My Uncle is Dying

I’ve been really sad this week. Depressed too. I found out my great uncle is dying and has been put on hospice care. He has overcome a lot this past year, he had a stroke and then got Covid and developed pneumonia, but he recovered from both better than expected, but now he has some kind of heart/blood issue that they say can’t be fixed because he is simply too weak to survive any kind of surgery to correct the issue. Sadly, they can’t even grant his wish to go back home and pass away there, as he is in a lot of pain and they feel the IV pain relief drugs are necessary for his comfort since he doesn’t respond well to the pill form.

I have always had a special relationship with him. I spent quite a bit of time with him as a kid growing up. When we moved away when I was 12, he faithfully wrote me letters for years, letters that helped me through very rough times in my teenage life. I even chose him to marry my husband and I as he was an ordained minister. He was definitely the best example I had of Christianity in my life, and even though I’m not an evangelical Christian anymore, I still greatly respect the example he set of being kind and loving.

I don’t want him to suffer, and we have been worried about his quality of life ever since the stroke, but it is still hard to say goodbye. And so, I’m sad.

Logical Religious Thought Experiment

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Think this through:

Why would any kind, loving, graceful deity demand the torture and death of something innocent in order to be able to bestow simple forgiveness for wrongs committed against them? Why would they create such a system?

How would you feel about a human being who demanded the torture and death of an innocent 3rd party in order to be able to forgive a person who wronged them in some way?

Why would a deity demand humans forgive freely but refuse to do so themselves?

Let me know your conclusions if you wish!

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Poetry – Astaroth

Astaroth
Astaroth:
guidance counselor
to the fallen –
because, hey,
even demons
get discouraged.

(Note: Lately I have been reading a book about fallen angels and their mythology. I had to write something about it when I came across the information that the demon Astaroth supposedly fulfilled the role of “guidance counselor” to the other demons in hell lol.)

Poetry – Scrambled Savior

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I meant to share this poem around Easter, but forgot. Guess I had too much going on. This poem just sort of wrote itself, with the images of both the commercial and sacred aspects of the holiday mixing together in my mind. It is not meant to be offensive to religion, but instead, to compare and contrast the cheerful, innocent brightness of welcoming spring with the actual gruesome reality of a crucifixion and resurrection:

Scrambled Savior

Easter
pastel eggs
poor Jewish carpenter
whipped, beaten, and scrambled
last supper
omelet

Kindle Direct Publishing’s New Reporting System and Some Author Updates!

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Yesterday I logged into my Kindle Direct Publishing account on Amazon and while looking at the reports, noticed there is a new “beta” reporting program they are working on that I could test (the picture above shows the new graphing, with part of the book breakdown below). I checked it out and it is WAY better than their old reporting program! It uses color coded graphs to plainly show which books you are selling, when you are selling them, and also easily separates books sold from “free” promotions vs. paid sales.

I am thrilled they are updating their system, because what they have had the last few years sucks in my opinion. It was hard to even tell which books sold! In other good news, while checking out the new system, I looked at my overall numbers from the last quarter and was pleasantly surprised to see that all together I’ve sold more than 230 ebooks (including promotions) during the last 90 days! Not bad for an indie author!!! It makes my heart happy to know that many people are reading my books!

If you use KDP publishing, I would recommend checking out the new program if you are able to under your own reports! By the way, if you want to check out my Amazon Author Page and maybe give it a follow, that would be awesome! I also have a FREE ebook promotion running today through Monday for my art ebook, “Stories Behind My Art” (if you like it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon!)

Lastly, a few years back, I published a little short story/spiritual ebook called “Jesus, Mohammed, and Abraham – A Parable about Love and Peace” under the name M.N. Russell ($0.99, FREE for Kindle Unlimited) . I decided to add that to my Amazon author bibliography, so you can check that out if you think it sounds interesting!

I’m Not An Atheist

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Many people jump to the conclusion that I am an atheist because I am not religious anymore and can be very critical of organized religion. However, I am not an atheist. I do often listen to atheist podcasts and read atheist books, but I also sometimes listen to and read material from spiritual or religious sources (even the crazy ones, although I listen to them more for amusement). I find myself overall agreeing more with secular thought, but I do feel that differing points of view are essential for having a realistic, down-to-earth view of life.

If I had to choose a label for myself spiritually, it would be agnostic. I’m not really sure what the hell is going on. I’m not a deist, because I’m not positive that there is a greater being or consciousness, although I hope there is to an extent. I don’t believe in the specific gods of any earthly religions, but I wouldn’t mind if there were some wiser (and hopefully caring) beings, or at least some sort of a meaning to all that is.

Because of the state of the world and the suffering, abuse, and slaughter of the innocent, I find it hard to believe in an “all good” being in power, unless that being gave us a choice about being here and what we would face. If earth were some kind of “school” where we choose the lessons we want to learn or the experiences we want to have, then I could see how the powers that be could still be moral and have values. Otherwise, their absence and inaction in the face of so much injustice and pain speaks volumes.

I do not believe in “original sin”. I do not believe in a God who must spill innocent blood in order to be able to forgive someone else for doing something wrong (seriously, how is that even ok???) I do not believe in a being that has such a huge ego all they want is to be worshiped for all eternity (too Donald Trumpish for my taste). I do not believe that there is necessarily an afterlife or heaven/hell, but if there is I would not be shocked or upset unless there was some kind of tyrant running things. If there is some sort of being in charge of it all, I simply hope that they are just and kind, but not cruel or punitive.