Sarcasm is an ineffective persuasive technique.
It’s condescending, arrogant, divisive and shuts down dialog. It’s too often used by people in a manner to indicate that an issue is simple and anyone who doesn’t see the simplicity and logic of their side of an argument is an idiot to be ridiculed and dismissed.
If these issues were simple,
they wouldn’t be so controversial.
Anyone who uses trite, flippant sarcasm to make a point – especially without even acknowledging any opposing points of view – loses credibility with me
- and my interest in any discussion with them about how stupid the other guy’s point of view is
- regardless of whether I am the other guy or am aligned in opinion with the person wielding the sarcasm.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
We are loving our new microwave! Last one didn’t have the express cook feature and this one has it from 30 seconds to 6 minutes. and it is so. quiet. Best of all, it doesn’t continue to beep nag us when the cook time is complete.
You know what I LOVE about reading Philip Yancey? He’s not afraid to barrel headlong into the hard questions even when it could make his readers ask “uhhhh. Is this guy even a CHRISTIAN?!“
Only one thing missing from today. A tin roof.
More photos of #thehomeprojectthatneverends: the living room makeover. the library.
The view out my back porch today. It’s raining so hard even a turtle is looking for shelter.
CLICK HERE to see the latest photos of the 2014 home makeover project. My very own mini LIBRARY.
FavoriteHusband and Bob have been fighting over this chair all day. FavoriteHusband just left the house.
You got about an hour and a half, Bob.
I know. that in a home improvement project, the house will go from bad to terrible to chaos before even coming close to better. But at this very moment, we have so many things happening at the same time, it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel is being carried in the opposite direction.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Although we are hours behind our hoped for schedule, the game room baseboards are finished, every piece of furniture is back in place with felt on the bottom and the electronics are all hooked back up. Unfortunately, because of all the rain yesterday, we created a dependent task by using wood cutting power tools on the back porch. EVERY. THING. is covered in sawdust, which I have NO intention of cleaning up today. Next up. Laying the new flooring in the kitchen.
My husband just pulled the oven into the middle of the kitchen floor.
that. is. dis. gusting.
The kitchen floor will not be finished by the time we go to bed. At this point, both the fridge and the oven are in the middle of my kitchen. We just broke for dinner. Takeout from Gino’s. We’ve lived here since 1996 and we’ve only eaten there once. Four thumbs up. And the portion sizes are HUGE. Who can eat this much in one sitting? All four of us will be getting two meals out of our orders. Which is good. Because our fridge and stove are in the middle of the kitchen right now.
Monday, February 24, 2014
The fridge, stove and dishwasher are all where they should be. With new flooring under each. The room we thought would be the easiest has turned out to be the hardest. The kitchen is…1/4 – 1/3 finished.
We. are. tired.
You know what people don’t say enough? “dagnabbit.”
dagnabbit. No water comes out of the sink when I turn on hot and no water comes out of the fridge door when I try to get ice water. obviously, we’ve done something to break something. twice. or maybe just once with double consequences. But the floor under the fridge and dishwasher look excellent. Have I mentioned that I HATE dependent tasks? Especially when we actually CREATE them.
And two more dominoes fall in #thehomeprojectthatneverends. Both involving shopping. I hate shopping.
(1) Putting the loveseat back into the living room and we noticed it was actually THREADBARE. Not sure I’ve ever seen threadbare before, but this is definitely it. Found a new one I actually LOVE yesterday on accident when I was returning shelving to Big Lots. and it’s a floor model on clearance! FavoriteHusband is taking his truck this afternoon. REALLY hope it’s still there.
(2) 2nd domino is replacing the rolling office chairs we have around our kitchen table. Floor manufacturer’s instructions warn against the casters. Casters that meet specs are a minimum of $50 a set. $50+ each to make chairs that already have “cosmetic issues” more functional. no. I’ll be shopping for new kitchen chairs. Comfortable. Cheap.
CLICK HERE to see 2009 photos of our chair preference progression AND the threadbare loveseat before it was threadbare and the flooring we will be covering up this weekend.
That lizard Bob the cat presented to me and then set free in the house on Valentine’s Day?
And it’s clear that Bob found him first.
FavoriteHusband is picking up my new reading spot right now. Then we need to feed my old reading spot to the Whale POD (charity storage unit.) Hoping to lay more flooring in the kitchen tonight.
FavoriteHusband and I spent the last hour and a half laying only FOUR rows of flooring in the kitchen. He went into the garage to get tools to switch out the water filter on the back of the fridge.
Me, to FavoriteSon: “I tire of this game. I don’t want to play anymore.”
FavoriteSon: “Then quit. Make dad do it.”
Me: “That wouldn’t be very nice.”
FS: “Well, then stop complaining.”
Me: “yeah. That’s not gonna happen.”
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
It is February 25th. Who knows why my daughter is ECSTATICALLY HAPPY it is FINALLY February 25th?
(digital HD release of Disney’s Frozen)
If you know me, you probably already know this. In the context of my everyday interactions with people, I am very open about my faith. Because I’ve learned that if I hide the thing that is most important in my life from the people I interact with in an effort to make them more comfortable, we will never be true friends. They will never know who I really am. I will be a big fake. The hiding would be deceitful. I tell people about my faith in Christ because it is such a integral part of my life that to hide it from people would be to hide myself. It would keep people at a distance.
The rest of the flooring is going to go down SLOWLY. The reason? We are working BACKwards. Up until the kitchen, we were working north to south, which meant we were laying flooring on TOP of the last laid row. In order to match up with the connecting room, we have to lay the kitchen south to north, which means that every. single. plank. has to be tucked UNDER the previous row. The adhesive is STRONG. If we let any part of the planks touch before they are positioned, it is a struggle to readjust.
“I’ve found my bliss.” and/or “I need to find my bliss.”
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
To continue from yesterday…Here’s what evangelism looks like in my life: When I interact with people, the first thing I want to do is get to know more about them as an individual. I ask questions. I listen. I ask more questions. and I listen. Sometimes, the other person shares something about their own life or experiences or goals or dreams or obstacles or fears that calls to my mind something in my own life and experience – something which relates in some way to what they’ve shared with me. Since Christ is such an integral part of my life, it’s only natural that those experiences would be saturated by His presence and influence.
I don’t filter God out of my life stories to make other people more comfortable.
What about you? Do you filter out what Christ has done and is doing in your life in an effort to make people more comfortable? To make yourself easier to like? Are you hiding the most important part of yourself and in the process, sabotaging the potential for authentic friendships? Are you keeping people at a distance? Settling for another acquaintance when you could have a true friend? What happens if you give the other person more credit than that? What happens if you trust them accept you for who you are even if they are different than you?
(this is an excerpt from one of my February 2013 blog posts – CLICK HERE to read the full post)
Would this count as a Rick Roll?
PinkGirl, on the ride home from school: “Mom! Did you know there’s a gorilla that can communicate using sign language?”
PinkGirl: “Her name is Koko.”
Me: “I know.”
PinkGirl: “I want a gor…”
PinkGirl: “But she’s so swe…”
Me: “No. You may NOT have a gorilla.”
PinkGirl, trying to pack her lunch in our construction zone kitchen: (spoken wistfully): “Mom. Do you remember…when we used to have a counter?”
Me: “yes. smart alec kid.”
PinkGirl, point waving at all the painting and flooring supplies: “and I didn’t make this mess.”
LONG overdue catharsis. no holds barred. (my latest blog post): The lying tempter would persuade.
(click the link above or the Jim Carrey photos below to read the full post)
Thursday, February 27, 2014
We put the game room back together last weekend.
FavoriteSon: “It’s not really a man cave.”
Me: “You use this room more than anyone else. It’s a man cave.”
FavoriteSon: “There’s a quote by Henry David Thoreau on the wall. It’s not a man cave.”
Me, to FavoriteSon: “Part of me says (excited voice) ‘Your Dad is coming home today!!’ and part of me says (depressed voice) ‘Your Dad is coming home today.’”
FavoriteSon: “Because you have to get back to work on the house?”
yes. I did miss him. But it was a wonderful two days off.
Seriously affirmed in my reasoning to create and publish facebook compilation blog posts. Working on one now and there’s so much stuff I flat out can NOT find on facebook that I know I posted less than a week ago. It’s like it disappeared. If you think facebook is a great way to chronicle your everyday life, it’s not. I’m going to try and do these compilation posts from here on out – and post on my own blog. Where I have control of content.
I LOVE my daughter’s school and the middle school teachers. She just called me in uncontrollable happy tears to tell me how much she loves me because she just came out of drama class where her classmates (PinkGirl included) just “poured their hearts out about everything they were all going through and how we’re all so thankful and blessed that we have Christ in our lives to help us and…” Her next class was Bible and she asked to go to the office to call me and ask me to come up to school so she could hug me. I’m outta here. #ilovemydaughter
Just got back from going to PinkGirl’s school to give her a requested mid-day bear hug. One of the kids involved in that heart-wrenching discussion was sharing really, really hard things and everyone was telling him it would be okay. PinkGirl said: “I can’t promise you everything will be okay. At least not the way we see our life. But it will be okay the way God sees it. I think God is using the things in our lives to mold us into the people we’re going to be. It’s like a blacksmith. Sometimes, a blacksmith has to heat stuff up and hit it really hard with a hammer to mold it into something beautiful. The blacksmith knows what he’s making.”
#ilovemydaughter #seepeople #reachout
EVERY day matters. EVERY conversation matters. Don’t settle for conversations about nothing. Platitudes can be lies. Ask questions that let your friends and family KNOW you care about them and talk about things really that matter, even if it makes them uncomfortable. Even if it makes them back away. Even if people think you’re too serious. It doesn’t mean you are wrong. It means they aren’t ready. #lessonsfrommydaughter
HOW have I never seen this? I LOVE smart fast funny! so. good.
I add “read books” to my to-do list every day so I know I’ll get at least one thing done.
Here’s another facebook compilation blog post. Everything I posted on facebook between February 15th thru 21st, all on one page. Because sometimes stuff on facebook doesn’t show up in my newsfeed. or disappears.
Whenever I see something arrogantly or sarcastically hateful on facebook, I can’t help but wonder what is going on in that person’s life that would prompt them to take time and effort out of their probably otherwise demanding day to be openly and intentionally hurtful to strangers. or friends. #seepeople #edify
To see more previous facebook update and compilation blog posts, CLICK HERE.
Posting this a week late, as usual…
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Who else would have to eat these one line at a time?
Shopping for a new blender because we smoothied ours to DEATH.
This is my favorite amazon.com review so far:
Pros: It blends. I can make protein shakes with this blender. Cheap.
Cons: Does not clean itself. Does not make my drinks for me.
I LOVE shopping online instead of in a store.
Free shipping and coupon codes make it even BETTER.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Yo, FirstHusband. Taking the power supply from a laptop that can’t hold a charge is like taking a crutch from someone with a broken leg.
Listening to my husband sing “Let me sleep on it” softly as he’s putting away groceries.
This is what happens when he drives his son’s muscle car and listens to classic rock.
FavoriteSon: This smells disgusting!
Every time I think something died in our garbage disposal I look next to me and there’s BROCCOLI.
FavoriteSon: “Watching the Superbowl commercials early on youtube is blasphemous.”
Meanwhile, there’s a Doritos commercial coming up that reminds me of this one:
This one made me laugh.
Monday, February 3, 2014
I’m chaperoning PinkGirl’s 7th grade trip to a “coastal classroom” on an island in south Georgia later this week.
FirstHusband went with FavoriteSon when he was in 7th grade so I’m getting some info.
Apparently, there will be a night hike.
And supposedly, “snakes are in hibernation this time of year.”
Going over the packing list for the trip I’m going on with PinkGirl’s 7th grade class. My least favorite item on the list? “Plastic bag for muddy clothes. (clothes may come home very muddy and wet!)”
There was no floor laying this past weekend.
My flooring shipment was somewhere north of snow & ice.
26 boxes of flooring will be here tomorrow between 1 and 4pm.
I think I’m going to get a free pallet or two as a bonus.
Me: “There’s no floss down here.” (two story house)
FirstHusband: “yes there is.”
Me: “I am NOT using the bubble gum floss. (pause)
Why do we even HAVE bubble gum floss? How old is it?”
But did I throw it out? no.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Make homemade marshmallows. #thingsiwillneverdo
Teacher: “Who wants to be in charge of bringing cups to the snack party tomorrow?”
Teacher: “okay. and who wants to bring homemade brownies?”
That’s my girl.
Least favorite task of the day complete:
taking a double bagged diarrhea sample to the vet.
“Legal fees, jail time and loss of business make the sale of humans a less lucrative trade. Regardless of the verdicts, raids and arrests send a message to the local community that sexual slavery is not acceptable. When we apply pressure to the trafficking mechanisms from a legal standpoint, we slowly force modern-day slavery into the category of higher risk and lower reward. This is potentially one of the greatest steps we can make as a community fighting this injustice.”
(to read the full article, CLICK HERE)
It occurred to me that coffee at a “coastal classroom” might be…less than optimal.
This is going to be a disappointment, isn’t it?
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 (at the CRACK of dawn)
The coffee pot is fully loaded.
none of that half-caf, half-decaf nonsense today.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Breakfast is at 6:30am.
At 5am, a cell phone alarm goes off. (set for the previous morning)
Seconds later, it goes off again.
The 3rd noise is multiple voices calling the cell phone owner’s name in a fruitless attempt to wake them up, followed by “SOMEBODY POWER IT OFF! ” and “ARHHH”
It’s now 5:45am and the cell phone owner is still asleep.
“Somebody WAKE HER UP! Her cell phone woke US all up at FIVE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!”
PinkGirl, coming in the chaperone room to change: “you have clean floors in here. You don’t find that a lot out there.” #suburbgirlproblems
My kinda field trip. Even it is cold and windy. #ilovemydaughter
Thank you God that it is NOT raining.
Thank you God for the rain jackets I bought and brought.
so. cold. so. windy.
Cumberland Island Guide, talking about the Carnegie family:
“How did they make their money? I’ll give you a hint. Pittsburgh.”
Teacher, under her breath: “steel… steel.”
PinkGirl, exuberantly: “They would STEAL IT!!”
Me: “not that kind of steel, babe.”
Answer: terrain and wind chill.
Question: what is it about an 8 hour hike on a coastal island that exponentially kicks my butt more than a 14 hour, 25,000 step, park-hopping day at Disney theme parks?
How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?
The correct answer put a group 1st in line for dinner.
PinkGirl nailed it.
Everyone else had to stand in line in the freezing cold and sprinkling rain.
Facing the Giants. #dry #warm #tired
Friday, February 7, 2014
God is good, all the time.
It’s been one of the longest, shortest, frustrating, rewarding, heartbreaking, hopeful, disappointing, hopeful 3 days of my life.
Kids who love Jesus,
kids who need Jesus and are looking for him
and kids who keep themselves so distracted they have no idea how much Jesus is jealous for them.
Praying this trip remains a stone in their shoe.
Praying that the Holy Spirit would draw them closer to Christ.
PinkGirl after coming home from a 3 day trip to a “coastal classroom” in Georgia: “I’m gonna take a shower.”
FavoriteDad: “A warm shower?”
PinkGirl: “The water in that shower was either like the inside of a volcano or where the Titanic sank.”
true. there was a very, very small window on that shower dial where the water didn’t burn you alive or freeze you to death.
I was complaining about an incompetent vendor billing error.
PinkbGirl, dramatically gesturing: ” Mom. Let it Go. Let it Go.”
FavoriteDad: “You know, you can never legitimately say “The cold never bothered me anyway” ever again.”
PinkGirl: ” It’s metaphoric, Dad.”
I’ve been in the sauna.
I’ve taken a shower and washed my hair
and I’ve written some alternate lyrics to “My Favorite Things” that I’m calling “Suburbanite Things”
Toilets with knee room and floors with clean carpet
Light bulbs that light things and wi-fi and Target
a king size mattress, complete with box springs,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Sinks with hot water and unfrozen throne seats
Paths free of horse scat and clean shoes and warm feet
Ground with no incline, wind with no sting
These are a few of my favorite things.
When the cold bites
When the wind stings
When I need a heating pad,
I simply imagine suburbanite things
And then I don’t feel so bad
To see more previous facebook update and compilation blog posts, CLICK HERE.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Me, to PinkGirl, who was head down in her iPad: “Whatcha up to?”
PinkGirl: “Talking to people.”
Me: “Who ya talking to?”
PinkGirl: “What difference does it make?”
Me: “When I’m on the phone, what do you always ask me?
PinkGirl, grinning: “Who ya talking to?”
Me: “When I’m texting someone, what do you always ask me?”
PinkGirl, rolling eyes: “Who ya texting.”
Me: “So, who ya talking to?”
PinkGirl: “Mama, you know what I realized? Owl is a narcissist, Rabbit has OCD, Piglet has anxiety, Pooh has an eating disorder, Eyeore has depression and Tigger has ADHD. (pause) Kanga and Roo…I don’t have anything for them.”
FirstHusband and I CRACKED up. The music was a dead giveaway.
(And he’s either a bachelor or his wife was NOT home.)
Me, to PinkGirl, who’s in the shower: “Do you have a towel?”
PG: “no” and after I give her a towel: “Thank you!”
Me, to PinkGirl, who is walking upstairs wrapped in her towel: “Please put on your wrap and hang up your towel.”
PG: “I’m going upstairs to get dressed.”
Me: “yes, I know. Please put on your wrap and hang up your towel, so that the NEXT time you take a shower, your towel will be AVAILABLE to you….and I can see you mocking me.
PG: “Yes, but I did it with a smile.”
Check out what my FavoriteHusband made with scraps of 2×4 today. #pinterest #honeydo
Saturday, January 26, 2014
The distance between being a target & praying for the shooter is so much shorter for my daughter than myself. #sweetestbedtimeprayers
Monday, January 26, 2014
I’m going to be painting walls this week and my brain will be idle, so I’ve decided to spend the time in prayer. Is there anything I can pray about for you? Message me. You don’t have to tell me exactly what to pray about if you’re not comfortable sharing – God knows.
I shared a facebook updated by Mandisa:
“Yesterday #Overcomer won a #Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song and Album…and I wasn’t there. My reasons why might surprise you. I wrote about it here.” –> http://wp.me/p3Gq0r-cE
Listening to PinkGirl sing mouth guitar to this while I’m painting.
Day One of painting complete. The big red wall is gone. Both cats are still black. Success. In case you missed it, here are the photos so far: (click the photo to see the post with all the photos)
13 year old PinkGirl, at the beginning of watching this video: “What’s this puppy doing? I’m intrigued.”
I love hearing my kids use words like this in everyday conversation. #ilovemydaughter
Clearly, my socks are broken.
And we need to replace the sliding doors in this house.
Bank decided to replace our credit card.
1st vendor I updated?
My amazon.com 1-click, of course.
Then paypal, then…2 hours later…I hope I’m done.
Chili 2 ways tonight – white bean chicken & traditional (but with ground Healthy Choice sausage because I’m out of ground beef) and cornbread. oh. & Beano for an appetizer.
Both my men will be in the house with me all day tomorrow. I, of course, will not need it. I always smell like books.
It is NOT okay to be mean to someone & then act like it never happened. It’s dysfunctional. Own it. Apologize.
Even if it’s uncomfortable.
What a PHENOMENAL story of God’s providence!!!
I hate it when Ernest is sick. (Ernest is my laptop.) His battery transplant from Ebay has shipped. Meanwhile, I’ve been tethered to an electrical outlet for days.
FYI, Ernest got his name from the following book quote:
“For some reason, everyone thinks, ‘I should know how to write.’ No one thinks, ‘I should know how to play the piano.’ But when it comes to writing, ‘I should know how to do it.’
What if I told you a story about a man who buys a piano, sits down to play for the very first time and is shocked when he doesn’t sound like Arthur Rubinstein?
‘I don’t understand,’ he complains, ‘I’ve listened to lots of music, I should know how to play the piano.’
Ridiculous you say? Yet there you are: Banging away at the typewriter, you’re mortified when your work isn’t as good as Ernest Hemingway’s. Hell, it isn’t even as good as Ernest Goes to Camp.”
from “If You Can Talk, You Can Write” by Joel Saltzman
To see more previous facebook update and compilation blog posts, CLICK HERE.
I’ve known for a very long time that I’m different. Not “better” different. Because, really, “better” is relative. Better than what? The comparisons are limitless. and I’m thinking at least 50% of them wouldn’t be pretty. “Different” can imply too much trouble. too much work. weird. tiresome. exasperating. I don’t deny those adjectives. They’re not my favorite, but they’re not untrue.
I’m not a kid anymore.
I’ll be 49 this month. In 4 days actually. Time for (another) hard look in the mirror:
Retin-A prescription. check.
paralyzing self-doubt. che…WAIT.
WHAT THE H3LL is THAT DOING HERE?
no no no no no. That has got to GO.
Somehow, somewhere, some way, the idea that I’m “doing it WRONG” had planted itself smack in the middle of my writing path, taking me on a multi-month detour that led straight into a dead end. I stopped “doing it” altogether and focused instead on the WAY I was doing it. Which again, I
perceived believed was WRONG.
Ironically, the thing that triggered the paralyzing self-doubt was the exact same thing that knocked me free from it.
~ Someone telling me my blog posts were selfish made me forget that a blog, by definition is an online journal. So, by definition, MY blog is about what I think and how I feel and how I process. It’s not a place where I write one-size-fits all articles directed at the masses in exchange for money. I intentionally don’t monetize this blog because I want to say what I want to say without outside censorship. Almost overnight, internal censorship resulted in words that were so restricted and appropriately vanilla that proofing them was like reading something written by a complete stranger. A boring stranger. KMN. I forgot that clicking – or not clicking – a mouse button is a choice every single person who reads my blog is free to make…or NOT make.
~ Someone telling me they don’t read my blog because I tend to ramble on, somehow made me count my words – instead of considering the fact that maybe they just DON’T WANT TO READ it. I took the “ramble on” feedback to mean that I needed to learn to write more concisely – instead of considering the possibility that maybe – just maybe – what I have to say just flat out doesn’t interest them.
~ Two different people tell me they sometimes have to read something I’ve written twice and I focus on the one who tells me I lost them instead of focusing on the one who wants to have coffee to explore what I said and talk about what she took away from it after the second, slower read it required and the deeper thinking it led to.
~ And most frustrating and challenging of all, there were widespread tangential comments from, and conversations with, multiple people about both my Christ-centered church and my search for joy blog posts which didn’t seem to be related to the content of what I had actually written. I had written extensively about the why and how we do things and the feedback was all about what we do – or about something else entirely. I was overwhelmed and grieved with the heartbreaking realization that we were suffering from a fatal illness and the feedback I was hearing was all about how dedicated we are to our health and how hard we work to eat right and exercise. It was a disconnect I couldn’t reconcile.
and so I shut down. no more writing until I could learn how to do it with more clarity.
Finally, after months of being unable to even open my book draft, and after finally identifying exactly WHY (a lack of confidence in my ability to effectively encode ANYthing I wanted to say), I began asking people to restate, in their own words, what they thought I said. One after another, multiple people made it crystal clear to me that my encoding was spot on. The message was clear. It was understood.
It was just rejected.
wait. that’s probably just a different kind of bad.
BUT IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY!
I’m used to rejection. Being dismissed is old hat. I’m SO much better at respectfully agreeing to disagree than I’ll ever be at pretending to agree.
But being an educator and believing I had become an incompetent communicator? That was paralyzing.
This feedback led to a significant pivot point. These people were able to succinctly restate my message. They had a very clear understanding of what I wrote and their ability to precisely restate what I said – along with their rejection of it – was just the epiphany I needed to break free from this quagmire. In that pivot point moment, I saw it. I was suffering from toxic levels of avoidance. I couldn’t write. Not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because by NOT writing, there was absolutely ZERO chance I could create selfish, rambling, rhetoric that loses people. I had spent weeks re-reading previous blog posts with the eye of an iron glute professor armed with textbook communication theory and a psychological red pen that could berate Dr. Seuss for lack of clarity and nonsensical vocabulary.
I’m not saying I’m going to insulate myself from honest, yet sometimes negative feedback because it might derail me again. I understand the dangers of a steady diet of rainbows. I’ve paid a therapist and a voice teacher to tell me the truth. I’m going to keep seeking feedback. And NOT only from people who believe every kid who plays should get a trophy. I just need to REMIND MYSELF of ONE thing EVERY. SINGLE. time I process a word of it:
I’m a square peg.
and I LIKE being square. I think round things are inefficient uses of space. And I know the look I get when I say that out loud to someone. It goes with the eye roll you just gave me. Nobody thinks or cares about the the spacial efficiency of square objects.
except maybe me. because I’m different.
PinkGirl: “Mom, did you pre-order that book for me?”
Me: “no. is there some incentive for PRE-ordering?
PinkGirl: “no, I’m just DYING to find out what happened.”
Me: “I have no sympathy. You have broken the family fiction series rule.”
PinkGirl: “What rule? (as if she didn’t know)
FavoriteDad: “You don’t start reading a fiction series until they’ve all been written.”
“I DON’T CARE!!!!!!!!
GET ME THE BOOK!!!”
Me, to FavoriteDad: “Are you going to let her talk to me in all caps like that?”
It’s taken me months to nail down the problem. WHY did I shut down after publishing my “Christ-centered church” series?
Anything I had to say was pointless. recycled and contrived. self-important rambling. vomit from my fingertips.
my confidence wasn’t the only thing that was shot. my credibility was in a crumpled heap:
Who did I think I was? If God has a message, He does NOT want me to share it. As a matter of fact, if He wants anybody to actually hear a message, He really needs to find someone else to share it. seriously. look at the history. I suck at this.
Not only did the message of the Christ-centered church series get vehemently rejected, it was so vehemently rejected, people rejected stuff I didn’t even SAY. Those posts shut down conversation and built unscalable walls of defensiveness that are still impenetrable today.
Vehement rejection aside, there seem to be just as many people who didn’t understand what I was trying to say in the first place. Not even a little. Then there are the people who are convinced they understand, but when they comment or talk to me, it’s clear. Not even close. I hadn’t succinctly explained what I was talking about. I sometimes wondered if I would have been better understood if I had written those posts in pig-Latin.
Am I dismissing the relatively few people who did understand? who identified with what I said? who responded positively?
of course I am. It’s what we humans do. In an employee review, we will dismiss the 9 “excellents” and obsess over the one “needs improvement.” Because the next review? We want that “needs improvement” to be improved. significantly.
For months after that series, I was convinced I couldn’t put words together in comprehensible sentences. I couldn’t write. I stopped the “conversations with a born-again athiest” series. If what I said about my faith caused CHRISTIANS such confusion and anger, I had NO business talking to an atheist. seriously.
I was paralyzed by a complete and total lack of confidence in my ability to discern ANYthing. God’s will, God’s prompting, God’s movement. Wisdom?
It was months of paralyzing doubt…no – paralyzing conviction – that I had nothing of value to contribute to…anyone – and even if I did – I was incapable of articulating it with any clarity at all.
I threw myself into physical labor. I can’t screw that up, right?
I began asking God for a mentor. To send someone wise and blessed with discernment. Then, just two weeks ago, I had coffee with a new friend. A deep thinker. We read the same authors. She took the time to listen and dig. She’s a question asker. It was a short four hours. I put my finger on it:
and I already KNEW it. I mentioned it in the middle of the Christ-centered church series, in a post entitled ““Christ-centered Church.” I do not think it means what you think it means.”
“Encoding is, to simplify it, the words and pictures I use to convey my message…it’s MY RESPONSIBILITY TO MODIFY MY ENCODING in an effort to clarify my message and minimize any misinterpretation”
I went back and read the Christ-centered church series again. and again. and again.
Was WHAT I said inaccurate? no. and I do NOT answer that question lightly. More than 6 months later and I’ve got even more and detailed reasons for believing it’s true. Hard. heart wrenchingly hard. but true.
So. Was HOW I shared the message ineffective? I shared personally and chronologically. I stepped through what I believe God was revealing to me in the order He revealed it. I explained how He revealed it. I read the series again. I went over and over it. I read my prayer journal entries from that time. I couldn’t see any other way to do it. Should I have left myself completely out of it? Excluded my thoughts and feelings? Should I have just stated facts and stuck exclusively with movie clips and metaphors, like dominoes? Was all that personal stuff just a self-indulgent, cathartic purge? If I had just stated the premise of the message up front, would it have had more clarity? Or, as I suspect, would the message have been rejected even faster? Having already decided I was wrong, no one would have come back to read any more; there would have been absolutely NO reason to hear me out.
And here’s the gist of it: If I did such a phenomenally poor job encoding a blog series, how in the world could I possibly encode a book?
I was a communication major. I should be able to structure and articulate a message. Supposedly, I’m an educator. What I came face to face with – what paralyzed me – was that it doesn’t matter a flyin flip WHAT I have to say if I’m incapable of saying it in a way it can be understood.
And then God reminded me of Balaam’s ass.
I don’t believe in coincidences. God led me to this book, and this passage:
“As the final song was sung before I was to be introduced, I leaned to Boneface and out of fear and desperation [I] blurted, “I don’t know why I am here. I don’t know why God would send me here to speak to these people, Why me?” Without hesitation, and with a big grin, Boneface turned to me and said, “You are here because the donkey was busy tonight.”
He was making a not-so-veiled reference to the prophet Balaam’s talking donkey in the Old Testament.
I got the message. God uses anything or anyone He chooses.”
Elijah, Steps to a Life of Power by Bob Saffrin
If God can speak through an ass, He can speak through me.
and it has not escaped my attention that Balaam beat the crap out of that donkey THREE times before he understood what the donkey was trying to tell him.
I just need to keep reminding myself of one thing:
“…Balaam replied. ‘But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.’”