’s a good guy. He’s sadly such a good guy that he lets a scheming receptionist in his company seduce him. Well, sort of. In the end, the two are a good match and seem to actually like each other, if not love each other.

By the end of the show, I found it to have been a tedious watch. Good, peppy intro song, but not nearly as funny as I thought it would be. Sumire is agonizingly slow to realize she’s fallen in love with Takeshi, and it’s sad that her character has such low self-esteem that she can’t simply break off her relationship with Hasumi. It was great when both finally happened, but it should have happened about ten episodes before that. Hasumi perhaps has a similar insecurity, which is why he didn’t break it off, either. The manga this was based on and the other TV/movie versions of this story are hopefully better.

The pet thing was weird, but I kinda get it, it’s a role play, a way or excuse to care for and love someone in ways that would normally not be accepted unless one is dating the person. Sumire and Takeshi are instantly physically close due to this role play, and it was really the age difference that was holding Sumire back. Holding her back, perhaps, because although she’s a decade older, she’s not nearly as mature as him. A large age gap with the woman as the older one is kind of a new subgenre in RomComs. Probably A, because there’s a ton of older women who are single and alone, B, youth is attractive, C, young men are often still more eager to please the women than many of their older counterparts. It’s difficult to imagine Hasumi, for example agreeing to be a pet to a woman. He’s just too old for it, and once Takeshi finally decides to stop playing around, he’s the same. The age gap works here because Sumire is immature for her age and Takeshi is mature for his, although it may not seem so at first.

It’s unclear how many Sugar Mommas Takeshi has had in the past, but Sumire with her insecurity helps him leave that lifestyle behind, taking on manliness and the leadership and willingness to provide that comes with it. In turn, Sumire truly learns to rely and trust another person. She can completely be herself with him, and sometimes I think that is an aspect that really defines love. Yes, there is uncomfortableness sometimes due to chemistry and sexual attraction, or even just misunderstandings, but at some point that wall is broken down if the relationship is real and going to last. The worst aspect about Sumire’s forced relationship with Hasumi was that neither tried ways of making it better. They just continued on hoping things would change. That’s not love. Love deals with things, really deals with them. Lovers shouldn’t brush problems under the rug, but seriously examine them. If what you have can’t pass that test, then what you have may not be love! All the time, Takeshi was trying to help the two, especially to get Sumire to open up to Hasumi. I think if she’d been able to do that, and able to rely on Hasumi and let him help her with things, the two would have made it, but it would have taken ages before either felt like family with the other.

You’re My Pet was a show of oddballs, and the biggest ones all ended up together. If America did this show, it would have been…way kinky. This story was portrayed largely very innocently, and although it did involve some sex, it clearly showed that simply having sex doesn’t and can’t make one happy. A good lesson. Love is really the thing to pursue. On the whole, the show was neither funny nor romantic, yet somehow it’s still a RomCom. Both leads did a great job acting, especially Iriyama as Sumire. She’s a difficult character on so many levels. Not a show I would watch again, but perhaps will someday check out some of the other remakes.