Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Valentine Shmalentine...

This is a post that should be categorized under the "Better Late than Never" heading. I'm fully aware that Valentine's Day happened more than a week ago. I do, however, have a few thoughts to share. :-) I'd like to extend a hearfelt CONGRATULATIONS to the numbers of single women (of which I am one) who managed to ward of the inevitable bitterness that prevades the population during this holiday known as Valentine's day. Valentine's Day, for me, used to be like a shot in the arm. You know that it's coming but there doesn't seem to be anything that you can do about it. This year, I had my own tactics my own strategy to combat feeling lonely. So, I give you, 14 Reasons why valentine's Day didn't suck: The belated version

(1) You got to spend money....on yourself instead of buying some dude some overpriced cologne that he may or may not have been grateful for.

(2) You didn't have to buy anything to wear. It's 30 degrees outside. A sleeveless, red satin cocktail dress is not the move.

(3) 2 couples at my church got engaged, proving that love is still alive.

(4) You don't have to nurture flowers for another 2 weeks only to watch them die and shed brittle leaves all over your counter.

(5) You get to spend some quality time with fellow single friends and celebrated being SINGLE. There is nothing wrong with that. Which is a gift that I'm told you only fully appreciate once you are married :-/

(6) V-day was followed by a federal holiday, which meant a PAID day off from work....for most of us.

(7) Two of the most important people in my life had Valentine's so I didn't have to listen to them complain.

(8) You didn't buy in to a consumer driven holiday that bankrupts those who want to be truly impressive. So, in essence, you STUCK IT TO THE MAN. Plus, single folks get to buy all of the candy half off the next day. :-)

(9) You didn't get one of 180 million greeting cards that was a completely unoriginally expression of how much someone cares about you.

(10) You didn't have to build unreasonably high expectations of a night and maybe even a relationship only to be disappointed and maybe even pissed at the possible outcome.

(11) There are plently of fun things for singles to do. After all we ARE in the majority

(12) It's 1 day out of the WHOLE year. Whining about it is pretty much pointless.

(13) My mommy still buys me valentine's day gifts :-)

(14) Because true love doesn't come in boxes of chocolate, it comes from this:1 Corinthians 13:4-7

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves."

And as long as this is the standard and I'm striving toward it, I'm good. So while I definitely wouldn't have minded being snuggled up next to the love of my life, at least I didn't feel the need to crawl into a whole for 24 hrs. Win-win, I guess.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blog is the new Black...or not

We live in a world that puts a high premium on what people think. This is both a fortunate development and an unfortunate reality (some people's inner thoughts are best kept to themselves.). What better way to let the whole world know how you feel about a topic or range of topics than starting a blog? Putting your feelings, ideas, and notions about the inner-workings of the world on the public chopping block. The idea itself is harmless and pretty much mindless. Find a topic of interest, -a theme if you will; a trendy blogger site to host your content, rack your brain for a witty title and WUA-LA! You've got a blog. Why then is there is such a high blogger attrition rate? And by attrition rate I mean, a decrease in the numbers of people, everyday people who don't blog for a living, writing blogs. Without loosing much sleep over this particular enigma, I decided to take a look at what it REALLY takes to run a successful blog. NOTE: These suggestions come from perusing lots and lots of blogs, I don't consider my blog to be among those considered "successful."

1) Convictions and Boldness- Ha! Herein lies the #1 reason-besides time- that people don't blog. They are intimiated by their own thoughts. Because with convictions and boldness come vulnerability. We THINK that if we only had an opportunity and a platform to give people a piece of our minds, we would. Truth is, many us are SCARED to submit their thoughts and ideas to public judgement. To be an effective blogger, you must go where no man has gone, talk about something that none is talking about....yet. Either because it's a controversial issue or because some folks just don't have the right words. You'd be surprised how many people are waiting to say AMEN to something they were afraid to say in the first place.

2) A Denial of Self- There are certain parts of yourself that will be exposed either consciously or subconsciously when you write a blog. Be prepared to have your subconscious leaked on paper. Some things that need to be said have nothing to do with you, other times, something that needs to be said causes you to disagree with yourself.

3) REGULARITY!- Unless you run a food blog, no one wants to know what you ate for breakfast, or which sidewalk your dog pooped on during your daily walk... unless, of course you're Kim Kardashian. Write with the sense of urgency, that the world needs to hear what you Having said that, your readers should expect to hear from you with some level of frequency.

4) Relevance: The best writers, and I'm sure this has been said before, are those who read. I read-not as much as I'd like to- everything from Cosmo to CNN online to a number of other blogs. It's funny how reading an article or some trivial piece of gossip can spark a 4 paragraph dissertation on what's wrong with the world.

5) A Unique Voice- There are lots of blogs out there. And unfortunately, alot of people talking about the same thing, with no real distinct voice. Taking a side on an issue, stating an ambition, or using your background (cultural, economic, or educational) to defend your position puts an inherently interesting spin on things. What's your vantage point?

6) Passion- Starting a blog because everyone else is doing it pretty much ensures that your blog will be around for about 3 months. Find a REASON to write and make sure that it's some that you are passionate about. I'd say that to be a blogger you have to be passionate about writing, but I'd probably disagree with myself. It's your topic that you must be passionate about.

7) Measure success on your own terms- You don't have to write a post everyday, and every entry doesn't have to be a ground breaking solution to the world's problems. You don't have to have 100 followers, you don't even have to have 10. Measure the effectiveness of your blog my what you aim to accomplish. Is it spotlighting new restaurants in Atlanta? Following fashion trends in culture? Or is it sparking dialogue about tough societal issues and trends? Whatever your aim, go at it! And you can consider yourself successful!

**Notice that I didn't list excellent technical writing skills or natzi-like attention to grammar** A basic understanding of such things is, of course, necessary; however, skilled writing takes time. So, for all of you out there considering joining the blogosphere or picking up where the blog entry that you wrote 10 years ago left off, welcome...and welcome back! For those of you observing the world, taking it in breathing it back out into the blogosphere, BLOG on! :-)

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Have you ever seen those Facebook statuses/rants by someone who has a reckless past...or present recounting a recent encounter with some haters/naysayers/people with common sense and claiming, at the rant's end, that "Only God can judge." For some, they bypass the rant and list that as their Religious view. I'm always skeptical of anyone who uses this as a catch-all for behavior that they should be held accountable for. Let me back up for a moment. I am to assume that someone who use the phrase, "Only God can judge me" has a belief in God. A belief, I'd also assume, that includes an understanding that your behavior reflects upon the faith that you profess. In terms of Christianity, a Christian's behavior should reflect the lifestyle of Christ. This is not subtract human nature from the equation and replace it with legalism, but let's consider what would happen if every Christian decided that they were going to throw all standards of living out the door and leave it all simply to God's judgment. What a mess the body of Christ would be!!

Let me say that I am not in any way suggesting that anyone should be judging anyone except for God. In fact, any judgmental person is a hypocrite. Unless, of course, they are perfect. Not likely. I am suggesting that people NEED accountable relationships ( See my entry: Count the Cost) . The idea that we use blanket statements like “God knows my heart” to cover our indiscretions is troubling. It also begs the question: “How accountable should we other other Christians? If we refer to ourselves as the body of Christ, that means that what one of us does affects how all of us are perceived. With the exception of one of us curing cancer, that’s usually not good. If one of us, for example, has a drinking problem, it doesn't mean we need to stage a church-wide intervention. It means, that someone, a friend of the afflicted, perhaps, needs to lovingly intervene and see what can be done to help them instead of letting them slip off into a a dark future. If you reject help. So be it. But if you are a friend of mine, being left completely along, on the brink of what appears (from my point of view) to be poor choice, is not an option. Not because I'm always right, but because you are my friend.

Let me turn the tables for a minute on those who make being in an accountable relationship, absolutely drudgery. Unfortunately, I'm speaking very specifically to some of my Christian brothers and sisters. Many of you are ready to judge your friends at the drop of a hat. If not with your words then by your look of disdain or the shift in the way that you treat them? If you find yourself doing this, ask yourself the following questions: Who are your convictions really for? You or the person next to you? Do you use them to uphold a certain standard of living? Or to make sure that other people are? Let's face it, most of us only judge to make ourselves feel better about our own indiscretions. To ensure that we remain on the pedestal of righteous morality. I call it, the Dichotomy of Indiscretion: The degree to which you feel bad about what you've done, it the degree to which I feel better. We we open our minds, we realize that people have a different way of dressing (actually feel comfortable showing their ankles and collar bone and maybe a little more); a boyfriend to whom they don't mind showing affection (Ooooo. Scandalous). PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT STANDARDS of living. Nothing excuses recklessness. But before you cast someone into the sea of wretchedness remember that YOU have been forgiven....time after time and only to the degree that you forgive others.

And just when I was looking to put a bow on the subject, Damian Boyd preached an awesome sermon about GRACE, which covers each and everyone of us, even the "WRETCHED". We are, as he says, "trophies of God's grace". Confused. Read the book of Ephesians: The Story of God's grace.

Yes, it's true. ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE YOU. But if you know what I know, you wouldn't and shouldn't want to wait until then.