A Heaping Helping Of Honesty

I recently read a book that I just loved! I want to write about it, but I’m not that good at book reviews. I might ramble a bit. But here goes nothin.

This book was one of those rare finds; a gem. I somehow discovered a blogger named JS Park a few weeks ago. Turns out he’s written several books (I’m already reading a second one of his). I liked what he blogged about so much that I had to read his longer more focused stuff.

The main topic that drew my interest was the struggle that people have doubting God and wrestling with faith. You could say I’ve had that struggle. You could also say I’ve struggled with admitting such a struggle.

That points to what I think drew me in the most about JS Park’s writing: he is very open and honest. It’s disarming. I don’t have to be defensive against feeling judged by him because he doesn’t hide the fact he’s as broken as any normal human being.

So yeah, I’m gonna read me some more of that.

We all have struggles. That’s life. But in a survival-of-the-fittest world, it is not fitting to reveal your weaknesses. That’s how you get eaten alive, right? So people play tough. Yet we know we shouldn’t come off all macho like we’ve got it all together. It’s too unbelievable. Someone will call our bluff.

So we sometimes admit we struggle, but we won’t go deeper than that. It’s too vulnerable. We’ll say we struggle in general, but we don’t really want to show our specific struggles.

Anyways, maybe you can relate to something like that just as I do.

The book, “What The Church Won’t Talk About,” is just awesome. It’s got a lot of meat. Each chapter kinda covers certain topics or themes. It’s easy to skip around to whatever questions you find most relevant to you. And there are many real questions.

Some of the questions asked are the same ones, of course, that I myself have harbored (and not had the guts to ask)! These taboo questions may hit you in the guts.

Here are some of the topics. I got this list from Amazon’s page for the book. (And no, I don’t make money off anything on my blog.)

“What about: Porn addiction? Homosexuality? Self-harm and cutting? Sex before marriage? Suicidal thoughts? The evil in the world? And long dry seasons of doubt?”

“From sex, dating, sexuality, doubts, depression, pornography, abortion, apologetics, to family drama, these were questions that we’ve always wanted to ask in church, but were too afraid to stir the status quo.”

The author does not simply say the answer to everything is, “Jesus.” Nor does he just flatly blame sin for all the troubles we all have. He does not come off so simple. He shows respect, dignity, and also knowledge.

Seriously, I can tell from his writing that he’s not just giving you knowledge from his head. You know, he’s not just trying to have an answer or “the answer” to everything. He’s sharing his heartfelt compassion. And he admits when and where his answers are insufficient. But he does his best.What the church wont talk about

Yes, I know, it’s trite or cliché…but “I care how much he knows because I know (trust) how much he cares.”

I totally recommend this book to anyone who “tried church” and gave up. Also, to anyone who just has these real honest questions and you are still unsatisfied with the answers so far.

That’s my two-cents.

Take care,

-Jason

Making It Through The Week

It’s been a challenging week so far. It started with my anxiety flaring up severely. My work at my job has been tough. And my family has been extra busy with Christmas festivities. But I think the week will slow down now.

Sunday through half of Tuesday, I was really struggling with severe anxiety. It hasn’t been so bad in a while. I had to talk to a friend to keep from losing my mind. Totally serious. Then I made an appointment with my doctor and my therapist.

Thankfully, my anxiety finally dissipated Tuesday evening and I was able to enjoy a Christmas parade with my family.

Then to my surprise, this morning I felt rested and happy. I even had energy and was more confident. It was great while it lasted. Then the demands of a looming deadline on my current work project frustrated me big time. I had to take a break and pray and wait to calm my mind.

After that, there was another evening Christmas festivity with a live band and carols. Then my family got home, ate dinner, and finally got to wind down. Well, just about. I had to have a heart to heart chat with one of my sons. Then another son, who had suddenly come down with a stomach ache, ran to the bathroom to throw up. He’s ok now it seems.

My wife and I talked and prayed together (she is a good listener). Then I poured a relaxing drink, grabbed my book to read…but then decided to do a blog post. I’ve been so busy with life lately that I’ve been missing out on blogging!

Side note: I recently discovered a new singer and have been enjoying new music. But I’m not saying who it is or what songs they are because I’m afraid of what some people might think. Is that weird?

So there’s a little snapshot of my imperfect life with some highs and lows. How’s your week been? Comment below.

Take care,

-Jason

November Is A Novel Month

We are smack dab in the middle of it. The 30 day stretch where many aspiring novelists commit to the big 50k. It’s like an annual writing marathon. 50,000 words written in a single month! Fingernails will be worn down to the nubs. And maybe, just maybe, a myriad of writers will find they have become authors.

It’s called NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month

This yearly event is inspiring and motivating. It’s a tool that helps you commit to writing an entire work of fiction. Every last word. And while you write alone, you’re not alone. There’s a community of dedicated and enthusiastic people all sharing the same goal.

But it’s no small commitment; I myself wouldn’t want to attempt it without serious determination and plans to complete all 50,000 words. This year I considered joining NaNoWriMo, but I just didn’t think I was up for it.

Heck, I don’t want to submit to writing a 500 word blog post daily for a month. (Not even if it’s February!) Let’s be realistic here. In 30 days, that’d be a mere 15,000 words, not even half the goal of NaNoWriMo! Yet I write.


It’s satisfying to tap away my fingertips on the keyboard, summoning bits of language into prose worth reading. Despite little success, I enjoy my brain’s propensity for word-smithing. Failed attempts and all.

I’ve tried my hand at writing both fiction and non-fiction. I once completed several chapters of a Sci-Fi novella. And earlier this year, I got up super early each morning for over a month with one intention: writing words. Lots of them.

There comes a state of word-flow where your inner-editor takes a back seat. A handful of paragraphs later you look up; an hour flew by! I often typed over 1,000 words in a session. The accomplishment felt like butter melting thoroughly on a steamy baked potato.

I’ve also read a book about writing (sorry, no spoilers), authored by one of the most prolific fiction novelists of our time, Stephen King. And I’ve kinda geeked out reading blogs and websites all about creative story-telling.


NaNoWriMo is a real chance to take the dream of writing a book and make it into a reality, like a fairy tale coming to life. It compels talented people to go from “once upon a time” to “happily ever after” and fill out all the details in between! Who knows? Maybe they’ll even be published.

Right now, many are typing. One could be your co-worker moonlighting as a novelist. They’re honing their craft, penning scenarios, developing characters, and plotting out climaxes. At this moment, an aspiring author is plugging away to the-ultimate-plot-twist!

I get that. I wish that. And until I gather up the gumption to write 50-grand in words, I will continue to admire those studious Scrivener and Ulysses aficionados.

So are you a fellow-novel-dreamer, brimming with hope to write long-form? Have you read captivating stories and felt yourself pining away with notions of your own bookish adventures bubbling from your imagination? Take a moment to leave a comment.

Take care!

Ebb And Flow Of Anxiety

You know how thoughts and feelings come and go. My general anxiety is like that. I have long stretches of ‘normal’ it seems, then a season of anxiety will settle in. For weeks or days at a time, my anxious nerves will buzz quieter or louder.

I’ve had anxiety attacks that are acute and short lived. And I’ve had ones that are debilitating with a long fall-out, which means I work extra hard to recover back to near ‘normal.’

My anxiety flared up recently. Yesterday it was a persistent negative gnawing inside. And as usual, I kept quiet about it. But today, I’m surprised yet relieved; that anxious worm is gone. I am calm. No inner turmoil.

It’s uncanny. The most remarkable times are when the anxiety is present and then disappears during the same day. The anxiety can be carried over from the previous day or start in the middle of the night. Then hours later, it suddenly dissipates without a trace. It may sound weird, but it happens quite a bit.

The relief that follows is such a contrast that it makes me step aside mentally, wondering how long it will last. Often, I look within and think that the anxiety is still lurking somewhere inside me. “Can it really be gone?”

It’s like one moment you’re in a war zone with danger all around. The next moment you’re napping on a tropical island, peaceful as can be. It sounds strange even to me, but I’m describing my anxious reality as best as I can while trying to avoid being overly dramatic.

Usually, I don’t like to talk about my anxiety. It’s a difficult subject. I don’t like feeling as if I’m stuck in a relationship with it. I guess today, I felt like opening up a bit because I felt so much calm and not fear. Like a lucid moment. Yet it’s still hard to know what to think a lot of times. That’s the reality of it.

I know there are others who struggle with anxiety. I don’t think you have to struggle alone. But I understand it’s hard to open up and be vulnerable because the anxiety attacks make you want to fight or run away in defense. You put up your guard instead of opening up. I tend to do that same thing.

The Storytelling King

In my 41 years, I’ve never read a Stephen King book. Until this year. I also never believed in telepathy. Until it happened.

King used his telepathic powers to put info and imagery in my head. It worked too. I smiled a lot, laughed out loud. I also gained insightful knowledge.

Through his rare non-fiction work, he transmitted mini-stories, snippets from his life’s story arc, across time and space. That was about 19 years ago. And on a Friday in 2018, I went to my local library, grabbed his book, and began to receive King’s message:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

I’m not going to rebroadcast his message though. That would rob you and him from direct telepathic communication. If you engage in it, you won’t be willing or able to stop until you’ve received all of it. King’s book is like a bag of chips. Once you open it and start chomping, you won’t be able to put it down.

Besides entertaining and informing, his memoir was inspiring and encouraging. King should be proud for accomplishing exactly what he wanted.

Of course I’ve heard over the years about King’s success and influence as a modern fiction novelist. But after reading his non-fiction sort of info-novella, I don’t think it’s fair to speak of him as a writer or author. Those terms are too narrow. He is a wonderful storyteller. And a great telepath. At least that’s my impression of the man.

I’d wanted to read this book years ago because my writing needs improvement. I figured if ‘the king’ of writing wrote a book on writing, then it would benefit me. Time will tell, but I believe it’s helping me already.

Besides being a great teller of tales, King is an under-the-eave archaeologist (similar to the closet version, I think). You need to know this because if you want to improve your own writing, you’re gonna have to get your hands dirty. King says so. You’ll need the right tools to dig up your stories to tell; the better you are at unearthing them, the better a telepath you’ll be.

I must say that if you like to read Stephen King’s stories yet couldn’t care less about writing your own, then you still need to get this book and read the first half. It’s full of King’s real-life stories! Just the fact that he knows how to tell them so well is reason enough; you’ll race through them with delight.

The bonus content, you might say, is the second half, which reveals all his secrets! Okay, not quite. But there’s a lot of those shiny little wisdom nuggets in there, couple big ones too. He talks about different kinds of writers and writing in general of course.

King’s crafty memoir is so good, I plan to give it future reads. I returned my copy to the library, but I’ll pay money to keep this little treasure in my house for reference if not also to just enjoy another viewing of King’s highlight reel: how an author was authored.

Do you like to read Stephen King novels? Do you fancy yourself an aspiring author? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading.