Category: Funny

Roadblocks & An Open Letter To Stephen King 

I gotta tell you, I am having a devil of a time with my book, and I don’t really know why. Okay, that’s not 100% true, I do have a couple theories.

#1. I stopped writing for a couple days to read “On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft” – by Stephen King. You may recall that I posted about it here at Who Are You, Anyway?! a few days ago, and promptly began to change everything I thought I knew about writing. After all, the man is a master in the field of literature!

#2. I changed the location of my desk, which is in a great location compared to before, however… it’s taken a few days to get used to the new location, and get comfortable again. I have Mr. King to thank for that as well, because it was, in fact, his idea to move the desk. I swear I am not crazy – look it up!

#3. I have been sick with bronchitis and a sinus infection, and very tired. Too tired even, to think properly, much less write anything good, as I found out while reviewing material today. Good lord, what was I thinking?!

#4. I have a retired husband who is in constant and apparently dire need of my unfailing attention.

#5. I have an addiction problem. I admit it; I’m totally addicted to Facebook. I can’t seem to stop! I’ll be in the middle of doing something, and just stop everything to check my Facebook app! Next thing I know, I’m watching videos of cute puppies wearing baby onesies while napping on a bed, and kitties hurling their fuzzy bodies into a variety of boxes and other containers never built to hold fuzzy kitties. Or – God help me – watching short videos of rapidly prepared, delicious-but-lethal-looking recipes. I actually had to leave my cell phone in another room for a few hours today, so I could focus on writing and abstain from social media.

So you see my predicament? So do I, and I know just what I need to do to correct it! I have to apologize to Stephen King. Didn’t see that coming, did you? Here’s the thing – in my previous post, I may have hinted that it didn’t matter what advice Mr. King or Hemingway, or other famous authors had to say about how I write, because I’m me and they’re them, and so on, and so forth.

While I still hold that to be true, and would say it again, I absolutely MUST note that Messrs. King and Hemingway are indeed literary forces to be reckoned with, and in no way would I dream of detracting from their expertise, no would I shun or otherwise “poo-poo” their advice on the craft of writing!

So what do you say, Mr. Stephen King? Can I have my clarity, focus, and imagination back now? Please? If you’re keeping it locked up in some little box on your desk in the corner, I’d surely appreciate it if you’d unlock and turn them loose. That is… if it’s not to much trouble? I have a book in progress, after all, and it’s pretty good, if I say so myself…

Your friend in literature,

C.A. Bennett – Writer

Who Are You, Anyway?!

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We’ve all been there. We’ve all asked ourselves that eternal set of questions:

“Who am I?”

“What am I doing with my life?”

“What is my purpose?”

“Why am I here?”

For me, these past seven months have been a journey of redefining myself as a result of strictly imposed restrictions on what I used to believe I was. I was, a Behavior Specialist who was going to college to become a teacher. I was, but I’m not anymore.

Two things have been a constant in my life no matter what I thought I wanted to be, or what I became because of doors that opened – if only temporarily – and then closed again.

My faith in God

My love of writing

From the earliest part of my life that I’m able to remember, I have prayed daily, and I have been a writer. I can recall my five year old self – white ruffled baby-doll pajamas with little pink flowers that were all the rage for every little girl in the very early 1970’s, fuzzy pink slippers, kneeling at the side of my bed, to say my nightly prayers;

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord, my soul to keep.

If I should die, before I wake,

I pray the Lord, my soul to take.

I said that prayer every single night without fail, for I don’t know how many years. When I grew up and became an “official born-again Christian” – as some would say – I stopped one evening to question what that prayer really meant. It was a simple request of God:

Lord, if I live through the night, let me keep my soul. If I die, take it and protect it for me

Simple. Basic. Done.

Nowadays, my nightly prayers are much more complicated that that. I regularly thank the Lord for His love, blessings and mercy. I regularly pray for forgiveness; not just for me, but for my husband, and each of my now adult children, and even their significant others, because hey… when you’re in my family, you’re really in my family, whether or not we agree on politics or God. I pray for protection, guidance, healing, and then throw in whatever current issues I have for myself, and for any family members I’m concerned about. I ask the Lord to bless everyone who has blessed me and my family in any way, and I ask Him to allow us to be a blessing to Him, to each other, and others.

Very different set of prayers from childhood.

The other constant, is that no matter whatever else I thought I was or wanted to be, I have always been a writer. Always. I remember before I could actually read or write, I would take crayon to paper, make those little scribbly writing lines that every small child thinks is real writing just like mommy & daddy make on their paper, and I would “read” my scribble stories to my stuffed animals and dolls as they sat lined up against the wall on my bed, and listened astutely to my wonderful adventures.

As I grew older, and learned to read and write, I did both with a passion that even J.K. Rowling would be proud of! I couldn’t get enough of books! I read, and read. The most exciting time in my childhood was when the Bookmobile would come to my neighborhood. Lord, have mercy, but I would absolutely be beside myself with joy over the Bookmobile! My mother and I don’t have the greatest relationship on the planet, but one thing I will say is that she instilled a love of reading in me, and has always encouraged me to write. I have no idea why, because that’s really the only encouraging area she played in my life, but I’m thankful for it, and have told her as much. But I digress…

These days, I’ve been working on writing my books, and am still going to college, but have changed my major from History to Religious Studies – the two intertwine so closely that I’m actually ahead of the game for the change – because one thing that has become evident in recent months, is that the Lord wants me to go in the church direction, and has graciously allowed me the time to write as I’ve always wanted to. Win-win situation.

During the process of writing, I have been reading about other writers and the method to this madness of becoming a successful and published author. I’ve learned quite a lot from J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Earnest Hemingway, Henry David Thoreau, Elmore Leonard, Saul Bellow, and a host of other famous authors, but the single most important thing I have discovered on my own is this:

None of what they say actually has anything to do with how I write.

Hear me out –  I am completely a fan of several of the aforementioned authors and have nothing but respect for them and for their process of making great literature. They are the writers I look up to and I aspire to attain that level of success – sooner rather than later, God willing – but they are not me and I am not them. What one says to always do, another says to never do. One will tell you to always outline and have your plot and ending ready before you ever put pen to paper, while another will tell you to sit down and just start writing – plot be damned – it’ll work itself out in the rewriting and editing phase. One will say, “treat it like a regular job where you’re on the clock from 9 to 5“, while another will tell you to, “write anywhere, anytime, as long as you WRITE!”- I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea – and you know what? They’re all right! And they’re all wrong! Why? Because that’s what works for them! But it may not work for me. It may or may not work for you!

We are all writers, but we are all different.

“So what’s the point?”

The point is – you are an individual who was made to be something special, and it’s not up to any other human being to tell you who or what to be or how to be it. Sometimes in life, the road we think we were meant to travel suddenly forks, and the way you were going, now has an enormous roadblock. You will find yourself faced with having to go an entirely different direction than you the one you thought you were supposed to go, and it can be terrifying! Pray. Ask the Lord for guidance and direction. Ask Him what He created you to be, and then ask Him to help you to become the best version of that person that you can be!

“And if I don’t believe in God?” you ask?

Well then just be the best you that you can possibly be, make the best decisions you can, and don’t do harm to anyone. In the meantime, I’ll pray that you find God, because He already knows you, whether or not you know Him.

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

NOW GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING GOOD WITH YOURSELF!

Caution: Writer At Work!

When your “office” is in your dining room, the people you live with tend to forget you’re “at work.” For the writer, it can be all too easy to get up and leave the “office” to wander the house, check out the fridge for the one-hundredth time, and become otherwise involved in other activities instead of staying put and making progress.

My solution – which admittedly needs refinement, was to put up a curtain and lay down some rules.

#1. When the curtain is closed, the writer is at work. Pretend she is not there.

#2. No engaging the writer in conversation when the curtain is closed, unless there’s a legitimate emergency.

#3. When the curtain is closed, the writer will refrain from meandering about, thereby resulting in avoidance of work, and inhibiting the progress of the aforementioned book.

#4. The writer controls the curtain.

I’m seriously considering purchasing an accordion door and mini blinds for the opening next to my desk, and in the kitchen island area. The only drawback I can see is that I may, in fact, become a recluse.

How I Got Saved

crossGood morning, Family & Friends – I want to talk to you a little bit about how I got saved, because it’s kind of funny!

What if the only thing I was meant to do is write sermons? I don’t personally feel that’s the only thing I’m supposed to be doing, but I do seem to have a tendency to go in the preachy direction from time to time. At least, that’s what I’ve heard from my husband and kids for Lord know how many years. Here’s the thing. I KNOW that the Lord called me to do something for Him. I’ve known that my whole life. When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was become a nun, but I had a couple problems:

1. I wanted to get married
2. I wanted to have at least four kids

So I knew being a nun was way out the door, because let’s face it – nuns don’t get married, and they sure don’t have kids! But that doesn’t mean I can’t serve the Lord SOMEHOW. Fast forward to my early twenties – I was married, and recently given birth to my 2nd son. One day, in my finally peaceful home, as the baby and the three year old were finally napping – I was, on the verge of falling asleep myself, as mothers with very young children are wont to do when their babies are sleeping. Because let’s face it – that’s the ONLY time a mother gets any sleep!

Anyway… I was sitting there half asleep, when the doorbell rang. Needless to say, I sat bolt-upright and sprinted to the door before it could ring again and wake the aforementioned babies. On the threshold there stood two ladies – one in her 30’s, the other in her 50’s – They were dressed very nicely, and holding bibles and Jehovah’s Witness pamphlets. And they were there to save me. I explained to the ladies that I had two sleeping babies and would love to be saved but not right now, thank-you-very much! Naturally I expected that they – being women, and probably mothers – would understand and let me go back to my nap. I was wrong. Instead, they proceeded to tell me about God’s son, and what he did to save me and my babies from eternal damnation.

Now I admit I was getting a little annoyed, because I was sleep-deprived and they weren’t going away like I had hoped they would. So I decided to break out the big guns. I explained to the ladies how l’d grown up reading my bible and praying every day, and had even wanted to be a nun, but changed my mind because of the whole wife/mom shebang. I thought, “surely that’ll get rid of them, right?” Wrong… Again… *sigh*.

Instead of leaving like the nice Christian ladies they were supposed to be in my little pre-determined book of what Christian ladies are supposed to be like, they decided to pray for me. Which I supposed at the time, was okay, but that was probably because I figured they’d leave afterward. Wrong again. As it just so happened, they ended up coming in for tea, woke up the kids, and proceeded to talk to me very extensively about the love our God has for all His children. This was all fine and well, and the visit was nice, but it had to come to an end sooner or later, and it did. Funny thing about that – about five minutes after they left, I had an overwhelming urge to pray and ask God to forgive me for my sins, and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Praise the Lord, right?

But the story doesn’t stop there. Oddly, right after that, I was overcome with an overwhelming need to pray for the ladies that just left. As if they were sick or in danger of some sort I didn’t know why then, but I do now. The spirit of the Lord was using them to save me, and me to help them in some way that only God knew. Funny thing about that prayer – it wasn’t in English. I didn’t know much about praying in tongues at that time, but that’s exactly what happened. I was saved, then immediately filled with the Holy spirit in order to pray for those ladies and help them from whatever situation it was the Lord already knew about and sent them to me for. That’s why they wouldn’t leave. That ‘s why they were so adamant about praying for me, and getting me to talk with them. In retrospect, what more perfect timing could there have been? To catch a mother when her babies are sleeping, and she’s too tired to put up a fight? Wow! God knows what He’s doing, doesn’t He?

Fast forward 24 years – I have now successfully mothered five sons, and been married to my their father for what sometimes feels like forever, but actually comes out to 28 years, and all I’ve heard from these guys all these years is how much I talk about God and the bible. Well of course, they’re being overly dramatic because let’s face it – I’m NO angel! I have committed many sins myself, thank you very much! Come to think of it, I’ve actually broken eight of the Ten Commandments all by my self – well mostly. I don’t see myself as a preachy person, but I have always loved the Lord and will always love the Lord, and that means I talk about Him quite a bit, to pretty much anyone who wants to listen. Am I bossy or pushy? No. Am I a psychotic bible-thumper? No. But sometimes the Spirit moves me and I just can’t help it! I just have to talk about God and ALL his wonderful works in my life!

So here I am, 48 years old, and I’ve recently become an Ordained Minister through an online bible monastery. Not that I think that’s a completely legitimate way to do it, at all… but I believe that’s what the Lord lead me to do at the time so I could get to this point. Where is this point? RIGHT HERE! Sitting in front of my wonderful, 25 year old typewriter, banging out this wonderfully educational bit of literature about how I became Reverend Crystal Ann Bennett, thank you-very-much!

Funny thing is –I pray and asked the Lord to give me something to write about, and He made me a minister. Now here I am writing all this stuff out to share with you so that hopefully – somehow – it will bless you in some way. And so dear friends… I pray the Lord will forgive you your sins. I pray the Lord will heal you, and bless you and protect you. May you be happy, healthy, prosperous and loved, all the days you live – In Jesus’ name – amen.

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Psalm 118:24 – “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

xI’m not gonna lie: I am NOT a morning person, BUT — The Lord likes to wake me up early whether I think I need to be or not. I can never get back to sleep, so I end up getting up, wander around and drink too much coffee. More often than not, I end up writing during the wee hours of the morning, which I find odd, because I can barely form an intelligent sentence with my mouth at 6 am. But — My fingers seem to know what they’re doing, so I give credit to God for that. So in that spirit, GOOD MORNING FAMILY & FRIENDS!! 😀

I want to tell you today about listening to God. Now hold on, hold on, before you think I’m gonna get all bossy-preachy over here, let me explain; I’m not talking about listening to rules and regulations. I personally hate rules. I’ve always followed the rules, (for the most part, anyway) BUT I don’t like them. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about listening for God’s call on your heart to follow him down whatever path he leads you to. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” — Let’s think about that: ‘Be still’ — Stop moving. Be quiet. Rest a moment. Meditate. Listen. — ‘and know that I am God’ — Who is God? The creator of the entire everything. I mean, like seriously! EVERYTHING! He made it ALL. All He’s telling you to do, is ‘Listen to me, and let me handle this.’ When this was written, there were wars, strife, turmoil of all sorts going on. And there was God saying “Be still.” Why? Wouldn’t it be a tad difficult what with all the fighting? How can the Lord expect people in the midst of war, to stop and listen to Him?

I’ll tell you — because that’s when we need Him the most! When there’s all sorts of drama going on, and you don’t know which way to turn, or what to do — THAT’s the moment you need to “STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!” You remember that, don’t you? That’s what you’re supposed to do when you come to a train track. Why? Because you need to focus, in order to be safe. Think about that for a minute. God tells you to “be still” so you can be safe. In that moment, when your mouth is closed, and your eyes and ears are open, you can hear Him speak to your heart.

This hearing God thing – it doesn’t always happen overnight. Sometimes it take a while and it takes practice. I think it has more to do with the person doing the listening than with God, Himself. Why? Because some people learn fast and continue to make progress. Some of us – like me – take a little longer to get to the point where we finally let go of our own selfish need to control every situation and let God take care of it. But honestly, that’s what we NEED to do. Be still, and know that He is God. If you ask Him to lead you in the direction He wants you to go – He will do exactly that! That’s how I got to be here. I finally stopped trying to control every situation by stressing out and having temper tantrums. I STOPPED what I was doing. I LOOKED to God for direction. I LISTENED to His word on my heart. I’ll tell you something – I’m 48 years old, and I am finally doing what I should have done a long time ago! I’m trusting in the Lord, and I finally feel peace in my heart for the first time. Praise the Lord! 🙂

Proverbs 3:4-6: “So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.…”