Monday, February 27, 2017

"Don't Be A Hotler!": Podling 1 Speaks Out

Note: I currently serve as nanny and educational assistant for five energetic podlings, ages six through sixteen. 

Today, Podling 1 speaks out.

Guest Post by Podling 1
Age 16

Most of you know that [Ruth] is quite eccentric. However, you may not realize that her eccentricity leaks into her everyday conversations, usually while she is teaching. Whether she is reprimanding one of us podlings or teaching us about the subjunctive mood, words will randomly burst out of her mouth that will result in peals of laughter and/or strange looks from said podlings.

Two weeks ago, I decided to document some of this randomness for your enjoyment.

These statements sound completely ridiculous out of context; but then again, they didn't make sense with context either!

"Don't you remember what happened to Shakespeare in the bathroom???" 
"One time while I was writing, I absentmindedly ate a whole pack of blueberries, and then the next day I had what I called...The Blueberries."
"NNNYYYUUUUUURRRRR!!!!" (Dying Whale Noise or Wookiee imitation: you decide.)  
"You know who had a nose like a toucan?"  
"Whoooo! These crumbs are JUST PEPPER!!!" 
"Everyone get back to the worky-worky .....whaaaah?" 
"Stop dancing like a sand person and do your work!" 
"But enough about time travel. Let's get back to your lesson." 
"Sugar cane. SUGAR cane. CANE." 
"This looks like a crazy person did it."  
"Are you petting me like a cat?"  
"If you give me a paper cut in my eyeball...." 
"Point your teeth at somebody else!" 
"This is very close to vampirism, this is too much!" 
*finishes deep conversation* "...and I have food on my pants. I did not mean to say that out loud." 
"Those are going to help you with all the moods!"  
"You can't buy a horse at JCPenney!" 
May these past remarks shed a new light on [Ruth's] crazy personality!

* * * *

*Note: "Don't be a Hotler" refers to "Adolph Hotler II," a fictional character co-created one day with Podling 2 as we discussed alternate WWII histories. Hotler's worse than Hitler. Probably. So "being a Hotler" is quite an insult. 

While I can't pretend to remember the context for all the above phrases, I am certain that Podling 1's powers of observation will take her far. May she always use them for good, not evil.

* * * *
Image Credit:

Monday, February 20, 2017

Failing Your Way to Success

I'm a struggling writer currently failing my way to success.

That doesn't make me special.

On the contrary: apart from a few exceptions, that's how most writers make it. They write and delete and write and delete. Their work is repeatedly rejected, forcing them to hone their craft and develop new skills. This process is good and necessary.

That doesn't mean that it feels good and necessary. For the most part, it just feels like hard work.

But we all go through this process. Even of the greats.

Especially the greats. Ernest Hemingway wrote the end of A Farewell to Arms forty-seven times.
When he was asked by Paris Review interviewer George Plimpton what had been the reason for so many endings, Hemingway replied: “Getting the words right” (The Telegraph).
Hemingway produced a lot of wrong words on his way to finding the right ones. In short, he failed his way to success.

Whatever your endeavor, determine not to let failure claim you. Instead, claim it as your own.

Learn from it, grow through it, get past it.

Fail your way to success.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Doomed Romance of Fiction: A Literary Love Song

Rochester proposed to Jane
With his wife upstairs.
Rapunzel's storied love led her
To sacrifice her hair.
Macbeth's sweet spouse seduced him
Into grisly, blood-soaked killing.
Dimmesdale didn't merit love,
But Hester Prynne proved willing.
Alas, for luckless Oedepus,
Who gouged out his own eyes
Upon the revelation
That his wife's his mom.


Oh, single friends and married friends
(And those midway 'tween labels)
Enlist in this, my festal song
(Please harmonize, if able.)
Lift loud and long in lusty praise
(and highly-stylized diction)
In thanks that we, at least,
Don't bear the doomed romance of fiction.

* * * * *

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!

More like this:

Photo Credit:

''The Painter's Honeymoon'' by Frederic Leighton (1864) {{Creator| |Name = Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton |Alternative names = |Birthdate = 1830-12-03 |Birthloc = {{en|Scarborough, England }} |Deathdate = 1896-01-25 |Deathloc = {{en|London, Englan

Monday, February 6, 2017

Three Reasons to Consider a Social Media Sabbatical

Lately the social media experience has been about as enjoyable as a voluntary root canal. If you identify with that statement, you might want to consider a social media sabbatical.

Three Reasons to Consider a Social Media Sabbatical

The internet is a terrible place to spend your time.

Some would argue that social media is a necessary evil for engaging with the current culture.

Those people have a point.

If you manage a business, maintain a platform, or promote a brand, you really can't avoid logging on regularly. Even if you don't really enjoy spending time online, you may still maintain social media profiles just to keep up with friends and family members you would not hear from any other way. 

That's not what I'm talking about.

There's a difference between visiting a place and making it your home. Think of drainage ditches. I benefit from them, and I'm glad they exist; but I don't rest the seat of my emotions in them.

Not that I'm comparing the internet to a drainage ditch. Much.

Either way, if your time on social media is having an undue impact on your emotions, it's time to take a break and gain some perspective.

Social media places undue weight on the the present.

Contrary to a lot of popular jargon about the present (it's really all we have, we should make it count, etc.), we know that life cannot be lived merely in light of the present. Thoughtful people consider the past and plan for the future. This is especially true for followers of Christ.

We absolutely do not accept that the present is all there is.

If reading today's news cycle depressed you, make time for Revelation 21. It's hard to stay depressed when you meditate on the fact that one day, the throne of God will descend from heaven and he will make all things new.

I'm not calling for a hands-off approach to the culture, however. That's neither logical nor scriptural.

But it's vital to remember that while Christians do engage the culture by living and sharing the Gospel, we absolutely do not allow our emotions to be blown about by each shift in the wind.

Yes, this world and all that is in it will fade away.

But be of good cheer.

Good will triumph. Evil will not.

Justice will rule.

The King will come in his glory.

And we will see it.

Rather than meditating on the latest inane comment being disseminated on social media, meditate on that.

You can’t keep up anyway.

People will always have something to say. Some of them will be right, and some will be wrong. Some will be worth your time, and many will not.

One thing's for sure: the machine will never stop.

But you can.

Understand that I'm not calling for complete ignorance or a full retreat. It's important to know what's going on in the world, how it's impacting your circle of friends, and what (if anything) you can do to help right the ship.

It is not, however, your responsibility to keep up with every person's opinion and form fully-articulated public stances on every single issue unfolding moment-by-moment online.

Absolve yourself of that responsibility.

It is exhausting and unnecessary.


I think we could all benefit from a full-scale social media time out. In fact, I'd love to give the entire internet a warm drink, a soft blanket, and a long nap.

Sadly, that's impossible.

It is possible, however, for you to grant yourself that courtesy.

Consider it.

* * * * *

Photo Credit

By Julia netaffinity (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons