Wednesday, July 1, 2015

4 Reasons to Love America and IWSG

What is loyalty? Have you ever felt it?

I grew up in the public school system, and yes, they do indoctrinate kids to love this country. It wouldn't have mattered. We all adore an underdog story, right? And the founding of the United States of America is as big an underdog story as they come. It wasn't until college that I questioned my beliefs, as I truly delved into history and began to understand the differing perspectives of people as this great nation was founded. I came to one conclusion:

Conflicting views always exist. Within a population, you will never have 100% agreement with any given idea. 

It's with that in mind I can say, I do not agree with our current administration. It breaks my heart to see the debt they've locked around our necks and our children's, children's necks, or the way the Supreme Court has usurped their power to overrule to voice of the people. I have a hard time wanting my children to feel that blindly loyal to a country led by politicians who seem to care more about themselves or their agenda than the people they serve. 

Even so, I love my country. It stands as a beacon for courage, loyalty, sacrifice, and the power of true agency. I love even more the men and women who have laid down their lives or sacrificed their quality of life to protect our freedoms and home. While I despise ALL politicians everywhere, I too would lay down my life for that of a fellow American. I live in the greatest country on earth.

Happy Independence Day, America!

Along with the patriotic theme, I just want to say, 

Even if your efforts right now feel like you're dumping a teaspoon of sand onto the beach, effort over time can accomplish great things.

Keep going!

Join IWSG-ers HERE

Ready for the chance to win an awesome book?

Two weeks ago N.J. Tanger shared with us CHIMERA, along with several truths and lies. Those who guessed any lie correctly were entered into a random drawing for the chance to win either a print or eBook!  

The game: 

Nathan's Game:

1. I use my middle initial “M” to differentiate myself from the renowned chess champion I share a name with.
2. If I’d been born a girl, my name would have been Heidi Melissa. My mom penciled it on the back of my birth certificate. 20 years later, I married a woman named Heidi Melissa.
3. I’ve worked as a pizza delivery guy, an account executive for a major financial firm, an office furniture installer, and a vet’s assistant (though not all at the same time).

THE LIE: #1. (Bet you didn't see that one coming.)

Joshua's Game:

1. Stephen's Point, the home moon of our colony, was originally named as a joke, referring to Stephen's Point, Wisconsin.
2. Writing as a three-person team has ruined me; the process and results have been so positive, I can't ever imagine going back to writing solo.
3. Our writing team formed out of necessity: we were the sole survivors of a shipwreck on a small island outside of the Bermuda Triangle, inhabited by intelligent monkeys who demanded that we write sound, yet thrilling science fiction tales as payment for our per diem of bananas. Fortunately for us  the one thing we were able to successfully recover from the sunken vessel was a typewriter.

THE LIE: #3. (And if you got that wrong, you must live in an amazing place called IMAGINATION.)

Rachael's Game:

1. I recently discovered that there exists a job titled bibliotherapist, that allows you to assist others through a reading “prescription”: suggesting the reading of specific books as a cure for certain ailments exactly the way that a medical doctor would prescribe pills. If it needs to be said, it’s ailments of the spirit. Not cancer or heart disease. I’m romantic, not crazy. I think that someday, after I have gathered more knowledge of humankind, I will pursue this bibliotherapy as a later-life calling. It will simultaneously allow me to help others as well as share the wonder and truly therapeutic nature of books.
2. When no one is looking, I only read romance westerns with a supernatural twist. This has become immensely easier since the rise of the iPad. It’s very difficult for anyone to cast shade when they can’t see the cover of your reading material.
3. I have always dreamed of owning a pet squirrel. I know it’s immensely impractical. And that squirrels should be left alone to live out their wild lives in trees. But still.

THE LIE: #2. 

Way to guess everyone! And the winners are:


Congrats, people! 

And now for this week's game... 

Art therapy hasn’t done squat for Gabe Jones. A thousand sketches of his fiancée can’t bring his memory, or her, back to him. Nothing on Earth can. His past lies in another dimension, a world just out of sight.

Another student on campus, Lea Huckley, unknowingly shares Gabe’s obsession with the fourth dimension. The monsters from the other side attacked her parents and fled, getting her folks locked up in the loony bin. Proving this other world exists is the only way to free them. Lea and Gabe strike a deal to help each other, and together they manage to open a door to the world of Gabe’s true origin. She’d use him for proof—if she didn’t already care too much.

While Gabe tries to reconcile his feelings for Lea and his rediscovered memories of his fiancée, a much more sinister plot unravels. He uncovers his history just in time to become the unwilling lynchpin in a conspiracy to start a war. His memory holds the secret to the final riddle the would-be conqueror needs to get the upper hand. Gabe must protect the riddle at all costs, even if that means leaving Earth, and Lea, behind forever.

Get your copy HERE.

Ready to meet the author? 

Laura has an MA in Technical writing and is a Senior Editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian Fiction. Her debut novel, SCHISM, is a YA urban fantasy, and the sequel, UNITY, is due for release in the spring of 2016.

Her gamer husband and amazing daughter give support and inspiration every day. Their cats, Talyn and Moya, provide entertainment through living room battles and phantom-dust-mote hunting. Somehow, they all manage to survive living in Texas where it is hotter than any human being should have to endure. Check out her blog at

She absolutely love extra, extra, extra, extra sharp cheddar cheese and might be found munching on it while reading a good book.
Laura gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. Those who figure out the lie will go into my magic hat for the chance to win an eBook of SCHISM

You have until Tuesday, July 14 at 1 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answers on July 15.


1. Laura got lost on the side of a mountain in Japan during a monsoon at night and hitchhiked back to her hotel.
2. She's eaten live octopus where the tentacles were still moving and the little suckers really do stick inside your teeth.
3. As a waitress, Shaq sat at her table and asked her advice on which concert to take his girlfriend to (Rickey Martin or Enrique Iglesias).
So sleuths, which is the lie? Are you loyal to your country? What do you love about America? 


  1. who are these insecure writers?

  2. I really hope the second one is the lie.
    Our country has made some big mistakes but I'd still rather live here than anywhere else.

  3. No system of government is perfect. I'd rather live here in the US than anywhere else. Too bad our politicians don't concern themselves with doing what's best for the citizens rather than what's best to get re-elected.

  4. My cheese is brief but direct, today - Well said, Crystal. Well said.

  5. Well said - the government has it's problems, but every government does. (Unfortunately).

  6. Sad, but true! So important to teach our children true values and the love of God and country. Have a great holiday!!
    Lie #2

  7. Funny you posing this on July 1st which is Canada Day (our Independence Day). To each of our countries--Hip, hip, hooray! We live in a free country with first world problems.

    Anna from Elements of Writing

  8. Whether we agree or not with those elected to office, it's important to remember why we love our country. And great little reminder that we need to keep going, no matter how slow we are moving. Have a great holiday!

  9. Very nice post for the 4th! And I'm pretty much in agreement with you.

    Congrats to the winners.

  10. Wonderful Fourth of July post! I couldn't agree more with you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And I love the teaspoon of sand analogy. I feel like that a lot, but I know that every little teaspoon helps, so I keep going! :)

  11. Being loyal to the country is totally different from thinking well of politicians. How can we keep the ones running things from ruining the country? It's a conundrum. Happy 4th.
    Susan Says

  12. Great 4th post, and I totally agree! Every little bit does help, even a little teaspoon. And I'll take #1.

  13. I hope 2 is the lie lol and 3 would be AWESOME if it were true. I say one is the lie! I'm an independent so I have so many mixed feelings about our current admin lol the affordable housing act saved my family's home from foreclosure, so I can't complain too much but overall I'm not a fan! hope you're well and enjoying your newest bundle :) <3

  14. Being a woman, and a strong-willed one at that who is often externally expressive with wild hair colors... I think I'm pretty darn happy living in the US. I read about some of the middle eastern cultures, and I know that I wouldn't do well there.

  15. Great, concise advice! I think every government has its problems. I hate the new UK government, but I feel lucky to live here!

  16. I love my country too and I am happy with the change that happened last week. (That's all I'll say about that.) Our government (and all governments, really) will forever be flawed no matter what administration is in power. We may not like certain politicians or agree all the time with what the administration does, but that doesn't nor should it change the fact that we love our country and each other.

  17. I love my country too and I am happy with the change that happened last week. (That's all I'll say about that.) Our government (and all governments, really) will forever be flawed no matter what administration is in power. We may not like certain politicians or agree all the time with what the administration does, but that doesn't nor should it change the fact that we love our country and each other.

  18. I would hope #2 was a lie and that #3 was a truth.

    If I could change one thing in our great nation- I'd have term limits on Congress. I feel like "We the People" have become not so much a voice for the people, but career politicians focused primarily on the next election.

    And fresh blood would slow down corruption. I watch House of Cards- I know what's going on!

  19. I share your sentiments about my country, the government and politicians. I guess it's the same everywhere. The more knowledge, the more money, the more people to do the job brings on less reliable services, cut backs and inferior workmanship in all aspects of our lives... Corruptions at every levels, in banking, manufacturing of cars, food, pharmaceutical,and others to numerous to mention... high prices of basic foods and goods.etc,etc.,but I love my Canada. Happy Canada day, Happy Independence Day neighbour.


  20. There's nothing wrong with being loyal to your country - the place, the traditions, the people that make up a country - while still being strongly critical of the politicians leading it. Remember, 99% of politicians are only in it for themselves. In my mind, that's the biggest dilemma of big democracies. It takes deep pockets and ruthless determination to have any chance of getting elected, so the system is inherently stacked in favor of ruthless, ambitious, self-serving people. Go figure :)

    1. I so agree with this. Local government candidates seem to me like they can still have some heart and aren't tied to strict party lines. The higher up you get, the good guys and gals get eaten by the political machine.

  21. I don't know how I feel about patriotism. On one hand I've been to other countries and have loved it there. On the other hand, this is my home and I love it here, too.

    I'm going with #2 - I'm not sure I would eat a live anything, especially a tentacle, especially since I've eaten a tentacle.

  22. I love the USA too. I'm glad we are moving toward equality for people and for healthcare. Those are important to me along with my faith. I'm glad I can have my own beliefs and still be loyal to my country. I also am frustrated by the administration, and the one that brought us into debt. Overall, I wish politicians were not so greedy about their own ambitions--across every affiliation--and would work together. It makes me ill to see one party try to unravel the work of another like tantruming toddlers. We're the ones who suffer.

  23. Please tell me the truth isn't eating a live octopus. Yuck!

  24. Grain by grain the sand fills the bucket. Thanks for that advice. It is hard to be part of a greater community. Not all decisions make us happy. Still, America is based on freedom of expression and we have rights that many don't get to experience.
    Play off the Page

  25. I agree with what your thoughts about our country. I still love my country, but I haven't put much stock in politics for a long time. Love the sand idea. Sometimes it's hard when you're putting in a grain at a time to see progress. I vote for #1.

  26. I'll go with #1, but #2 sounds disgusting. Lol.

  27. I like the quote about the teaspoon of sand. It's very true.

  28. I'm Canadian, and even though it's Canada Day today (the equivalent of the fourth of July in the US) we don't get quite as fervent about it. We celebrate, but in a different, quieter way--I'm not sure why.

    When I really love my country the most is after I've been away for awhile. It always feels so good to come home!

  29. Going for #3, just for fun! I have eaten my share of octopus...just never alive :)

  30. Oh, what a fun post!!
    A great post. One line that really captured my attention: "While I despise ALL politicians everywhere, I too would lay down my life for that of a fellow American." Very well said.

  31. I wish more people would acknowledge that it's alright for people to have conflicting viewpoints. Have a happy 4th!

  32. Happy Independence Day to you, your family, and your readers! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on love of our country, etc. - I'm totally with you here. Thanks also for the info and intro to Laura. Wishing her all the best! :)

  33. I'm guessing #2 is the lie. I think they are wrapped so the suckers don't get caught going down the throat.

  34. I'm guessing #1 is the lie. Hope you have a very enjoyable 4th of July!

  35. Happy 4th to you and your family! And I too can't stand any politicians. It's sad that so many feel like that, it doesn't have to be that way.

  36. Adding a teaspoon of sand to a beach, yeah I feel a bit like that at the moment!

  37. Congrats to Susan, VR, and Nick! Yes, even though it feels tough, we should keep going and hope for the best. :)

  38. As my friend posted on FB, be still... prophesy is being fulfilled.

    I agree with you. I still love my country even though I'm saddened by recent events and the way the politicians are behaving.

    IWSG #123 until Alex culls the list again.

  39. Wonderful essay. It’s right to love and take pride in our country, but our loyalty should never be an allegiance to a politician, party, or administration. Our loyalties should lie with the ideals on which our nation was built.

    Yay! Excuse me while I do the winner happy dance (in private, of course). Thanks Crystal and N.J!

    VR Barkowski

  40. The lie is no.#1 - just a wild guess!
    Happy 4th of July to you and your loved ones.

  41. Personally, I never got into nationalism and loving one's country above all others. I'm more of a globalist, although I do have a tendency to cheer for the home team in global sports (World Cup, Olympics, etc.).

    Love the cover for Schism! I really wish #2 is the lie. People shouldn't eat live animals.

  42. Wow! It's a busy day for you today. I totally agree with your sentiments on our country. The Star Bangled Banner still makes me cry when I sing it, but I worry about our future.

    I also loved your IWSG comment about the sand. Someone once said that writing was like building a sand castle. The first draft is simply shoveling sand into a pile and each revision is the sculpting and shaping until you get something beautiful. I love that thought. Here's to each tablespoon of sand we collect!

  43. Thank you! So cool to have won a book here! I'd say it was through my superior skills of deductive reasoning, but it was because Joshua made it really EASY to pick the fib.

    This time, I think #1 is the lie. I HOPE she wasn't put tromping around at night during a monsoon, anyway.

    Of course I love our country, but the politicians are another matter altogether. It wasn't always this way, but now, big money has all the power, and it's about their need and wants more than it is about what's best for the country. Tell ya what, those guys (and gals) make it harder and harder to keep my rose-colored glasses in place.

  44. I'll guess the lie is #1. Have a great 4th.

  45. "I have a hard time wanting my children to feel that blindly loyal to a country led by politicians who seem to care more about themselves or their agenda than the people they serve." This is going to sound extremely cynical of me, but I feel this way about EVERY politician. To me, it's the definition of politics in the US these days. Republican, Democrat, it doesn't matter. There are a select number who are different, but they are too few and too far between. But I do agree that they aren't representative of our country, and that we can still love the US without loving them.

  46. Me too--what a world I'm leaving my children. How do they get out from under $18 Trillion in debt. I've got my eye on Greece...

  47. I'm so with you, Crystal. Why isn't the horrifying debt something we discuss on a daily basis? I'm scared about becoming Greece as well, economically. (Greek food is awesome!) I love America and dislike when some folks try to apologize for what a bad country we are.

  48. Having lived overseas for a part of my childhood and traveled a bit, I appreciate living in the US. The fact that we have the right to express our opinions without the fear of reprisal is awesome. I too am a product of the public schools and, believe me, growing up in MA, we were taught all about being upstarts and speaking truth to power.

  49. Piling sand up, watching some spill away, looking for some cement or superglue. :)

    God Bless America - praying it, singing it, and celebrating the 4th. (I can't believe I didn't post something to that affect today . . .)

  50. Great post! I will always be ambivalent when it comes to patriotism. Although America became independent, slavery still existed so not all people were free to rejoice in this victory. I do believe that there is something beautiful about the ideals of America (freedom, liberty, the pursuit of happiness) so I will celebrate but never forget the enduring struggle to uphold them.

  51. Wow - so two of those are true? Hmm, I'm going to guess monsoon for the lie.

    God bless America! I'm holding strong to the hope that our forefather's crafted a good enough model to withstand the unscrupulous idiots who too often find themselves in power.

  52. Happy 4th of July Crystal... I agree with you that there will never be 100% agreeance at least not here on Earth... we do have differing views which can be hard to deal with. I feel like this about our prime minister... and I also don't think much of politians.... Have a great weekend xox ♡

  53. Great post, Crystal! :) I share your perspective re. our administration.

    As for the Truth and Lie...I really hope it's number 2! I haven't eaten a live octopus before...and it just might stay off my bucket list. LOL

  54. I'm going with number 1 as the lie.

    I, too, love this country. We have some major problems, but the ideals are worth fighting for.

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. Sorry. I kinda messed up my comment. Let's try again...

    Despite our differences, we can all agree that our founding fathers and mothers made remarkable sacrifices for which we have reason to be ever-grateful for our many freedoms.

    Happy Independence weekend, Crystal.

  57. Ah, yes. e pluribus unum. Out of many, one. Taking a melting pot and making all of them happy? Impossible. But that's what our founding fathers were setting out to do with their grand experiment.

    And, as my mom once said, "All politicians are crooked. You just have to figure out which ones are crooked in your favor."


    It's abominable how horribly they behave and corrupt they are. But sadly there never seems to be an plausible alternative.

  59. America's far from perfect, but I believe it was founded on the best intentions. Even after this much time, we still have a long way to go to reach those intentions, but I've seen some amazing strides in my lifetime, and I hope we'll continue in that direction.

    ...but yes, there are times when politics makes me want to win the lottery so I can go buy an island somewhere and never deal with government again. >_<

  60. I agree with everything you said, and I love that one of the founding concepts of this country of ours is the fact that you can express outrage at those in charge without being considered unAmerican. We are patriots, more so because we don't want our home to be run into the ground by an ineffective congress and selfish politicians.

  61. Happy Fourth of July. Congrats to those winners. I think #1 is the lie. I just watched a video of live octopus eating--wouldn't want to try that myself.

  62. Schism sounds like an exciting read. I hope number two is a lie. Being a vegetarian the idea of eating live octopus totally grosses me out.

  63. holy swiss! what a post!
    i totally agree with you on the political front, crystal! i just watched "Dave" and wish someone with some integrity could stand up to the political BS and do the right thing. and i stayed in a smalltown city over the weekend hearing stories of the homeless - the sad ones and the scam ones... wish we could do more about it all...

    on a more personal level, thanks for always supporting me! you're top cheese!
    happy july!

  64. Being blindly loyal to any administration would hardly be patriotic for a democracy, right? We're supposed to be free to disagree, so go right ahead.

  65. Congratulations to all the winners. Hoping you had a lovely fourth July weekend!

  66. We do have a great country:) Although there are certainly bad politicians, there are also plenty who genuinely work hard to make things better. Don't paint them all with the same brush;) We've also come a long way in 200+ slavery, women can vote, and we dont' have to wear those powdered wigs either:) Happy 4th:)

  67. Having been spending a lot of time watching and reading what people from the States say, I have to say I often find it all very strange.

    But then, I live in a country where no one's all that shocked to hear someone in our government bought THIRTY trains that DO NOT FIT ON OUR TRACKS. Or... then there's the fact that we've had load shedding (IE towns taking turns to sit twirling our thumbs with our electricity out for one to four hours) since December.

    In comparison, the US government seems pretty dang idyllic.

    As for guessing the lie... I'm thinking it's #1.

  68. The best thing is the ability to speak out...not so in other countries.

  69. Is there a country in the world without some kind of shame in their history? Humanity changes, as does our ideas of right and wrong. The blame game helps no one. Looking ahead at improving lives does. That's where our loyalties lie. IMHO :)


Hit me with your cheese!