You may be wondering where I find folks to guest blog for me. Okay, maybe you’re not, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Mostly from reading other blogs, and occasionally from the twitter. (Sorry, Facebook. It’s not you, it’s me.) I’ve actually got a fairly sizable list of folks I’m planning to ask. Sadly, that list is in my head, and I keep losing it. Anyway, I’ve been so pleased with all the guest posts so far, and my analytics tell me you have been, too. Damien was one of my twitter finds. I never know how people find me and follow me on twitter, but as long as it’s a real person, I’ll typically follow them back. I’m glad I did so with Damien, because he sent me a really great post.
Demian Farnworth is Managing Editor for an international humanitarian aid organization and blogger forFallen & Flawed.
Top 10 Worst Creativity Tips of All Time
What do you get when you cross a cranky writer with an opium-induced dream? Nothing to gawk at, normally.
But English poet Samuel Coleridge defied the odds and cranked out an unforgettably creepy poem called “Kubla Khan”.
The only problem is nobody can really tell us what the poem is about. Coleridge couldn’t even do it. And unfortunately generations of poets have followed in Coleridge’s footsteps ushering in an attitude that says true creativity occurs when you alter your mind.
But that’s a terrible idea. And there are nine more really bad ideas on how to jolt your creativity. Let’s take a look at them.
1. Wait for the Muse. Want to make my skin crawl? Want to watch me clench my fists? Then tell me you can’t write until the Muse moves you. In fact, if you’re a professional, I might hit you. I’ll repent afterwards, but I’ll definitely swing. Professionals write whether they feel like it or not.
2. Get drunk. Or stoned. Or huff glue. You’ll write some of the most ridiculous stories, paint the most dysfunctional pictures while intoxicated. Funny thing is, they’re masterpieces while you’re high. But sober people will avoid you. However, get them drunk, and you’re a genius. See no. 10.
3. Eat meat. Long ago some Chinese mystic-artist always ate meat before he fell asleep so he could have great dreams. [Give me a break on the ambiguity. I read it somewhere. Just don't know where.] I don’t recommend this tactic either…because what happens if your dreams dry up? They will, artist boy.
4. Toy with Twitter. Despite what social media pundits want you to believe–Twitter is not a inspiration factory. It’s a chaotic cocktail party that will rob you of time. Doesn’t mean you can’t hang out there. I do it myself. Just don’t depend on it for creative ideas. You’ll get sucked away and totally forget what you were doing.
5. Smoke cigarettes. No one’s flat-out preached that smoking cigarettes inspires. But stroll by any bistro and all the artists and poets and writers will be puffing away. Cigarettes kill, people. Then again, if you don’t care, you are guilty of number 7.
6. Fall in love. If you depend on the unpredictable, violent emotions of new love **cough, cough, LUST, cough** then you might rock out a killer freshman album. Girls will stalk you. Men will envy you. Mothers will hate you. That is until your sophomore album rolls out. Then they’ll see you for the one-hit wonder you are.
7. Becoming a sadist. Blame it on the Romantic poets: They were ones who thought a true artist suffered. So what about the thousands of years of creative output before then? And frankly, what the Romantic poets and Co. have created are marginal footnotes to enduring masterpieces.
8. Don’t create. The Salinger principle of creativity states “you can’t create it without killing it.” You’re guilty of this if you fear that perfect artistic idea will get ruined if you commit it to paper or canvas. Get over yourself and create.
9. Specialize. I’m guilty of this one. The idea that you will create great work if you do nothing but one thing. This is problematic because some of the best ideas come to us from fields that are far different than ours. Become the explorer. Not the homebody.
10. Thinking you are a genius. Or a “serious” writer. [Now, where did that come from? See no. 7.] Personally guilty in this category. Picasso said that it took him a life time to learn how to draw like a child. There’s liberty in simplicity like that. And great art.
Listen: This list was generated after twenty years of failing hard in my own attempts at creative writing and a simultaneous ten years of working as a professional writer and editor. I’ve seen these tips and attitudes come from my own mouth and the mouths of other writers. Do any of them ring a bell? Would you add any? And if you’re guilty, don’t worry. So am I.
I typically don’t have any trouble falling asleep. I suppose this stems from the fact that I get up early and go to bed late most evenings. I’m a strange combination of early bird and night owl. Perhaps I have some vampires in my family tree. But I digress.
Monday night was an exception to this rule. After I finished scheduling Monday’s post, I was not in the least bit tired. Instead of my typical go-to (reading a few chapters of whatever book I happen to be reading), I decided to watch a movie I had recorded earlier in the week.
The movie was The Box. The opening of the movie goes like this: A package is placed on the front doorstep of a house. The wife brings the package to the kitchen table, where her husband opens it while wife and son look on. Inside the package is a box with a large, red button encased in a clear dome. There is a note inside the packaging which states that someone will be by at 5:00 pm the following day to explain the box. A man shows up at the door as promised, and explains to the wife that if she pushes the button, two things will happen—Someone they do not know will die, and the family will receive one million dollars in cash. Of course, the wife needs an expensive operation, the private school she is teaching at will soon discontinue the waiving of tuition for teacher’s children, and the husband’s dream job has fallen through. Oh, and it’s 1976, so a million dollars is actually quite a bit of money. Of course…
At first glance, this particular scenario does not seem like much of a moral dilemma. Accepting money, regardless of amount, in return for causing the death of another person is simply not acceptable in any scenario I could imagine.
But what if the man had said, “If you push the button…
…your mounting debt will be paid in full, but someone else would take on a crushing debt they could not afford to pay, or
…your book will be a critical and commercial success, but an equally talented (or more talented) author will never be published, or
…your struggling ministry will begin to grow and reach the lost, but another church will die, or
…your father’s Alzheimer’s will be cured, but someone else’s father would be stricken it, or
…your child’s disease will be gone, but another child would become sick in her place, or
…your unborn child will be born healthy, but at the expense of the life of another child unborn?
Do any of these scenarios tip the scales?
How about this one?
Your sins—past, present and future will be washed clean as snow, but at the cost of the perfect, unblemished sacrifice; at the cost of the Son of God—the only One without sin.
As we draw closer to the holiest of holidays, I pray we not only understand this sacrifice in our heads, but also in our hearts.
Image courtesy of photobucket.com A little while ago:
“What are you doing?”
My daughter is standing on her bed and facing the mirror atop her dresser. She’s not looking at herself, not performing the sort of quick once-over females tend to do before going to town. Instead, she’s studying. Closely.
“I’m looking at myself,” she says.
“Why are you standing on the bed?”
“Because if I stand on the floor I can only see half. I want to see the whole thing.”
I offer the sort of nod I often give to females. The sort that says I don’t understand you, but I’m going to act like I do.
“Okay,” I tell her, “but hurry up. We’re ready to leave.”
She continues to scrutinize and then asks, “Daddy, can I ask you something?”
“Can you ask it in the truck?”
“Can you answer it here?”
She tilts her head to the side and lets her blond hair spill down over her shoulder. My daughter never used to pay attention to mirrors. Now she can’t pass by one without taking a peek to make sure nothing needs tucking or straightening or smoothing.
“Am I pretty?” she asks.
“Very much so,” I say.
She tilts her head to the other side. “Do you think Hannah Montana is pretty?”
“Well,” she says, “I think they’re beautiful.”
“Can we go to town now?” I ask her.
She hops off the bed and takes my hand. “What makes them beautiful, Daddy?” she asks.
“Well, since I don’t think they’re beautiful, I can’t really answer that question.”
“I don’t think I’m beautiful,” she says.
“Because there’s a lot wrong with me.”
We’ve made it to town. My daughter managed to sneak away and into the truck before I could talk to her more. And heading to town with family in tow is not the proper time for such a conversation. So I’m currently left to stew and walk the aisles of the local Target, trying to decide how I’m going to finish the conversation her and I had begun.
At eight, my daughter is on the cusp of that age when appearance begins to matter more than it once did. I don’t think that’s really a bad thing, but it is confusing to her. She thinks everything is beautiful—sunrises, sunsets, and the puffy white seedlings atop dandelions come to mind—but she secretly fears she is not. I can understand. It’s hard to compete with sunrises, sunsets, and dandelions.
And when it comes to things that are beautiful in any obvious way, she still refuses to call them ugly. To her, ugly is just a word people use for things where the beautiful chooses to remain hidden.
That’s the way I want to keep it with her. Because that is nearest to the truth.
This is also the truth—there is a lot wrong with her. Behind that blond hair and those blue eyes is a little girl who has gone through much. Too much, if you ask me.
I see the way she wears long sleeves and pants in the warm weather to hide the bruises that can pop up after her insulin shots. I see the way she talks to friends with her hands in a fist so they won’t see the pock marks left on her fingers from her sugar checks.
It’s bad enough to have a disease, she’s told me. But when you believe that disease makes you ugly, it’s worse.
I don’t blame her for thinking that way. I think there are a lot of people—older, smarter people—who do the same. But what she sees as ugliness I see as a means of becoming beautiful. Her disease has given her a compassion and an understanding I could never have.
I remember recently reading about the Miss Navajo Nation beauty pageant. Held every year. The contestants do the sort of usual things you would find in any pageant anywhere. They dress up and show their talents and talk about what they would do if they held the title.
But there is no swimsuit competition. In its place is a demonstration of some traditional Navajo skill, which can be anything from weaving to butchering a sheep.
I like that.
Because beauty isn’t simply about looking pretty and speaking well. True beauty is useful. It draws attention not to how good you look, but what good you can do.
That’s what I’m going to tell my daughter when we get home.
Salvation is Individual (excerpt from The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller) “A meal fuels growth through nourishment. The Lord’s Supper, also called Communion or the Eucharist, represents ongoing growth in God’s grace. In order to survive and grow, individuals must eat and drink regularly. That’s what we must do with the gospel of the grace of God. We must personally appropriate it, making it more central to everything we see, think, and feel. That is how we grow spiritually in wisdom, love, joy, and peace.
Religion operates on the principle of “I obey—therefore I am accepted by God.” The basic operating principle of the gospel is “I am accepted by God through the work of Jesus Christ—therefore I obey.” As we have seen, believing the gospel is how a person first makes a connection to God. It gives us a new relationship with God and a new identity. We must not think, however, that once believing it, the Christian is now finished with the gospel message. A fundamental insight of Martin Luther’s was that “religion” is the default mode of the human heart. Your computer operates automatically in the default mode unless you deliberately tell it to do something else. So Luther says that even after you are converted by the gospel your heart will go back to operating on other principles unless you deliberately, repeatedly set it to gospel-mode.
We habitually and instinctively look to other things besides God and his grace as our justification, hope, significance, and security. We believe the gospel at one level, but at deeper levels we do not. Human approval, professional success, power and influence, family and clan identity—all of these things serve as our heart’s “functional trust” rather than what Christ has done, and as a result we continue to be driven to a great degree by fear, anger, and a lack of self-control.
You cannot change such things through mere willpower, through learning Biblical principles and trying to carry them out. We can only change permanently as we take the gospel more deeply into our understanding and into our hearts. We must feed on the gospel as it were, digesting it and making it part of ourselves. This is how we grow.”
In case you don’t know, I am a HUGE fan of Tim Keller. I saw him speak at a Exponential conference two years ago. Among the speakers were Ed Stetzer, Vince Antonucci, Andy Stanley, Rick Warren, Alan Hirsch, Dave Ferguson and others. And while all the speakers were impressive, I found myself literally sitting there with my jaw hanging open at some of Dr. Keller’s insights into the Gospel of Christ. If you’ve never read anything by him, I would highly recommend you do so.
So, this week I had some fairly in-depth conversations about corned beef, pork chops, bacon and spam. Oh, and duck lust. Lots of talk of duck lust…
And now, the best of me (or not) on the twitter this week:
RT @okiewife: to my new follower from China–welcome to my mediocre life. I will try not to disappoint you.
In case any of you are interested, I’m having lunch with @BuddyLovetheDog
@noveldoctor I’m sorry….what? (in reply to noveldoctor Writing is almost as hard as listening.)
Cold Pizza: Not just for breakfast anymore
My son is receiving a Leadership award at school today. When I asked him what it was for, he said, “No clue”.
RT @Babybloomr: @JesusNeedsNewPR Wait– you’re giving away Amy Grant??!! That comes dangerously close to trafficking, little mister.
@marni71 You gotta admire an old woman so comfortable in her nekkidness.
Yes. Agreed RT @noveldoctor: Always be yourself. Unless you’re a pompous ass. In that case, be someone nicer.
RT @Goddess_Live:Power intoxicates men When a man is intoxicated by alcohol he can recover, but when intoxicated by power he seldom recovers
RT @maggiedammit: Tootsie Pop at 9:14am, THAT’S RIGHT SUCKERS.
RT @annalisa2: “Maybe ‘buzzkill’ was a bad choice of words… you’re like… the dark cloud that unites us.”
RT @CandySteele: Good Morning Twitter. It’s National Waffle Day – I will celebrate my inability to make a decision today.
@CandySteele I actually think it’s sort of delightful that she was so completely not self-conscious of her nekkidness.
@CandySteele Seriously…what else is one to do in such situations? (in reply to CandySteele @katdish I was so proud to have maintained a professional composure all the while thinking BLOG POST! BLOG POST!)
I’m too tired to rant, but seriously – - don’t be such a loser…
@katdish Except that guy who followed me for the courtesy refollow & then unfollowed me. I know when someone unfollows me…
Okay, lovely people! (and the rest of you) Goodnight! (Oh, I’m KIDDING! You’re all lovely
@coffeewithmarty It’s okay. @helenatrandom is everyone’s favorite.
@Helenatrandom If I say yes, will I get some celebrity duck comments? (in reply to Helenatrandom @katdish I see that there were no celebrity duck comments today. Are you disappointed?)
@noveldoctor So many sweet memories include bacon, don’t they? (in reply to noveldoctor @katdish Best bacon ever was at local B&B. Slightly sweet, crispy. Perfect. Went there just for bkfst with editorial team. Ah, memories…)
@noveldoctor “regional bacons” How fancy! (in reply to noveldoctor @katdish I think there really is one. Includes regional bacons and unusual flavors. No defibrillator, though. Sadly.)
@noveldoctor Yes. Always handy to keep one of those around. You never know… (in reply to noveldoctor @katdish Yes, a ham sandwich with bacon and cheese. Deep fried. Served with a side of bacon. And a defibrillator.)
@noveldoctor Also a ham sandwich. (in reply to noveldoctor You know what goes well with bacon? More bacon.)
Doing my part to promote @prodigaljohn’s book http://twitpic.com/1awh11
Well…off to the bookstore to replace the 2 books my daughter spilled her water bottle all over. Oh yeah…she’s paying for them
@coffeewithmarty You weren’t following @Helenatrandom? That’s grounds for a public unfollow.
@weightwhat That’s what I’m saying (in reply to weightwhat @katdish Yes, you must be very careful when you warp the unwarped.)
Whenever I get a new follower who is following 10 people or less, I feel a great sense of responsibility towards them to guide them.
@buzzbyannies You mean where they keep the hookers? (in reply to buzzbyannies @katdish Yep – won’t be home til Saturday night. Trying to recover from DC yesterdary. Saw a lot of the capitol most people don’t see.)
@melissa_rae Yes, you did make me do something. Is is empowering?
@buzzbyannies Hey! Are you still on vacation?
Why, yes…As a matter of fact, I DID just quote myself.
Strip away all the things people think define U, & U are ultimately left w/what U know 2 be the truth http://bit.ly/8ZbZO3
Can you ever REALLY have too much magnesium? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akZZd7Hz0rE
RT @pprmint777: @katdish Who knew Duck Sex was such a hot topic? Spring is a Declaration by @pprmint777 http://bit.ly/d3JZGP
@Helenatrandom Apparently so. (in reply to Helenatrandom @katdish Yeah… I was wondering how you got so lucky, too! You must have some solid Hollywood connections…)
@Helenatrandom Yes. I appreciate that. Rather curious about the celebrity duck comments though… (in reply to Helenatrandom @katdish You can be proud of me. I left a comment for your blog this evening, and I avoided commenting on the duck lust.)
@CandySteele Very coffey-esque? Yes? (in reply to CandySteele @katdish Have to give you that one. Mea culpa.)
@VariantVal Good to know. (in reply to VariantVal Hi everybody, I’m not dead)
@CandySteele Whose idea do you think it was for the @billycoffey porch pic? I know what I’m doing. (in reply to CandySteele @coffeewithmarty Yeah, @katdish is like a rock scientist or something)
@Helenatrandom But would you eat a grilled cheese sandwich from a Jesus Frying pan? (in reply to Helenatrandom @katdish GAAAAAAAA!)
RT @InkPanther: Saw this at the candy shoppe: http://twitpic.com/1apfg5
ARE YOU SERIOUS??? RT @coffeewithmarty: @sarahmsalter @weightwhat WHAT does TWSS mean
@BunBunRabbit Pirate Bunny? (in reply to BunBunRabbit @katdish You forgot the bunny ears. Please don’t forget the bunny ears)
@coffeewithmarty Wait! I added some final touches! http://tweetphoto.com/15649909
@coffeewithmarty That’s a winner! (in reply to coffeewithmarty Well??? What do you think of the latest avatar?)
@sarahmsalter And you can’t ignore me. I’m too adorably annoying. (in reply to sarahmsalter @coffeewithmarty Yeah. Ignore @katdish. She snorts at everybody.)
@coffeewithmarty Well…now that you mention it…Snort! (in reply to coffeewithmarty @katdish Okay. This is my wordpress one. It’s the avatar that someone said, “Looks like you ate a bunch of chinese food that made you tired”)
@coffeewithmarty What about your wordpress avatar? I like that one.
@SBeeCreations You are a wealth of information. (in reply to SBeeCreations @katdish Exactly. Salt grains (back when salt was used to pay salaries (sal=salt)) were called corns. Hence, corned beef
@coffeewithmarty How many times are you going to change your avatar today?
@SBeeCreations Ah! At last! The intelligencia has spoken! Thank you. So the meat gets a salt bath? (in reply to SBeeCreations @katdish it’s the brining process with the spices)
@marni71 It’s a shame @HelenatRandom isn’t here to google it for me. (in reply to marni71 @katdish Peyton’s theory is the “beef” ate, before being prepackaged and sold to Kroger, only corn. She gets her intelligence from me.)
RT @billycoffey: Student to me: “If I put 2 stamps on this, will it get there faster?” Me to student: “How’d you get into college?”
@marni71 Actually, it was a leftover porkchop Ron cooked. But I did make a corned beef roast yesterday, & I still don’t know why it’s corned (in reply to marni71 Wow! Did ya’ll read that? @BuddyLovethedog choked on a pork chop! That means @katdish was…COOKING! Oh, the humanity.)
@sarahmsalter Oh, he’s fine stupid dog. I dropped a pork chop on the floor & he tried to swallow it whole. (in reply to sarahmsalter @katdish I remember now. With my fried hard drive this week, my brain is a little scrambled. Is Buddy Love okay now?)
Just had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on @BuddyLovetheDog, then I had to google the correct spelling of “Heimlich”
@marni71 @sarahmsalter In my defense of yesterday’s email, I was just trying to include you all in my life.
@marni71 Ah yes…I love a good serious email. It’s always fun to see who will turn it south first. (in reply to marni71 @katdish That same crap shoot goes for our serious emails too, so I know you’re immune to the turn the blog comments can suddenly take.)
@amysorrells Dear Lord, Help Amy be bendy (in reply to amysorrells Dear Lord, please bend my time. Or bend me into a better person. And help me know when I’ve achieved either one for You. Amen.)
RT @br8kthru: @marni71 @katdish it really was a beautiful post, but how do u ignore duck sex though? (This is an age-old question, for sure)
Inquiring minds wanna know…
Question: What makes “corned beef” corned?
@marni71 No problem. Anyone who writes for my blog should know that the comments section is a crap shoot at best. (in reply to marni71 @br8kthru Oh, are we fake apologizing? Sorry for my comment @katdish.)
I love it when my comments section takes on a life of its own: Spring is a Declaration by @pprmint777 http://bit.ly/d3JZGP
@sarahmsalter @redclaydiaries Yes. I’ll help. But only if she lets me use a leaf blower and a blow torch. I like my power tools (in reply to sarahmsalter @redclaydiaries I’m sure @katdish would come help you declutter. She’s anti-crap, you know.)
@coffeewithmarty (laughs maniacally) (in reply to coffeewithmarty WHEW! (wipes brow nervously) “@coffeewithmarty You’ve escaped my wrath….for now.” /via @katdish) @coffeewithmarty You’ve escaped my wrath….for now. (in reply to coffeewithmarty @katdish Yes, due to my uncoordinated thumbs on my tiny screen on my phone)
@coffeewithmarty YOU REPORTED ME AS SPAM???? (in reply to coffeewithmarty @katdish cuz i was trying to DM you and I accidently reported u as spam. I unblocked you, contacted twitter, and refollowed you.)
@coffeewithmarty Why I got a follow email notification from you. Thought you were following me. (in reply to coffeewithmarty what are we talking about? “@coffeewithmarty Yeah…what’s up with that?” /via @katdish)
@coffeewithmarty Oh, let’s not… (in reply to coffeewithmarty @katdish Here’s the deal. I’m going to be trying a variety of different ones today. We could go with a risque one.)
@weightwhat It’s really a shame Sherri’s not on the twitter anymore. in reply to weightwhat RT @katdish I want to thank my friend Sherri for sending me this breaking headline: http://tweetphoto.com/15612507 // BWAHAHAHAHA!!!
@Helenatrandom Yeppers. I think @billycoffey hopped over to my blog thinking, “Who does she think she is?” Guess he knows now… (in reply to Helenatrandom @katdish I remember that comment! I just didn’t realize it was your first…)
Here’s the comment to @billycoffey Your grandmother was a very wise woman, indeed. And you dropped the “f” bomb on her? Jerk!
This day in history: One year ago today, I left my first of many snarky comments on @billycoffey’s blog.
I want to thank my friend Sherri for sending me this breaking headline: http://tweetphoto.com/15612507
RT @badbanana: My oldest daughter is now a teenager. I’ve prepared for this day by preemptively hating myself for the last 40 years.
@ffjewelry Sorry, I must have been channeling Johnny Cockran.
@ffjewelry When in doubt, carry out. (in reply to ffjewelry Cook dinner or get take out? I can’t decide.)
@mabeswife He’s like the drunk uncle you only see at Thanksgiving, except you see him all the time…
@Leeleeqba yep. He told President Obama that the health care bill being signed was a big f-ing deal.
Joe Biden just dropped the F-bomb on national TV. He’s so classy…
@br8kthru TWSS (in reply to br8kthru @Brian_Russell Reminds me, the other day I typed “meat” for “meet” -which also reminds me, I’d like to plan an event called a “meat-&-greet”)
@sarahmsalter Oh, tell me you’ve never done that! (in reply to sarahmsalter @katdish Gracious! There’s a visual I wish I could purge from my mind…)
One nice thing about having the house to yourself is no one can see you walking around w/a tissue sticking out of your nose.
Yes, boys and girls, it’s time again for another installment of the never-ending fountain of blog fodder known as the Katdishionary! In case you missed the first five installments, you can find them here:
Internet Tornado(pronounced in-ter-net tore-na-doe)
image courtesy of photobucket.com
Definition: Okay, I’m gonna be honest here. I have no idea what an “Internet Tornado” is. But whatever it is, apparently, I’m one of them…
Origin: A guest post I wrote for my friend Peter Pollock, Does the Cost of the Gift Matter. Peter wrote a very kind introduction where he said: “Kathy Richards AKA Katdish is one of the most powerful internet tornado’s I have ever met.” So there you go…
TWSS (pronounced that’s what she said) image courtesy of photobucket.com
Definition: (Deep, breathy sigh…) Seriously – I feel sort of silly including “TWSS” in the Katdishionary, but clearly it is necessary. The other day on the twitter, @coffeewithmarty asked @helenatrandom and @weightwhat, “What does TWSS mean?” (Actually, I believe he asked @HelenatRandom and @weightwatch, but I digress). To be fair, he knew all about “that’s what she said”, just not the acronym.
Origin: While the origins of TWSS are unknown, the saying regained popularity on one of the best shows on television today. I speak, of course, of The Office:
Unfollow Hammer(pronounced un-fol-o ham-mer)
image courtesy of photobucket.com
Definition: Laying down the unfollow hammer is the act of unfollowing someone without mercy on the twitter. Typically those whom you have followed that have not followed you back after several weeks. (The notable exception to this rule is @badbanana, who will not follow you, but is brilliant.) There are also people on twitter that will follow you for a courtesy refollow, then dump you 24 hours later. These people are (rhymes with “koosh tags”) and should have the unfollow hammer immediately slammed down upon them. You can find out when people unfollow you by signing up for NutshellMail.com (who should send me a nice fruit basket for referring all my friends to them).
Origin: My friend and sister in snark, Marni White. She completes me.
Definition: when something extremely nerdy reaches epic proportions of excitement in a nerd’s brain (possibly inducing drool and fanboyism).
Origin: Brian Russell created this word and used it to describe his reaction to seeing the trailer for Tron: Legacy. He also wrote a Underfold comic about it, which I can’t find at he moment, but I’m sure he will link it in the comments section, won’t you Brian?
Editor’s Note: I would just like to point out that I am not a nerd, and I consider myself more of a freak than a geek. But for whatever reason, I seem to attract them like moths to a flame, in both the virtual and non-virtual worlds. I don’t know why.
This concludes another riveting installment of the Katdishionary. Sorry/you’re welcome.
On Tuesday, I wrote a post for the blog carnival entitled “Faithfulness – To thine own self be true”. In it, I made the following statement:
For the most part, I enjoy being me. I now understand after years of fighting to be like someone else, it was never God’s intention that I be anyone but myself. I fought it for years, seeing only my shortcomings and rarely my strengths. But somewhere along the way, I figured out God can use our weaknesses just as well (and sometimes better) as our strengths.
In the comments section, Bonnie and Melissa Rae asked about the line, “But somewhere along the way, I figured out…” How did I figure that out? There’s not a short answer to this question. It’s been a process. It continues to be a process.
The journey began innocently enough. I was 24 or 25 years old. I was watching a segment of 20/20 about Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults. I’d never even heard of ADD, but as I watched the stories of others struggling with the same feelings of inadequacy, low self worth and pain, I knew without a doubt they were describing me. I wasn’t looking for excuses, I was looking for hope.
Shortly after this broadcast, I made an appointment with a psychiatrist. I took a long, verbal test to confirm if I had ADD. The test began with some questions about my work habits in school, etc. Simple enough. Then the doctor began asking me math problems. As I type this, my face is beginning to feel flush remembering how full of shame I felt. I could not calculate simple addition in my head. I broke down in tears, and he concluded the test. He didn’t need more to confirm his diagnosis. I was referred to a therapist to help me understand my condition and to learn to live with it. When I walked into her office, beautifully framed in gold was this poem by Veronica Shoffstall:
Comes the Dawn
After a while you learn the subtle difference Between holding a hand and chaining a soul, And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning And company doesn’t mean security, And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts And presents aren’t promises, And you begin to accept your defeats With your head up and your eyes open With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child, And you learn to build all your roads on today, Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans, And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight. After a while you learn That even sunshine burns if you get too much. So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure… That you really are strong, And you really do have worth. And you learn and learn… With every goodbye you learn.
That was a major turning point. I was approaching life completely wrong. I was attempting to gauge my self worth based upon what others thought of me. In that epiphany moment, I understood what I believe is a core truth: You can be surrounded by loving, supportive, caring people (or not) and yet you are still ultimately alone in this world. We are created to live in community with one another, yet at the end of the day, it is you and your Creator who understands the depths of your soul.
Strip away all the things people think define you, and you are ultimately left with what you know to be the truth. That despite how flawed you may be, God put you on this earth for His glory, and He has already equipped you with the tools you will need. It is up to you to hone these tools, and get to work on your Father’s business. “To thine own self be true?” Yes. Absolutely.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
Spring has sprung! Or at least it’s trying its level best around these parts. To welcome it in, Linda Yezak sent me a guest post on that very subject. (You may remember Linda’s interview with Billy Coffey last week over at Author Culture.)
Linda Yezak lives in Texas and writes romantic comedy. Her novel, Give the Lady a Ride has attracted some attention and is now on an agent’s desk, awaiting its fate. Linda teaches an adult creative writing class, serves as a free-lance editor, and is an editor for Port Yonder Press.
photo by Beckey Z Right now, as I write this, I can look outside the patio windows and witness nature’s celebration of spring. The squirrels are engaged in a chase and the ducks in a dance that always results in new life within weeks of the festivities. Birds sing sweet love songs, flowers arc their necks toward the sun’s caress, weeds push through the cracks in the concrete or bloom white as powdered sugar in the field.
photo by Beckey Z
After one of the most unusual winters Texas has ever had, this display of warm weather activities seems almost a miracle. In a part of the state that rarely sees snow, we got it three times. At one point, the pond froze over so badly our senior male Muscovy duck, “Drake,” got frustrated trying to get out of it. And today, he’s actively engaged in creating a brood of new ducklings as if the past icy experience never happened.
photo by Beckey Z
That’s the glory of spring. It’s the great eraser, the instant defroster, the immediate heart-warmer. Early spring comes wrapped in a bright green promise of awakening life, of crops in the soil and blooms on the peach trees. Of foals and calves, chicks and ducklings, fawns and ‘coon kittens. Spring revitalizes the soul and quickens the spirit of all of us who huddled in wool coats and plodded through the sodden, sullen days of winter.
photo by Beckey Z
Spring is God’s declaration that He still loves us. Of all the ways He shows His love, the return of life, beauty and color after the winter’s gray hues and bare tree limbs will always be one of my favorites. He showed us the depth of His love when He allowed His Son to be sacrificed for us. He showed us the power of His love through His Son’s resurrection. He shows us the continuation of His love through the annual arrival of spring.
photo by Beckey Z The Declaration of Love, signed by God’s own hand with vivid colors, and celebrated by His creation with music and dancing and birth and life. How can we not love Him in return?
“To be nobody-but-yourself—in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~ e. e. cummings
“This is the true joy of life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” ~ George Barnard Shaw
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” ~ William Shakespeare
“It is better to follow the Voice inside and be at war with the world, than to follow the ways of the world and be at war with your deepest self.” ~ Michael Pastore
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” ~ Judy Garland
“If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world, it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets off and makes you different from every other living creature.” ~ Bruce Barton
“What you really have to do, if you want to be creative, is to unlearn all the teasing and censoring that you’ve experienced throughout your life. If you are truly a creative person, you know that feeling insecure and lonely is par for the course. You can’t have it both ways: You can’t be creative and conform, too. You have to recognize that what makes you different also makes you creative. “ ~ Arno Penzias, 1978 Nobel Prize winner for physics
For the most part, I enjoy being me. I now understand after years of fighting to be like someone else, it was never God’s intention that I be anyone but myself. I fought it for years, seeing only my shortcomings and rarely my strengths. But somewhere along the way, I figured out God can use our weaknesses just as well (and sometimes better) as our strengths. It’s not always easy being me, just as I’m sure it’s not always easy being you. But I believe to be comfortable in your own skin, to accept the person God made you to be, allows you to serve Him and others.
God gave you your own light to shine in this dark world, be faithful to that light and not only will your own light shine, but you will better reflect His.
image courtesy of photobucket.com The prayer request portion of Sunday school class is the reason why we never seem to get much Sunday schooling done. And that’s not a knock against me or anyone else there. We have a fine class, a fine teacher, and a fine time probing the depths of the Good Book. Secretly, though, I suspect many of us spend most of that first half hour of class fidgeting and sighing so we can get to the good part. The part that, whether stated or not, means a little more.
A few Sundays ago the teacher wrapped up his lesson early, allowing those so inclined a full twenty minutes to spill their guts and tell everyone the happenings in the days of their lives.
“Prayer requests?” he asked.
Hands shot up. The teacher would call a name or nod to a person, going one by one through the room and taking notes, which would be distributed the next week on our official prayer request sheets.
Yes. We take this seriously.
Our space was then transformed from classroom to confessional as secret pains and worries were flung out into the light to be prodded and prayed over.
The lady two seats down from me was the first to raise her hand but not to be chosen. She lowered her hand and waited her turn. The one chosen began to speak on soft and muffled words of the tests she was to get in the coming week that would reveal whether she had cancer or not.
A couple near the front had just learned they were going to be parents. It was their fourth try, they said. The first three pregnancies had resulted in miscarriages.
One man was losing his job.
Another man was still looking for one.
One woman said her teenage son came home drunk two nights before and threatened her. She’d been staying with her sister since, afraid to go home.
A mother and father had a son who’d just been given his traveling orders for Afghanistan. “Pray he shoots straight and ducks,” the father said.
Another couple had a friend who’s son had just come home from Iraq. The funeral would be the next day.
A car accident had taken the life of a seventeen-year-old son of a preacher in the next town.
A woman buckled under the grief of a marriage in tatters.
And on. And on.
And through it all, the woman two seats down would raise her hand and wait her turn, lowering it when the Sunday school teacher had called upon someone else, scribbling both name and note on the paper.
After ten minutes, her hand went into the air slower and with a little more hesitation. After fifteen, her hand wasn’t raised at all.
I found her in the hallway afterward and said hello. Then I mentioned the lack of time and the abundance of prayer requests in class, and that it was a shame she never got to share hers.
“If you’d like,” I said, “you can tell me what it was. My family and I will pray.”
She looked at me and offered a small smile.
“I’m not sure,” she said. “I guess it’s not that important. I lost my necklace, you see. It’s just one of those cheap silver crosses that you can pick up at the Christian bookstore for about five dollars, but it meant the world to me. My son gave it to me for my birthday last year. Saved up his allowance for almost a whole month.” She paused and than added, “I just don’t know what I’m going to do if I don’t find it.”
“It seemed so important at the time,” she said. “But then came all those other things people needed praying for, cancer and war and death. So many are hurting now. My problems just didn’t seem that great after that.”
I nodded again. I understood, I really did. But she was wrong.
She was called away before I could tell her what I was thinking. What I thought she really needed to hear.
She’s right, of course. There are so many hurting now, and for so many reasons. But I for one believe that doesn’t mean one person’s problems are greater than another’s. Not to God.
To God, at that moment the only thing in the universe that mattered was that she had lost her necklace. Just like the only thing in the universe that mattered was one son going to war and another coming home, and a family dissolving, and a car accident, and a threatened mother.
Humility is an important thing to feel. We need to know the world doesn’t revolve around us.
But the love of God is an important thing to feel, too. And we also need to know that.