A Special Lady-Helen McSpadden

I remember…

a photo of a woman
A Special Lady

Yes, I remember countless times of sitting around and talking in the Beachhouse at family reunions in Myrtle Beach. The conversation would often drift to events growing up in Copperas Cove. Aunt Margaret would sometimes tell the story about tubing down the river and having a “wardrobe malfunction” in front of her son. We always managed to at least touch on matters of faith and life. Most topics were open will for discussion: religion and politics were included.

Granted, most of the voices were mostly in unison. The dissidents tended to keep their voices quiet out of respect. Who knew that 2° could cause so much friction!

Aunt Helen As a Postage Stamp

I also remember LAUGHING together, all of us! “Air-Conditioning Wars” kept several of us busy for a while.

Since yesterday, we all will have to rely on our memories to see Aunt Helen. She moved from Church Militant to Church Triumphant rather unexpectedly. We are just now realizing how much we will miss her.

It is easy to take people for granted.

Until you can’t.

She has been a gift to us all.

LISA READS a couple of books on writing

Today, I finished reading two similar books:

  • 30 Day Novel Workbook: Write a Novel in a Month with the Plot-As-You-Write System by Lynn Johnston
  • 30 Day Novel (How to Write a Book in a Month) by Tara Maya

They didn’t make it to my personal “top 10 list” of favorite books that I can’t wait to read it again. They probably aren’t bad. In fact, I think these books may be better than I think they are. I’ve just been coming to the conclusion that, instead of talking about writing and reading about writing I NEED TO SHUT UP AND WRITE! I am done, Done, DONE with this kind of book.


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LISA READS: Camino Island by John Grisham

Lisa Reads… A Game of Thrones

Lisa Reads: A Clash of Kings

LISA READS: Camino Island by John Grisham

I have been intending to review this audiobook for a week now. Guilt from not working on my NANOWRIMO novel Getting in the way, so I did absolutely nothing. For now, I’m declaring a moratorium on that guilt. I’m declaring December to be LISAnowrimo! I put it on my Google calendar, and everything! For now, I’m forbidding myself to work on that thing until December.

Of course, if I decide to treat it like I treat most “forbidden fruit,” I’ll be hard at work before then.

Instead, I’m doing a few other things… Like reviewing books.

I’ve been told that most people prefer video commentary to written commentary. That seems weird to me. Still, I’m curious… Which way do you prefer getting book reviews?

Not that I will listen. I will do what I want to do anyhow, maybe. I think. Maybe not.


Related Posts:

Lisa Reads… A Game of Thrones

LISA READS a couple of books on writing

Lisa Reads: A Clash of Kings

Lisa Reads… A Game of Thrones

I should have been working on NaNoWriMo, so I read a book instead. Maybe, since it’s an audiobook, I claim it was research… YEAH! That’s the ticket!


Lisa Reads… A Game of Thrones
A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1
By: George R. R. Martin
Narrated by: Roy Dotrice

This story is Complex, Rich, Flawed, and WONDERFUL!

I didn’t necessarily want to start this series, it is so popular. My taste often runs contrary to popular taste.

In addition, I received innumerable versions of the same bit of advice: Don’t become attached to any of the characters. Odds are, they will die.

It’s true. George RR Martin is more than willing to sacrifice characters when the story needs this to happen. It doesn’t occur randomly, though. He is a master of foreshadowing and he does it subtly. Some of the texture of the story comes from this deft hand. When certain events happen in the last 100 pages, I remember imagery from the first 30 pages that I thought was lovely but unnecessary. He told us PRECISELY what he was going to do, but hid it well in plain sight.

This is a complex story. I still don’t know if I know who all the characters are in just this book. I know some of them fairly well, but like real people in real life… Most of who and what they are lies hidden.

Some of the cultures remind me of peoples from history. Similar flaws and strengths show up in unexpected ways. Characters that you think are completely evil, sometimes show deep humanity. Others that you respect and love, betray those they come into contact with. And yet, sometimes others get their just desserts.

Many people should NOT read this book. It is sometimes quite bleak in its understanding of humans. It is sometimes brutal. It is sometimes almost unendurable. I don’t like it.

And yet, this is an excellent book. I am in awe of the skill that George RR Martin shows in storytelling.

Will I read the next book? Yes. I need to read a couple of others, first. I need to decompress.

A word about the reader, Roy Dotrice… I enjoyed his performance. People seem to either love or hate the way he handles characterization and voices. I thought it worked well.


Related Posts:https://lmstapp.com/2019/01/21/lisa-reads-a-clash-of-kings/

LISA READS: Camino Island by John Grisham

LISA READS a couple of books on writing

Lisa Reads: A Clash of Kings

Lisa Reads…

The Samurai

The SamuraiThe Samurai by Shūsaku Endō
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and/but think that what you get out of it is what you bring to it. Granted, I will have to read this one again to test the theory. My tastes and suppositions seem to been strengthened while reading THE SAMURAI.

Things that I particularly noted and appreciated:
-While I am used to books that paint Jesus into something that looks good on a Hallmark greeting card, this one reminded me of how truly strange it may seem to worship a dying man on the cross. It’s even weirder that this is God-made-flesh, coming with the purpose of bringing those who are offended by Him back into relationship with the Trinitarian God of the Bible.
-Baptism works. Sometimes it works in spite of the person being baptized.

Is it a perfect book? No. Is the theology always great? No. This is a work of historical fiction. It works well on multiple levels. It leaves me wishing for more. Sometimes, it left me cold. Sometimes I was offended. (That’s okay. Sometimes it is necessary to be offended to grow.)

View all my reviews

Happy GET ORGANIZED WEEK?!? Who knew!

I admit it. A couple of days ago, I was surfing the web when I should’ve been writing. Guilt about my lousy efforts at writing in September was probably leaking into October, but I didn’t know it at the time. It was just easier than actually writing.

Naturally, I justified my surfing by saying that I needed it for story research. Yeah… Okay. I suppose that everything I absorb will probably find its way into my writing. Eventually. If I actually WRITE instead of frittering all my writing time away looking for LOL cats or videos of fractals to mesmerize myself. (Although… That video about that guy forging obsidian into a sword is really tugging at my subconscious. It NEEDS a story!)

man looking defeated under a mountain of paper
Drowning under a Mountain of Paper
Photo credit: allispossible.org.uk on
Visualhunt.com CC BY-NC

One of the potentially useful websites has lists of weird holidays to celebrate. According to that site, today starts GET ORGANIZED WEEK.

How depressing! That just isn’t my strong suit or favorite hobby!

So… I created a “content calendar” for this month. Monday is my day to post here. We will see how well I do at that. I also have another blog and a diary. Tuesday is for the other blog, Wednesday is for the diary. I will probably tell you whether I’m keeping it, but only if I’m doing well.

While I probably should have my head examined, I decided to take a break from the short story class that I’m struggling with. I am plotting a novel this month. I’m planning on trying NaNoWriMo. Maybe.

Since some of the homeschooling families at my church are forming a kids’ writing club, I’m helping with that.

I think my motto is when in doubt, start more projects! At least it keeps me from organizing stuff…

Working Towards Getting Back to Normal

Hospitals are no places for sick people!

Don’t get me wrong, I needed to be there. I went into the hospital on Memorial Day with what turned out to be pneumonia. (At least it wasn’t MRSA that caused the situation!) As usual, I waited too late to get treatment. If you placed your hands on my lower rib cage, you could feel the bubbles-no stethoscope needed for diagnosis.

IVs and antibiotics and breathing treatments worked well. A week later, I went home with oral antibiotics. (Those things are downright TOXIC!)

I’m still not back to normal. I’m working on it, though. (See, I even posted here!) I have to follow up appointments and four more days of toxic antibiotic.

Maybe healing will follow quickly…

Trinity Sunday 2018

Athanasius and that Creed
Athanasius and that Creed

Trinity Sunday is one of my favorites of the church year… Along with Christmas, and Easter, and Pentecost. (Okay, I admit it. I like the way the entire church year helps pass THE FAITH to the next generation.)

I also know that every Sunday SHOULD include some of the teaching of the Trinity. It is important. It is incredibly rich. It is part of explaining how God is redeeming both His People and all of creation.

The problem is that there is just so much good stuff to share with each other in the future! We have to focus our attention occasionally.

I had originally intended to write a gangbuster blog posting about how nifty the Athanasian Creed is. Paul Edmund over at Brothers of John the Steadfast did a better job with all three creeds than I would have. Check them out:

Athanasian Creed according to Scripture   <–is probably best for this Sunday. I will admit that it will make many people uncomfortable. It requires “theological thinking.” That discipline takes practice and effort. If you aren’t ready for that, you are missing a treasure.

Still, other treasures still abound. Take a look at Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed According to the Scriptures

Re-Examining and Updating My 2018 Goals

The other day, a friend asked me how I am doing with my goals for 2018. (What a mean thing to do!)

Of course, I had been successfully avoiding the question on my own. If I had been keeping up with everything, everyone would know about it. I would blog about how proud I am about myself. I would tweet my myriad successes. I would Facebook images of myself smiling about the two novels and 50 short stories that were awaiting re-editing before sending to beta readers.

Regarding short stories. I have finished two out of my personal “10 Story Challenge.” I start one and I keep twiddling with it until it is completely useless. I need to finish the next eight. I need to just post them here, not trying to make them the most brilliant nibbles of fiction on the planet.

The same holds true with my novels, both the science-fiction and the Texas (with a Lutheran twist) stories. I spend so much time editing the first sentence, that it drains all the energy and fun from writing. It’s a terrible thing I do to myself!

It is also what I do to myself when I am blogging.

I need to quit attacking myself and leave that to “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”! 😉

Holy Week 2018, Zion Lutheran Church in Tomball, TX

church sign listing the services for holy week
Photo by Melissa Sindlinger

Hello there! What are your upcoming plans for the week? Lent is ending, and we get to rejoice in what God has done and continues to do in the lives of His people.

Palm Sunday is March 25 this year. Prophecies are fulfilled. Celebrations ensue. The King comes into Jerusalem, humbly riding a donkey. Our church services are at 8 AM and 10:45 AM, with Bible study in Sunday school at 9:30 AM.

Maundy Thursday is March 29. Our church services are at noon and 6:30 PM.

Good Friday is March 30. Again, our church services are at noon and 6:30 PM.

Saturday Vigil services are at 6:30 PM.

Easter services are at 7 AM and 9:30 AM, with breakfast between the services.