Monday, January 31, 2011

How Much Is Too Much?

Sometimes, blogging is addictive, and sometimes, it isn't. Sometimes, I love
it, and sometimes, I hate it. :) Some folks blog about everything under the
sun: what they are doing, what they have done, what they will do, and how
they feel about it all. Some folks only blog about their job or a particular
interest. Here's my problem, what all should I blog about?

I'm a Christian, an oldtime Christian. Y'all know that. I mean, like, duh,
it's the title of this blog. Right? lol So, should I only blog about topics
relating to Christianity?

Something else y'all more than likely know about me, I'm an author. I'd
rather call myself just a writer, but I have published a couple of books,
even though they aren't popular best sellers. So, I reckon being just a
writer is a thing of the past. I love to write, and I love to read. I love a
good story, no matter where it comes from: books, songs, blogs, newspaper
articles of human interest stories. You name it, I love knowing about people
and places. I'm always reading blogs and articles on ways to improve as a
writer, and lately, when I read a book for pleasure, I inevidably notice
what the author has done in his or her book and wonder how to do the same so
that possibly one day later on I too can have a bestseller with my name on
the cover. Ok, so that sentence will not win any awards, but y'all know what
I mean. Right? I also like to see what doesn't work in a book, and I try not
to do the things that bore me in a story. So, should I only blog about being
an author?

I am a singer, a song writer and I like to play the piano. I play by ear, so
I don't say I am a pianist, but I do love it. I don't write songs, often,
but there are a few that the Lord has given me. So, being a lover of music
and believing that God wants me to share it, I have had a CD made and plan
to do it again, soon. So, should I only blog about my music?

On top of all that, I am a minister's wife and a mom of two little girls. I
love to bake and enjoy crocheting, but I will be the first to admit, I am in
no way shape or form very good at any one of the accomplishments mentioned
in this post. I'm just trying, just dabbling in several things, in hopes
something will turn out right. Ok, so that's not quite true, but close

So, what do I blog about? What do you, my wonderful readers want to hear? Do
you want to hear about my books? Do you want me to post excerpts? Do you
want to know about the books I read and why? Do you want to know more about
my music, crocheting, baking or parenting? How about my marriage? That post
I wrote a few weeks ago was an eye-opener and a shocker for me as well as
many of you, I'm sure.

Here's another thing, that most of you probably know. I'm blind. Yep,
totally sightless, without vision, blind as a bat, blah blah blah. Can't see
a thing. Have plastic fake eyes, in fact. Had to take them out so my girls
would believe me when I told them I couldn't see to read them a print book.
Haha, my 3 year old said, "Mommy, that's nasty!" lol

So, would you rather hear about life as a blind person...oops! That's not
politically correct. What I meant to ask is, "Would you all like to hear
what life is like for a woman who is blind?"

Over the past 2 years or so that I have been blogging, I have written about
all of the aspects of my life that I can think of, from blindness, to my
faith in God, to crocheting, and of course, my books. But, how much
information is too much? What do you not want to read about? What would keep
you coming back for more, and what would keep you from coming back ever

Before you say anything, and I hope you do comment on this entry, I do want
to warn you. My answers to your questions might surprise you. You think you
have me figured out, think again. There is more to me than reading, writing,
music, crocheting, baking and being a wife and mom. My taste in books, for
instance, will make some Christians think I'm a heathen. Do I need to
change? Yes, and God is helping me, but I can't change what i have already
read. My taste in music is the same, odd. I have a crazy sense of humor that
not very many people understand. I laugh at the silliest stuff. I'm a bit
rude, sometimes, especially when people ask dumb questions. But, there is
hope, because when I'm feeling rude, God is merciful and will help me be
nice. He has on more than one occasion.

Oh yeah, I forgot, there are no dumb questions, that was just the rudeness
coming out. Seriously, though, ask away. I tend to be nicer online than in
person, cause I actually have time to think and pray about my answers,
whereas in public, I do not. I will answer anything...I think, just keep in
mind, I thought the comedian Bill Ingvall was funny when he said, "Here's
your sign."

Ok, time to wrap up this random, weird blog entry. My honey is on his way
home with dinner, chocolate milk and allergy meds, so I need to get finished
and go. Chocolate milk is for Kierstin and Faith...mostly Kierstin or she
will cry real bad. The meds are for the girls, along with happy meals from
McDonalds...and don't you say anything, cause I'm not in the mood to cook
dinner today. Dinner for me, if he remembered what I said, will be an
italian bmt with provolone (not spelled right), lettuce and mayo. YUM!
Should I have sweet tea with dinner? Yep, I should.

Well, till Wednesday, when I will post another article from my Poetic
Monthly days, y'all take care and stay dry. Oh yeah, and remember, jesus
loves you, no matter where you've been, what you've done or who you done it

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Inspired By A Song

Did y'all like the article I posted last week? Well, if so, here's another
one written for Poetic Monthly Magazine in February 2009.

[If you are like me, anything can inspire you to create. If you are not
like me, then you may feel left in the dark by what I am going to write
about in this article. Some writers glance through phone books or magazines
to get their inspiration. Some can read a story or see something in the
news, and suddenly, they know where to go with the next scene. For me,
however, it is and always has been music.
You already know I'm a lover of a good story; this is true whether the
story has been written and placed in a book, a movie or a song. And,
nothing tells a story like a traditional country ballad. Take Loretta
Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter" for instance; it tells the story of her life
as a child, growing up in Butcher Holler, as a daughter of a coal miner.
Another example, more recent, Tracy Lawrence's "Paint Me a Birmingham" tells
about a man asking an artist to paint him a picture of what can never be.
So, when some of my readers began begging me for a sequel to "Wild Heart",
you can guess where I turned for inspiration-that's right, country music.
It took me almost fifteen years to write, "Wild Heart", so when it comes
to a sequel, honestly, I was not in the mood to write about those characters
anymore. However, I knew if I wanted to keep up my reader base and add to
it, I needed to get inspired, and fast. So, I thought on it a bit, then
hopped on the internet, went to You Tube and began looking up songs. After
a couple of hours, I had it!
"And, just how are you going to write a Christian book, when you are using
sad, depressing, drinkin' songs, as your inspiration?"
Ah, my friend, don't you know those are God's favorite people; sad,
depressed, drinkin' folks who need only look up for their inspiration. Yes,
you heard me, right. God takes the worst part of what we go through and can
turn it in to something wonderful, not only for His glory, but for your
good. So, if you wanna know how to get from deepest pit to God's grace,
reck'n you'll have to wait like everybody else, or you could read the Bible.
In the meantime, read "Wild Heart". It too, takes you from trouble to
triumph, showing you all the time how to get to God the Father.]

Now, I put brackets around that article so you would know where it started
and stopped. Ok, are we as clear as mud? lol

Are you curious to know which songs in particular helped give me inspiration
for the book? Well, then, reckon I'll list them for you. The songs I
remember hearing that inspired me to write "To Tame A Heart" were as

"Monday Morning Church" by Allen Jackson
"Cheap Whisky" by Martina McBride

That's it. Only 2 country songs. The rest came from reading God's holy word
and from those oldtime hymns, modernday churches are bound and determined to, that's another subject for another day. :) To get back to what
I was saying, some of the hymns that inspired me, are:

"There Is A Fountain",
"Come Ye Sinners" AKA "Ten thousand Charms",
"Just As I Am",

All 3 of these hymns you will find in the story, itself.

So, did it wet your appetite for the next book in the series? I hope so. If
you want to learn more about the sequel to "Wild Heart", which I started in
Feb. 2009 and finished in June 2010, find the blog post further down called,
"To Tame A Heart". At least, I think that's what it's called. "To Tame A
Heart" is the name of the next book. I said back in Oct. 2010 that the book
would be out in a month or so, but, as you can see, it isn't. My proof
reader took longer than I had expected her too, but I have the book back and
will be making the few changes, shortly. I hope to have it available some
time in Feb. of this year. Kind of cool, huh, publishing just 2 years after
beginning it?

If you like these articles, then keep coming back each Wednesday for 3 or 4
more weeks. I will be posting them, and I believe there are 3 more articles,
maybe 4. If there is anything else you faithful readers want me to talk
about in this blog, go ahead and ask. Comments are certainly welcome.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Banging Out A Story

This article first appeared in Poetic Monthly Magazine,
in the January 2009 issue. I wrote for the magazine for about a year, and
since the cost of the magazine is $7 per issue or $77 per year, I wanted to
share a few of the articles I wrote, here on my blog. Best part is, you can
read them for free. :) But, another reason why I am posting them here, is
because I want to keep this blog going but can't think of anything
interesting enough to write about. Besides, the sequel to "Wild Heart" which
is titled, "To Tame A Heart" will be available soon, and I want to do all
that I can to promote it. I don't know when the book will be published, but
I do promise to keep you updated. Until then, here's something to read while
you wait.

Banging Out A Story

There are many different ways to write. Some draw up an outline and stick
to it, strictly. Others, like me, write straight from the hip, jotting down
ideas randomly until.voila, you have a story. Some folks carry around a
pencil and notebook, writing down thoughts at any time during the day or
night. Some, like me, sit down at a computer and type it up. I heard once
of a woman who, due to a loss in vision, spoke her ideas in to a recording
device. But, when I was a child, just learning that I could write a story,
I did none of these things.
"At all hours of the night," my mom has said, "I would hear bang bang
bang, coming from Shannon's room, and I knew she was up, writing a story."
So, what type of writing device would make a "bang bang bang" sound? Why,
a Braille writer, of course. What? You don't know what a Braille writer
is? Well, it's a machine that writes Braille, a system of dots that the
blind can feel with their fingers and read.
Braille was created by Louis Braille (1809-1852), and it is simply a code.
There are six dots in one cell. Different combinations of those six dots,
make up a letter or a number. It also creates symbols of punctuation, like
commas, periods and quotation marks.
I began learning Braille at the tender age of three, learned to type on a
typewriter when I was eight, and began learning the computer my junior year
of high school, 1995. At present, thanks to the wonderful advances in
technology, I am now sitting in my living room, a laptop on my lap, typing
this article.
Ok, so if I'm blind, how do I use a computer? It's simple, really, yet
brilliant, too. I use a program called a screen reader. It uses text to
speech, reading the text and even graphics to me. It reads as I type, and I
wouldn't trade it for anything.
During the summer of 1994, when I was fifteen-years-old, I sat down one
evening at my desk, put a sheet of Braille paper in to my Braille writer and
began writing a story. I'll never forget how proud of myself I was for
writing such a good first page. Now, nearly fifteen years later that story
is a published work and now available for purchase. It's called, "WILD
HEART" and it's published by Publish America.
During my teen years, I wrote quite a lot of poems and even won second
place in a writing contest my senior year of high school. My poems are
serious, silly, funny, and everywhere else in between. The one thing they
do have in common is rhyming. I absolutely cannot write a poem that does
not rhyme. Not only do they rhyme, but they have a certain rhythm to them,
meaning, you can tap your foot to the beat of any one of them. I guess this
comes from learning nursery rhymes.
When I was very small, my mom used to recite Mother Goose nursery rhymes
over and over to me until, today, I don't think there is more than one that
I do not know.
Without argument, I love to write.want to write.need to write. I want so
much to make people smile and to make them think. However, the most
important thing I want to accomplish in writing is to witness for Jesus
Christ. I am a Christian and have been since I was thirteen-years-old. My
prayer is that you, the reader will know this just by reading something that
I have written.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wilt thou love him, serve him, honor and obey him?

To start the year off, I want to blog about something that has been on my
heart for quite some time.obedience. Writing this post has not been easy,
and I am sure it will not be an easy read, but I feel it is right that I
wrote it and that you read it. Let me warn you, though, it will take a
humble heart to digest the meat found on this table of food for thought.

What does it mean to be obedient? Does it mean abiding by a certain set of
rules? Does it mean doing as one is told, no matter what? Does it mean one
can use one's own judgment as to which rule to follow and which one not too?

For as far back as I can remember, I never paid much attention to rules. I
was never a leader, but I was certainly no follower. I guess you could say I
walked to the beat of another drum, one only I could hear. When Mom issued
an order, I remember only obeying upon direct threat of punishment. Once,
when I was nineteen, I was sitting in a computer lab at the West Virginia
Rehabilitation Center and the teacher asked, "Shannon, did you know you are
not supposed to wear shorts?"

"Really?" I asked, truly surprised.

I mean, I had been wearing shorts all week, and I was hearing about it only
just now?

"It's true," the instructor insisted. "It's in the rule book."

"Oh, yeah?" I said, "well, no one has said anything to me, yet."

"You aren't one to follow the rules, much. Are you?" he asked.

"Not much," I replied, surprised at myself for the first time.

Honestly, it had never occurred to me that I was not one to follow the
rules. But, it's true. Only if the punishment outweighed the actual order,
or if the rule help me out personally, did I see the need to obey.

Of course, as an adult citizen of the United States, I am bound by the law
of this land. If I break a law, I will be punished for it, either by paying
a fine or spending time locked up. But, am I forced to obey the law of the
land? No, I am not. If I choose to continually break the law, I will
eventually be put to death, but until I am actually dead, I can not be
forced to obey.

So then, what keeps me from disobeying? Well, for one thing, I cherish my
freedom and my life. If I break the law, my life and freedom will be taken
away from me. I guess you could say I have a healthy respect for the law.
Admittedly, the law is not perfect, but if we abide by it, it will keep us
from prison. Secondly, now that I am a Christian, I want to do what is
right; I want to obey my heavenly Father.

Okay, so what kept me obedient to my parents, grandparents and other adults?
I wanted to please and knew that was one sure fire way to do so. I remember
one time, when I did not want to go to church. I was a teenager and
determined to have my way. My grandpa threatened to take the belt to me, and
I believed him. Thus, I went to church. :)

Corinthians says in chapter 13 along about verse 11, "When I was a child, I
spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I
became a man, I put away childish things."

So, now, I'm all grown up. I turned thirty-two yesterday, as a
matter-of-fact. My parents no longer tell me what to do. When I got married,
nearly eleven years ago, now, I remember my grandma saying, "I don't know
why you'd wanna get married. You just go from one boss to another!"

I wasn't much more than a teenager at that point, either and remember
thinking, "Yeah right!" I mean, nobody had bossed me around before, and they
weren't going to start, just because I said, "I do," up at that altar.

Here's another question. Do vows mean anything anymore, or are they just
words in a church? Are those solemn words spoken in a traditional wedding
ceremony all for show, a means to an end? Or, do they actually mean
something to the one speaking them?

If my memory serves me correctly...and I haven't watched the video in years
so my memory might be a little faulty...I remember standing before the
preacher and answering "I do," to the following question: "Do you, Shannon
Johnson take this man, Terry Wells to be your lawfully wedded husband, to
have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer,
forsaking all others, cleave ye only unto him as long as ye both shall

That was the easy part. Of course, I would take him as my husband! Of
course, I would love him, whether he was sick or well, rich or poor, and I
would forget any other man and be his wife! No big deal. It was the next
part of the vows that began to get a little muddy.

I can't remember quite how it went, but I stood there before the preacher,
holding my future husbands hands and promised him that I would, among a few
other things, love and serve him, honor and obey him. At some point after
the ceremony, I remember thinking in astonishment, "What on earth did I just
promise?" I mean, Terry and I chose to say the traditional wedding vows, but
did I really mean what I said?

Over the next ten years, I read the holy Scriptures, listened to countless
Bible lessons, searched Google long and hard, had long talks with older
women in the faith, all in an attempt to find out what I had vowed to do on
that sunny, March afternoon. I would hear women friends talk about how their
husbands wouldn't allow them to do this or that, and I would think, how can
these women be this way? I mean, can't anyone think for themselves, anymore?
And then...

Several weekends ago, I was standing in the kitchen, yammering on about how
one friend of mine said her husband wouldn't allow her to do something, when
my own husband turns to me and says, "They have Bible to back up what they
believe. What do you have? If I were you, I wouldn't get in an argument with
them, because if you don't have Bible to back you up, you don't have
anything to stand on."

I was floored...absolutely stunned, and for a while, I couldn't say a word.
For the first time, like it or not, something clicked inside my thick head,
and I finally understood.

On that special day almost eleven years ago, I vowed before God and
everybody to allow Terry to become the head of my house. I vowed to allow
him to become the spiritual leader in our home. I vowed to honor him, serve
him, love and obey him. And, what kind of job had I been doing? Well, if
you've been paying attention, here, you won't need to be told.

Now, before I go any further, I want to make something very clear. By
agreeing to obey her husband, a woman is not giving him the right to use her
as a punching bag. She is not giving him the right to hit her. She is not
giving him the right to inflict hurt of any kind on her or her children. A
husband does not have the right to expect things from his wife that she can
not give. In case you think I'm wrong on that subject, go read Ephesians
chapter 5, where it says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ
loved the church and gave himself for us. If a man loves his wife and family
like Jesus loves us, then he won't want to hurt anyone. Just so you don't
get the wrong impression, my husband is one of the kindest men I have ever
known and has never raised his hand against me or our children. But, I know
there are men out there who do and women who let them, so I wanted to let
you ladies know, the Bible does not support spousal abuse in any way, shape
or form.

But, as my husband, does Terry have the right to tell me what to do? Well,
in a word, least, in some things. Does he tell me how to clean or
do the dishes or laundry? No, because he does not have too. Does he tell me
how to raise our girls? No, because he does not have too. He trusts me, and
I know, because he told me so. The same goes for how I dress, how I wear my
hair, how I spend our money and where I go.

Now, y'all might be thinking I'm contradicting myself, here, but I'm not. I
have the same rights as a Christian as my husband. God speaks to me, and He
speaks to Terry, but, I do not have to wait to hear from Terry in order to
hear from God. God speaks directly to me. Although He has spoken through
Terry a few times with a word for me, I do not believe that God speaks to
women only through men. I also believe that if a woman says God has called
her to preach, then she should preach. However, in saying that, I do not
believe women are to lead men in spiritual matters, and I do have the Word
to back me up. Go read the 11th chapter of 1 Corinthians, where it talks
about the head of every woman is the man, the head of every man is Christ
and the head of Christ is God.

See, I warned you it would take a humble heart to read this post. After all,
didn't the Lord say we are to be as little children? And, children are
admonished to obey, right?

So, what does it mean to be obedient? The very next Sunday after Terry
admonished me that I neede Bible to back me up, a minister at church said
that Christ learned obedience. Then, the minister asked, "Who are we
obedient to?" Immediately, I thought of Philippians chapter 2 verse 8 King
James Version which says, "and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled
himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Clearly, if Jesus had not been obedient to His father's plan of salvation,
you and I would have about as much chance as an ice cube in Florida in July.
To be a Christian, simply means to be Christ-like, and if we are going to
say we are like or trying to be like Jesus, then it stands to reason that we
ought to be obedient to our heavenly Father, just like Jesus was. Am I
right? And, if God is telling me to submit to my own husband, to obey him,
then it stands to reason that I ought to obey. Right?

This is not to be taken lightly, nor is it to be pushed aside as something
we just can't understand. After all, it took me more than ten years to
understand what my vows mean in my home. And, for the record, I'm not
telling all women they have to be like me. What I am saying, is that as
Christian women, if we endeavor to obey our God, we will fall in to the
place God wants us to be in all areas of our lives: our homes, our callings,
our jobs, and anything else we can think up. To quote a good friend of mine,
"What a peaceful thing it is to know one's place."

Now, stop making faces at your computer screen, ladies. I'm serious, here.
Don't try to tell me you don't understand, because your heavenly Father gave
you a good brain and will help you use it, if you ask him. We're adults, and
it's high time we start acting like mature women. If you are upset by this
post, take a minute or fifty to pray. After all, God never gets tired of
hearing from us, and I am so glad He is always there.

Just as a side note, to add a bit of humor, here, that same Sunday at
church, during morning worship, our pastor, Roy Boyd was preaching good and
practically standing over me when he said, "I'm the head of my house, and my
wife knows it." Then a moment later, he came back toward my Pugh, almost
stood over me again, and said, "God is not the author of confusion." Lol So,
see, God does have a sense of humor, even when he is chastising you. And, if
you've ever heard Roy Boyd preach, you can probably get a good picture of
this in your mind.

One more thing that I feel I need to pride, my fleshly pride does NOT
want me to post this entry to the blog. It is not easy to admit that I have
been wrong for so long, and neither is it easy to humble myself this way.
But, if my testimony can help someone else, then I will post it. For, as I
have been saying, I must be obedient to my God, and the word does say to
confess our faults to one another. Does it not?

Happy New Year, y'all!