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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Commenting on my posts...

Carol, I changed the settings just for you.  :o)

If you've tried to comment on my posts but don't have one of the profiles listed, have no fear!  You can now comment without logging in.  Just click on the comments link below the post to leave a comment.  You have to select "Name/URL" or "Anonymous" (but please don't be anonymous) if you don't have another profile listed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Practice Practice Practice

By now you're probably either ignoring or somewhat annoyed by my mostly-short, mostly-shallow WordPress daily posts (especially since I've been posting more than one a day).  I know I wrote a brief disclaimer before I got started, but I want to explain a little deeper why I'm doing these exercises.

I love to write.  I always have, especially fictional stories and poetry.  I've also always had a flair for the dramatic diary entry.  (You do NOT want to see the entries from my tween years.)  I have never written very much, though, because if I can't do it right, why bother?

Ridiculous, right?  Writing isn't about doing it "right" - or even doing it well.  Writing is about self expression.  Especially where journals and diaries are concerned.  Who cares what you write?  The catharsis is in the activity.

A friend of mine fancies herself a writer (and she is tremendously well-spoken and entertaining), and she wrote a nice post about the importance of writing practice.  Now, I am not aspiring to be published, though I wouldn't turn down the opportunity if it were God's will.  To "be a writer" isn't entirely about being published, and it isn't entirely about self expression.  All writers fall somewhere on the spectrum, and, as with any talent/skill, practice makes perf...um...better, regardless of ultimate goal.

So...

You may have noticed that I referred to these silly little posts as "exercises."  Exercise, or practice, is exactly how I view them.  I believe each one has the potential to become something meaningful, or at least something fun, but the practice is in the doing, whatever the result.  That said, what I, personally, am practicing is not the writing so much as the unclenching during the copyediting process.

I have written some very good articles, and I tend to hold myself up to those standards every time I publish.  That is just not realistic.  Additionally, I have standards for how meaningful, clear, long and original (love me some good quotes!) a post 'should' be.  That's getting a little specific.  If I do decide to post something that doesn't meet my criteria, I wish and I wash over the decision, even though it's in the past.  I also have a number of unfinished posts glaring at me, taunting me, telling me that I can't move on until I've finished them.  I need to let go and understand that if I'm meant to finish them, I will.  If not, who on earth cares?

So...

I am doing these little daily exercises.  I'm having fun with them.  I'm following them wherever they lead, even if that's nowhere.  I'm being okay with that.  I'm teaching myself that it's okay to be okay with that.

In the meantime, read them, scan them, skip them.  It's up to you.  I've clearly labeled them so that you may make that decision without losing any of your life or brain cells to my triviality.

And!

I welcome any topic challenges, though I reserve the right to take your idea in a direction that you do not intend.  It's not personal; it's writing!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The #4 Daily Post at WordPress.com

Share something that makes you smile.
I'm not excited about this post.  It seems kinda boring to me.  I have plenty of answers, but none of them is interesting enough to write about without a specific story to tell.  So I'm going to take this prompt in a different direction than is intended.

In the spirit of City Slickers, I'm going to find my smile.  It's not like I'm not smiling, but I've been inspired by my friend, Greg Tidrow, to step outside my comfort zone and try something new, which will bring a new smile!

I have no idea what this will be or when it will happen.  I'm going to sit on the idea and pray about it and see where God leads me.  Stay tuned...

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

The #75 Daily Post at Wordpress.com

What's the biggest lesson you learned so far this year?
Off the top of my head, the biggest lesson I've learned so far in 2011 is that I am still not giving everything over to God.  I think I am - or I convince myself I am, but I have lingering issues and repeated fallbacks that say otherwise.  Maybe this is just a symptom of a bigger problem: I'm not staying in constant communication with God.  I've set a goal about that already, so hopefully diligence will create a habit of keeping the line of communication open.  Here's to what the next three quarters bring!

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The #3 Daily Post at WordPress.com

What’s the single most important thing you accomplished in 2010?
Getting my son - my family, myself - through his surgeries.  I don't think I can say any more about that than I've already said.  2010 was an exhausting year.  Phew.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring


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The #2 Daily Post at WordPress.com

Name someone who deserves more credit than they get. And for bonus points, how to change things so they get more.
I have a dear friend who is immensely talented in many areas.  He experienced a serious health issue as a freshman in college, which totally derailed his life plan as it was.  (Read his brief mention of this life-changing event here.)  He began to explore talents he had his whole life that had always been - from my perspective - just a hobby.  He also stepped far out of his shell to try something new and scary (which, as it turns out, he is REALLY REALLY good at).  He continues to branch out and stretch his comfort zone and, though he doesn't frequently admit it, become quite good at more and more talents.  He has a wonderfully amusing blog (well, it is once you settle into his brand of humor, something with which I have lifelong familiarity).  Please check it out, along with his facebook page, which he could stand to update a little more frequently.


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The #74 Daily Post at WordPress.com

Read through first - then do.


Close your eyes. Count to ten. Then imagine a beautiful ancient castle (tastefully remodeled to include central heating, kick-ass wi-fi and WordPress.com ready laptops everywhere). Now walk down the endless main hall, a hall filled with amazing rooms of wonder. Go into the 2nd room on the right. What's inside?
The first thing I see is portraits of all shapes and sizes, hung from wainscot to high ceiling.  Then I notice floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves in dark wood, filled with old hard-bound books.  There are two sets of tall, narrow windows on the wall opposite the door with more built-ins between.  There are sets of delphinium-blue tub chairs at each set of windows, along with small tables made of dark, glossy wood and topped with small, fishbowl vases the color of the chairs with matching blue flowers.  The far wall contains a large, gray brick fireplace.  It seems as though the entire wall is brick because of the sheer magnitude of the hearth and chimney.  I'm just about to step completely into the room to see what's on the last wall when...

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The #1 Daily Post at WordPress.com

List three countries you’d like to visit, and why you want to go.
I want to spend a year in Spain.  I want to visit the nearly twenty regions, spending real time in each.  I want to photograph the landscapes, write about the sights and sounds, taste the flavors, learn the dances.

I want to assimilate the spice of Morocco.  The colors, the shapes, the smells, the flavors, the music.  The country speaks to me on a native level.

I want to find my roots in Sweden.  I may be adopted, but I was raised a Swede, make no mistake.  I feel a kindred spirit in any other Swede.  My Pampa fed me Swedish culture and language.  My cousin, DeAnn, and I loved to hear him read the Swedish storybook kept in the coal bucket it shared with the Pokie Little Puppy Counting Book and the Barrel of Monkeys.  We all stole Swedish meatballs out of the CrockPot before Christmas dinner and did a happy dance on the very rare occasion the meatballs were made any other time of year.  I have countless Swedish horses that my late Grandma gave me, even though she was only married to a Swede.

Wow.  That's unfinished and unbalanced.  I'm okay with it.

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The Daily Post at WordPress.com

It might seem a touch blasphemous to participate in The Daily Post at WordPress.com here, but the exercises are too fun to pass up.  Plus, why should I throw out something good out of risk of offending?  That's not my style!  ;o)

Now, because I am a bit obsessive and quite compulsive, I will feel the need to go back and start from the beginning as well as doing the daily posts from now on.  So don't be annoyed to see at least two silly posts every day here for a while.

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I need to do something

I have fallen away from God.  Not completely away...  I still talk to Him and listen for Him and have a passion for Him.  But I'm not doing what He's telling me to do.  I'm not reading His word or spending time in prayer or giving up things He's asking me to give up.  I'm queen of the yeahbuts.  I've been aware of demon attacks recently that were stopping me from doing what God was asking.  (The attacks had stopped being successful when I was vigilantly wearing my armor.  Then I was painfully aware that they stopped completely when I got too comfortable.)  I told a friend today that I'm just along for the ride, which is pretty much an invitation for Satan.

Sooo...

I'm going to read the Word every day.  I can't promise to follow any sort of reading plan.  I can't promise to have anything meaningful to say every day.  But I will promise to read something every day and pray intentionally every day.

Wordless Wednesday: Don't worry, be happy!

I know this is supposed to be wordless, but I don't want to misrepresent.  I did not modify this image.  I snapped the shot (intending to catch the red trees to the right of the happy face) right as a raindrop hit the windshield, making my camera lose focus and capture this cute refaction of the green traffic light.

P.S.  I know it's Thursday, but I really thought it was Wednesday all day.

Musical Macaroni and Cheese

We had musical macaroni and cheese for lunch! What is musical macaroni and cheese, you ask? Let me tell you!
 
It's when you make fresh mac-n-cheese for the 3yo, who then decides she doesn't want it. Then you reheat some leftover mac-n-cheese that you were so looking forward to and the 3yo sees it, thinks it's the 1yo's and decides she wants some. You give the 3yo the mac-n-cheese you made for her, and she's so excited. You bring your mac-n-cheese to the table, and the 3yo asks for some. You say, "you have mac-n-cheese," but she says, "I just want to taste yours." You ask, "did you even try yours?" to which she very convincingly tells you she did. You give her a bite of your yummy leftover mac-n-cheese, and the 1yo decides he must have some, too. You give him a bite and he goes nuts. You decide to try giving him the 3yo's, since she doesn't want it. He's thrilled. You feed the 1yo, then the 3yo, then the 1yo, then the 3yo... So you put the 3yo's mac-n-cheese on the 1yo's plate and your yummy leftover mac-n-cheese on the 3yo's plate, just grateful everyone's eating. Then you try to eat what's left of your yummy leftover mac-n-cheese, but it's cold and you're just not hungry anymore.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I knew better. I should've done better. (Tough Love Tuesday)

I negatively labeled someone in a public forum and behind their back.  They'd hurt my feelings, and long-held animosity took over.

Something told me not to post the label, but I continued on.  I decided to edit out something else, and when the label was all that was left, it didn't seem so bad.  A little while later, I decided I needed to delete the post.  Unfortunately, I forgot, and then we left the house.  By the time I got back, I forgot again.

I remembered the next day when I got a less-than-chipper email calling me on my error in judgment.  I felt really bad...until I read the entire email.  In return for my misstep, I was insulted in more ways than one, and my label was written off as a schoolyard insult.  Since my label is, to me, a pretty serious one, one that affects people I love and one that represents much bigger problems in our society, I saw red.

I managed to write a sincere apology for calling the person out in public and behind their back.  But that's where my good judgment ended.  Even though I knew I should take the high road and just apologize sincerely and completely, I felt the need to explain the label.  So I did, harshly, effectively undermining my apology and ending all chances of discussing my concerns in a civilized manner should I choose to do so.

I know I can't mend this easily, so I just hope that someone else will learn from my hurtful mistakes.

It is never okay to call someone a name, no matter how public or private the setting.  How you talk about someone - even to yourself - will inevitably affect how you treat that person in every other way.

It is never okay to defend yourself when you've genuinely hurt someone.  Always take the high road and just apologize, sincerely.  If anything you said was founded on truth, or at least legitimate concern, the issue needs to be tabled for future review.  Either you choose not to address it or you address it in a more respectful way - and in private.

Finally, and this lesson is one I keep trying to learn the hard way over and over and over again, let God lead you.  I'm sure my reservations were the Holy Spirit telling me to stop, but I let my emotions do the talking.  I was passive aggressive and judgmental.  I was a terrible example for my friends and loved ones, especially as a Christian.  I did not act out of love.  Nothing I did brought about anything positive; it only created a snowball of hurt, on all sides.

I am truly sorry for the public labeling and underhanded insults.  I know I was wrong.  I hope you'll forgive me.