I have a new domain. Please redirect your browsers and update your email signatures and bookmarks to this address:

Donna has been at work making things look nice and function well.

I look forward to seeing you there. Thank you.

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10 Songs To Inspire and Encourage

Here for your enjoyment are ten songs that boost my mood and get me feeling alive in a way that is conducive to the creative process. I hope they are helpful to you as well. What songs inspire you?

One Day-Matisyahu

Good Morning Good Morning-The Beatles

Say a Little Prayer for You-My Best Friend’s Wedding

Whatever It Is-Ben Lee

Sweetest Thing-U2

Something Good This Way Comes-Jakob Dylan

If I Had A Boat-Lyle Lovett

Heart Songs-Weezer

A Lifetime-Better Than Ezra

For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)-Pete Yorn

All Will Be Well-Gabe Dixon Band

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The Fallacy of a Hasty Dismissal

Yesterday the dog was running from one window to the other barking. I peeked through the blinds on the window nearest me and didn’t see anything. My dog, Cash, is bad to bark at nothing or angels or imaginary threats. I told him, “There’s nothing out there” but he kept at it so I looked out of the second window. What to my wondering eyes did appear but two men on a golf cart riding right up beside the house. It was our mower who had returned to spray Round Up.

I was wrong. I had to apologize to Cash and take a time out.

The incident reminded me of a story about my grandmother. She too was prone to report crazy things that weren’t always what she thought they were. Once she called my uncle claiming that a donkey was in her backyard.  At her insistence, he came over to check it out though he was still a bit skeptical.

To his surprise, there was a donkey in the backyard.

Even crazy people aren’t always wrong and yet we develop a tendency to disregard what they’re saying because we’ve already been to the circus before.

There’s a reason people say, “consider the source.” It’s necessary to because there’s a lot of information coming at us all the time. We need to filter and measure and weigh the facts.

While we consider the source, let us also consider how painful it must be to not be taken seriously. It’s a thing of grace to really listen to someone.

Sometimes it turns out, they are right.

But it’s not just a nice thing to do, it’s for our benefit to listen.

Sometimes they know something we don’t know.

And sometimes, even when they don’t know what they’re talking about, they possess clues to the mysteries that befuddle us most, like grace, or inspiration, or where we parked our car, or what we should do with our lives.

But unless we listen, we’ll miss the donkey in the backyard.

We’ll say, “It’s nothing.”

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Writing: What My Process Looks Like

I brainstorm lists of blog topics. I have realized though that these lists are a black hole, an almost sure fire way to guarantee I never write about those topics.

I’m not as bad as I used to be but I backspace like I restart video games which is chronically.

I sit in front of the monitor for hours everyday. I really am a slow writer.

Admittedly, I can’t help but feel that the payoff isn’t always worth the effort.

I hardly know how to write short, unless it’s a list. All my ideas are grandiose.

In addition to my slowness, I have undiagnosed ADHD. If you watched me you’d understand what I mean. I am constantly distracted.

The internet doesn’t help but even in a quiet room on my word processor these same problems plague me. There I am likely to fall asleep.

I come up with an idea I’m really excited about and then hit a wall and don’t complete the post for several days because I want to get it right.

This usually means that my blog suffers as I don’t move on to something else.

However, sometimes I do move on. My WordPress dashboard is  clogged with the partially completed drafts of my neglected ideas.

My plan every weekend is to write 5 complete posts for the new week. Typically, I manage only one.

I am never satisfied with anything I write in haste to fulfill my self-set standard of blogging daily.

Knowing this, I usually go to bed frustrated when I can’t get it together preferring to leave the task incomplete than to provide inferior content.


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Taking a Hint in The Digital Age

Remember the silent treatment? Or when the one shunned friend would speak and the jerk friend would ask the others in a hushed tone, “Did you guys hear something? It sounded like a tiny mouse.”

Well, don’t feel too bad if you’ve forgotten. These were policies of social ostracism that were in place long ago before any such concoction as a Facebook or Twitter.

Now that we have segued completely into the digital age. it is worth noting that the dis has evolved.

In the past, if one didn’t want to make time for someone else all they had to do was not return their phone calls. Then when the person finally got through to them, the excuse was simple, “I’ve been meaning to call you back. I’ve just been so busy.”

It’s hard to begrudge a person who is apologetic.

But what Facebook gives us is a window into the truth that maybe sometimes the friend in question is blowing us off.

It was easier to assume the best of people before when the extent of our socializing and networking was no greater than a 30 mile radius.

Unless you became an actual stalker and tailed them around all over town, you could never really know how busy they were. If you felt dissed, it wouldn’t be too much trouble to find them. You’d just go over to their house on a weeknight.

Now, it is not uncommon to have friends scattered all over the globe and at the same time to be connected via Facebook. Used to, we would say, “I’d really love to hear from [so and so]”.  We could blame the weakness of our relationship on the miles between us. Today, we are able to contact them at whim.

You may rightly point out that we had that luxury with email. Yes, but email was hardly different than phone calls had been. We couldn’t know if and when the person had checked their inbox. But with Facebook, you can know. You can see when they were last logged in, whose wall they’ve been posting on, how many hours they put in on their lagoon, and some of what they’re doing offline.

So, when they don’t write you back or respond to your updates of good news or grave concerns over an extended period of time during which you see them actively interacting with a variety of other people, it’s harder to ignore.

And when a few friends repeat the pattern, you develop a complex.

Do they hate me? Have they hidden me?

I’m speaking hypothetically, of course.

I can take a hint, can you?

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Reflections on a Prayer Life

Originally posted on 12/15/2009

When I was very small I got a Prayer Bear for Easter. This was long, long before the ones where you squeeze a paw and it recites the Lord’s prayer. No, mine was just a simple plush bear in blue shirt with his hands clasped together by Velcro. I was taught to pray before bedtime and before meals. We believed in the power of prayer and in miracles.

I remained faithful with my bedtime prayers as I entered into high school except now a few simple thoughts didn’t seem to be enough. I marveled at how the Pope was said to get up so early that he could pray for hours before his day actually began. I lifted up prayer about anything and everything, about anyone and everyone. Praying had also benefited me during my early teens as I wrestled with big questions and spiritual warfare. At church, I became more fond of praying silently at the altar.

Then I went away to bible college. Here it was harder to wriggle out of being asked to pray. I had surrendered to ministry, after all. Each class began with prayer. After several requests were given, the prof would call on one of us to pray. This always made me nervous. I didn’t look forward to being asked. When I was, I struggled through it. When I wasn’t, I sighed in relief. I was more comfortable with small groups as I lead a group of dorm guys.

My personal prayer life consisted of scribblings in my journal and talking aloud to God on morning walks around the campus lake. Sometimes I prayed anxiously over not being where I thought I needed to be in relation to God and of my seeming inability to get-it-together. The idea of prayer, that we make requests of an all-knowing God, became more peculiar though I recognized the importance of continuing in it.I learned a model of prayer: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. This was helpful and biblical but in my efforts to adapt to this model, my prayer life lost all spontaneity and gradually dried up.

In recent years, I’ve prayed with less consistency. As I’ve gotten older, when praying at bedtime I often doze off. I don’t always pray over my meals or even dare-I-say keep my eyes closed during prayer with others. I’ve become comfortable with impromptu prayer but only when it’s just me and Donna. To this day when asked to pray as I feel lead, I never feel lead. If put on the spot, I will comply but I secretly wish no one asked. I feel like the kid in Sunday School who doesn’t read and is asked to.

Last year, a co-worker who is Christian asked me to pray for something. I gave her some convoluted explanation as to why I wasn’t sure that I could fulfill her request. It had been my experience that people would agree to pray but not follow through. I didn’t want to do that. I wasn’t sure I would remember to later. But, if this had been a non-Christian friend I would never had said this. I would’ve been pleased they asked. I would’ve happily obliged. That’s been my sentiment for awhile but I’m trying to change that. On Twitter and Facebook friends often ask for prayer. When I see these requests, I write back, “ok” or “I will” just so they know that I am with them for that moment, however brief. And then, I take a half a minute to pray for them.

The best prayer may be the shortest, “God help me” and that is my prayer tonight. Amen.

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Being Mary Margaret

I love my mother-in-law.  I promise I do.

This is not a complaint.

But she has these talking spells right about this time every night.  I tend to forget about them until she starts up again.

But 11:00 central standard time is Mary’s Show.

Coincidentally, this is when I start to wind down.

Donna is in our room.  I told her I’d be a few minutes. I had something in mind to write for tomorrow.

I forgot about Mary’s Show. Consequently, that serious post ain’t happening.

I’ll go with Steve Winwood’s advice here.  Roll with it, baby.

You may be wondering, what is this show like? I’ll tell you.

These are highlights from tonight’s episode:

How does a tsunami happen?

Is it snowing in Japan?

<pointing to TV> What’s in those blue containers?

Oh, look.  Pierce Brosnan is having Yoko Ono on his show tonight.

Does Pierce always come on at 11:00?

Save $100 on your 1st month? How much does a storage unit cost?

How much did you pay when you had one in Nashville?

Look! Can you tell if it’s snowing?

See, the blue containers.

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