Archive - September, 2009

A Wretch Like Me (by Jennifer Lee)

I read a lot of blogs. I comment on a lot of blogs. If you want to increase your traffic, leaving comments on other blogs is a great way to do that. Increased traffic has never been my goal when leaving a comment, it just happens to be a by-product of said practice. And let’s face it — I am rarely at a loss for words.

I realize that part of the blogging experience is getting feedback from your readers, but sometimes I simply want to savor the words I’ve just read and reflect on them.

Jennifer Lee has a blog that leaves me speechless on a fairly regular basis, and she has graciously agreed to write a guest post for me.



I asked my pastor the question the other day at my kitchen table as I poured him a second cup of coffee: “Pastor, do you think I’m a wretch?”

His response: “Absolutely.”

I neither spit out my coffee, nor threw it at him in disgust.

Instead, I nodded in agreement and responded with this: “And you know what, Pastor? I’d say you’re a wretch, too.”


There was a time in my life when the accusation would have offended me. But that was before I took a good, long look at my heart. That was before I saw myself among the most depraved characters of the Bible.

I almost cringe to read the words I just wrote — which puts me among the worst of sinners — for this is the first I have met some of you. For the record, I am an Iowa farmer’s wife, a mother of two, a women’s Bible study leader, and an adjunct professor at a Christian college. But I am also this: First-Class Wretch.

I am part Pilate and part Peter. I am the doubter, the mocker, the Pharisee.

And I am the criminal on a cross beside Jesus, deserving the punishment He got, but getting a crown instead.

But I am also this: madly in love with the One who would make this wretch His treasure.

There are some Christians who don’t like it when we talk like this. They don’t like it when we say we’re wretches. They say that when we continue to sin daily, we put Christ up on that cross and crucify Him over and over again. There are some who say that after we become joint heirs with Christ, we traded in our wretched rags for robes of righteousness. End. Of. Story.

Yet, I cast my eyes down and

see how stony my heart,

feel how cold my love,

and watch how prideful my ways,

And I know

that I know

that I know

that I am still

a wretch.

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” — Romans 7:24


A friend of mine knows it, too. She had a package delivered to my front door a couple weeks ago. I ripped into the cardboard box to find a gray T-shirt with the words: “I am the wretch the song refers to.”

More than 230 years after John Newton wrote the words, I feel them in my marrow: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” So I slip that screenprinted Truth over my head and wear those words as a badge of honor — not because I’m proud of my wretchedness, but because I know the One who covers it.

But to some, my choice of fashion reeks of heresy. The shirt was the source of a week-long debate a couple years ago on a Christian web forum.

One person wrote: “I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing that slogan. I used to be a wretch in need of salvation, but since God has done this, I am not to call myself a wretch anymore.”

Another wrote: “Paul says we’re the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, so which is it? Wretched or righteous?”

As for me, I’m both.

There are a lot high-falutin’ words like justification and sanctification that you could use to describe all of this — words that this Iowa mama is still trying to figure out. The way I see it, we’re called to become more and more like Jesus every day.

I guess that would be a little bit like saying we’re becoming less and less wretched.

For me, that process has looked a little messy sometimes because of my two-faced heart: I don’t want to be bad, but I am anyway. I know the law, but I can’t keep it. I’ve done much wrong — and by the end of today — I’ll do even more.

I am in constant need of a Savior, stumbling my way Home. As my 7-year-old daughter Lydia says when referring to the act that started this whole sin-mess: “I’d like to rip that snake’s eyeballs out.”

Me, too, Lydia. Me, too.

And so tonight, when I go to bed, I’ll bow low once again and marvel at grace. And with a lump in this throat, I’ll whisper my thanks to the only One holy enough to cover my wretchedness. Someone once said that the only thing of our very own that we contribute to our salvation, is the sin that made it necessary.

And that I know very well.

Lord Jesus, I am a sinner in constant need of a Savior — not just once but every single day. Wretched woman that I am, who will deliver this body from death? The answer, thank God, is You. Thank you for your amazing grace, that saved a wretch like me. Amen.

Photo: Self-portrait of wretch in wretched shirt, a gift from a friend.

To read more from Jennifer, visit her at Getting Down with Jesus

The Matrix

(Yes, I know – my photo editing skilz are epic, aren’t they?)

Today is my buddy Steph’s birthday.

Now I could spend a bunch of time explaining to you why I superimposed her picture onto a Matrix movie poster, and wax poetic about voodoo chicken necklace wearing hound dogs and the alternate universes of Texas and Georgia, but some things should just remain a mystery.

Besides, it would take too long.

And I’m feeling sort of lazy.

Which is cool, because this is for Steph.

And she’s probably feeling lazy too.

Trust me. I know these things…

So, in honor of Steph’s birthday, may I offer this celebratory video in her honor:

Okay, so most of you are thoroughly confused. But you can’t honestly tell me you’ve never made that observation while reading my blog in the past. You know you have…

Now would you be a dear and go wish her a happy birthday over at
The Red Clay Diaries? If you like this blog, you’ll be all up in that one. Promise.

Happy Birthday, Steph!

In Praise of Useless Information (by Billy Coffey)

It’s somewhat alarming to think about how many things I forget during the course of a normal day. The exact number eludes me; I forget how many things I’ve forgotten.

There are little things like forgetting where I’ve put my keys and wallet, and also big things like where I’ve put my children. I’ve forgotten appointments, to eat, to set my alarm, and, I noticed today, the fact that the oil needs to be changed in my truck.

The reasons for this may be many or one, depending upon whom I ask. My wife says it’s because I’m too tired, my friends say I’m too busy. Standard excuses for everyone with a short attention span. My mother, however, offered her own reason in her typically loving way:

“Your head’s too full of useless stuff,” she said. “There’s no room for things that matter.”

I thought about that and had to agree that what she said was at least partly right. I wasn’t sure if it were possible to have so much in my head that nothing else could get in, but I did have a lot of seemingly useless stuff stuck in there.

Stuff like the fact that a dragonfly can eat its own weight in thirty minutes. Or that Hollywood was founded by a man who wanted to build a community based on his conservative religious principles. Couvade is a custom in which a father simulates the symptoms of childbirth. Einstein went his entire life without ever wearing a pair of socks. I could go on.

Where I’ve managed to scrape up such tidbits of uselessness is beyond me. So is the manner by which I can remember that John Milton went blind because he read too late at night but not the name of someone I see at work every day.

The fact that I may simply be absent-minded occurred to me. It’s a distinct possibility. I come from a long line of absent-minded people. But that seems like a poor excuse in itself, and I keep thinking about what my mother said to me.

There’s little doubt that we all fill our lives with things that don’t matter, thereby sacrificing some of the things that do. Worry robs our faith, doubt our hope, and discord our love. But is that true for knowledge? Can we know too much for our own good?

Some people think so. I have friends who believe that faith is all they need, that thinking has done nothing but bring the world a whole lot of trouble. Communism, moral relativism, and Deal Or No Deal wouldn’t exist if someone hadn’t thought them up and ruined all of our lives. Sometimes I think that’s true, especially with Deal Or No Deal.

Faith is pretty much the most important thing a person can have. I also think having as much knowledge as possible easily breaks the top three. Because despite what everyone says, ignorance is not bliss. It’s more like a prison cell with walls of our own making.

Of all the inborn traits God sees fit to give us, few are exercised less than our curiosity. Spending some time with the nearest child will convince you that we’re all born with a probing mind. But that somehow gets lost as we get older. We all are tempted to reach a point where we just don’t care to know anything else. We already know enough about the world to realize it’s all spiraling downward. Why pile it on?

I get that, I really do. There are plenty of things I would rather not know, things that would keep my life chugging along rather nicely if they weren’t stuck on one giant playback loop in my brain.

But then there’s this to consider—our world really is a wonderful place. Flawed, yes. And a bit ugly in some places. But it’s also amazing and inspiring and so utterly almost-perfect.

The truth? I want to know everything. Even the stupid stuff. After all these years, I’m still curious. I still want to know. Because I’ve found that the more I can know about God’s world and the people who inhabit it, the more I can know about God and me. If that keeps me from checking my mail every once in a while or not realizing the truck’s almost out of gas, then so be it.

I think we would all be a little better off if we cracked a book every once in a while. There’s too much ignorance in this world. Life, like music, must contain several parts equally. There must be melody and beat. And there must be heart and head. That’s how we dance through our days. And God is a musician at heart.

Just ask the common housefly. Whose wings, by the way, hum in the key of F.

To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at What I Learned Today and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

Prone to Wander

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I’m come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

O to grace how how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above

(The following post is taken directly from a sermon by my friend and pastor Jeff Hogan.)

Many old hymns have stories attached to them. Some are well documented, while others may be modern parables. The story attached to “Come Thy Fount” involves an encounter that took place on a British stagecoach: A woman who had been reading a song book while they travelled began to notice how troubled the other passenger was. Seeking to encourage him, she recited the words to a hymn that was particularly meaningful to her. The man looked up with tears in his eyes and said, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”

That man was Robert Robinson. And the latter part of his life was indeed very different than it had been when he originally penned those words in the early 1750’s as a poem to conclude a sermon that he preached.

As a songwriter, I can tell you that you can often observe patterns, struggles and themes in a person’s life through the content of their writing. And if I were to examine Robinson’s life through the lense of this song, I would point to one word – used three times – that really stands out: WANDER.

“Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God”
“Let Thy goodnes, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.”
‘Prone to wander, Lord I feel it – Prone to leave the God I love.”

It’s precisely that gut-level honesty that makes this song stand out. Wandering is a theme everyone can understand, because it can happen at any stage in our connection to God and to Christ:

Before we find Him
While we are looking for Him
After we find Him

Do you think you are moving toward God, or away from Him? Are you willing to believe that God wants you to be close to Him?

I’m not saying that He will tolerate you. I’m saying He welcomes you.

He is delighted to have you come into His presence.

Come as you are. Don’t worry – you don’t have to stay that way. He will change you from the inside out.

No matter how you would “categorize” yourself. If you are wandering, just turn around.

PSA: The Hidden Dangers of Outlet Shopping (Repost)

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times, but it bears repeating: Retail is for suckers. Having said that, I feel I should share with you some cautionary advice about spending extended periods in stores that offer “designer brands at discount prices”. If you do not find the deal of a lifetime within the first 10 minutes, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY! In your desperate attempt to find a bargain, often things that you wouldn’t give at the tackiest white elephant gift exchange somehow find their way into your shopping cart. If you are weak, shop with a buddy — preferably one who will bluntly tell you just how incredibly ugly that sunflower tea cozy really is. (If you’re in the Houston area, I am available at a nominal fee.)

Since a picture truly is worth a thousand words, I will give you some examples of what NOT to buy on your next shopping excursion.

In my exciting and rewarding career as a faux-paux painter, not only do I help my clients choose a color palette, help them with creative decorating solutions, and wipe God only knows what off of their baseboards, as an added service, I also am always on the lookout for decorative pieces that might fit with their decor. I have worked in a vast array of homes with a wide variety of decorative tastes. I have not, however, ever had the occasion to select anything like this:

(Then again, I’ve never painted for any missionary families.)

And while we’re on the subject of decorating, I have also painted a few fairly awesome beach themed rooms (if I do say so myself). Here’s the thing — if a child requests a surfing or beach theme, it is usually because he or she thinks it would be incredibly cool to have their friends hang out in said room. Resist the urge to buy every surfer themed item! Less is more. Besides, little statues like this do not scream, “I am cool”:

They scream, “I am as nerdy and as fish-belly white as Captain Shorty Pants, here.”

With a name like “katdish” you would think that I would be all about the decorative cat accessories — and you would be wrong. I don’t dislike cats; I have a cat. But having a real cat (and the associated litter box) is really all I need. I’m not fond of the bumper sticker declaring my sworn loyalty to the Abyssinian, Persian or Siamese. Nor, would I ever own any of these items:

And frankly, if you have actual cats that resemble any of the ones pictured, shopping should be way down the list of problems you’ve yet to deal with. And speaking of pets, if you purchase a lead crystal dog bowl for your little four-legged friend, does the word “Spoiled” really need to be engraved on it, Captain Obvious?

The following items truly defy any logic. I can only loosely categorize them into “weird stuff you might put food into or perhaps frighten a small child with”:

While we’re on the topic of frightening, have you ever purchased a celebrity endorsed product? I’m not talking about something useful like a thigh master or a George Foreman grill. What I mean is, have you purchased an item with a celebrity’s likeness on the packaging? Nothing says, “You really should stay with your own children next Christmas, Uncle Phil” like a celebrity endorsed board game:

Do we have any Dr. Laura fans out there? If you have read all of Dr. Schlessinger’s books and listen to her radio program faithfully, yet still are not entirely convinced of what a pathetic loser you really are, perhaps you may be in need of some personal counseling via your very own Dr. Laura doll:

Not only is your favorite snarky psycho-therapist decked out in a fabulous lemon yellow pants suit, but if you politely and respectfully press the center button of her single breasted, designer jacket, she will speak to you in that oh-so condescending voice of hers. I know this to be true, because I do what I am told. And when I saw that little blue circle that says “Try Me”, I did just that. I’m not entirely certain what she said to me, as my actions coincided with an announcement on the intercom (“Clean up on Aisle 5”). But I’m pretty sure she called me a tramp.

We’ve talked about the inside of your house, but what does the exterior of your home convey to others? Seriously, people. Do I even need to mention you should avoid the lawn and garden aisle at Big Lots at all costs?:

I also found a large assortment of toys and games soon destined to for the donation pile at your local house of worship, but I smell a post series, so I’m going to hang onto those pictures for awhile.

I will close this post with a word of advice for readers of the female persuasion. When you are getting dressed in the morning and your husband gazes upon your backside, do you really want him reminded of Easter egg hunts from days gone by, and the “big one that got away”?

While I have been known to rock the granny panties on those days between “when the laundry should be done” and “when the laundry is actually done”, clearly this should not be a regular practice. Besides, they make an excellent tea cozy!

It’s been a long week…

I had some outpatient surgery on Tuesday, spent Wednesday recovering from said surgery and catching the flu from my kids. Oh yeah…tons of fun. After approximately 297 phone calls to the doctor’s office and pharmacy, everyone is on flu meds and we are all on the mend. I wasnt’ going to do a post for today, but what the heck – I’m just lying here being miserable. I figure I might as well spread the love. So here you go…

The best of me (or not) on the twitter:

Alright people. Gotta get off the computer for now. I’ll be back tomorrow & I’ll be medicated.

@br8kthru That’s an excellent motto for a pastor, Jason. (in reply to: @katdish Well, I thought it wasn’t bad either & then everyone tried to get me nervous. ‘Don’t listen to people,’ that’s my new motto.)

@br8kthru Nah, you’re good. That’s the least disturbing picture you’ve created so far. (in reply to: @katdish If anything, it’s a tribute. Anyone who sees it differently just needs a better perspective…)

@BridgetChumbley Nah, not yet anyway…(in reply to: RT @katdish: @br8kthru You know what they say about paybacks, right Jason? (laughs maniacally) ///but is he dead to you?)

makeadiff21 It’s okay Ginny. I’m used to constant abuse at the hands of my friends.

I’m channeling Sherri in my tweets lately.

@Helenatrandom Or “MY” back as they say in some countries…

@Helenatrandom Oh Helen – I know you’ve always got may back.

@bryanallain Do you mean like debriefing vs depantsings?

RT @bryanallain: Every time I say “just livin the dream” to someone, I want to punch myself in the face. //twitpics, please.

@JeanneDamoff Mostly alive, but there are some that are looking a bit peeked. (in reply to: @katdish Hey! I’ve missed your awesomeness. You good? Everyone alive to you these days?)

@redclaydiaries You complete me, Steph. (in reply to: @katdish Love that you RT’d @helenatrandom. I’ll say what you couldn’t fit: THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!)

RT @sarahmarkley: Someone in my cycle class smelled like corn chips. It wasn’t me.

RT @Helenatrandom: @sarahmsalter I don’t know why. I only know that she was upset she could not have frozen banana in the summer….

@br8kthru I love a pastor than can seized on a good TWSS moment. (in reply to: @katdish you are “appaulled” huh? TWSS)

@weightwhat I’m shocked and appaulled that you would ask me that. (in reply to: @katdish If I tell you will you use it against me?)

RT @billycoffey: @katdish But what really keeps us as friends is your stunning humility. // Now you’re getting with the program.

@weightwhat How did you make that little TM?

@billycoffey I am a wonderful influence. Unlike @weightwhat, I really AM goodness and light.

RT @weightwhat: @billycoffey YESH! // You’re a bad influence, Wendy!

RT @weightwhat: @Helenatrandom No, we wouldn’t want to deprive @katdish. I’ll get right on it. //Let it be written. Let it be done!

RT @PeterPollock: I’m sure @br8kthru could quickly mash up a picture of @katdish laughing maniacally //NO! Still having breakdish nighmares

Which should make everyone feel much better.

That should have been LAUGHING maniacally, not Laughigh maniacally…

Laughigh maniacally whilst rubbing my hands together…

RT @br8kthru: @marni71 Yeah, ignoring @katdish would be like ignoring a spreading rash -it’s to your own detriment //You got that right.

RT @marni71: @br8kthru Ignore @katdish . She’s just trying to get us to fight again… // IGNORE KATDISH? That’s not possible.

RT @marni71: @br8kthru You should do Public Service Announcements. Your advice is relevant and wise… // TWSS

@godhasablog You know how they say it’s just an honor to be nominated? It’s so much better to win…

RT @godhasablog: …. do you want to wait until you get to Heaven and get it at a big awards ceremony hosted by Neil Patrick Harris?

RT @godhasablog: Congrats to @katdish for winning the #essayspectacular! Important questions: do you want your prize now, OR…..

@jamieworley That is so wrong on so many levels. Can dogs feel embarrassment? Yes. Yes they can.

RT @jamieworley: @katdish Check out these dogs. You will laugh! This could be a whole blog post in itself:

@buzzbyannies I’m pretty open about my love of Boz. He doesn’t have to like it

@buzzbyannies Hey Annie! Thanks for the Boz pic! Buddy Love was jealous.

Son: Dad, can you take me to the mall? DH: Well… Son: Wait, before you start yapping, let me just say… Me: Snort!

RT @HerbieGookins: Kids are being unusually good today. Makes me wonder if there’s a piano suspended above my head that I don’t know about.

@CandySteele Why thank you Candy. You also rock.

@redclaydiaries It’s exactly like that…

@redclaydiaries don’t make me go samurai ghetto on you. It’s a lethal combination.

@sarahmsalter You know, real monkeys are actually quite vile. Have you been to the zoo lately?

@muchl8r – Thank you for that clarification, because I was about to call you out on that one.

RT @muchl8r: Let me modify that. More colorful language than MOST church people.

RT @muchl8r: Hanging out with the unsaved moving guys at the office. They have more colorful language than church people:)

I got an email from someone I don’t know with an overseas phone # saying “for friendship”. Um….ewh

RT @JeanneDamoff: @katdish Broody? Don’t make me skip and frolic my way over there. //Snort!

So true. I like the way E B White says it: “Omit useless words.” (in reply to: @katdish I’ll save ya time: So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads. Dr. Seuss)

@JeanneDamoff Yes, well…He’s sort of broody sometimes. You know how you writers get…

I’m calling you out. Right here on the twitter. Have a nice day.

So, here’s the deal. If you follow me thru one of the auto-follow robots & then unfollow me 24 hrs later when I don’t refollow (cont.)

@billycoffey How’s that?

AHEM! I hereby apologize for misreading @billycoffey ‘s tweet about twitter fighting. He is no longer dead to me.

@billycoffey If you don’t know, then you’re even deader to me. Oh wait…I misread that last tweet. Nevermind…

RT @weightwhat: @katdish I admit to nothing. //So are you saying you can neither confirm nor deny my previous tweet?

@billycoffey You didn’t even last 24 hours – DEAD TO ME!

@makeadiff21 I’m not bad, I just tweet that way…

I think @weightwhat stalks the twitter then pounces on unsuspecting victims.

@br8kthru True. I could understand if she was a yankee, but a southerner should be all up in Dr Pepper.

@br8kthru Yes, well. If that doesn’t work there’s always the exorcism route…(in reply to: @katdish she’s still unrepentant but I believe through my example she will see the light…)

@marni71 Yes. I knew that already. But Jesus loves him anyway. (in reply to: @katdish That’s a good call. Just don’t take @br8kthru ‘s side. EVER. He just revealed he’s from Oklahoma.)

@Helenatrandom Whatever y’all are talking about, I’m on Helen’s side…

Really, I’m fine…

No post today, I’m still recovering from some outpatient surgery on Tuesday. Everything went well and I am resting comfortably at home. I just underestimated my recovery time. I figured that by today I’d be at the gym. (That is, if I went to the gym.)

Thanks for all the prayers, emails and haikus – even the one you deleted Steph – that was awesome. And Bridget – Dang.

Now go read some other blogs, M’kay? And thanks again.

Cinderella Shoes (by Sara Tribble)

I first “met” Sara when she contacted Billy Coffey requesting an interview. I was so completely blown away by her questions and her obvious understanding of the publishing business that I immediately went over the check out her blog, “I Am Write”. Color me impressed! Check out her bio:

BIO: Sara Tribble is finally twenty-one, still married, and rocking her Cinderella shoes whenever she can. She writes flash/short fiction with a handful of publications online, works on numerous novels, and is the Publishing Editor of Flash Me Magazine. If she’s not writing, she’s playing video games, eating, or blogging, seriously.

And here’s her story, Cinderella Shoes:

When my boyfriend asked me to marry him, people thought we were crazy. Both coming out of high school, he was already in the military, two young hearts flooded with love were just some of the reasons. My parents never minded and supported both of us, even when we announced our desire for a shotgun wedding at the local court house. I wasn’t pregnant or anything, which was another speculation, but we had to be married to live together.

Regardless of the size ceremony, my father wanted to take me out for shoes since I already bought a beautiful dress to wear, nothing fancy just simple and elegant. My dad had to go to the city for some work supplies, so he took the chance to take me along for shoes at the local mall.

We entered the store and shoes were everywhere. All colors, all styles, and tons to match my dress. I chose a pair I really liked, silver with rhinestones. They were under fifty dollars so I showed my dad. The price made him twitch because he was recently laid off from work due to the economy.

“Let’s keep looking, but hold onto these,” he said.

I returned for the search to find my shoes. Noting his financial situation, I looked in the clearance area and found a sleek heel, perfect ivory matching my dress for under ten bucks. I put the expensive shoes back and held onto the different box. He offered to get me the expensive ones, but I refused telling him I liked this pair much more, which I did, so he put down the fancy Cinderella shoes (as he called them) at the nearest table display.

On the way out of the store he said something to me that I remember to this day.

“I’m so glad I was able to buy you a pair of shoes for your wedding. The ones you have are really nice. Thanks for looking at the cheaper ones. I wanted to be able to buy you something for your wedding, but with work, things have been tough.”

I think it was hard to admit it at the time because our family has usually been secured with work and income, but sometimes life doesn’t always give you that luxury. The day of my wedding I slid on my dress and shoes, walked into that courthouse with my parents and husband’s parents to be married.

When it was over, my dad whispered to me, “You look beautiful sweetheart, I’m so proud of you. I wish I had more to give you for this special day.”

“You did,” I said. “Your guidance and love through the years. Not to mention, I got my Prince Charming now with my Cinderella shoes.”

“Those aren’t the Cinderella shoes,” he replied and looked down to the ground shamefully.

“They are to me.” I smiled and hugged him again.

To read more from Sara Tribble visit her at I Am Write and follow him on the twitter at @saratribble.

Platypus Rainbow

In honor of the fact that I will be undergoing some outpatient surgery today (no biggie – not to worry),I have decided to turn this over to you, gentle readers.

I know for a fact that many of you are quite creative. With this in mind, I am asking that you submit via the comments section your own haiku or haikus. Please keep in mind that I will be loopy on pain meds while reading these, so I’m sure they will all be wonderful.

I will begin with the haiku that inspired this post, courtesy of my friend Wendy from Weight What:

Haikus Are Easy
But Sometimes They Don’t Make Sense

which I emailed to my friends Jeff and Tamara, who responded in kind:

Haikus Are OK
If You Like That Sort Of Thing
The Giving Wombat

to which I responded:

Sometimes I wonder
What life is really about
Platypus Rainbow

So there you have it. Dazzle me. You’ll be glad you did…

(Or not.)

Things that scare the heck outta me (by Billy Coffey)

It’s a little ironic that though I tend to be a bit picture kind of guy, it’s hours and days I’m more interested in than months and years. What’s happening down the road doesn’t really concern me. What’s happening now does. This is why I tend to pay much more attention to my watch than my calendar.

This is also why it’s a good thing God made department stores. Otherwise, I would not know what holiday is upon us.

The department stores here say that Halloween will be soon. There are costumes and candy and ghouls and, even, greeting cards. You know you’ve arrived as a holiday when you get your own greeting cards. Halloween is getting big.

And I think it should be big, if for no other reason than it focuses upon one of the great issues of our lives.


In the interest of writing-frees-the-soul, I can confess that I normally do not talk about my fears. I’ll even go so far as to say that I go to certain lengths to maintain the lie that I do not have any. I do have fears. Many, in fact. And I don’t care who you are, how tough you happen to be, or how much faith you have, you’re scared of something, too.

However. The thing about fear is that it’s often a very big shadow of a very little thing. Dragging it out into the light and seeing it for what it is can be a liberating experience, or so I’ve heard. So it’s along those lines that I will blaze the trail for anyone else who might read this and admit those things that send a shiver up my spine and force me to sleep with the light on.


Ghosts? Ghosts don’t bother me. And I laugh at monsters. Vampires run from ME. But zombies freak me out. I think it’s the slow but steady movement. Zombies are patient, and I don’t understand patience. Honestly, the whole taste for human flesh thing doesn’t really bother me as much as the ratty clothes, the pale skin, and that “AAAHHHH” sound they make. Zombies are the worst creatures in the world. I don’t care who you are, if you turn into a zombie and come at me, I’ma killin’ you.


The fear of clowns is shared by so many people that it actually has a clinical name—coulrophobia. Stephen King wrote about Pennywise the Clown in It. John Wayne Gacy, one of the worst serial killers in history, dressed as Pogo the Clown for children’s birthday parties. And who can forget Crazy Joe Davola on Seinfeld? He dressed as a clown, too. And he was crazy.

Ventriloquist Dummies

When I was a kid I dreamed that I got a ventriloquist dummy for Christmas, but instead of using it, it put me on it’s knee, shoved a wooden hand up my back, and took me on tour around the country. He kept me in a small wooden steamer trunk and all he’d give me to survive on was Nilla Wafers. I’ll never forget that dream. And to this day I can’t eat Nilla Wafers. Nuff said.


Along those lines, dolls freak me out, too. I was watching Destination Truth the other night and they visited a place in Mexico called Isla de Las Munecas. Island of the Dolls. Legend states that the spirit of a drowned girl haunts the island and the dolls are there to appease her. Evidently that’s not working, though. Because now the dolls are haunted, too. Wanna see a picture of the lovely surroundings? (photo by esparta courtesy of Flickr)


Ice Cream Trucks

Those of you who have never seen the movie Maximum Overdrive may not truly appreciate how utterly mortifying ice cream trucks are. As much as I believe Stephen King to be a genius, he’s ruined more than one seemingly innocent thing for me. This is one. There’s an ice cream truck that drives around our neighborhood in the summer (blaring Christmas music, by the way), and every time I see it I make a hasty yet dignified retreat back into the house. This, by the way, is not that ice cream truck. I get too shaky to take a picture of it, so I borrowed this shot from the movie off the internet.

Yes, I know this one may be a little stupid. No, I don’t care. Ice cream trucks are evil. You’re just gonna have to trust me on that.

So there you go. All my fears laid out for your reflection and mockery. I figure I’m good so long as I never run into a zombie clown whose ventriloquist dummy is driving an ice cream truck sporting a doll as a hood ornament. Chances are that won’t happen.

But I figure most fears are like that, anyway.

To read more from Billy Coffey or to hyperlink pictures of zombies, clowns, ventriloquist dummies, dolls and/or ice cream trucks, visit him at What I Learned Today and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

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