A Great Upending in the Year of Mercy

Yes, it’s been quite a while. Which will be sort-of addressed in the following paragraphs.

2015 was a year of internal change. Of figuring out my goals, my direction (or lack thereof), of realizing my vocation (at long-bloody-last!). In mid December, I knew what items I needed to really change things in 2016: A good planner, and a couple good books on organizing one’s life. Because if there’s one thing the developments of 2015 showed me, it’s that I had no organization in my life, and was getting horribly overwhelmed every time I tried to get things together. I needed guidance, a system, something to keep me from drowning in my own chaos. [I’m very good with chaos, but Chaos is, almost paradoxically, a static state. Chaos may grow, but it never progresses. Likewise with the other extreme, perfect order, because the only perfect order, the only perfect peace, is the heat-death of the universe. So, also not-desired. What is needed is the careful balance of Chaos and Order, the friction of which provides movement in a direction.

So. First I found the Top-Down Planner. It was a bit pricier than I expected for a planner, but I could tell that this was exactly the sort of organization and focus I needed. Basically, instead of  devoting all the space to schedule with maybe a small little square for goals, this planner devotes most of its space to your working out and planning your goals, with a schedule space at the bottom of the pages. I find the space is sufficient for my scheduling needs, but the focus on goals is fantastic.

After shopping around both online and off-line, I found nothing that even came close to this focus and layout. So I went with it. It came in last week, and I’ve been working with it ever since. I love it!  I spent a couple of days last week just working on the first pages, where it takes you through a series of exercises designed to first help you identify the values you life your life by, and then the goals you have for your life. The results of these exercises are then used to set the focus for the rest of the year, first on a month-by month basis, then as a week-by week basis, around which you then schedule your days. This focus on life values and life goals really helps to highlight which parts of your life are the most personally fulfilling, and which are just filling time. The Goal focus of the planner has already really helped me focus my own efforts around my selected goals, and the steps needed to progress toward their achievement.It has also started the crisis of the week, though it’s a good and necessary crisis. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Second, I found two highly rated (on Amazon) organization guides, both by Jennifer Ford Berry– Organize Now! A week-by-week guide to simplify your space and your life, and Organize Now! Think and Live Clutter-Free; A week-by-week plan for a happier, healthier life. I purchased them because they were highly rated, spiral bound, took things in small increments over the course of the year, and started with organizing one’s self before organizing one’s space. The first two weeks of the first book are “Organize your mind & Life Vision”, and “Organize Your Priorities”. The first two weeks of the second are “Organize Your Priorities”, and “Organize a Vision Board.” You can see there’s some overlap (and, they both dovetail very nicely with the work being done in the planner). Each week is only a few pages long, and includes checklists of things to think about, schedule, or do. I sit down on Sunday evenings and read the chapter for the coming week. If there are things to schedule, I add them to my planner. Otherwise, I just think them over for the next week, implement what I can, and then on Saturday evening, evaluate the developments of the week and where to go from there.

As you might imagine, this has lead to my goals and priorities being on my mind quite a bit over the past month, and especially over the past two weeks. What am I supposed to accomplish in this life? Why am I getting nowhere with the things I really feel a need to do?

When I was working on the initial pages of the planner, I ended up setting out 4 Goals. [I should note first, in case you don’t know me personally, or haven’t known me personally for a long time, that I often tend to think and express myself in symbolic terms. Not everything I say is meant to be understood literally. Sometimes I’m short-handing big concepts or ideas. Sometimes my expression is halfway between symbolic and literal, or both. I guess it’s understood through context. Or asking me. That works, too . . . sometimes.] The 4 Goals I set out were 1) Maintain/ Enhance Life Order, including Finances (because nothing else will work out well if the bottom falls out of everything), 2) Become a Ninja, 3) Establish the Clan and 4) Establish and Promote the Ninja-verse Fandom. There is a significant amount of overlap between some of these, but that’s okay.

Clearly, “Become a Ninja” is not exactly literal. But it’s not purely symbolic, either. It’s a list of things I want to learn, or become proficient at, to be more self-sufficient, and more capable of being of use in an emergency situation (this is where my physical fitness goals are categorized). To be more the person that gives aid, than the person that needs aid. “Establish the Clan” is about family and homesteads, the philosophical and physical needs of establishing and maintaining family connections and networks (and yes, there are steps involving finding Prince Charming-future-co-Clan-Chief). “Ninja-verse fandom” is all about my writing, which is something I love, even when scenes are frustrating me. I’ve always loved telling stories– childhood friends may remember that I’ve always loved telling stories. I love all the work that goes into crafting a good story– the research, the world building, the character creation, the plotting, time lining, the actual scene and chapter writing. Telling and writing stories is, I think, my vocation. It’s what I’m supposed to do. To play with ideas and express them as adventure, as romance, as Ninjas-in-Space! Awww yeah!

Once these goals are set out, and steps listed for each, there comes the inevitable process of comparing what one has been doing, to the goals and steps written down. What are your current commitments, and how well do they match up with your goals and needs? For instance, on average, adult humans need 7 hours of sleep a night. This is true for me, so I need to be getting to bed no later than the 9:30-10PM time-frame. Also, I am very much an introvert– I need time alone, time to let go of everything and re-charge. Any chore that adds mental stress negates the fact of being alone. These are things that can’t be changed– they can be “Dealt with”, but cannot be changed. I have to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and have to go to church on the weekend. These are the non-negotiable items. This means that all mornings except Saturday are booked solid, from the start, with maybe some room on the occasional Sunday if I go to Mass on Saturday evening.

So. . . all of this has been on my brain. Then a Mormon friend posted this article to her facebook feed: When We Try to One-Up the Lord’s Standards: Culture vs. Commandments. I’m not Mormon myself, but I still really resonated with a lot of what the author had to say. I am intimately acquainted with the feeling that I’m not doing enough, that I’m constantly falling short of what the Lord desires of me, that I should always be striving to do more for the Lord. That I’m not devoting enough time or resources to charitable endeavors, to helping others. So this article got things really ticking in my brain– perhaps part of my problem is not that I’m not doing enough for the Lord, but rather that my a priori definition of Doing the Lord’s Work has somehow included: “Whatever you’re doing, if you enjoy it, it’s Not the Lord’s Work. If it’s not directly working with the Poor, it’s Not the Lord’s Work.” You can see where this might become problematic. Not everyone is called to serve the Lord in the same ways. Bot somehow, my understanding of such work was narrowed down to the High-School Service Hours definition. Working at a soup kitchen, or a homeless shelter would count, but freely contributing what small amount of Beauty I could into the world most assuredly did not. No amount of singing for free could amount to one hour in a soup kitchen. My writing, or work on it, would never count because no matter what I wrote, no matter what theological ideas I worked with and tried to express, it wasn’t directly helping the poor, and in addition, I plan to try to sell the stories, and if any money is made, then it’s right out of consideration.  But not to sing, and not to write, was to squander the Talents He gave me. So, I had to do both, and the soup kitchen and homeless shelter and more, because the Gifts I was given were not, by my definition, suitable for His Work. (We’ll not even talk about the spiritual angst involved with not having started a family yet. That’s a whole other can of tangled worms. . .)

Yes, I see now how stupid it was to be thinking such things. I suspect, however, I am far from the only person to have fallen into this trap. We elevate charitable work, but have such a narrow view of what “counts”. . .

Then, David Bowie died. Then Alan Rickman died. Two men who wielded immense influence over my development as a musician and as a storyteller.  Both were severe shocks, and surprisingly personal losses. Bowie was the man who influenced the men who influenced me, the root cause, so to speak, of my development as an artist. His ceaseless exploration of ideas and self, no matter how weird or unusual, is the root of my ceaseless exploration of ideas and self. I am no Bowie, but in the end, I learned the pursuit of Truth No Matter What from him. Rickman portrayed some of my favorite villains, as well as Metatron and Professor Snape. His portrayals of his characters, from Hans Gruber, to the Sheriff of Nottingham, Metatron, and my beloved Professor, helped me learn how to craft characters of interest and depth. Both deaths were unexpected, seemingly sudden, a painful reminder of the ticking clock. . .

. . . And of those goals that need addressing. . . an indication that one cannot “wait for life to sort itself out” to get on with what one should be doing. I cannot wait– I spend so much of the year saying “things will calm down once ______ has passed, then I’ll get ______ done”, only to find that the expected calm never comes. It’s one thing after another– End of Fiscal Year, this holiday, that big convention, this other event. . .  things never calm down, because after every event, all the things I was desperately postponing crowd back in. It’s too much, not if I’m to accomplish what I’m supposed to accomplish. I’m constantly juggling commitments– all things I enjoy, but not all actually furthering any of my goals. My house is a mess because I have no regular time for chores. My fitness progress is always stalled because too many days, I chose between working out (and thus not having time to make my own meals), or making healthy meals (and not having time to work out). I don’t get to sit down to write until 8 or 9 pm (or 10 or 11pm), by which time my brain is so tired I hardly can type a sentence.

Yesterday, I made a list of all my Not-Work and not Actual Church Service Commitments, and the frequency of these commitments. They are as follows:

  1. Choir 1 — weekly plus concerts
  2. Choir 2 — weekly plus certain holidays
  3. Charitable Organization — monthly, plus additional
  4. Charitable Organization 1a — monthly
  5. Big Convention — yearly, plus ~ 1 week, plus sick time after
  6. Little Convention — yearly, plus ~ 1 week
  7. Community Emergency Response Team 1, Local level — quarterly
  8. Community Emergency Response Team 2, County level — monthly
  9. Community Emergency Response Team 2, State level — monthly
  10. Community Emergency Response Team 3, State level — monthly
  11. Exercise/ Physical fitness — daily, except Sunday

Yes, there is scheduled time for expected illness. (sigh). These can also be broken down as follows:

  1. Daily Commitments: 1
  2. Weekly Commitments: 2
  3. Monthly commitments: 5
  4. Quarterly Commitments: 1
  5. Yearly Commitments: 2

Two commitments in a day means I cannot cook, or do other household chores for that day, as the whole day will be spent in commitments and the driving to and from them. More than 2 days of 2 commitments in a week starts to effect diet, exercise, sleep, chores, and anything else I might possibly try to be doing with my life for the entire week. Missed sleep is not made up until maybe Saturday but, sleep too late on Saturday, and that cuts into the one day I have to catch up on everything else. If you look at the frequency breakdowns, you can see how this starts to become a problem. My weekly commitments plus my physical fitness needs max me out at the beginning, but then 5 monthly commitments means 1-2 additional commitments per week, plus quarterly and yearly when they come around.

This is untenable, but it’s how I’ve been going about my life for some time. Taking the first list, I compared it to my goals. Some of them fit into my goals. Some do not. I enjoy all of them– it’s the only reason I do them. I enjoy what I’m doing and I love the people I’m with. . . but I’ve got to cut back. Some things, those that are part of some of my goals, can be scaled back a bit (and to heck with anyone who gives me crap about it. Seriously, screw ’em.), some other things may have to go entirely. For commitments I’ve made through the end of February, I’ll be keeping almost all of those, because I don’t want to bail on people with such short notice. But beyond that. . . there will be cutbacks and cut-outs. Simply because there are things I’m supposed to be doing, but I’m so over-committed, that it’s a special occasion when I make any progress at all with them. And my health can’t take it– I can’t get in shape if I don’t have time to exercise, time to clean my house ,time to defrost my freezer so my fridge will work again, time to make my own meals, time to get my needed hours of sleep. . .

So, look. . . to everyone who will soon be seeing less of me: I am sorry. Please believe, this isn’t because I don’t like what we’ve been doing. And this isn’t because I’m “pussing out.” I will definitely miss these things, and the people involved, but these cuts have to be made. This is because I have my own priorities, my own goals, and I have to pursue them. There’s no point to my life if I do otherwise.

FYI sort of Update

While I’m keeping this blog for eventual longer essay-posts, the blog format in general is too . . .big . . . for the type of post I’m usually doing, which is seeing something cool/ interesting/ etc, and passing it on, maybe with a comment or three of my own. So, i’ve been trying to figure out some other platforms, and I think Tumblr is really better suited toward that.

So, if interested, you can find me more regularly at: http://zophielmalfoy.tumblr.com/

WARNING: In addition to most of the stuff you’re used to seeing, you’ll also be explosed to 1) Fangirling over many things and 2) Random thoughts. Some of it is serious, a lot of it isn’t. So, er, FYI.

How to Spot a Fake-Azz “Occult Expert” in Two Words

I just subjected myself to one of the worst blog entries I’ve ever read. Which, knowing the internets, must be pretty bad. As it seems that riling me up is the only way to get me thrown headlong into the blogging process these days, here I am, full of disappointment and irritation yet again, as some well-meaning, but ultimately ignorant and unqualified person attempts to speak the Truth About The Occult, only to unknowingly make a fool out of them self and drive away the souls most in need of conversion.

Let me be clear– while I do try to swallow my irritation on most matters, in this case a person is not only misrepresenting the Catholic Church and Christianity, they are further alienating and pushing away many souls that, I rather rashly assume, they would deem most in need of saving and conversion. I am not writing this to Defend This Person or That– although in this case it may seem that way. I am writing this because I am concerned about good, devout people getting scammed again and again by frauds. I am concerned about these frauds (and their believers) unintentionally causing scandal to the Church. These things help no one, and cause great harm.

So, to my credentials for this subject: Yes, I am familiar with the occult. More than a passing acquaintance, though somewhat distant these days. Yes, I am currently a practicing Catholic, yes I go to Confession and sing in the Choir and read my Bible and bicker with others about the Traditional Latin Mass vs the Novus Ordo. So it is that I am just as familiar with Dion Fortune as I am with St. Therese of Lisieux. I am just as read in Manly P. Hall, Israel Regardie, and dear Frater Albertus, as I am with St. Bernard of Clairveaux, St. Hildegard von Bingen, and dear St. Francis de Sales. To be fair, I haven’t read Blavatsky, but neither have I read all that much Vianney. I have enjoyed puzzling through Agrippa and St. Albertus Mangus. Moreover, just as I can go to Mass, Confession or Adoration with little to no need for a “cheat sheet” (I am fond of my iConfess app), likewise can I navigate the standard LBRP, Middle Pillar, or Rose Cross Rituals with no need for script or index cards. [For the record to passing occultists: I leave out the SBRP and the LBRH because in the case of the former, I am uncomfortable with the Analysis of the Keyword and, for the latter, it uses Enochian, which I avoid, due to my conviction that not only was Dee deceived, but Kelley tried to tell him so and he (Dee) wouldn’t listen.] Finally, since it is near impossible to read any of the above occult authors without also Crowley Gifhaving familiarity with Garnder, Starhawk or, Gawd-help-us, Silver RavenWolf, I have a more than passing familiarity with Wicca and modern Witchcraft, and mild knowledge of other, more traditional “Low Magic” traditions. (And yes, I have read Crowley, and I’m never getting those hours of my life back. . .)

Continue reading

24 April 2014 – News & Sundry

Powerful Asteroids hitting Earth more frequently than expected.

Army wasting money on a system that doesn’t work, People Dying.

My first thought is this: Those who work in Army Acquisitions know that if there is a commercial product that supplies a need, that they are to use that product and not spend money on developing something new. This is the default setting for purchases. In order to not go with the commercial solution, there must be a solid reason for not using it.

In this case, they would need to document why, exactly, Palantir does not meet the Army’s requirements. Or, why they cannot do business Palantir Technologies. They aren’t currently disbarred, so there would have to be some other reason. All of that should be documented somewhere, and they should be pulling those documents out at this point and reviewing them.

That said, I agree with a lot of what Hunter said. It is a huge bureaucracy, needed because the Federal Acquisitions Regulations, Defense Supplement, and Army Supplement to the Defense Supplement, plus all the other executive orders and policy statements are so numerous and vast, that you need all those people to make sure that purchases are done legally. If you want to trim the number of people, you need to gut the regulations and paper-work requirements. I don’t know how it is in other offices, but in the one I work at, we’re overloaded with work, mostly because it takes so long to get things done, due to the regulatory requirements.

Cult of Moloch alive and well in the USA. Sometimes, I have trouble praying for Him to be merciful to the US– I can pray for mercy for the slain, for the women deceived, even the doctors who are so lost they cannot see what they are doing. .  but for the nation as a whole? How can I ask such a thing in the face of such evil committed– burning the bodies of murdered children to recharge our iPhones? So I find myself praying for Him to be Just or Merciful as He deems best. Because simply praying for mercy, in this case. . .  the words stick like needles in my mouth.

And then I check on my supply of water and canned food, and count my ammo.

Allen West asks a question that rather answers itself, I’d think.

Troops deployed to Eastern Europe. Because the Cold War is over, doncha know?

Speed Limits, Drinking Ages, and other Needless Gov’t Interventions. Grunt Opines.

23 April 2014 News and Sundry

St. George’s Day! The patron of England is renowned for his dragon-slaying skills — but only mean dragons. So, Toothless is safe. . .

happy_night_fury_by_galletax-d3biefzThe Navy is naming a new ship after Gabby Giffords. Ugh. If she has any class, she’ll ask that they name it after someone who’s 1) Dead and 2) Did something actively heroic. Getting shot and surviving does not a hero make. Walking open-eyed into danger to save others does. Every firefighter in this country is more worthy of this honor than Mrs. Giffords.

It has started. Apes building fire and toasting marshmallows. It is now only a matter of time. Tick Tock. [Warning for auto-play on arrival]

S.E. Cupp on why Bloomberg is nothing but fail.

There was a time when I thought that “Chem Trails” was one of the wackiest Conspiracy Theories out there. I’ve been changing my mind on that for a couple of years. But not for the reasons others have. To quote Ben Davidson:

“Do we spray the sun, mars, venus, jupiter, and saturn? They are ALL changing more than earth… better rethink both the human causation and the idea that we are making it worse in the short term. The long term affects could be bad but there is no doubt that earth is managing to do better than its neighbors despite everything you hear. This is a solar event, and they are playing god trying to stop it. They can’t hide it, so they make you think its an attempt to do something crazy so you scream about it online and nobody in the mainstream takes any of us seriously. THAT is how you hide something in plain sight… you make the opposition (us) act like crazy people.”

Traditional “Saxon” Math vs. “Common Core”

Also

And. . . who the hell is John Titor?

Post-Easter News and Sundry

earthdayleninBecause, we all know this is what Earth Day is really about.

22 April News:

So, now they say they might have been looking in the wrong place for that missing plane. You don’t say? It’s not like everyone on the internet has been saying so this whole time . . .

Wild Pacific Salmon restored to amazing numbers, carbon sequestered, Native Populations getting to maintain their way of life . .. and some people are trying to complain about something. What is wrong with these people?

What in seven hells even ismansplaining?

Matt Walsh: Christian Women-Feminism is not your friend.

Will 2014 be a Year Without a Summer?

Also, finally saw the new Captain America movie today. It was pretty rad!!!

 

16&17 April 2014 – News and Sundry

So, meant to publish this yesterday, but. . . stuff. . . so updated with today’s as well.

4-14-Eclipse-over-Bluebonnets-Mike-MezeulA for real photo, y’all. . .

Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine, being told to “Register or Face Deportation“. Bad News, peeps. Baaaad . . .

Did you know there is a vaccine for lyme disease? Too bad you can’t get it.

Bergen Community College in New Jersey is afraid of Games of Thrones

Police and Perjury

Conservatives in the Wild

From the Bundy Ranch:

Other News (Check the dates):

15 April 2014 News– Tax Day

It’s tax Day here in America. So, in honor of the day, here’s a picture of Death eating Popcorn:

PopcornDeath

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on the Bundy Ranch episode:

Judge Napolitano

John Hinderaker–the comments (at least earlier this morning) were good as well:

Just some opinion here: I think Glenn Beck is wrong on this.Mal1 While I don’t want violence, I don’t think it should ever be entirely off the table. Si vis pacem para bellum, and all that. Glenn claims to follow the example of the Founding Fathers, but they went to war over a tax on their breakfast beverage, and he’s against people trying to protect their land and cattle from the very Agenda 21 deception he himself exposed. Yes, we should always seek the peaceful route– but sometimes it will not be allowed by our opponents. And sometimes, showing reluctant willingness to violence is actually the most peaceful way.

After all, on other fronts, they’ve shown what they respond to, and that’s threats of violence. So we should speak the language we have shown they will respond to.

Cli(e)mate

Another Climate Change alarmist changes course.

Today’s News:

OURrescue:

This is one of the few charities that gets my money at this time.