7 Tips for Christians on Halloween (rerun)

This post was first published in 1999 and has been reprinted many times on various websites (with permission only, please). This seems like a good time to bring it up again.

halloween-by Larisa Koshkina publicdomainpicturesdotnet
Artwork by Larisa Koshkina

Whether you consider Halloween pure evil or harmless fun, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Don’t get bent out of shape. The kid dressed as a bunny—or a vampire—knocking on your door isn’t actualizing centuries of Pagan ritual. He’s just having fun, with the permission of his parents, and encouragement from the culture in which he lives. If you don’t participate, there’s no reason to post a sign declaring your righteous stand against the child. Just turn off the light and don’t answer the door.
  2. Children Trick-or-Treat. Trick-or-treat is not the venue for abortion photos, political pamphlets, or descriptions of hell. If you pass out gospel tracts, make sure they’re child-friendly. Attach candy or toy (no choking hazards, please) to tracts with tape. A tract without a treat disappoints and gives parents cause to complain about Christians.
  3. Be nice.  It is never God’s will for us to be unloving. Wiccans know that Christians demonize them the most on Halloween. Yes, the Bible teaches against witchcraft and all occult activity. It also teaches that God is not willing that any should perish. I’ve listened with revulsion to some Christians who can’t quite mask their glee at the idea of witches going to hell. God’s love and mercy is infinite. He desires the Wiccan, the dabbler, even the Satanist, to come to him for forgiveness and abundant, eternal life. Many do. But never because of unkind treatment.
  4. Keep it clean. Some things are best left unsaid. I like a good pretend monster story, but don’t take this opportunity to recount the details of a real gruesome Halloween murder. “It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.” (Ephesians 5:12). I don’t want to know.
  5. Be a light in the darkness. “Be very careful then, how you live–not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV). Some Christians hand out Halloween gospel tracts. Some gather with fellow believers for alternative celebrations, sharing love with the community. Some mix it up, shining as a light in the world. Others quietly continue in the ordinary, noting their separateness before God as an act of worship.
  6. Do the right thing.  You alone will answer for your choices. If someone else does Halloween a different way, so what? God knows your heart. “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.” (James 2:12, NIV)
  7. Be good. You can’t overcome evil by talking about the Pagan origins of Halloween, or by preaching against séances or refined sugar. There is a place for teaching, but knowledge doesn’t heal. Only good overcomes evil.  “Overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

Copyright 1999, 2009, 2018  Kathryn A. Frazier. All rights reserved.  Contact author for reprint information. http://www.kathrynafrazier.com

Create and Share for Inktober

Copyrighted 2018 Kathryn A. Frazier

Welcome, Creative Peeps!

Copyrighted 2018 Kathryn A. FrazierToday is the first day of October! The leaves are golden and red, the birds are flying south, and there’s that lovely nip in the air that hints of the coming frost. Haha! Just kidding. Here in Tampa, it’s a cool 92 degrees, the leaves stay green all year, and the only frost is in my freezer. We get a nice variety of birds from up north, though. That’s my favorite part of Fall in Florida.

You might not have need of sweaters, but wherever you live and whatever the climate, you can still get in on Inktober! I just found out about this cool thing and I knew you all would appreciate it. The gist is this: Every day in October (or every other day, or every fifth day), you draw something in ink. It can be simple or elaborate. You can take a long time or a short time. The point is to draw something. Create. Have fun with art, and then share your art with someone. You can post it online and tag it #inktober and #inktober2018, or you can just show it to someone in your life. Make art, share art, have fun.

dammit jim

I’m not an artist; I’m a writer and copyeditor. Like all human beings, however, I am creative. I started #inktober2018 with this three-minute doodle. It’s amateurish, which is perfect because I’m an amateur. I like that it captured my melancholy mood and gave me a little creative break in the day. I drew a little girl because drawing reminds me of when I was little and drew all the time. In those days, I didn’t see any imperfections. I delighted in being able to create with nothing but a pen and a paper. I hope my simple drawing encourages you to dedicate a few minutes of your day to get in touch with your own creative inner child.

To find out more about Inktober, visit https://inktober.com.

Are you participating in #Inktober this year? Please share a picture or two (or 31!) in the comment section! What else do you do to bring creative breaks into your everyday life? How are you encouraging others to express their own creativity? Let me know in the comments.

Hugs,
Kathy

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Sticks and Stones

girl in classroom Joanna Jablo public domain picturesPicture by Joanna Jablo

Hello, darlings!

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words shall never harm me! Remember that old saying? We sang it in the schoolyard as we skipped away from meanies, heads held high. It was the definitive answer to every bullying insult.

Sometime around 1990, child-rights activists in the U.S. denounced this once popular adage as a flat-out lie. Of course words can harm people, they insisted. And they were right. They encouraged parents and teachers to rethink the way we speak to and about children. Instead of telling our kids they are “bad” when they disobey, as perhaps our grandparents once did, we now know to pinpoint specific behaviors as choices that do not yield desired results. Words do count. They not only express thought, but they change thought.

But now I think it’s time we bring back Sticks and Stones. These days, grown-up people fall apart when they hear a word they don’t like. Leaders in our society publicly demand apologies nearly every week. Going to court–or worse, to violence–over insults and name-calling is common. As adults, we know that much of this nonsense is showboating for attention or politics or money or whatever, but little eyes are watching. The most vulnerable among us don’t know the difference. We are teaching our children to fear words.

As young children, we old-timers were taught the Sticks and Stones saying as a self-defense mechanism. When it slipped our minds, when we felt most vulnerable, our parents, our teachers, and our friends all reminded us: “Those kids at school called you ugly and stupid? They called you a bad name? So what? Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words shall never harm you.”

And we felt better. We learned not to crumble in humiliation and not to retaliate. Rather, we could let hurtful words roll off of us without consequence. The proverb empowered us, reminding us that insults and name-calling are non-issues. No, it didn’t protect us from out-and-out emotional abuse, but it cushioned us from the barbs of everyday spats and squabbles. We learned that there are levels of wrongdoing and that an insult is not a life-or-death issue. We learned that some people will always say mean things and we can choose to ignore them. We learned to be strong without being tough.

Of course, when lines are crossed, when violence, threating behavior, or discrimination is involved, or when even name-calling becomes inescapable bullying, we must pull in the reins with whatever legal means are necessary to protect the innocent. That’s often not the case, though. Often, someone just doesn’t like what someone else says and so demands that the words must be labeled and censored. Children pick up on adult attitudes. Remember the big picture. In a country where we want to keep the right to say what we think and believe, we need to demonstrate that we are strong enough to allow others that same freedom. Even if others are meanies.

If Sticks and Stones doesn’t work for you, try this one: “I’m rubber and you’re glue. Anything you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.” It’s a little harsher, but it’s still a classic.

How were you taught to handle insults, name-calling, and differing opinions when you were a child? Have your responses changed now that you are an adult? What do you think about public apologies for ignorant or profane language?

Hugs,
Kathy

P.S. Chag Samaech Sukkot to those celebrating the Festival of Tabernacles this week!

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My week in review: Isolated with infectious disease

Hola, Writer Peeps!

Kathy at hospital Sep 2018
This isn’t how I planned to spend my week.

Have you ever been referred to an infectious disease specialist? It’s a freaky experience. I just got home from the hospital where I’ve been fighting a gnarly antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection in my kidneys. I say fighting, but my role in the fight has been mostly to sleep. They put me in isolation with a warning on my door. They hooked me up to a continual heart monitor. No one was allowed to approach me without paper gowns and rubber gloves that they tossed on their way out before stepping into the hallway. Food and water had to be brought to me by a health care worker in full gown get-up because the cafeteria people weren’t allowed in. My husband Frazierhead, bless his heart, stayed at my side every minute.

Because I’m responding well to treatment and getting better (Yay!), they released me yesterday afternoon with instructions to stay home and visit an infusion center every day for a week for IV treatments. The plan is to test again after the treatments to make sure it’s all gone. Full recovery is expected. (Yay again!)

I asked about the risk to my family members. The specialist, who shook my husband’s hand but not mine, and stood a couple of feet away from me in the full get-up, said, “As long as they’re washing their hands, they should be fine.” So, you know. I’m Lysolling everything. (FYI: See what I did there with the word Lysol? That’s called verbing.)

Anyway, I love you all dearly, but I didn’t write anything for you this week. I refer you instead to the following great article by Tess Callahan at Writer’s Digest:

Train Your Eye for Better Writing:
3 Writing Techniques Adapted from the Visual Arts

Do you paint or sketch and also write? I’d love your take on the article. I don’t paint or sketch for real, just for fun sometimes, but I think the article is on point.

Have you ever been in medical isolation? Tell me your story so I won’t feel so alone. (Get it? Get it? Isolated. Alone. Hahahahahaha!)

I’m going back to bed now. Hope to see you next week.

Hugs,
Kathy

Please help support this blog.

One is the number of unity, so I set up donations to take one dollar at a time. Of course, the more unity, the better. 🙂

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This classic Monty Python scene seems appropriate today. Rated PG.

Why Does God Do That?

Moon with thunder
Image by George Hodan. publicdomainpictures.net

Shana Tova! (“Happy Year!”) Today is the first day of the Jewish year. According to tradition, it has been 5779 years since the creation of the world. We call this holiday Rosh Hashana, “Head of the Year.” Last night, celebrants in synagogues and homes–and a handful of churches–blew shofars and sang and danced and prayed, and ate round bread with honey-dipped apples (and maybe a nice brisket, some noodle kugel, and a few sips of Manischewitz).

The Bible doesn’t actually give us the date of creation. That date was calculated centuries ago by a devout Jewish scholar named Maimonides. His calculations in the Mishna Torah (“Repetition of the Teaching”) tell us how to figure the current Hebrew year. (I just go by whatever hebcal.com says.) So Rosh Hashana is not Biblical; it is a man-made holiday. And why not? I’m all about a good party.

vintage-animal-poster public domain
CC0 1.0 Image thanks to Karen Arnold at publicdomainpictures.net.

But isn’t Rosh Hashana the Biblical Feast of Trumpets?
No, but also kinda yes. It’s celebrated as if it were one and the same as the Festival (or Feast, if you’re old school) of Trumpets–in Hebrew Yom Teruah (“Day of [trumpet] Blasting/Shouting”). Yom Teruah is the high holiday commanded in the Bible. Numbers 29:1 says, “On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets.”

Since the Festival of Trumpets is not about the new year, what is it about? Why was it commanded? No one knows. People have opinions, of course, but the Festival of Trumpets is the only Festival of the LORD with no explanation given.

Could that no-explanation thing be the reason we so gleefully turn the Festival of Trumpets into Rosh Hashana? Instead of wondering at the mystery of the holiday, we tell ourselves it is about creation, the new year, and food.

I think we all have trouble sitting with the idea of no explanation. This spills over into every aspect of my own spiritual life. Maybe yours, too? I struggle with the why of so many things–big things like hell, violence, inequality, suffering, and disease; and small things like why I can’t keep my days and nights straight.

I don’t have the answers, but I think about it this way. The Old Testament contains a lot of rules about food, sex, washing, etc. There’s a lot of laws given with no reasons, only the promise, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26, NIV)

On this side of time, we get it. We know that eating whatever crawls by, having sex with whatever crawls by, marrying our close relatives, and general dirtiness are all prescriptions for diseases. Through the eyeglasses of modern knowledge, we confidently state that God gave those rules to protect the Israelites from parasites, STDs, genetic abnormalities, and a whole host of icky germs. We feel good because we’re convinced we understand.

But think about this: The people living in that time didn’t understand. It took faith to toss out perfectly good stew just because a roach crawled into it, or tear down and rebuild an entire wall instead of plastering over mold, or carry load after load of water to keep up with all the washing. In those days, germs were unimaginable. But they still existed. Even though God didn’t explain, there was a real reason. Protection from diseases surely resulted from following the laws for no other reason but faith.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”(Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

I don’t know why so much heartache exists on this planet. You can blame a fallen earth, mankind’s free will, blah, blah, blah. Those answers don’t fully satisfy me. Yet, I imagine that one day we will understand it all as easily as we understand why we should wash our dishes. Until then, I lean on faith. I struggle with the why but not with the who. I trust God. Just because I don’t understand doesn’t mean there isn’t a real reason.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5, NIV)

Hugs,
Kathy
——–
Related posts
I am for My Beloved and My Beloved is for Me

High Holidays: What if I Do it Wrong?

Hey! L’shana Tova!

Please help support this blog.

One is the number of unity, so I set up donations to take one dollar at a time. Of course, the more unity, the better. 🙂

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Top 10 Myths About Hanukkah

Kathryn A. Frazier

lighting-menorah-hanukkah-2010 My youngest daughter, Angie

As a Christian who celebrates Hanukkah, I’m used to the raised eyebrows and careless remarks that come from misunderstanding.

So, to head off a few of them, here are the Top Ten False, Incorrect, Not True, Wrong, Myths about Hanukkah.

#10 Hanukkah was made so Jews would have something to do during Christmas. Wrong. The celebration of Hanukkah began well nearly two hundred years before the birth of Jesus.

#9 Hanukkah is a Jewish Christmas. No, it’s not. It’s a totally different holiday that falls around the same time of the year as Christmas.

#8 Rabbis decide when to celebrate every year. No. Hanukkah moves around on our modern Gregorian calendar, but it always begins the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, and continues for eight days.

Hebrew calendar date converter

#7  The word Hanukkah means “Festival of Lights.” No. Even though we call the holiday the Festival of…

View original post 425 more words

NOT Jewish Christmas: Why we celebrate Hanukkah

Website reboot coming for New Year 2018. In the meantime, I’m posting holiday re-runs. May your holidays truly be holy days.

Kathryn A. Frazier

Hanukkah_menorah from wikimedia commons

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“But that’s your Christmas,” my neighbor insisted, after I explained to her that the menorah on the table was for Hanukkah.

“No,” I said. “It’s not. It’s Hanukkah.”

“Right. Your Christmas.” She smiled her tolerant smile.

“It’s a different thing…” I started, but she had made up her mind.

***

Sitting next to me on the airplane, the seminary student complained that he didn’t understand Jews.  “Why do they do Hanukkah?” he asked. “It’s not even in the Bible.”

He was visibly surprised when I told him that Hanukkah is mentioned in the New Testament. The word Hanukkah means “dedication”. It was during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) that Jesus declared himself to be the promised Messiah, God in the flesh (John 10:22-23).

So, what do you know about Hanukkah? Do you think of it as a Jewish Christmas?  Is it something that “they” do…

View original post 1,098 more words

Mom & Dad’s Photos

ACC1 Retouch Dad and Mom at the beachMy task is scanning and organizing their photos.

Since my parents’ deaths, we’re sifting through their belongings, deciding what to keep, what to donate, and what to sell. It feels wrong, as if they’ll come home any minute and catch us robbing them. But we know for sure that we all want copies of the family photos.

Mom and Dad kept all their photos loosely tossed in large cardboard boxes, along with yearbooks, graduation and recital programs, and entire sections of newspapers that have wedding announcements or obituaries of someone in our family.

Many of the unprotected photos have faded, folded, gotten torn or spotted, so I’m scanning the originals, then creating touched-up versions in another file. I’m young enough to work the scanner and photo editing software, but still old enough to recognize most of the faces in the pictures. This second part is crucial, because most of the photos are not labeled.  The writing on the back of one says only, “This was taken in July.” Who the people are (I recognize three out of five), where they are, and which July is unknown.

L-R: My great-grandparents 1910 (dig those hats!); My grandparents 1928; Taken in July

I apologize for my repeated absences here on the blog. The truth is, I’ve had to put aside blogging (and socializing and time with my husband and playing with Scruffy Dog) for a while to focus on a few of what we in Christian circles call “challenges.” One challenge after another after another, like bombs raining sporadically from all directions, chasing me off my path into the dark, thorny woods of the unknown! But, you know, that’s life. We all have these seasons. It’ll pass.

Remember this great old song? Post continues after video.

For a while, I felt ashamed for neglecting you, but then I remembered we’re all in this together. I knew that if I talked straight with you, you’d unsubscribe understand. (See what I did there? With the joking? Please don’t leave me.) I’m planning to drop in from time to time with updates, until I can manage to keep to our regularly scheduled blog time again. If you comment on this post, I’ll see it. I’ll check.

I guess the takeaway here is to maybe keep your pictures in a scrapbook.

Peace and hugs to you,
Kathy

TC3 Retouch family portrait
Family portrait, circ. 1968. This pic sat on our fireplace mantel for years. L-R: The Beloved, Mom, Dad, Me.

 

Passover: The Clash of Cultures

Guest blogger, Keren Hannah Pryor generously allowed me to use her post from His Israel: Hebraic Interactive Studies [his-israel.com], while I take a break due to the death of my mother. Take it away, Keren…
———————————————————————————————————————————–

Pharoah and Moses illustratoin from wikimedia
Illustration by Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing, CC BY-SA 3.0. Used with permission.

PASSOVER: THE CLASH OF CULTURES
by
Keren Hannah Pryor
his-israel.com

The story of Passover, which recounts the Exodus of the Israelite slaves from Egypt, offers the opportunity to relive the struggle between two opposing perspectives of reality – that of the Egyptian empire on the one hand and that of the Hebrews, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, on the other.

Egypt, at the time of the Exodus, ruled the world with its advanced science, strong system of religion, and mighty army. Weaker nations and cultures were swallowed up and subjugated. This historic form of slavery effectively silenced any voice that spoke in opposition to the prevailing and powerful Egyptian reality. Then God did the unexpected. He broke in and interfered with the laws of nature and history. A humble shepherd, born to the family of Israel yet raised in the Egyptian palace, walked into Pharaoh’s court carrying the rod of authority of the One true God of Israel and history changed forever.

As the Exodus account unfolds, we see that Pharaoh, the god-king of Egypt, refuses to heed Moses’ directive from God, “Let My people go, that they might worship Me.” * In so doing, Pharaoh not only is denying the freedom of the Hebrew slaves, he also is rejecting the historical reality they represent – a process of Redemption, set in place and being evolved by the God of all Creation. The Almighty is working out His vision and goal for this world and is not limited by the natural laws that He established. He can choose to “pass over” the set, natural order of things.

Despite the succession of plagues that befall the Egyptians, Pharaoh stubbornly refuses to relent and God declares:

“I will pass through Egypt on that night,
and I will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, man and beast.
And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.
I am God!”

“That night” becomes the turning point of the narrative of history. The Israelites are prepared, the chosen and set apart lamb is slain, the blood is applied to the doorposts of their homes, and the meal with matza is eaten. As God passes through He see he blood and “passes over” their homes, while He visits death upon the Egyptians. A breach is opened and the slaves are ready to pour through into freedom from Pharaoh’s bondage.

Passover blood applied wikimedia
Illustration by Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing, CC BY-SA 3.0. Used with permission.

The constant remembrance of the Exodus is commanded by the LORD through Moses: “Remember this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage, for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place…” The Haggadah, the story of the Exodus read at the annual Passover Seder meal, recounts:

“… in every generation a person is obligated to consider themselves as if they themselves had gone out of Egypt this very day.”

In addition to this vivid annual reminder, observant Jews recite the Shema twice daily, during the morning and evening prayers, which includes the pronouncement:

 “I am the LORD, your God, Who has removed you from the land of Egypt
to be a God to you. I am the LORD, your God…”**
This is followed by the declaration:
“The Helper of our forefathers are You alone, forever, Shield and Saviour…
From Egypt you redeemed us, O LORD, our God,
and from the house of slavery you liberated us.”***

Why the necessity to remember the Exodus daily? The Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, which means limitations or boundries, is derived from the root tzarrar (tzaddi, resh, resh) that means: shut in, restrain, limit, border. Other words from this root are metzar, meaning: distress, confined place, tzar (narrow) and tzarah (sorrow, anguish). The scroll of Jonah describes his entrapment in the dark depths of the belly of the big fish and how: “In my distress (mitzara) I called to the LORD.” In Psalm 118:5, King David writes: “From my distress (metzar) I called upon the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me in a free, wide place.”

In this regard, we can appreciate Victor Frankl’s description in Man’s Search for Meaning of his liberation from a Nazi concentration camp. He relates how a few days after the liberation (while the inmates were awaiting transportation) he found the courage to leave the confines of the camp and he walked for miles and miles. There was no one in sight – just wide-open spaces of earth and sky. Suddenly he stopped, looked up, and fell to his knees. He recalls how he had only one sentence in mind, which he repeated over and over:    “I called to the LORD from my narrow prison and He answered me in the freedom of space.”***

“I called to the LORD from my narrow prison
and He answered me in the freedom of space.”

leaving Egypt illustration
Illustration by Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing, CC BY-SA 3.0. Used with permission.

The same mighty God who delivered and redeemed us from Egypt is able to daily deliver and redeem us from our distresses! In the sacrifice made and the salvation of Yeshua [Kathy here. Yeshua is the Hebrew way to say “Jesus.”], the gate has been opened to all for the redemption from the bondage of sin and death. Each one can be brought from the present Mitzrayim – the idol-worshipping, enslaving culture of death that surrounds and attempts to subjugate us – into the freedom of glorious eternal life intended by our Creator. We are invited out of the darkness into the light of the Kingdom of God and the embrace of its culture of life.

As we grow in knowledge of our Father and our King, so our trust and confidence grows and we can more effectively work with Him in not staying trapped in our bondages, our mitzarim. In the strength of the LORD, and by the Spirit of holiness God gives us, we are enabled to break through imposed boundaries and natural limitations. Our lives then can reflect in greater measure the truths of His Kingdom and we can more clearly see all through His perspective of reality. Passover teaches us that Redemption is not a ‘one time’ event but an ongoing process, both on the national, historical level and in our personal, individual lives. To those whom His hand ‘passes over’ His steadfast love is new every morning, and we can say every day:

“I thank You LORD that You have answered me and have become my Salvation… This is the day the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in Him!”****

Footnotes:
* Exodus 9:1
**Exodus 12:12
***Exodus 13:3; also Num. 9:1-3, Deut. 7:18-19
**** Psalm 118:21, 23


Kathy here again. Thank you again, Keren Hannah Pryor, and also Cindy Elliott from His-Israel for letting me use this piece. It’s spot on.
To my readers: Whether or not you observe Passover, may you always keep the spirit of redemption and freedom in your hearts. I’d love to hear from you in the comment section. We’re all in this together.

Hugs,
Kathy

For more on this subject, I recommend:
His-Israel.com
JewsforJesus.org
Hebrew4Christians.com
Christ in the Passover book by Ceil and Moishe Rosen
and “Christ in the Passover” pamphlet by Rose Publishing
(Click on the titles for links.)

You might also enjoy these related posts from my site:
How Do You Celebrate Spring Holidays?
Hezekiah’s Passover: Wrong but Still Right
10 Ways to Remember Passover if You Don’t Celebrate

Self-driving Cars and Avocado Toast: Welcome to AP Stylebook 2017

angry alien

These are the days that we grammar freaks live for!* The Associated Press Stylebook 2017 is shaking things up with 200 changes, some of them major changes. The internet (lowercase i) is all abuzz as traditional grammarians duke it out against progressive grammarians, using well-written and carefully punctuated insults, while trolls stoke the fire with deliberate misspellings. It’s a maaaaaad house! 

Most of the new rules have to do with popular word usage, changing cultural mores, and the language of new technology. But, really, I think the AP folks toss in a few of these just to mess with us. Like their ruling on avocado toast. According to AP, the term now officially applies to toast that has been spread with smashed avocado. Why? Were editors storming the offices of the Associated Press, demanding clarity on the avocado toast issue? Just saying.

The ruling that seems to be generating the most hubbub is the limited acceptance of they, them, or their as gender-neutral, singular pronouns. AP says that when gender is unknown, or the person prefers not to identify as gender-specific, writers should use the person’s name instead. If a pronoun is unavoidable, use they, them, or their. But, AP warns, take care not to imply that they is more than one person. 🙂

Grammar Girl comments 3-27-2017

Comments from Grammar Girl’s blog at Quick and Dirty Tips.

Other AP Stylebook 2017 rulings include:

  • Clarification on the rule about serial (Oxford) commas. AP does not use them, but clarifies in the 2017 edition that understandability is the bottom line. If the sentence is unclear without a serial comma, use one.
  • We can now say MPH and MPG for miles per hour and miles per gallon in the first use of those terms, rather than defining them first, then abbreviating.
  • Avoid courtesy titles, like Mr., Mrs, Ms. Instead, write out the first and last name. Exceptions are allowed when needed for clarity, or within a direct quotation.
  • Autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles are to be called self-driving or partially self-driving, rather than driverless. Driverless is used only when the vehicle does not have a human driver.
  •  AP wants us to avoid using terms like “opposite sex,” “both sexes,” or “either sex,” so as not to impose roles on anyone. The 2017 Stylebook includes a comprehensive section addressing the issues that come up when writing about sex, gender, and sexual orientation.
  • March Madness is now capitalized when referring to the basketball tournament. That surprised me. I thought that was already a thing.
  • The term esports is all lowercase and not hyphenated, except when it’s part of a proper name. The same with email, but that’s not new. The words e-book, e-commerce, and e-business remain hyphenated.

Remember, not everyone uses AP style, so check with your publisher, and use the style guide they prefer. (See what I did there, with the singular they?)

You can get the AP Stylebook 2017 online now, or pre-order the print edition, scheduled to be released on July 11, 2017.

What do you think of the changes? Did AP get it right this year, or are you hopping mad? And what do you call avocado toast? Let us know in the comments. We’re all in this together.

Hugs,
Kathy


* Regarding ending a sentence with a preposition: I write this blog (mostly) in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). According to CMOS 5.176:

The traditional caveat of yesteryear against ending sentences with prepositions is, for most writers, an unnecessary and pedantic restriction. As Winston Churchill famously said, “That is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I shall not put.” . . . The “rule” prohibiting terminal prepositions was an ill-founded superstition.

 

 

Winging It for St. Patrick’s Day

Mwwaaa angel-in-heaven from public domain pictures dot net
Original photo by Charles Rondeau via publicdomainpictures.net

It’s been a rough week for the Frazier fam, y’all. Between my kids, my husband, and me, we’ve visited the ER twice, endured lots of pain, and downed plenty of medicines. Sheesh! When it rains, it pours. I’m looking forward to the day when “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) It looks like we’re all on the mend now (yay!), but I didn’t write anything this week, so I’m winging it today.

In lieu of actually writing, I found a cool blog post Why Do We Pinch People Not Wearing Green on St. Patrick’s Day? I love fun, little factoids like this one by Brock Keeling.

Image may contain: 1 person

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m planning to go back to bed. What are you doing to celebrate?

Hugs,
Kathy

Edited 4/24/2017 to cut out the drivel. –kf

Why did it take nine years to get serious about my own writing?

Elliot science dude meme
My son, the super science guy.

My son, always looking for ways to earn a few extra dollars to fund his science projects, emerged from his laboratory bedroom as I emerged from my Writing Zone. We met at the writing fuel coffee pot, and he began his proposal.

“I see you’re making money,” he started.

“I’m not making money,” I answered.

A sound caught in his throat, as if this unexpected answer threw off his pitch.”You’re writing, aren’t you? Why aren’t you making money?”

“I’m writing something that I hope to sell, but I don’t have a contract.”

“Wait. You’re really not getting paid?”

“Not anytime soon. Maybe not ever. We’ll see.”

He was genuinely perplexed. “Why would you do that?”

Why does any writer–or any other artist–do that? Because we must. It’s our gift, our calling, our passion, whatever you want to call it. The real question should be: Why did it take me nine years?

For nine years, I wrote other people’s stories, websites, workbooks, Bible studies, book studies, and more. I edited for newbie authors who appreciated my help, for college students who counted on proofreading as part of their grades, for companies that like someone who follows instructions, and even for a very few brilliant authors who honored me by allowing me to study their unpolished manuscripts. And I thanked God for the opportunity to stay home with my kids and do what I love while helping to provide for my family. Now everything seems different.

Truth be told, it’s scary in No Contract, Writing-as-Myself Land. It’s not just the lack of money, either. The thing is, I became accustom to regular positive feedback for ego boosting. I liked the chance to fix something when feedback wasn’t good. I worked faster with imposed deadlines. I grew comfortable with anonymity, letting the responsibility for my words fall onto someone else’s reputation.

Life slips away, and it’s been nine years since I published something with my own name on it (besides this blog). It’s time for me to gather up all those bits and pieces of information and the stories that I’ve scribbled over the years, “for when I have time,” and craft them into something comprehensible. Something that only I can write. Real, honest-to-goodness books. (Just typing that last sentence makes me nervous.) But this is where my journey is leading me.

Elliot looking off the side of the boat, cropped
We’re taking this journey together. Let’s see where it goes.

I’m sure other writers understand. So many of you bravely write your very own stories and ideas and dreams, without a contract, every day. And just as bravely, you send in queries and one sheets and synopses, and land those contracts. I salute every one of you.

Even though I’m not currently making money, I still wield the power over my son’s cashflow, as Mother Supreme, and I still support his love of science. We’re in this together.

Did you quit your day job to take on writing full time, with no promise of publication? How is that going for you? Did the lack of regular feedback rattle your self-esteem? Did the isolation drive you bonkers? I’d love to hear from y’all. I’m open to any and all advice and encouragement.

Hugs,
Kathy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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