Archives for April 2008

Round Four: All You Never Wanted To Know

Diana asks: I’m rather new at the blogging thing, including reading yours, so if you haven’t answered it already, I would love to ask if you have any tips for new bloggers, any enlightenment for us newbies…

Well, Diana, it’s funny that you should ask this since Shannon, Mel and I will be talking a little bit about this very topic at SheSpeaks in June.

And by “speaking,” I think we all know that what I really mean is “rambling incoherently.”

But off the top of my head, there are a few bits-o-information that I think are pretty important:

1) Know why you’re blogging. Is it just to keep up with friends and family? Or are you trying to build a readership? Because that last thing requires a ton of time and energy.

2) I’ve said this a hundred times: post regularly, and write in a voice that’s uniquely your own. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. There’s only one you, so use that to your advantage.

3) Don’t expect online community to be a substitute for real-life community. It’s a lovely addition, and you will probably make some friends along the way, but online community cannot – and should not – replace the real-live people in our real-world lives.

I believe that’s what you might call the tip of the bloggy iceberg, but I hope it helps.

Rebecca asks: First, which comes first: fashion or pain? I was sorely limping into a mid-fancyish restaurant in heels that were divine (looking) and got some weird stares from those who do not understand that pain is gain. The pain is actually STILL living in infamy. So is fashion worth the pain to look dee-vine? (FYI: I wore my toe pinching heels with my new trouser jeans… oh, I would have made you proud!)

Well done, Rebecca, with your gorgeous shoes and jeans! As for me, I don’t do so well when fashion involves pain. Because as much as I love to look sassy, I love feeling sassy even more. So shoes that hurt – no matter how cute they are – are completely off-limits to me.

That is why I am such a huge proponent of a chunky wedge heel or some sort of platform shoe – because those shoes are cute AND feel really great. On the other hand, anything with a stiletto heel or a super-flat sole is my sworn shoe enemy.

And I despise a binding waistband on pure principle. Ditto scratchy fabric.

Second, are you a morning person? Do you roll out of bed slowly after snoozing 15 times or just pop right up like a jack-in-the-box on caffeine?

No. I am not a morning person. I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. In fact, there are many things I don’t enjoy about mornings, and those things include but are not limited to 1) waking up, 2) getting out of bed, 3) talking to anyone, 4) getting dressed.

However, I really, really, really love quiet time. And coffee. And the propect of quiet time and coffee usually gets me moving pretty early in the morning. Moving slowly, mind you, but moving nonetheless.

Cindy asks: Do you floss?

When I think about it. Which isn’t very often, unfortunately. But I’m going to do better just so the next time someone asks me this question I can give a different answer and say, “Yes! I floss ALL THE TIME!”

If your life were made into a movie, who would play YOU?

Someone who can do a real Southern accent and not one of those horribly bad fake ones. Which means that anyone from “Steel Magnolias” who isn’t Dolly Parton is disqualified. Because, you know, it’s a funny movie, but no one in that movie sounds like a real Southerner (except for Dolly), and that reminds me: JULIA ROBERTS SHOULD KNOW BETTER BECAUSE, HELLO, SHE’S FROM GEORGIA.

And as far as a specific actress, I have no idea. I just know that she could not be skinny. Because that would be a cinematic lie.

Hardest thing God has asked of you?

To follow Him in a completely different way this last year. I quit a full-time job that offered us an extra measure of financial security, not to mention some kickin’ benefits. But God made it really clear that He was opening some other doors – and we decided to walk through them. Huge leap of faith on our part.

I won’t bore you with the details, but it has been a scary, challenging, refining time. And yet I know deep down in my soul that this is the exact path that we were supposed to walk. Our faith has been stretched like crazy, and there have been days when we have been absolutely astounded by God’s creative provision.

Has it been comfortable? Heck no. Has it been easy? HEEEEEEECK no.

But has it been worth it? Absolutely.

Lauren asks: I was watching this week’s episode of The Office and I was WAY confused when Creed was discussing the chair situation. Why is three chairs the magic number for him? I mean, I realize that Creed is insane, but most of his and Dwight’s insanity has at least a kernel of sense to it. This one, I couldn’t figure it out.

Lauren, I think Creed’s desire to have three chairs is as an elusive a mystery as why three people die by the sword that killed Caesar in Julius Caesar, why the boys in Lord of the Flies sit in a triangle formation and leave three sticks at the top of the mountain, and why there are three essential steps on the back of nearly every shampoo bottle (“Rinse. Lather. Repeat.”).

So since I have no idea what the answer is, I’ll just say, “Well, clearly all these things symbolize the Trinity” and pretend like I know what I’m talking about.

But if Creed goes for a fourth chair, then clearly my whole fake theory will go up in smoke.

And I guess I’ll just have to live with that.

Must-Reads

Shaw-awn is in the Dominican Republic with Compassion right now.

And these two posts just blew me away.

p.s.

If you sponsor a child through Compassion, you can create an account on the Compassion website (you have to have your donor number), and you can compose and send letters to your sponsored child(ren) online. It’s so simple – and if you wear a computer on a chain around your neck like I do, then it’s oh-so-convenient as well.

Hello! How About Some Rambling?

I realized yesterday that I never finished telling y’all about the ASCAP Awards, mainly because I got a little sidetracked by an overwhelming desire to take lots of naps.

April has been a little bit tiring, y’all.

But there are two things (TWO!) that I want to make sure I tell you because they made such a huge impact on me, only wait, I think there were three (THREE!) things, and that is what is so nice about blogging, you can just switch your whole thesis LIKE THAT, and had that option been available to me in college I would have never finished a single paper, I would have merely written a series of evolving thesis statements, called it a day when I hit four pages’ worth, and then wondered why I was making straight D’s.

(I mean, I like to think that my professors would at least have given me a D for effort.)

(Unless it was that one professor who gave me an F in graduate school because I was, in his words, “unable to submit any papers for grading.”)

(That was such a nice way to say that, wasn’t it? Because he sort of gave me the courtesy of pretending like I’d actually written the papers and then opted not to turn them in.)

(It is somewhat unfortunate that he did not seem to appreciate all the Quality Doodling I did in my notebook while he lectured on Utopian Literature, because I’m telling you, some of those doodles revealed deep levels of artistic giftedness. You’ve never seen such detailed swirls and renditions of one’s name in various forms of cursive handwriting.)

(In fact, I bet if I’d submitted the doodles for grading I would have TOTALLY passed the class.)

(I have no idea what I’m supposed to be talking about, by the way.)

(This is really no different than any other day in that regard.)

(Okay. Three things. THREE THINGS!)

The first thing is that Mercy Me and Steven Curtis Chapman were part of the tribute to Brown Bannister at the ASCAP Awards, and it really was humbling to see how talented those guys are. It was also humbling to see how, well, humble they are. And normal. And approachable.

Even if I did not personally approach any of them because I have some issues as far as the approaching is concerned.

Which actually leads me to the second thing.

(DID YOU SEE THAT? A TRANSITION! SUBMIT THAT FOR GRADING!)

The second thing is that Louie Giglio and his wife Shelley were at the ASCAP Awards, and I really, really admire them. I love their heart for college kids, and I think Louie (Mr. Giglio? Mr. G.? LG? Help me.) is one of the best communicators I have ever heard.

Also: I think God is doing something huge through the Passion movement, and if I were about fifteen years younger, I’d probably drop everything and grab a backpack and volunteer on their World Tour.

So when the awards were over, I looked at Sister and said, “I would really like to talk to Shelley and Louie Giglio, but I don’t want to bug them.”

And she looked at me like I had a sword sticking out of the top of my head and said, “WELL GET OVER THERE.”

But I couldn’t do it. COULD NOT. Sister and her friend Carrie spent the next ten minutes trying to convince me that the Giglios wouldn’t care, that they might even remember me from one time when I cooked supper for them at my church, that they are totally down-to-earth and blah blah blahdee blahdadee blah.

But I couldn’t do it. I was so worried that I would bug them or that they were tired or that they were ready to go home and so I decided that the very best thing I could do would be to change into my jeans and load up my computers and hit the road.

Finally – FINALLY – Carrie convinced me to FOLLOW HER while she went over to their table, and I agreed on the condition that I could hide behind my camera and take pictures of her with the Giglios. And if you think I’m exaggerating about any of this, let me just assure you that no, I am most certainly am not, and by the way: WELCOME TO MY CRAZY.

So my Sister, because she is tricky, jumped ahead of us and walked up to the Giglios and whispered something to them and I think she even told them about my blog, WHICH DIDN’T MAKE ME WANT TO THROW UP OR ANYTHING, and to make a very long story short, we all ended up having a lovely conversation about their last trip to my church and my super smart pastor and whathaveyou.

And then I took their picture with Carrie.

Ididn'tdieoranything

Oh, I am very composed and completely at ease in social situations.

Last thing.

Jeremy Camp won ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year this year. And during his acceptance speech, he said something that just blew me away.

He was talking about how he’s almost constantly surrounded by music and activity, so he really values time when he can just be quiet with the Lord. He was able to do just that Monday morning, and he said (and this isn’t verbatim – I’m relying on my memory here), “I don’t want to be so caught up in trying to be a great man of God that I forget what’s more important: that I’m a man of a great God.”

And I pulled a full-on, full-out Emma Kate and said, “Mmmmmmph. MMMMMMMPH.” right there in the back of the ballroom.

Then Carrie looked at me and said, “Mmmmmmph. That was a good word.”

And you know what?

It was. Still is, in fact.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Imagine There’s No Parse Error, It’s Easy If You Try

If you’d like to better understand the level of tension I’ve felt since the blog went all kawonky (and that is in fact the technical term) yesterday afternoon, then take your left arm, stretch it across your body, then rotate your left wrist 280 degrees and grab your right foot. And do a backbend.

Then, when your muscles start to spasm uncontrollably, THAT’S IT! THAT’S EXACTLY HOW I’VE FELT!

Thankfully, however, I’ve entered the cool-down mode of my unexpected HTML / CSS / RSS / NEXTTIMEWON’TYOUSINGWITHME work-out. Everything seems to be back in good working order thanks to Anne, Ashleigh, Kat and Melanie, all of whom rushed to my bloggy rescue in some form or fashion.

It takes a village to raise a blog, y’all.

So now that everything is back to some semblance of normal in all possible browsers (even Internet Explorer, which is totally on my list right now, but I’m sure we’ll make up soon), I do want to thank y’all for your incredible response to the Bite Back campaign and encourage you to continue getting the word out (Shalee is doing something cool along those lines on her blog, by the way).

As best I can calculate based on comments and emails, y’all have donated around 125 nets so far (!!!!), and my friend Brian assures me that I’ll be able to get an exact number in a couple of weeks. Y’all really are changing kids’ lives – I cannot thank you enough.

So.

I’ll have my final ASCAP Awards post up in a little while, and also: today I am going to a former professor’s retirement reception at Mississippi State, where I plan to take and then post an endless array of nostalgic pictures (think along the lines of LOOK! THE WINDOW OF THE ROOM I SHARED WITH EMMA KATE! ISN’T THAT SO COOL?!?!?!).

It’s sure to be an experience that will enrich your life in ways you cannot even imagine.

Now do have a lovely Friday.

Let’s Hear It For The Boys

Trust me when I tell you that I have NEVER BEEN MORE DELIGHTED to blog about “The Office” than I am at right this very minute, because earlier today I thought that the blog had dissipated in a cloud of “parse error: syntax error” smoke.

No kidding: between the fear that I had singlehandedly RURNT THE WHOLE DANG THING and the realization that no one could get to the “Bite Back” post to donate mosquito nets, I’m think my heart rate elevated to a level that enabled me to enjoy all the benefits of an aerobic workout while doing nothing more than sitting nervously on the edge of the sofa.

Fortunately, sweet Anne came to the rescue and fixed everything for me (there may still be some Internet Explorer issues, but they’ll get ironed out soon). I am forever it Anne’s debt because there were about five hours this afternoon when I thought it was going to take a peanut butter scalp massage to make me feel better.

(SEGUE’!)

(THANK YOU!)

This was sort of a strange episode of “The Office” for me, what with the revelation that Ryan has a bit of a drug problem, not to mention Toby’s inability to suppress his love for Pam. And also: NOT NEARLY ENOUGH ANDY.

Still, there were some funny moments – here are my favorites.

1. “If any of you…makes fun of his half beard…”

2. KELLY KAPUR

3. “If I’m not in my bath with a glass of red wine in one hour, you’re both dead.”

4. “DO YOU HAVE POWERS?”

5. Meredith’s football-related injury

Chime in with your own favorites, but for the love of pete don’t look at the blog wrong or the whole thing could blow up in an HTML-fueled fireball.

Regardless, I can’t wait to sit here with a glass of olives and a glass of maraschino cherries and read all of your comments.

I’m livin’ the dream, y’all.

I’m livin’ the dream.

Bite Back

When we were in Kampala back in February, we visited an AIDS hospital that is funded in part by Compassion. After a short information session about the work the hospital does, our guide (his name was Damon, and he was seventeen different kinds of BONAFIDE AWESOME) escorted us to a lovely outdoor cafeteria so we could visit with some of the hospital staff.

Shaw-awn and I sat next to one of the hospital’s doctors, and after a few minutes of pleasantries, I asked him if it was frustrating to be a physician in Uganda. Much to my surprise, his eyes filled with tears. And he nodded.

“It’s tough,” he said, “because our children die from preventable diseases. AIDS is preventable. Malaria is preventable. But our people don’t have access to medicine. They don’t have access to mosquito nets. Mosquito nets are so inexpensive, and they can save children’s lives. But there aren’t enough to go around.”

I looked at Shaun, then looked at Spence, and I said, “Is there something we can do about that? Is there something Compassion can do about that?”

“Absolutely,” Spence said. “We’re working on something right now.”

And that something is called Bite Back.

BiteBack

This Friday, April 25, is World Malaria Day. And through the Bite Back campaign, people can give a one-time donation of $10 and provide a mosquito net for a child – or a family, if they’re all sleeping in the same place – who otherwise would have no protection from this completely preventable disease. That $10 will also provide education and treatment for people who are already sick with malaria.

My sweet friend Anne has challenged her readers to donate 50 nets in 50 hours. And I’m totally going to follow her lead here at BooMama: The Blawg. Remember, this is a one-time donation, not a long-term commitment.

So here’s how you can help.

Click here to donate $10 that will provide a mosquito net for a child (you can donate more than that if you feel led). Each net lasts three years, so for $3.33 a year – less than a penny a day – you can save a child’s life.

And if you just can’t spare $10 right now but still want to help, then link to this post from your blog. Help to get the word out and encourage your readers to give. Here’s the banner code.

Here’s a smaller button if you’d rather have that for your sidebar.

And whether you donate or you link, please come back here and leave a comment so that I can thank you on behalf of the sweet children you’re helping. All you have to say is “I’m in.”

However, you’re certainly welcome to say more than that. Because, after all, I’m not very strong with the brevity.

50 nets in 50 hours. WE CAN TOTALLY DO THIS.

I’ll close comments at 9 pm central Friday night.

Thanks so much, y’all.

Comments are now closed – thank you SO MUCH!