The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood is a cross between a pointless horror story and an episode of Criminal Minds.
Colette is running from some money launderers and holes up in a really bad apartment complex that has some strange people living there. In a room next door, a killer resembling an Egyptian version of Norman Bates hides and the body count is rising. Its a combination of clumsiness and circumstance.
While the writing and characterizations are well done, its littered with bad language and graphically sexual scenes that go overboard to create a realistic skid row-like place in the United Kingdom. The exploration of the killers psyche reminded me of a Criminal Minds episode without the justice.
The story also felt like it was going everywhere and I felt like the story itself lacked depth. I gave this book 2 stars.
In the next few months, I will change the direction and look of my blog. God has put a mission on my heart, and I am busy trying to make that into reality. Catagories will be restructured, erased, and simplified. Book reviews will still happen. My about page will change. My logo, “Life Upside Down,” will be retired, and a new one put up. My old blogs will remain, but you may have to search a bit to find them, or click on the soon-to-be archive page. Old blogs are good.
New will be better.
Be patient. I can’t reveal yet what that mission will look like, but I promise you...it will be truly dynamic. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream.
Yes, I’m still thinking about Sunday’s Are The Worst. It bothered me that much. Even as I scan my old blogs and other blogs, I am wondering if we need to stop writing blogs that are general accusations against the church, and instead, be the friend and stop bad behavior on the spot? Be the pastor, and talk to the congregation member(s) who are behaving badly?
Do you know how many blogs are anti-church? I don’t know either, but over the years, I have read a lot of them. It’s exhausting watching the anti-church blogs garner all the media attention. I said to a friend the other day how we eat our own for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Who needs an atheist to talk against us?
We’re doing a pretty good job of that ourselves.
While I believe in blogging and social media, I also believe in measuring every word I write or speak. Sometimes, I fail, and for that I apologize and ask that you forgive me and keep me accountable. My goal is to build up the church, help them succeed, and to show them how to be a light on a hill in a world of constant night. In writing, we are taught to show and not tell our readers what is going on in the character’s world.
Let’s practice that rule in life. Tell about scripture, the wonders of Christ, of Heaven, but also show the fruit of that belief from observing others in action to our own actions. It’s not pride. It’s not building platform. It’s finding something good to write about and letting our voices meld with other voices to be louder than the negativity. Blogs that write against the church may have genuine reasons for doing so, perhaps out of frustration, or maybe an attempt to start change or a national discussion. But how has change happened in life?
Change happens through relationships, mentorship, and standing up and for something. It begins in your church, in your neighborhood, through intimate conversations in social media, and it’s never too late to shine a light.
My Anonymous Blogger dropped off a handwritten note of upcoming bills. Some are national and some pertain to Arizona.
Nikki, please call McCain, Flake, and Gosar
1: Ask that they vote to repeal the Death Tax–the money that has already been taxed that families and businesses have worked for and should be able to be passed on to succeeding generations without penalty. This is also a job creator.
2: Vote to make repeal of the marriage penalty tax permanent. An institution which is the building blocks of society and best atmosphere to raise (according to statistics) healthy, physically , and mentally and emotionally children. Marriage should be encouraged and not penalized. It is the best “preventer” of poverty, drug use, sexual promiscuity, school drop-outs, and other societal ills.
3: Let us keep control of the internet in the US. It began here. Let’s keep it here under the direction of those who are accountable to the American people.
4: According to economic experts, our country could be financially solvent in a very short time if we don’t utilize our natural resources-coal, natural gas, etc. Let’s keep our priorities right–the welfare and livelihood of the human being is more important than the preservation of the habitat of a plant or animal. When there is a confluct , let’s rightly choose life for the apex of God’s creation-the homosapian. Environmental protection of the air and water should be reasonable and rational, not based on doubtful and uncertain scientific theory.
Will you join us as we, once again, surprise the Salvation Army Bell Ringers with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate? Try to do it anonymously. Most restaurants are more than happy to deliver the cup to their bell ringer. It helps them feel a part of encouraging someone they don’t know.
The review for “Clear, Winter Nights” by Trevin Wax has been delayed until Monday, October 28. Meanwhile, enjoy what was supposed to be Monday’s post. :o)
Technology is great unless, of course, you’re the San Francisco student on the light rail train who was shot and killed on September 23, or the man glued to his phone that I startled when I ran up behind him a month ago. He wasn’t the only one. It’s not just technology that has made people unaware.
People are generally not aware. When I have gone running or shopping, people don’t use their senses to know when people are around them, trying to pass in an aisle, or even aware of people close behind them trying to pass them on a narrow sidewalk. This picture taken on the subway in San Francisco shows a typical day of ear buds in people’s ears and eyes fixed on their cell phones. The gun man did not hide his gun. He took it out, wiped his nose while holding the gun in his hand, and even with the close proximity of the gunman to the others on the train, not a single commuter raised his eyes to see the gun until the gunman shot a student leaving the train. It was too late for the student who died from the fatal shot; and this in a city and state known for it’s convoluted anti-gun laws. It doesn’t surprise me that the gunman was able to flash the gun on the cramped light rail train.
I’ve come across so many people fixated on their cell phones and ear buds whom I have startled when coming up behind them on the streets or who stop engaging with others because of their ear bud usage. When I Googled cell phone addiction, it did not surprise me to find many articles on the subject. Our wants and needs’ line have blurred. I wrote about that here. Recently, I acquired a smart phone because our finances allowed the extra cost.
As a writer, we’re required to social network and write, but after several years of social networking, It has left me empty. My biggest concern has been in getting a smart phone is in not engaging in life because of it. I have a smart phone and I still make a concious effort to put it away. The smaller screen causes one to focus more intently on the words, shutting others out, while a regular computer screen allows your view to expand and include those around you. I also have an ipod shuffle for running, but I train my eyes to look around as I run, keeping aware of people around me. When I trail run, I do not use my ipod. Running in such an isolated place has its own dangers with not only the two-legged predators, but the four-legged as well.
So I’m not surprised at the kidnapping rates in our state or the crime in San Francisco anymore. The San Francisco gun man on the light rail went out hunting for a random human victim. He did eventually get caught. With so many cell phones, someone could have dialed 911. If San Francisco wasn’t anti-gun, a CCW holder would have had that gunman on the ground. Both actions would have saved the 20-year old’s life.
While teaching a Sunday School on marriage, someone asked me, “What’s the difference between living together and marriage?” The fight for marriage has dominated the headlines, but how can we say that same sex is not okay if we are living together in sin as professing Christians?
In reading, The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler, a quote stood out to me: passion is Technicolor, not earth tones. Mohler went on to say, “Kierkegaard contrasts passion with mere ‘flashes of enthusiasm.’ Passion is not a temporary state of mind. It is the constant source of energy for the leader, and the greatest cause of attraction for followers. Finally, Kierkegaard reminds us that passion cannot be artificially generated or transmitted. If authentic, it naturally shines through as convictions come to life, as a great mission undertaken, and as people share the same great passion and join together as one.” As I read this, I recalled my words over the past year. Where’s my passion? Where’s my faith?
For instance, when someone asked me how many copies to make for something I gave a low number. I expected few to actually need the information. My verbiage communicated my low confidence and my floundering passion. I am passionate wherever writing is concerned in my own projects, but I have apologetically lacked it in many other areas. I’ve been searching out my place in the world—to belong, to matter, to be a part of something—and my attitude reflects it when more often than not I am left bereft of what I seek. I feel I am following God’s will in what I do, but in some areas I really need to work on a better attitude and a stronger faith. Because what I seek sometimes is self-fulfillment.
Tony asked me why I continue to write and submit when I haven’t gotten a publishing contract for my novel. I’m not seeking self-fulfillment, but serving my calling. In many ways, writing is fulfilling even if my pocketbook comes up empty. God has blessed me in my writing in more ways than I deserve and lately He has been opening up many doors. Some have told me how my writing builds them up and I am glad to be used in this way, to spend my time wisely, and grow. But in other areas I do lack faith.
So when Mohler said, “passion requires Technicolor not earth tones,” it left me disquieted. I walked back from Starbucks staring ahead and re-thinking my position. I need to use my words to lift up and build up even when things appear discouraging, people are difficult, or if when I hold out my hands they come up empty. My attitude can’t be responsible for bringing someone else down. When someone asks for a blown out number of copies, I should suggest double that and pray it is so instead of thinking the worst and living faithlessly. When praying for rain, I should bring an umbrella, as someone once told me.
*The Conviction to Lead is one of the books I am reviewing. Date TBD.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 NIV
They used to tell me during my training at Bank of America, “Smile. They can’t see your expression over the phone, but when you’re smiling it shows through your voice.” I’ve always put that tidbit of wisdom in my mind to retrieve later. It made sense even to twenty-something year old me, and it has stayed with me now at thirty-something. Recently, a comment reminded me that this saying is also true in the spiritual sense.
The beauty of trusting in spite of my reservations had the consequence of friendship. I know people will let me down, but I chose through this study to live a life as if I had never been damaged. These women in my Bible study are truly wonderful and caring people as I am sure many women are and it’s just our circumstances that color our outlook and make us so wary that we hide instead of trusting in God.
I found myself opening up slowly, pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed this study.
Beth Moore said in our study committing what has damaged us to God is letting go of it. She also said that feeling pain means you love. Beth Moore said to not close up or shut down. Pain can isolate us from the blessings God has in our future. By not trusting Him, we forfeit such beauty as trust.
The friendships I am making and the authentic conversations during study feel like someone just blew the dust off of my old heart, reminding me how much I still hold back. In five years, this is the first time I have reached out, not in ministry, but in friendship. I have isolated myself out of protection and that’s not living. Living is risking vulnerability and authenticity.
God picks you up.
As long as you keep letting God pick you up, you’ll be blessed and taken care of, for we worship God in spite of our circumstances. And I don’t want this weekly gathering to end. It’s been so much fun.