Do you have a FACE?

When it’s 2 AM and your brain is shot because you were up to 4 AM last night transferring files onto your new laptop, and you’re still busy doing it tonight and you’re sooooo done…

You get weird thoughts.

There was a line in a George MacDonald book I was reading called “The Fisherman’s Lady” that is sitting deep inside of me and making me think.
In it, the character of the blind bagpiper is this really quirky old man. He’s been blind his whole life. He adores his family but hates his enemies. He’s a stubborn, stubborn, passionate man with a few obvious strengths and a few glaring faults. Someone with the last name of Campbell killed his great grandmother, dooming that generation of his family members to a hard life. Even though that doesn’t affect his own personal life, he’s sworn to DESPISE anyone from the Campbell family – going so far as to wish them dead. Like it runs deep.

At one point, someone tries to challenge him biblically on his hatred and lack of forgiveness – this didn’t even happen in his generation! The guy is a really decent grandfather, good citizen, and Christian man, yet he can’t forgive this enemy of his ancestor. It’s like he needs something to passionately hate. His pride is a scourge on his heart.

Her words just don’t get through to him, and she finally approaches his grandson, the main character, Malcolm.
Malcolm has a thought that keeps sitting in my brain.

Okay, look at this picture of these babies. Just look at each one’s FACE. See the vulnerable, adorable HUMANITY in that face.

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Well, everyone started out a baby just like that. And everyone has a FACE. A face with humanity all over it.

Malcolm points this out and tells the woman,

“When I was a young laddie at the school, I once heard that a certain boy was mocking my grandfather. When I heard that I thought I could have just cut the heart out of him and sunk my teeth right into it. But when I finally found him and got a grip of him, and the rascal turned up a frightened dog-face to me, I just couldn’t drive my clenched fist into it. Mem, a face is an awful thing! There’s something looking out from inside that just prevents you from doing what you might otherwise like to it. But my grandfather’s never seen a face in his life.”

I wonder if that’s why people can be so vicious on FACEbook – because there really isn’t a FACE to be seen anywhere in the conversation. If that’s why the real wicked lurking in people’s hearts actually come out online. We don’t really see the eyes – the window to the soul – of the people we’re talking to before we cut their hearts out and sink our teeth into them.

And then there’s Charlottesville.

Seriously, I don’t even use the word “race.” There isn’t such a thing. There are different levels of melanin in the skin, and, to be honest, melanin doesn’t interest me a hoot. I don’t give a rat’s behind about melanin. Now we all have a FACE. And the face is always, always beautiful. The face says we are all human beings. ❤

Some people who have eyes that work are actually blind. Look into the FACE. And see people God created and loves. That’s all that matters to me!

Forgive, love, give, serve, and be the FACE of Christ to others!

 

Top Posts of 2016!

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It’s time for the list of the top 10 posts of the year!

This was a slower year for me, mostly due to pregnancy and all that comes with that, so I only wrote almost half of the amount of posts of the previous year.  In 2015, I wrote 93, and this year I wrote an exact even 50.  BUT, even with half the posts, I actually, just barely, got more views and visitors this year than last year, meaning that my posts are bringing in more readers than ever!  Hooray for that!

This year, I had 11,687 visitors to my blog with 16,043 views and ended the year with 118 blog followers.  *cheer*  (To follow this blog, click FOLLOW on the right hand side of this page) 

Without further ado, what were the most popular posts of this year?  Well, not all of them were even actually published on this blog this year – some have remained super popular from previous years, and have lived on with lives of their own all over the Internet.

Sitting at #1, by far, with no competition, and with around 35 hits A DAY is:

Anime Characters by Myers-Briggs Type (with 7,164 individual views this year!!)mami_tomoe_render_by_moeblueberry1771-d5evnl7

This post is also #1 on any Google search for “anime characters by Myers-Briggs type and continually brings in guests to my blog.  Kind of exciting, even if it is very niche.  So if you like anime AND personality typing, this is the post for you.  Identified by name, show title, and picture, I have anime characters from various shows in neat little groups according to their types.  🙂

 

The Day I Met Job (with 996 individual views)PCOS Challenge Infographic

This makes me so happy that it’s #2.  This is the deeply personal testimony of what God did in my heart and life last year after suffering with secondary infertility.  It is also about my best friend and her daughter, an appreciation of my mother-in-law, a nod to a fellow author, and mostly a testimony about a hero of the faith I met last year.  Please read the article.  I hope my vulnerability and sharing of God’s greatness touches your heart!

 

An Open Letter to My Pregnant Sister (with 460 views)beautiful-wedding-tiara

Still going strong.  This is a writeup I did for baby showers that I first composed for my sister 2 1/2 years ago, and have tweaked a few times since to share with other expectant moms.  There must be a need for this, as people continually search for this online and find my site.  🙂

 

Tied with “My Pregnant Sister” is: Setting up the Romance Ship (with 460 views)austenland-holding_13254521245

How fun that my breakdown of the smart secret to writing a winning romance story did so well!  I thought this one was a bit obvious until I read (and watched) many people miss this key point to setting up their relationship story. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I threw my own theory out there, and it did very well!

 

Should Married Women Vote Against Their Spouse? (with 349 views)your_vote_counts

This one was a hot button when I first posted it a few years ago, and it continues to be something people search for and find through my blog. Read at your own risk…  🙂

 

Could You Love This Genderless Person? (with 287 views)5

Maybe it was just a catchy title, but this was a very niche article about genderbender dramas that I posted. A “genderbender” is when a guy dresses up and pretends to be a girl, or vice versa, and the opposite sex falls for them.  I explore this trope and why it means so much to women, and maybe what’s spiritually at the heart of this “forbidden romance” story.

 

In Memory of Victoria Mercy Conte (with 262 views)conte-052

A year and a half after the sudden and tragic passing of my husband’s baby sister, this post, written by *him* not me, still makes the top 10 on my list.  Please read my husband’s beautiful, tear-jerker tribute to a lovely life that sits very dear to our hearts.

 

NAME THE BABY! (with 221 views)namebabygirl02

I’m legitimately shocked that this made the top 10!  Last year I teamed up with lovely author Melanie D. Snitker to do a giveaway and promote each other’s books.  Readers named the baby that her main couple was pregnant with, and we got some great responses.  I need to do more on this blog with fellow authors next year!  In the meantime, check out Melanie’s very successful books on Amazon.

 

Asian TV for the American Newbie Viewer (with 188 views)patemainverted_dvd-f

This is a fun list that I kept on my sidebar.  Always hearing me talk about anime and kdramas but have no idea what’s safe or good to watch or where to start?  Not sure you’d even like Asian TV?  I put together a “starter” list of Asian TV for people who don’t like Asian TV, so to speak.  These are storylines and shows that I think any American could love without feeling too “eastern” in the storytelling style.  Give any of these shows a chance, and let me know if they did not disappoint!

 

And last but not least: Sarcastically Realistic Movie Descriptions – Name That Movie!2a3

This one also surprises me that it made the list.  This was a funny little game I posted on my blog a while ago, and it’s done well recently.  Someone must have reposted them.  If you’re looking for a comedic way to describe popular movies, as a game for a party you’re hosting, this might be the post for you.

 

So which blog post of mine was YOUR favorite this year?  Leave a comment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections on the Election – by the Home School Legal Defense Association

Everythinmike-farrisg that I could say about the current election is said even better by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)’s chairman, Mike Farris. Excellent recap of our concerns, needs, prayers, and even hopeful relief in Donald Trump’s election.  I urge you to read it carefully.

 

So what does this mean for issues of concern to homeschooling families and related communities?

1. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and related treaties most likely will not see the light of day.
The person leading the State Department’s transition team is Steven Groves, a long-term ally from the Heritage Foundation. Steve and I were the only two witnesses allowed to testify against the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

This is a strong signal that the State Department will move in a good direction on protecting American sovereignty.

2. We will need to exercise special diligence on judicial appointments.
Historically, Republican appointments for federal judges are good in many sectors of constitutional law. However, GOP-appointed justices have been very unreliable on issues of parental rights and religious freedom.

HSLDA will join with other religious freedom–oriented groups to ensure that these issues are given appropriate consideration in the process of vetting federal judges.

3. We cannot just assume that all will be well on education issues.
Donald Trump has no experience or track record with education policy. There is some very early talk about an effort to actually close the United States Department of Education. That would be a wonderful miracle.

It is fair to expect Trump’s team to take away any federal program that will promote the Common Core. This does not mean that states will automatically stop this program. But the federal financial incentives to do so should be halted.

We can and must insist that the prohibitions on any federal role in homeschooling (which we first won in 1994) will be extended and hopefully put into permanent law.

4. Religious freedom will still be an extremely important issue and cause for concern.
While we can expect the administrative branches of the federal government to be far less of a threat itself to religious freedom, the federal courts are not so easily changed in the short run.

However, many of the threats to religious liberty are at the state level. State agencies are the ones that have prosecuted Christian pharmacists who refuse to sell abortion-causing drugs. The Supreme Court (led by GOP-appointed justices) eviscerated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and limited the ability of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to protect citizens against state agencies which invade our free exercise rights.

There is not a lot that the Trump administration can do to fix these state-based problems originally caused by the U.S. Supreme Court. Appointing good justices is a start, but that is a long-term issue that will require a real change on the Court.

Religious freedom fights will continue to escalate and we cannot relax thinking all is well on this front.

5. The right to life may see some important gains.
It is very possible that Planned Parenthood will no longer receive federal funding. That will be a really big deal, if it comes to pass.

We certainly should see the federal government step back from its role as a worldwide promoter of abortion rights.

6. Mike Pence may become the most influential Vice President in American history.
While Donald Trump clearly understood the hearts of the American public in remarkable ways, his lack of political experience will require him to lean on others for knowledge and wisdom. There is no finer man I have ever worked with in politics than Mike Pence. He is a strong evangelical Christian and an unfailing friend to homeschooling families.

I am committed to praying every single day for Mike Pence, that he will be relied upon in significant ways not only for policy but for wisdom and an example of character.

7. Trump and the GOP majority in Congress have a real chance to deliver.
If the Trump administration becomes known for verbal outbursts and vendettas, the GOP will suffer long-term damage. Worse yet, because of the strong evangelical Christian support for Trump, this community will suffer lasting political consequences through association with a leader for whom character does not matter.

However, if Trump turns a page in his life and becomes the man that many good and godly people hoped he would become, then we have the far better story that people can change and that character still does matter.

But as important as the character issues are, the plain fact is that Trump and the GOP must deliver meaningful change that results in less federal government, less debt, less intrusion into our lives, and greater protections for the freedoms actually listed in the Constitution. The alienation coming from the long-term failure of the GOP to deliver any meaningful reform is at the heart of the reason the electorate rejected every experienced politician, first in the GOP presidential primaries and then on November 8.

In short, if Donald Trump exhibits consistent character and together with the GOP leadership in Congress delivers meaningful change, then the future looks brighter than it has in a long time. But, in the meantime, citizens must be vigilant at all times because the allure of Washington, D.C., can entice the best and the brightest.

8. We need to pray for our president.
Donald Trump will be sworn in as President on January 20. If we are Americans, he will be our president, just as Obama was our president. Our duty to pray for our president is unconditional and does not depend on whether we voted for them or not.

I am praying that Donald Trump will become the man that many believed him to be and that he would come to know Christ in a mature way. (I don’t know his soul, but we can always pray that someone would grow in Christ.)

In conclusion
Pray for our leaders. Hope for the best. Watch and be ready to fight at a moment’s notice.

 

Everything You Didn’t Know About BlondeRJ

I was tagged by Bethany A. Jennings to participate in a Meet the Blogger post.  Thank you!  I’m going to tag Heather Fitzgerald, Mirtika Schultz, and Rachelle Dawson.

Info

Name: RJ

Age: 28

Gender: Female.

 

Favorites:

Food: Bacon, Velveeta cheese, pecan pie, chocolate pecan pie, and macaroni and cheese

Drink: Mountain Dew and chai tea

Book: SO MANY

Ella Enchanted, The Giver (and The Giver trilogy by Lois Lowry), and Coraline as well as Austen, most Dickens, Thr3e (by Ted Dekker), A Gown of Spanish Lace (by Janette Oke), Rebecca (by Daphne Du Maurier), and Anna to the Infinite Power (an arcane little gem by Mildred Ames. I had to buy a library copy because it’s out of print. But, just today, I discovered it was made into what is probably a campy 80s movie! Haha!). Pollyanna Grows Up is also a favorite (this sequel is WAY better than the original Pollyanna), I loved The Host actually (by Stephenie Meyer – *choke* Did I just admit that? Hated Twilight), and Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien, To Kill a Mockingbird!

Song: When Love Takes Over by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland, Wherever You Are by Laava, Only Hope by Mandy Moore, and the soundtracks from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Chicken Run, and the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice

Movie: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (the 1947 version with Danny Kaye.  I refuse to see the new one!), Chicken Run, and maybe Rebecca

Band: Coldplay

Solo Artist: Enya

Place: Wherever my people are  ❤
Although, I really loved Catalina Island, California

Subject: Reading, Writing, Grammar, Spelling, and Worldview

Sport: Ice skating

Male actor: Kim Bum

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Female actor: Shirley Temple

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Life:

Schooling: I was homeschooled all the way up.  I took a few college classes to help me pursue writing, publication, and teaching piano and voice.

Best friends:

My husband, of course, and my parents and siblings.  But then, also Tiffany J., Sarah W. and Bethany Jennings.

Political ideology: Very conservative

Religion: To have none, but, instead, have a relationship with God who controls and created the universe, and who sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins and rise again.  Through His grace, solely, I am born again as a child of His, and seek to obey Him out of my deep love, gratitude, and respect for Him, and to cultivate a relationship with Him.

Tattoos: None.

Piercings: I finally got my ears pierced at the old age of 19.  😛

Languages: English, Spanish, Biblical Greek, Japanese, Korean, and the bare snatches of French, Ukrainian, Russian, and Indonesian.  I adore languages.

Reason behind your blog’s name:  I am The Blonde, according to my husband, who is obsessed with my hair.  And I go by RJ, my initials.  🙂

Why you blog: To share fresh, new, and maybe even controversial thought with my friends and hopefully the world, to promote the novels I write, and to give background to the critic who reviews books for parents: http://rjconte.com/books/

Leave me a comment!  Tell me if I missed anything you would like to ask – and answer these questions yourself!

 

Should Married Women Vote Against Their Spouse?

Blogger’s Note: After this post went viral all over the Internet, due to the emotional responses I received, I thought it important to change my “hook” title to say what I really mean.  Also, this is not a sin issue in Scripture, just an opinion from a Christian woman who wants to apply all of Scripture to all of her daily life.  This is just food for thought, but is ultimately up to you and your spouse to decide.  There is no judgment cast on those who don’t agree with me.  Thanks for reading!

From a Christian perspective, in a perfect, biblical society, I think married women should not have needed the right to vote. 

I first heard that statement expressed by people close to me and I was aghast, sputtering.  This marked a huge victory in our history!  Women are equal citizens of this countryyour_vote_counts!  We raise the next politicians!  We should have a say!

But these people went on to explain and they really convinced me.

Stick with me and make sure you read to the end.

This doesn’t apply to single adult women, as they have no head of their own home, and many are out in our workforces and living on their own. 

This thought is for married women.

God has placed women to be under their husbands.  He said, in the Garden of Eden, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”  Genesis 3:16

He also stated it clearly in the New Testament: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”  Ephesians 5:22

Submission only works because Christ also told men to love their wives and sacrifice for them, to treat them with respect like they would their own body.  So this is not a post to bash men, or to complain about their leadership, or to discuss men that are hard to submit to.  Simply put, it’s about what women’s role is according to the Bible.  And, like it or not, your husband is to be your leader and you are to submit to him.  God compares it to the church submitting to Christ!  That’s a lofty comparison!

Therefore, by giving married women the right to vote, I think that our country placed, in women’s hands, the right to go against their husbands in a very grand way.  By having an equal vote, they can oppose their husbands and technically nullify their vote.  A woman who votes against her husband’s vote, in my opinion, as I interpret Scripture, is out from under his authority.

If Christian women are not supposed to say to their husbands, “Forget you.  You picked this pastor and this church, but I disagree, so I’m going to a different church,”  (Now, feel free to appeal to him and pray hard if you feel like the church is a bad choice!) and if Christian women are not supposed to say, “I don’t like your rules in this house, so I’m giving the children opposing rules and you can just live with it,” then I don’t think it’s Biblical for them to be able to say, “I don’t trust you to elect the proper leaders for our country.  I’m supposed to be under you, and you’re under the government, but I don’t trust you to elect the right boss for yourself and our family.  I come out from under your leadership to nullify your vote by voting against you”?!  That seems like such a high insult to me, and makes your husband’s opinion and vote worthless.

Married ladies, since we DO have the right to vote and we need more Christians and conservatives voting, I suggest the Biblical way is to vote the same as your husband, or, if you disagree with him, refrain from voting.  But talk to your husband and see what he wants you to do.  Talk to your husband about voting and appeal to him if you feel like he’s wrong.  Ask him what he feels comfortable with.  Ask him if nullifying his vote by opposing his has hurt him as the leader of your home.  I think that we have been given extra power to vote and support our husband’s leadership for our family and influence on this country.  We can change the nation together with our combined votes.

What are your thoughts?  And have you discussed this topic with your husband to see how he feels and if he cares about how you vote?  Have you searched God’s Word and prayed about this topic?  And do you vote regularly with your spouse?  It’s an honor to have this privilege.  Let’s use it for God’s glory!