Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The dream wedding? Or the marriage? Choose.

We are told the 'average' wedding these days costs $20,000 to $50,000, or even more, depending on the source.  But this is nonsense. Every day there are sensible couples who decide to do what is best for the marriage, and not try and fulfil some adolescent girl's fantasy. These are the ones who opt for a simple wedding, no trimmings, and make their vows with love and commitment in their hearts. It is the marriage that is important, not the wedding.

I made a brief check of Google: 

The great bridal train robbery

by: Lisa Power  from: The Daily Telegraph ,  May 01, 2013 12:00AM

LOVE may be priceless but the cost of getting married has reached heart-stopping heights.

Wedding spending has almost doubled over the past decade, with couples now outlaying a record $54,294 on the average Australian wedding, Bride To Be magazine's bi-annual Cost of Love study has found.

The final tally - which includes everything from rings to honeymoons - comes despite couples initially setting a budget of $25,866.

Parents are paying less for weddings, with 90 per cent of couples saving $13,598 for their special day over 15 months.

Just over $6000 is put on the credit card and another $12,583 is borrowed, the study found.

Choosing the dress was a major decision, with gowns ordered more than six months in advance, said Brides of Sydney consultant Sarah Matthysen, who yesterday helped bride-to-be Jordan Summers trial gowns for her December wedding.

This is one figure for an 'average' wedding, but, of course, there are different figures put forward by others. From a wedding planner, for instance, around $100,000.  (I don't recall where I heard that.)  But these sorts of  'averages' are not  counting  the ones who have the barbeque in the park, or even the registry office wedding with a half dozen guests and a BYO picnic afterwards.  And then they put the money they saved toward a nice holiday or reduce the mortgage on the house.  Imagine starting off a marriage with a $20,000 debt just when you are looking at finding a house, furnishing it, and maybe one day, having a child or two. You do not have to have the 'best' wedding of your friends. That desire is childish and you are venturing into a major part of being an adult.  

The wedding dress:

How much does a wedding dress cost?

They are beautiful, of course.  Especially as depicted here.

But remember these are models, and not many of us have the looks and the figures of a model.  $1,000 spent on a dress that will be only worn once in a life-time is a terrible waste of money.


Getting married is a very significant thing. Even if you have lived together for  ten years and have three children together, it is the time when you make a commitment to each other. Vows are different in different religions, and often, people make up their own vows, but the traditional Christian vows say it beautifully  -
To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer,
and I promise my love to you forevermore. 

So why belittle the occasion by turning it into a showpiece or try to gain headlines by doing something strange or weird?  This is a wedding - the beginning of your marriage.  It is an immensely important occasion in your life.  Treat it as such. It is not for people to gawk at as a novelty.

There are numerous oddball ways to get married. In my opinion, it does not enhance the occasion, it diminishes it.  The meaning of marrying is enough; it does not require frills.  

One further thought - from the weddings that I have seen, I have come to the conclusion that there is a definite inverse relationship between the size and style of the wedding, and the length of the marriage.  In other words, the bigger and fancier the wedding, the shorter the marriage.

Make yourself a nice wedding if you choose, invite those who love you, and remember that it is not the climax of a relationship, but a beginning - when you commit to the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. It is the dawn, not high sun and not the sunset.  If you spend too much and wind up in debt because of it, however, it could very easily be the sunset.


Look for my books on sites such as The Book Depository for paperbacks, Smashwords for ebooks, and Amazon for paperbacks and for ebooks.



Monday, 13 January 2014

Who would deny their child a doctor?

This is the 21st Century, right?  Readers of this blog will almost certainly live within a first world country, and can expect to see a doctor when needed.  I am not talking about Medicare, Obama Care, or the National Health.  I am talking about religious cults that refuse to allow their children to receive medical care. Children should live or die by the will of God, they say - except that according to the stories I've been hearing, when the adults become ill, then that's quite often a different matter entirely.

This particular story takes place in the city of Boise, Idaho.

From Wikipedia:

 Idaho is a state in the north-western region of the United States. Idaho is the 14th Largest, the 39th most populous and the 7th least densely populated of the 50 states.  The state's largest city and capital is Boise.

Idaho is surrounded by the states of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah,  Wyoming, Montana and the Canadian province of  British Columbia. 

Brian Hoyt has permitted me to reproduce this post he made in the facebook group called 'Silent Cries The Faces Of Religious Abuse.'

Growing up in the followers was violently abusive both physically and mentally. The followers are a cult of oppression, fear, and control. This is accepted in the cult and encouraged.


The church of Boise is a quaint little pink building on ten mile road just off Chinden. On any given Sunday or Thursday evening as a child one could witness the bat shit crazies speaking in tongues and sharing confessions with the entire congregation. As a child, you were well aware of the tiny little pump house. You would clinch a bit every time you saw a child being walked out towards service for you knew the ass woupin’ a coming.

They are, like all maleficent, a tightly woven group keeping to themselves. As a child was not allowed to have friends or associate with those “of the world”. You see anyone not of the “followers” are of the world and therefore direct hands of satan. Often times first cousins marry first cousins, inbreeding is rampant. Many of the “followers” when looking to date have to look down the wavy branch of a tree hoping to find one whom they are not related to.

My personal experiences are many varied as to witness and experience. At the age of five, had experienced and processed enough abuse to tell my mother god did not exist.

Here is one in particular that would have greatly benefited me if the state could have intervened.

In seventh grade, wanted so badly to have friends and be accepted in a world that was not the “followers”. Decided to try out for wrestling against the wishes of my mother and step father as it was with people of the world.

During the wrestling, my left foot had two metatarsals broken. When my mother was notified she came and picked me up from school. Was taken home where the normal treatment was received.

 There was always a bottle of manischewitz wine in the refrigerator. This bottle was communal and shared, any disorder that ailed you was healed thru the body of christ in the wine. Be it measles, the flu, common cold, migraine, broken bones, whatever ailed you, it was the cure. Yes my friends, you step right up and have a swig directly from the bottle, letting your faith in the body of christ cure you.

As for the topical treatments, look no further than the bottle of rancid olive oil sitting in the cupboard. The olive oil was used for all manners of treatments. A pus oozing wound, no problem, a couple rubs of the sacred and blessed olive oil will do the trick. Broken bones, rub some rancid olive oil on it. Your chicken pox itch, yep rub that olive oil. Let us not worry about cross contaminations, you see when it turns cloudy and white it is not the perfect breeding ground of rancid shared contamination, no, that is the body of christ’s blessing it with his spirit.

But I digress, back to what followed. Upon getting home from school, was prayed over, given a swig of wine, rubbed with rancid olive oil and the elders were called to assemble a kumbaya prayer circle of the elders. The elders are an assemblage of those believing they had been personally called upon by god to step up in order to counsel and heal the flock. Yes, the voices in the head told them they could heal.

Over the next few days it was diagnosed to be a twisted ankle by these inept “called upon”. Several times would be anointed with the rancid oil, given the sweet wine, prayed above, and told to walk as I was healed. It always ended the same, as my left foot hit the ground and my weight pressed upon, I would pass out in pain. Often times would awaken to abusive beatings being told my faith in god was too weak to allow him to heal me. I was a gay boy and therefore would not be healed. This went on for many days until the school requested a medical slip to continue my absences.

They finally had to bend to “the law of the land” and take me in. I was still in the same pair of pants and shoes as the swelling was to great to remove. The doctor and nurse began to cut them off for access and xrays. This was again a sure sign that I was gay as was the male nurse and doctor.

They were after all direct hands of satan attempting to alter what was manifest predestination. Everything good or bad to happen to you in life is preordained by god, your faith and belief will carry you thru. Your lack is surely your failings.

It was found to have been shattered in two places and infected, as well my state in that of shock. Was put in a temporary cast due to the swelling, given pain meds, and antibiotics. When we arrived back home they were immediately flushed and I received a sermon as to why I had not healed, how bad a person I was, how the schools and government were trying to disavow god and I was going to burn in hell over my lack of faith.

We had to go back for a walking cast. Again this was a hand twisted by the schools under a threat of investigation. There were many beating to keep my mind right and not discuss with the outsiders.

As the pain pills had been thrown out, had difficulties sleeping. Many of the nights would be slapped across the face for wincing in pain, would be beat with a willow branch/bet/hand, would pull my blankets over my head and cry as silently as possible knowing the slightest whimper would show my lack of belief and bring the wrath. The elders would be called for a prayer circle, the abuse would cycle, and the fear to tell anyone was enough to keep me quiet. The get doctors were obviously wrong and it was just a sprain ankle, if I would just open my heart to the blessings and love of god, would heal.

While the bruises of this have long past, the physical pain dispersed, it is still carried with me every day.

There are other, similar stories in this facebook group.


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Writing as an excuse to avoid writing

I'm thinking of writing competitions, 'flash-fiction,' Creative Writing Courses, Creative Writing Groups, even the writing of blogs. But while you're doing a short story for a competition, for instance, or a writing exercise for your Creative Writing Group, you are not writing your novel. It's a way of avoiding writing.

So what are you achieving with all of these activities that involve the setting of words to paper (or screen)? Well, you can say that you're practising. You are improving your technical expertise. You are meeting and making friends with people who share your tastes. You are assembling a 'resume'  of writing, the better to find an agent or a publisher. That last one is insidious as many agents ask for a 'resume.' A few wins in short story competitions or short articles accepted for publication in a magazine might just play a part in at least getting your manuscript looked at.  

Maybe. And these are all of value. But don't put it off forever. Writing an original, coherent full-sized novel is a lot of hard work. It is far more difficult to remain focused with a novel than maybe a 5,000 word short story for a competition, or maybe for a Writing Group - 'a 200 word exercise that demonstrates expertise in description.' 

No-one ever wrote a book while they're spending time doing 'pieces' for writing competitions, magazine, blogs...


Actually, I'll finish now. I have to go write a book...