Free by Christina Knowles

Free (#2, Letting Go)


Letting go

I let myself be who I am

Wandering alone through a jungle

Of contradictory claims

The skeptic

Ye of little faith

Actually none

Bouncing from one fiction to another

Grasping at scrawny tree limbs

Too dry and brittle to hold the weight of inspection

Of critical scrutiny

I hung on too long

Even while twigs snapped at a touch

Letting go

I should have done it long ago

Free-falling, uninjured

Floating peacefully on the unknown

It’s never too soon to be free

At last, free to live

The reality, a genuine life

On undiscovered details

Letting go

Of the need to know


Free from the fairy tale

The false hope

Hope that meant nothing

More than an interesting dream

An afternoon of storytelling

An evening of Shakespeare

Both tragic and comedic

An epic battle between good and evil

Only to realize there is no difference

According to this dramatist

Letting go

And realizing the freedom

The relief

The ability to breathe deeply

Of the infinite, if only for a moment

A blip on the radar of the universe

A breath so pure and clean

I’d never miss the toxic perfume of lies

So I exhale completely

Letting go—Christina Knowles


Photo via Pinterest, source unknown

Subtle Sexism and the Complicity of Women by Christina Knowles

This week I was confronted with the fact that numerous girls from the age of 16-18 hold views of gender equality, or should I say inequality, that are more akin to what I expect from their male counterparts of the same age. I teach in a somewhat, okay, very conservative high school, but still, these students have embraced openly homosexual and transgendered students with fairly open arms. Yet these same students hold the view that women should be submissive to men, that it is a good idea to stay home and let husbands take care of them, and that many jobs traditionally held by men should continue to be held by men to the exclusion of women.

It seems that no matter how prevalent racism is, no matter how discrimination still subsists against the homosexual community, and no matter how much prejudice remains against those who practice certain religions or no religion at all, the final holdout will likely be biases based on gender. It makes me wonder with all the racist comments directed against our first black president, who happens at least to be a man, what kind of degradation will a future female president be made to endure. I have to ask myself, Why?

Well, here’s my theory. America is a country where, according to a Pew Research Poll (2012), 73% identify as Christian (PewResearch). And although sexism is a factor in many religions, including Judaism, I often hear many comments about Islam’s blatant sexism, which I don’t deny, but the sexism inherent in Christianity is a much more subtle, and therefore, easier to ignore type of oppression, and with 73% of Americans theoretically accepting the bible as God’s word, I wondered if this is the root of our tenacious American version of sexism.

Of course, the bible condemns homosexuality, and yet, there seems to be a trend to accept that as a lifestyle more and more. Still, being raised in the Christian religion myself, I know, firsthand, the views of women’s roles according to “God.” I have heard from the pulpit of at least a dozen churches that women are to be submissive to their husbands, should not rule over a man, that woman was made for man, women were created to be man’s helper, and that a woman is to keep the home, stay silent in church, and ask her husband if she has any questions.

Of course, all of this is biblical. This archaic message continues to be heard from thousands of pulpits today, even in the 21st century. It really is quite shocking—yet, many Americans aren’t shocked at all. Why?

I believe that women are complicit in their own sexist treatment as a result of being subtly conditioned by a predominantly Christian culture to find sexist treatment desirable, flattering, sexy, and even loving. Again, from the pulpit I’ve heard ridiculous explanations of the stories in the bible twisted to make the degradation of women seem acceptable. I’ve heard a pastor say that Adam only ate of the forbidden fruit because he didn’t want Eve to be condemned without him. Sure, that is a much more romantic way of blaming Eve for the downfall of mankind. And everyone’s heard the feel-good twist on the creation of Adam and Eve. The real bible story goes that Adam was created first, and then Eve was made from his rib to be his “helpmate” because it was “not good for man to be alone.” The modern version of this story is that Eve was taken from Adam’s rib to symbolize how she walks next to him—not in front of him, not behind him, but equal to him.

I guess someone should have told this version to Paul. This is what he has to say on the subject in I Timothy 2: 11-15: “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control” ( Apparently, Paul, and God by extrapolation, believe that because Eve came after Adam and was first to be deceived, women now and forever after must keep their mouths shut, be submissive, know their place in the church and at home, and if they do their job of birthing children, there may still be hope for them. So much for walking side by side in equality.

And, of course, there is always the “Chivalry” justification. I’ve heard from the pulpit that women, as the “weaker vessel” are to be treated like a priceless vase or precious fine china. They need the protection of a man, and this, unfortunately, means protecting them from doing really hard stuff like having authority over a man. Where was all this delicate treatment when women had to marry their rapists or were being offered up to be molested in the place of angels in Sodom and Gomorrah, by a man who was deemed “righteous” in God’s eyes? Naturally, there is an “explanation” for this as well. is a popular site dedicated to answering the unanswerable questions and contradictions in the bible. This is what they have to say about Lot’s righteousness: “Based on what is revealed about Lot’s life, one might wonder if he was righteous. However, there is no doubt that God had declared him to be positionally righteous, even during his time in Sodom . . . At some point Lot had believed in the coming Messiah, and that faith resulted in a righteous standing before God. It is likely that Lot’s uncle, Abraham, had passed this truth down to him” ( So he was only considered righteous because he had once believed in the coming Messiah, which contradicts numerous teachings regarding apostates who “turn from the faith” and are commonly thought to never have been converted in the first place. My point is that our culture seems to accept every despicable treatment of women justified by religion as long as we sugarcoat it.

But the absolute craziest thing I’ve heard lately came from a conversation I had with a local bible guru who hosts a Christian radio question and answer show in Denver, Colorado. This talk show host actually used the “protection” reasoning to justify polygamy as being superior to homosexual marriage. Now, I’m sure he would deny that he was justifying polygamy. However, he claims that there are times and cultural demands that present polygamy as the only viable option for women to live safely and be protected. He says, for example, in the bible, that God allowed polygamy for the protection of women. He states that sometimes, in a certain culture where men hold the power and status, and there are not enough men to go around, women would be on the street without polygamy. He says it isn’t God’s ideal plan, but God allows it because the culture requires a redefinition of marriage. Yet he denies that we can redefine marriage to include same sex marriage based on our changing culture. It also seems the double-standard never works in favor of women because when I asked him if the reverse would be true—if a culture dominated by women existed, wherein women held the power, the status, the jobs, and there were fewer men than women, if women should have more than one husband to protect the men, he declined to answer, and instead, changed the subject.

It is no revelation that sexism is rooted in traditional religions. However, it is the subtle acceptance of this legitimatized sexism among mainstream and nice people that makes it so insidious and pervasive. According to a study published by Psychology of Women Quarterly, the effects of what psychologists, Burn and Busso, call Benevolent Sexism, wherein women are complicit in their own oppression due to the religious and cultural reframing of said oppression, biblical literalism is at the root of this problem. Burn and Busso find that their studies “do suggest that religiosity is correlated with BS [Benevolent Sexism]. Thus, a consideration of the various forces that contribute to women’s lower power and status should include religion. Religion is frequently a central part of a culture and many religions communicate to their followers that men’s greater power and status relative to women is appropriate and acceptable. Although this perspective is presented ‘benevolently’ rather than ‘hostilely,’ the net effect is still to support gender inequality—especially because women as well as men tend to endorse it. Not only does BS justify traditional gender roles but it also pacifies women’s resistance to gender subordination by masking gender inequality with the cloak of chivalry (e.g., men need women and should protect and cherish them” (Glick & Fiske, 2001a, 2001b). “BS rooted in religion may be a significant obstacle to gender equality when it is rooted in literal scriptural interpretations and is essentially nonfalsifiable because there is no arguing with the word of God” (Burn, Busso, p.6). Burn and Busso quote Anwar’s 1999 study “Theological alternatives to religious fundamentalism” that states “common features of religious fundamentalism include a belief that society needs to be rescued from secularism, a commitment to the authority of the ancient scriptures, and the idealization of a past where gender spheres were separate and women were modest and subordinate” (Anwar, qtd in Burn and Busso, p. 1).

The churches I grew up in and have attended at various points throughout my life claim not to be fundamentalist, just bible-believing, but they would all fit the above criteria. I don’t deny that there are many factors involved in the lingering and acceptable sexism persistent in the American culture besides religious justification and the “dressing up” of gender stereotyping and behavior. However, I do believe that a culture that teaches women that it is God who demands a subordinate role, and that this role is righteous and good, will continue the “benevolent” oppression of women, and that this acceptable oppression will not confine itself to benevolent acts and innocuous sexist views of women, if there is such a thing. As our culture moves beyond stereotypical assignments of roles to various people groups, the advancement of women as equal human partners in the modern world requires an abandoning of this acceptance of literal interpretations of the bible and of the adherence to ancient biblical writings as divine law that should be imposed on a modern society. As long as religious leaders use the divinity of scripture as justification for the subordinate treatment of women, effectively blaming God for their prejudice, and as long as they condition and pressure women to accept this treatment as the will of God, gender inequality will continue to exist in our society.

If, indeed, there is a god, I am sure this god is very disturbed at the thought of men using an ancient book written by men as a justification to inflate themselves and to persecute half of creation in his . . . or her name. –Christina Knowles


Burn, Shawn Meghan, and Julia Busso. “AMBIVALENT SEXISM, SCRIPTURAL LITERALISM, AND RELIGIOSITY.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 29.4 (2005): 412-18. Digital Commons @ CAL POLY. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. <;. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. <;.

“Nones on the Rise.” Pew Research Center. 9 Oct. 2012. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. <;.

“I Timothy 2:11-15.” New King James Version. Web. 6 Mar. 2015.

“UN Women Ads Show Sexism behind Google Searches.” Photo. 20 Oct. 2013. Web. 7 Mar. 2015.

“Reversal” by Christina Knowles

Snagged from Pinterest
Snagged from Pinterest



Gazing thickly through the mist

Vagaries fade into the impassable

Tracing ambiguous signs, I persist

In foolishly pursuing the intangible


Finally awake, I see the irrational—

The loss of something that doesn’t exist

Arming myself, I’m intractable

I ready myself to resist


Oddly, I mourn the infallible

A loving mirage is dismissed

Reality is not compatible

With the spikes in your wrist


Light exposes the actual

Meaning of which it consists

Accepting that which is substantial

Disillusioned, I desist


Following the path of the rational

Another paradigm shift

Reversal, a practical

Undertaking adrift


Hanging on to the palpable

The evidence I enlist

Stoically casual

I betray this fantasy with a kiss—Christina Knowles (2014)

“Flood” by Christina Knowles

Snagged from
Snagged from

Always raining, never stopping

Oh, so draining, constant sopping

Flooding, scrubbing

Scouring the stains

Pouring Your rains

Drowning, drenching

Set me free; I’ll never be

Pristine clean

But saturated, sodden

Sinking in your sea

The flood unending

I go on offending

You remain unbending

Floundering, doubting

You allowing

This, my flood

Staggering through the mud

Let me go

To reap what I sow—Christina Knowles (2014)

“Lay Down My Arms” by Christina Knowles

Snagged from chriskgleasonblogspot
Snagged from chriskgleasonblogspot

Should I lay down my arms and surrender?

Should I fall at Your feet and be still?

Can I be overwhelmed by Your splendor

And bent to Your heavenly will?

I’m a wave tossed in an ocean of doubt

Tormented and torn, I resist and defy

Acknowledge the truth I can’t do without

Or harden my heart, Your goodness deny?

Do I deny You with my lips

When my heart may believe

Betray You with a kiss

And refuse to receive?

If I should lay down my arms and surrender,

Fall at Your feet and be still,

Can I be overwhelmed by Your splendor

And bent to Your heavenly will?

And when You, I inevitably betray

Cursing, crucifying with my pride

Will You close your ears, or hear me pray?

Will You call my name, arms open wide?

Will Your patience last till the end of my days

Though I turn my back, continually ignore

Your mercy, Your grace, the question You raise

Your sacrifice, Your death, my sin that You bore?

Should I lay down my arms and surrender?

Should I fall at Your feet and be still?

Can I be overwhelmed by Your splendor

And bent to Your heavenly will? –Christina Knowles (2014)

Waiting for the Light by Christina Knowles

I’m still on my villanelle obsession. Here’s the third one this week:

Snagged from 1CarGames
Snagged from 1CarGames

“Waiting for the Light”

They say weeping is only for the night

But joy comes in the morning

We’re still waiting for the light

History is hope’s blight

Recorded as a warning

Yet weeping is only for the night

Wiping out evil, He will smite

Rid the world of its scorning

But we’re still waiting for the light

Will we be next on this holy height,

Self-righteousness adorning?

Will our weeping be only for the night?

As dark clouds swarm and reunite

We brace against His storming

Pointlessly waiting for the light

With words we find so trite

But will never end our mourning,

Yet weeping is only for the night

So we go on waiting for the light—Christina Knowles

Questions by Christina Knowles

imageThe soul clings to its impressions
A deeper seed it plants
There are no answers to my questions

Searching for release of its expressions
In adoration the soul will dance
As it clings to its impressions

Powerless and prone to take suggestions
Promised such beauty, it’s entranced
Yet, there are no answers to my questions

Lost in amazement, the processions
Gather at the feet of Romance
The soul clings to its impressions

Diminishing material possessions
Quenching spring, the soul’s desire it grants
Still, there are no answers to my questions

No remedy for our transgressions
No vague emptiness it supplants,
But the soul clings to its impressions,
And there are no answers to my questions.–Christina Knowles

My Crazy 2013 Year-in-Review by Christina Knowles

What a ride 2013 was! I’ve been agonizing over writing this blog for over a week, but it just seemed an overwhelming task to sum up such a year.

Personally, 2013 was a year marked by intense spiritual conflict, feeling like I didn’t belong in the Christian community, and I didn’t understand other Christians.  I judged God on the actions of His followers.  I questioned the goodness and even the reality of God. I lost my faith and temporarily declared myself an atheist.

2013 was a year that the love and acceptance of my husband was tested. Through all my internal conflict, we had none. He loved and accepted me unconditionally despite his confusion, strengthening and deepening our love and commitment to each other.

It was a year of studying and reading, rediscovering my love and respect for philosophy.

It was the year when I lost my father. He was an amazing father who loved his family unconditionally, always made us laugh, and taught me to accept people and to forgive easily. He was slow to anger and gentle.

It was the year I learned that I really did believe in God and love Him, and that no matter how believers act, He never changes and never stops being good or loving.

It was the year I learned that all Christians are different and face this life with their own prejudices and issues, and that some Christians did accept me, even though I’m not typical.

2013 was also the year I determined that I would publish my novel. Several months were taken up with the toil and pressure of formatting and editing it for publication. Then I faced the horrific task of marketing it and myself, with which I am utterly uncomfortable. Every time I post a link to my book, I feel like I am either begging for alms or bragging of my accomplishment. Unfortunately, I understand that the only way to realize my dream of someday writing as a profession is to do this.  However, it did lead me to create this blog, which has become a true joy to me in itself.  Disturbing the Universe has quickly emerged as a place for me to let loose the pressure of my thoughts in the best way I know how, the written word, and it has abandoned all pretense of existing as a page to promote my novel.

This year also brought the terrifying news that my unborn grandson had Spina Bifida. But with that, it also brought into the forefront, the unrelenting love and faith of my daughter-in-law and son.  And when my grandson was born almost 3 months too soon, it brought the indescribable thankfulness of his healthy birth.  Seeing the miracle of his tiny life and his ferocious determination to live and recover brought about an epiphany in me, the realization that even though I had given my heart back to God, I had held back some of it to protect myself from pain.  I continue to realize a new area each day that needs to awaken to become the person who God wants me to be.  As 2014 begins, I see this process continuing, and I can’t wait to see my 2014 year-in-review.–Christina Knowles

Being Thankful Is Pure Joy by Christina Knowles

This year, as well as last, I participated in the 30 Days of Thankfulness Challenge on Facebook.  This is where each day of November you post what you are thankful for. I did it last year and really enjoyed it, but this year I really took the time to think about what I felt particularly thankful for each day. I learned a lot by being grateful every day. I learned that when I am thankful and take the time to really sit in that feeling, I am so much more content. I think it made me happier and those around me as well. I wish this challenge wasn’t just a once-a-year thing. I plan on doing this at least once a week on my own just so I don’t slide back into self-pity and discontentment. Here’s what I was thankful for this month:

Day 1: I am thankful for Randy Knowles. I love you, Randy. You are the music of my life and my soul mate. 4842_1117002859404_765152_n

Day 2: I am thankful for my mom. I love her sooo much it hurts. See my blog: “How Could Someone Like Me Come from Someone Like Her?” I needed a whole blog for this one.


Day 3: I am thankful for my beautiful daughter, Valerie, and the relationship we have. I could not be more proud of her. I love her more than words can express. I would gladly give my life for her. I ache for her when I don’t see her for a while, and I cry myself to sleep when we fight. I am beyond thankful that she is my daughter.


Day 4: Today I am thankful for Lee Fullbright’s friendship and encouragement. She is an award-winning author of a fabulous book called, The Angry Woman Suite. I read it in my book club, loved it, and reviewed it on Goodreads. She liked my review and contacted me personally. She started following my reviews because she found them “insightful.” After emailing back and forth several times, I got up the nerve to tell her I was planning on publishing The Ezekiel Project. I asked if she would read it and give me an unbiased review. She loved it! Since then she has given me so much advice, given me reviews, answered my questions, and has offered to help me promote my book. She even gave me a quote to use for the back cover. I feel like I have gotten to know her over the course of these online conversations. She is a generous, kind, and beautiful person. I feel so lucky to have met her.

Day 5: Today I am thankful for cold evenings in front of warm fires with my husband and my dog. I am thankful for fall and winter–the cuddling under blankets, snow days, sipping hot chocolate and watching old movies, sweaters and boots, frost covered windows, electric blankets, fuzzy slippers, Thanksgiving with family, Christmas and all that entails–love, hope, peace on earth, family, sappy Lifetime Christmas movies, Richard Paul Evans’ Christmas books, Christmas shopping, baking Christmas cookies with Valerie, decorating, tromping through little shops in Old Colorado City, candlelight church services, Christmas dinner at my sister’s, and seeing our kids and grandson.

Day 6: Today I am thankful for my eclectic group of friends. I appreciate them for all their differences and for what we have in common. I can share everything going on in my life, and I know I’ll get honesty, sympathy, and even a kick in the butt if I need it. Most of all they accept me no matter what, and I can count on them if I need them. We also have crazy good times together.

Day 7: Today I have a splitting headache and have had a terrible day with student behavior, so I am thankful for Excedrin . . .and daisies, just because I like daisies.

Day 8: Today I am thankful for my science fiction class. I love, love, love those kids. Fourth period is the highlight of my day. I look forward to our amazing discussions of social and political topics. We talk about everything imaginable in there, and they are all respectful and open-minded with each other. They treat me like a queen, they all rush in excited to learn, they pay rapt attention, they share all kinds of interesting things with me, I learn from them every day, they say the nicest things to me, and today they even gave me a round of applause when I gave them a speech about education being so important.

Day 9: Today I am thankful for Christmas music. I’ve been listening to it even though it’s a long way from Christmas because Christmas music always makes me nostalgic, and I like that feeling.

Day 10: I am thankful for my sister and brothers and all my extended family. I feel truly blessed that I have good, loving, compassionate people in my family. I am close to my sister. We are always there for each other, we hang out, and we talk about all kinds of things even though we are completely different from each other. I have always been close to my brothers too even though they are more than ten years older than me. They’ve always been the proud and protective type. Unlike some families, my siblings were always nice to me and never picked on me. I love my sisters-in-law just like they were my blood siblings as well. I have tons of nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and grand-nephews as well. They are all wonderful. In my family, I always feel loved.

Day 11: Today I am thankful for veterans. I’m not a super pro-military girl, but I am not naive. I know we need a standing army to protect ourselves, freedom, and the oppressed and helpless who cannot protect themselves. I appreciate the fact that soldiers are willing to do this and to put their lives on the line for our country and the people in it. I also realize that soldiers don’t choose the wars we fight, but do their duty.

Day 12: Today I am thankful for people who speak the truth and aren’t afraid of being blunt. Sometimes it’s a kindness.

Day 13: Today I am thankful for my home. My home is my sanctuary. It’s where I can’t wait to get back to whenever I leave. It’s where I cuddle up with my husband and dog after a day out in the cold, harsh world, and I’m completely loved and accepted. It’s where kindness, peace, and love are the rule, not the exception. I’d rather be at home than anywhere else.

Day 14: I just got back from my book club, so right now I am very thankful for books. Reading is my favorite past-time, and I love reading almost any genre. Many people read for entertainment, and although I find it entertaining, I read to learn. Reading teaches me about other people and about myself. Reading allows me to live endless lives and experience things I would never be able to in real life. It also makes me think about things in new ways, examining things with a different perspective. Books make me smarter. Smarter is good.

Day 15: I am thankful for my son Daniel. He is a sweet, compassionate, generous, and loving man. He is a good husband and father. I am so proud of him.


Day 16: There’s a lot to be thankful for today. Obviously today I am thankful that my grandson Levi was successfully delivered and was able to breathe and even cry yesterday afternoon. He is so precious, beautiful, and amazing. I am thankful for modern medical advances. I am thankful for waking up to life again, knowing it’s okay to hope and feel and love even if I can be hurt because sometimes things work out, and these joys keeps us from being destroyed by the things that don’t.

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Day 17: Today I am thankful I have a job where I get to talk about what I love–reading and writing! I am also thankful that I get 14 weeks a year off, plus snow days! I am thankful that I get to work with teenagers. I love my students.

Day 18: Today I am thankful for all the selfless, loyal, and loving dogs I have had the pleasure of loving in my life, and who loved me unconditionally. I don’t think I can live without a dog in my life. When one passes on, I feel a hole inside that can be filled by nothing else. I am so thankful for Inky, my first dog, who taught me unconditional love and true loyalty, and also was the subject of my first fiction writing! I will always love you, Inky. Clancy, I loved you too even though you weren’t in my life very long. You made me feel special because you would only listen to me. My beloved Mulder dog, I still grieve over losing you, my friend and constant companion for 13 years. You were with me in good times and bad, and all you cared about was being with me. And now my sweet baby, Chacho. He’s more precious to me every day. I love you, Chacho. You are the most unique dog I’ve had, you moody little person dog.

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Day 19: It may sound petty after my earlier choices for being thankful, but today I am thankful for technology. Medical technology which enabled doctors to operate on my grandson while he was still in the womb, technology that saves lives every day. But I am also thankful for the internet and the devices that seem, on one hand, to dehumanize us; however, they provide us with so many previously unrealized opportunities. Because of the internet, we can expose so many things to the public that we have a right to know, we can have even more of an impact with our freedom of speech, and it is much more difficult to hide things from the American people or any people. We can keep in touch with those we would normally never have a chance to speak to, and as a writer, I have a platform with which I may share ideas through blogging, publishing poetry, stories, novels, or even status updates on Facebook. We also have a world’s worth of information at our fingertips. It might sound odd coming from a product of the 60s, but I love technology.

Day 20: I am thankful for the earth. What an amazingly beautiful place to live. I love the changing seasons, especially when the snow starts to fly. I love the mountains, forests, oceans, and jungles. Trees, grass, flowers, butterflies, stones, and even dirt are all beautiful and nature grounds us, balances us, and brings serenity and life.

Day 21: Today I am thankful for art. Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Modern Abstract, and Surrealism are my favorites, but I love it all. I love oils, acrylic, pencil, pastel, charcoal, watercolor, and collage. I love sculpture and pottery. Architecture styles such as Byzantine, Gothic, Tudor, Roman, and Tuscan are fabulous as well. I love everything artistic, including crafty art such as scrapbooking, candle-making, etc. I am thankful for the creative impulse in humanity.

Day 22: Today I am thankful for delayed starts and snow days. They are like waking up and finding out it is Christmas when you didn’t even know it was coming.

Day 23: I am thankful for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the revolutionaries who fought for it. Without it, I’d probably be in jail right now. I tend to speak my mind, so I’m thankful for freedom of speech in particular.

Day 24: Today I am thankful for the holiday season. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ve always loved the Christmas season because I love the feeling that overcomes most people this time of year, peace on earth, good will toward men. That’s why cheesy Hallmark and Lifetime movies play non-stop at my house from now until December 31st. I love how normally indifferent people seem to care about their fellow “travelers to the grave,” as Dickens put it. I love being thankful for all the wonderful people in my life and the things I enjoy. I love that people wake up and want to help others. I wish this concern would last all year. I know it does for some, but it doesn’t pervade the masses like it does this time of year. I intend to celebrate every minute of the Christmas season this year.

Day 25: Today I am thankful for second chances. I am a big fan of them. People always say, “Everyone deserves a second chance.” That may be generally true, but not in every case. We may need one, but do we really deserve one? Sometimes it takes many chances for a person to get it right. I’ve needed a few in my life.

Day 26: Today I am thankful for life and health. Humans are both astoundingly resilient and terribly fragile at the same time. One sudden accident or a burst blood vessel and we could be gone, just like that. But we can also withstand devastating conditions and completely recover. The fragility of life makes us appreciate each day more and live more fully. The complexity and healing abilities of the body are mind-boggling. We are truly amazing creatures.

Day 27: Today I am thankful for my grandchildren. They are sweet and beautiful, and I love them so much. I wish I was retired, so I could knit them sweaters and make cookies for them and just see them more often.

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Day 28: Today I am thankful for everything, really everything.

Day 29: Today I am thankful that I live in Colorado. Colorado is a wonderful place to be. I love the weather, the mountains, the forests, and the waterfalls. I love deep snows without the bitter cold. I love that it doesn’t get too hot in the summer. I especially love Christmas in Colorado.

Day 30: I am thankful for thankfulness. Being grateful has taught me how I should live and what my focus should be. This has been the best month I can remember in so long, so today I am just thankful for being thankful.

Review: Lost December by Richard Paul Evans


At first I thought this book would be another story like A Winter Dream by the same author (a re-telling of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors) but based on The Prodigal Son instead; however, this prodigal son tale was pretty original for a re-telling. I thoroughly enjoyed it and actually had sympathy for Luke, the son who left home, squandered a million dollar trust fund, and ended up homeless on the streets. Luke didn’t actually spend all the money himself, which helped in the sympathy department; he trusted the wrong people who took advantage of him. Nevertheless, Evans does an excellent job of showing how gradually one’s values and priorities, and even personality can change in the right (or wrong) environment.

This feel-good “riches to rags” story operates well on another level as well. Not only does it remind us to remember what is really important in our lives and that the source of true happiness is not found in material possessions and in short-lived experiences, but it shows how impossible it is to break out of the cycle of poverty and homelessness without help, while still emphasizing the value of hard work and determination. Maybe a little too much on the side of ambition.

Evans builds up Luke’s father to angelic heights as a decent, caring, and ethical corporate executive, which I guess is understandable since he would be “God” allegorically speaking since the father in the original represents God. Kind of an allegory within an allegory in this case. Evans seems to idealize the honest businessman, but at the same time, he acknowledges the all-too-familiar greedy and immoral tycoon. Of course, Luke realizes the value of an honest day’s work and sacrifice, but once on the street, he isn’t given a chance until a charitable do-gooder gives him a hand up. Evans does a great job of showing the reader the hopelessness of the plight of many.

You probably know the story of The Prodigal Son, so it won’t be a spoiler to let you know that Luke finds his way home into the forgiving and open arms of his father. It’s not as corny as it sounds. This book was a wonderful holiday read without being too preachy or saccharin. It thoroughly delivered on Christmas spirit. 4 out 5 stars.

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