My Dad

Why should I celebrate my dad?

  • I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him (!)
  • He’s told me about God for as long as I can remember.
  • I know I am a princess, because Daddy said so.
  • He taught me everything I know (except for Home Ec., introvert-coping, and all the other things Mom taught me instead).
  • What he doesn’t know that can’t be easily referenced from Wikipedia probably isn’t worth knowing.
  • He makes me laugh. And laugh. And laugh. Oh, boy.
  • If I need him, he will come…time and distance no object. Literally.
  • So many computer games I would have never seen without him…
  • Did I mention he’s wildly in love with my mother? My future husband has some expectations to live up to…
  • Don’t tell Dad about the problem unless you want him to fix it – or buy you something. He loves to buy people things.
  • We’ve never had a TV in our house, and we never missed it. Dad is the news, the sit-com, the reality show, the late night talk show, the skit team, and the weather channel – and for commercials we have youtube. (And, yes, he does have different accents for all those!)
  • He is the self-declared “worst influence in my life”.
  • I have a website designer, IT trouble-shooter, network technician, netiquette consultant, and device-whisperer in-house. He fixes my problems because I am his precious little princess.
  • ALL MY STORY PROBLEMS GO AWAY WHEN I TALK TO HIM. Now, remembering the brilliant solutions he gave me when it comes time to write is another thing…
  • One of the reasons I write about fathers is that not everybody could have my dad as a father, but they can have God as a father and that’s even better! But it’s hard for dads to be the superheroes they were built to be, and maybe having role models in fiction will help them, and their kids. (Maybe.)

Whatever the big, scary thing is, I know my daddy will protect me. That’s what daddies do. And if he can’t – because the thing is inside me – he’ll do the next best thing: take it to our Father in Heaven (who is even more big and awesome than anything you’ve ever seen!).

Thanks, Dad. Love you lots – but you loved me, first.

Why I Don’t Need College

It’s a season of transition for many, as students graduate and prepare for the next stage of their lives. My cousin and brother have both graduated from high school. Many high school students will go on to college/university.

But this cultural edifice is not for me.

Be careful how you share this online, so my grandparents don’t see it (!) but in spite of their repeated entreaties, I don’t feel the need for more than my 4.0 Associate of Arts degree. In case some of my reasons resonate with you, I’m sharing them. Continue reading

Distance and the Heart

My brother just spent nine weeks at the International ALERT Academy Basic Training in Big Sandy, Texas. The fall-out has been interesting.

I didn’t miss him as much as I had suspected, seeing how close we are. A little background: we are the only “real” siblings in our family. While we had several foster siblings off and on growing up (that we love in a different way) he and I have a special bond, especially as we’ve grown older and more mature. We still get on each other’s nerves, but we’d die for each other in a heartbeat…

Anyway, the way I missed my brother was not a deep, pangy missing – rather, I missed him in the little things like, “Oh, he’d enjoy seeing that,” or “He’d be talking about this here,” or “Ha! He’d react like this.”

In that way, while I did “miss” him, it was more “it’ll be great to share this with him” than “oh, I wish, I wish, my throbbing heart…”

My dad is the sentimental/techie one, so he camped out on the organization’s Facebook page for most of the nine weeks, poring over every new video or picture they posted to find Jack. That meant we could sit back and wait for him to show us which seconds were personally interesting, or point out which of the uniformed, buzz-cut young men was ours.

My mom showed love in her characteristic way. She wrote notes, sent snacks, and prayed. We all prayed, I know.

Jack’s grown incredibly. We had to smile as each evaluation from his superiors pinpointed exactly his personal faults and struggles, but going through this crucible – a crucible designed to make you fail, then succeed in God’s strength – has challenged him and stretched him in important ways.

It’s funny how quickly I’ve gotten used to his presence again. While I didn’t lie awake at night thinking about how our house was missing a person, bringing Jack home we fell right back into our family patterns.

He is changed, and yet he’s the same. He talks incessantly, laughs, geeks out about Destiny, and is his same-old enthusiastic self. Now, however, he calls everyone “sir”, stands with his hands behind his back, yells out, “Yes, sir!” if he thinks he hears his name, and had to be re-taught to use first-person pronouns.

I know it’s been rough for him, but anything worth having is hard to get. We’ve all been challenged, and I pray that each of us hold on to what we’ve learned.

When everything you clung to is stripped away, when you’re 14 hours into the 24 hour hike and your feet are all blisters, there’s nothing left to do but lean on God’s strength.

Praise the Lord, my brother leaned, and came away with something far greater than physical fitness!

(I’m still prying my grip loose…and letting go… God is faithful…)

My Mom

  • With the help of the Lord, she “brought me forth”.
  • Since before I understood English, she has taught me about Jesus.
  • She has taught me everything I know (except for Latin, ‘Eighties Culture, and sundry other things).
  • She is my companion, my confidante, my best friend, role model, educator, project buddy, mentor, and encourager.
  • She has a magic touch with little kids. You know those princesses in movies who can talk with the animals? My mom works strange and wonderful things with toddlers and babies.
  • It’s not just me, either! This woman does it all — dirty work, hungry families, unwatched children, messy rooms, late-night overtime, the soiled laundry of half-blind old people…whatever the disaster is, my mom is there, up to her elbows in helping. In the dictionary next to “hard worker,” they’ve put her picture (much to her chagrin, as she doesn’t like her picture taken).
  • Is it any wonder she’s the pattern for all my female characters? (Except for the bland or ditzy ones – those are me.)
  • She gave me my looks 🌷
  • No matter what the situation, no matter where I am, I know my mom is in my corner, and will give me solid advice (even if I don’t like it).

Feel free to disagree, but like it or not my mom is the best there is. The best.

(She will hate this whole post because she doesn’t like being talked about 😉)

Love you, Mom. Thanks for being you, and making me who I am.

Author’s Guild Rails at Amazon’s Buy-Box

(This post might be more interesting to the writers among us, but readers and buyers-of-books are also affected by the dynamics of this issue.)

Author’sGuild.org recently posted an article discussing a change in Amazon’s algorithms regarding who gets top billing in what is called the “buy box” of books – apparently the display at the top that lists all available formats and the relative prices. As you might know, a little farther down appear links to other retailers offering “used” or “new” copies of the books.

Currently, Amazon places itself in the prime “buy box” spot, as the first buy-option people see, but according to the article Amazon intends to use metrics to allow third-party retailers the chance to get in that prize spot. (Amazon gets its stock from the publishers, but acts as the distributor itself.)

Author’s Guild (AG) is incensed at the suggested change, but on reading their article I find their arguments less than compelling. Continue reading

Diversity in Games

The YouTube team ExtraCredits creates short, thought-provoking videos about the craft of game design, story creation, the philosophy and psychology of building and playing video games, and other cool stuff.

One of their videos discusses Rust by Facepunch Studios, a multi-player survival game. In Rust, the physical appearance of every player’s character is randomly generated: specifically their skin color. The format doesn’t allow for re-rolling, so whatever your character looks like is what you’re stuck with – what you’re “born with,” as it were.

Continue reading

10 Things I’ll Miss Post-Apocalypse

I’m facing the imminent collapse of my nation. “Imminent” might mean (hopefully means) fifty or seventy years from now, but the full end of the United States is inevitable. It happened to Rome, to the U.S.S.R., to the Ming dynasty, to Babel…

Image credit : christinprophecy.org

But I’m not here to talk about cultural suicide or political theory. I’m here to offer a eulogy of sorts to ten things I will miss when civilization as I know it takes a turn for the worst. It’s how I cope, okay? 😛 Continue reading

5 Fixes for a Brother Who Grew (WITHOUT Permission!)

5 Ways to Fix a Little Brother Who Grew
WITHOUT PERMISSION

The brother. At first he was a manageable size – perhaps bread-box sized. Next he started moving around, and was more dog-sized, but that was all right, since you’d grown, too. Eventually, he was allowed out of the high chair, because he was too big for that, but you didn’t need to investigate your options prematurely…

Then. Then you got up one morning and there he was: an enormous creature, towering over you. How? Why? And how was it you weren’t consulted?

20161013_114108Take heart – I’ve walked this path, too. I feel the trauma, and I have 5 solutions to offer the desperately out-grown:

  1. Bricks on his head.

Ideally, this should be done before the growth takes place, but if you are at a stage when slowing him down won’t help, the best you can hope for is that they’ll 1) telescope his spine, or 2) give him a bad stoop, bringing him back to eye-level.

2. Platform shoes.

The poor girl’s solution, and not really feasible if you are a short older brother.

3. Instill in him a proper respect for authority.

Again, this is ideally begun at an earlier stage, but there’s no harm done in attacking the root of the issue. Young men who respect their elders and betters will naturally refrain from dominating the head-space.

4. Only appear next to him in forced perspective.

This might seem like a band-aid solution, but if it protects your pride, that’s a vital organ to protect.

5. LAST RESORT SOLUTION: Bludgeon him into submission and make him crawl on his hands and knees.

20161013_113154This should only be undertaken under the most drastic of circumstances. Tip: if bludgeoning is not an option for moral, physical, or financial reasons, hiding his game controller or unplugging his computer might yield similar results.

(If you succeed in subjugating him, congratulate yourself! You may have lost the height battle, but you’ve gained a minion, and the usefulness of those as cannon fodder and hero-distractions cannot be minimized.)


cropped-IMGP5698-wVerse.jpgKimia Wood has been writing stories since she was little. Now she writes to give the people living in her head a chance at life, and to make beautiful things with words.

Her wonderful little brother turns 19 on February 8th. 😊

How to Turn a Log into a Shelf

DIY Shoe-shelf in 20 Steps!

I’m pretty excited. This past week I finished what was essentially my first wood-working project ever: a shoe shelf to help clear our coat room floor of the jumble of shoes.

To imitate my process and make your own beautiful log shelf, just follow these steps:

  1. Select a log roughly as long as your shelf will be wide. Also select a thickish branch to serve as the supports on either side.
  2. Decide the log is about four inches too long, and start to saw off the end with a hack-saw. Either at this step or later, begin to de-bark the log (I preferred using a hatchet for that).
  3. Decide that this is taking too long, and that you don’t actually need the end sawn off. Measure and mark off three demarcations (in preparation for sawing the log into four boards, for four shelves).
  4. Begin sawing the first board down vertically – with a hack-saw.
  5. Decide this is taking much too long, and you need help. Get Dad to teach you to use the electric straight-saw.
  6. Start cutting out five boards instead of four – the branches as walls/supports idea wasn’t that good, so you’ll use the three internal boards as shelves, and the two outer ones (after you finish de-barking them) as the sides of the shelf. Brilliant!
  7. Decide this whole sawing thing is taking altogether too long, and convince Dad to teach you how to use the electric chain-saw.
  8. Saw your five boards with the chain-saw. This will take a few sessions; also, cut as straight as possible so one of the boards doesn’t come out with weird gouges where you had to correct your path…ahem…
  9. Once the boards are finally cut, you can use the sander and sand them! This is a good step to make sure the two ends are as de-barked as you want them to be. (I didn’t bother de-barking the shelf-boards, but I did remove any loose, dirty-looking bits with the hatchet.)

    IMG_9502-edited

    This lumber is not from a store.

  10. After sanding, ask Dad’s help holding the pieces together while you pound in the nails.
  11. Find out it’s better to put the heavier ends of the support boards on the bottom. Also, please note that your log was not straight up-and-down, so all your boards have cunning curvature to them now.
  12. After Dad has pounded in some of the nails, change your mind about how you want the boards to be arranged (after you find out the one for the middle shelf isn’t a proper size, the one for the top shelf isn’t the proper size either, etc.).
  13. With the help of your charming and obliging brother, nail the rest of the boards together, with the two curved sides arranged vertically as the supports/walls/ends (so, I hope you have something else to do with that branch…ahem). Also, this step will teach you that driving nails into a raw log isn’t nearly as easy as Dad made it look. Many nails will be bent, most likely.
  14. The shelf is assembled! Time to varnish it! If you’re following my process exactly, you won’t have any varnish in the house, so will have to wait before proceeding.
  15. Coat the shelf with water-soluable, clear-drying epoxy varnish to protect it from bugs and dirt, while preserving the nature look of the wood. (Bonus points if your basement – or wherever you’re doing this project – floods with ten inches of water at around this step.)

    IMG_9505-edited

    At least it still matches the aesthetic.

  16. Remember the curvature we mentioned in Step 11? This has make your shelf tilt backward, meaning that if you set any shoes on the top shelf, it might fall over. Fortunately, we have a section of this very log that we sawed off in Step 2 (back when we still thought the log was three or four inches too long). Using the natural curvature of the wood, use this piece to fashion shims under the backside of the bottom shelf.
  17. Varnish the shims.
  18. Get a piece of felt big enough to cover the whole bottom of the shelf. Glue the felt (I used hot-glue) to the shims and the front part of the bottom shelf where it will touch the floor. You can then trim off any felt that would show around the edges, and some of the felt that won’t actually touch the floor because it’s above the level of the shims.
  19. Set the shelf in its place, felt-side down.
  20. Put shoes on the shelf. HOORAY!

    IMG_9507

    The shoes are not on the floor. Mission accomplished.

Reflections on “A Christmas Carol”

Three Things to Think On This “Holiday Season”

51ycpilxgcl If you’re like me, you’re pretty familiar with the mythos of A Christmas Carol, but have never actually read the original. This year, I remedied that.

Charles Dickens’ original story of rich, cantankerous, “Bah-Humbug” Scrooge, the ghosts of Christmas, and the joy of celebration is available on Project Gutenberg and on Amazon as free ebooks (or as an audiobook!), so there’s no barrier to enjoying this classic tale.

As I read Dickens’ version of the story, three things jumped out at me. Continue reading