There are times when the computer screen mocks me. It’s blank, grayness resembles an overcast sky and it sucks the color out of everything around it. The same way writers block sucks the life out of your soul.
The blinking cursor glares at me. It’s like an angry boss sitting across from me at the other end of a long conference room table. It taps it’s fingers on the table and demands that I give it something.
“What do you got for me son?” it asks.
Sometimes I stare at the screen and let my eyes lose focus. The few words that I have managed to get on the screen turn into a blur and my thoughts drift. But then reality snaps me back. I still haven’t accomplished anything. I still have something that needs to be said.
The fact that I have nothing makes me sweat. The thoughts in my head have gotten clogged up along the path that leads from my mind to my finger tips. If only there were an Exlax for the mind. Until then the keyboard remains quiet.
Luckily, writers block is temporary. The thoughts will flow. Everything will come out… eventually.
I find that writing about writers block, relieves writers block.
What do you do to get past writers block?
Dear weekend weather man,
You intrigue me. It seems you’ve landed that slot that’s meant for rookies who just graduated from meteorology school or for the man or woman who was getting tired of that hourly radio gig on the AM station that they’ve been doing for years. It’s a new beginning. It’s a fond farewell.
The weekend weather man position is your chance to prove yourself. Can you win the crowd with your charming personality and charisma? Will you bring them back every night just to see your white smile and your interesting take on cold fronts? Will you make the weather a reason for them to tune in?
Will you make them believe?
Right now you are a part of the Action News weather team. You are an integral piece of the whole. You’re grinding it out, waiting for your chance at the big time. Every big weather event is your chance to prove yourself.
Don’t be content at where you are. God has big plans for you. We all start somewhere. That prime time spot is your’s for the taking. Keep hustling.
Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe you’ve been doing the weather for decades. You’ve bounced around from channel to channel. You were once a highly coveted weather man with a huge following. You’ve left a legacy. You paved the way for the current breed of weather man. You’ve set the standard.
But the new kids have more energy and technical know-how. You recall the times when there were two radars and you simply called them radars. Now the young weather men have eight different radars and refer to them with wild acronyms like VIPER, ZULU and SONIC.
The weekend gig is right up your alley. Less stress and more time at home. Less hours but more make up. You are getting longer in the tooth and it’s time to step back. But you haven’t given up.
The weekend weather position is your swan song. Your final farewell. This is where you leave your final legacy and transition from leading man to wise old sage.
Your job isn’t over, its taken a new and exciting turn. You use your experience to guide and nurture. You are a leader but you do it from the weather center in the back instead of in front of the blue screen and the camera.
Lead on wise one!
Weekend weather man, you are an example to all of us. We admire your ambition and your determination. We applaud your expertise and leadership and all the years of somewhat accurate forecasts.
Where are you at in life? Are you just starting out? Are you using your experience to guide others?
It’s super Bowl weekend and chances are you are either going to a party or hosting a party. It’s the biggest sporting event of the year and we like to celebrate it with friends. But if you weren’t invited to a super bowl party, you’re in luck. Your local church is probably having one. Let me tell you what to expect if you attend a church Super Bowl party.
At the church Super Bowl party there will be lots of food. Church goer’s love food. They particularly love pot luck food. In fact, it may be the only food they know. Don’t expect pizza or chicken wings. You’ll only get certain pot luck standards like:
Mystery meatballs in a crock pot.
Cracker and cheese trays bought from the local grocery store.
Chick-fil-a nugget platters with various sauces.
And most importantly… Football shaped cupcakes or cookies with a cross or fish drawn on them instead of football laces.
And, of course, plenty of tea and lemonade.
The second thing to note about the church Super Bowl party is that it will likely be held in the Gym/Fellowship hall. Yes, this is a one of a kind space that is used for many church functions. Not only is it a place to hold sporting events but it usually has a stage built in. One with a permanent podium. It’s perfect for setting up a TV to watch the big game. You’ll know you are in the right place if you see the basketball goals cranked up to the ceiling.
Finally. Don’t expect a halftime show at the church Super Bowl party. In these days of lewd celebrity behavior and wardrobe malfunctions, the church just can’t take the risk of airing the halftime show. They will unplug the TV during this time. Instead of the halftime show, expect an exciting game of bible trivia where winners receive church license plate covers, key chains or mugs. If that isn’t enough, the church will probably have an interpretive dance performance during the halftime show. Why? Because nothing screams football like interpretive dance.
Enjoy the party!
Every time I finish my grocery shopping, I end up in the tractor beam of nonsense called the tabloids. There they are, right in my face as I place my goods on the conveyor belt. I try not to look. Instead I try and focus on the little packs of gum that are on sale at the top of the rack but resistance is futile. The tractor beam has control of my eyes and I have to read all of the headlines even though I know they aren’t true. It’s harder if there is a lady in front of me with a cart full of Capri Sun and Pampers and a binder full of coupons. Then there is the guy behind me that just wants to pay for his sandwich but the “10 item or less” line was too crowded. There is no way out. Despite my best efforts, there is no escape from the lure of the tabloids.
They keep the really shocking ones between the holiday recipe books and the Archie cartoon digest. I can’t imagine people still read Archie cartoons. Occasionally, they throw in the weight loss books and horoscope tablets. But this mini magazine aisle is usually dominated by celebrity news or fake news.
Do you wonder why they keep the trashy magazines in the checkout lane? Right in eye sight? Why don’t they put them with the rest of the magazines that are on aisle four? It’s because we are curious. We love to see what is happening in the lives of stars because it seems our lives are boring and mundane compared to theirs. I also believe that the magazine makers think we are dumb enough to believe what is written on the covers of these things.
It’s never positive news either, unless it’s the issue that shows before and after pictures of formerly overweight celebrities. Mostly, these magazines focus on how a certain star is hooked on drugs or how a star is so skinny that they might die at any moment or that so and so, with the cool hair, is dating you know who from that Disney show and that they are madly in love.
In my most recent visits to the checkout line, the popular story is the crumbling relationship between a very beautiful and popular actress and her handsome husband. Each week there is a different reason that they might end their marriage. He is cheating on her. She was seen with another man, shopping around Palm Springs. Neither of them thinks that the other spends enough time with the kids. Does it matter? Not to us. But what do you think goes through their minds when they see this? If they see this?
I’m no celebrity but I often wonder how I would feel if I were on the cover of one of these magazines. It’s preposterous, I know. My life isn’t interesting enough to be put in international publications.
To put it in perspective, how do people look at us? What do the people that don’t know us very well think of us? What do people perceive of me when they see me in action or hear things about me?
I don’t know any celebrities. I don’t know any of those people on the covers of those magazines so I feel obligated to give them the benefit of the doubt and not judge them by headlines and awkward paparazzi photos. The same thing goes for the people I interact with everyday. I’ve been guilty in the past of making snap judgements of people I barely know. Who am I to judge them when I don’t know their story? I would hope they wouldn’t judge me without knowing mine.
Moral of the story (if there is one)? Don’t judge a tabloid magazine by it’s cover. We don’t always know the truth of what is going on in people’s lives.
Now. While in the checkout line, turn around an gaze at the fitness magazines behind you. The ones with the people with the perfect bodies… wait, that’s another post entirely.
In August, I wrote a post about mid-year resolutions. I talked about why we shouldn’t wait until the end of the year to make resolutions. Since we are at the end of the year, I have to ask. How are those resolutions going? Did you succeed? Did you give up? Are you still working on them? If your resolutions are still active, great! Don’t give up.
To delve further in to resolutions, I’ve recently learned of a new movement about finishing resolutions. It was created by author and blogger, Jon Acuff and is spreading like wildfire via social networking. It’s called finish year and it’s basically a venture to get us to finish what we start. Here is a link to his blog. http://www.jonacuff.com/blog/. I’m not usually swept up by movements but I like where this is going.
Starting something is easy but finishing, well, not so much. Completed and successful resolutions are rare. The finish year plan asks that you pick a few things that you want to accomplish before the year is over. It doesn’t ask you to change your lifestyle completely. Most resolutions fail because we think we can make a 360 degree turn on our lifestyle in one day. That is too big of a chunk to take on. Take it slow. Piece by piece.
What is something you started that you haven’t finished? It could be something you started years ago. Did you meet your weight loss goals? Do it this year. Did you redecorate that spare bedroom? Do it this year. Did you run that half marathon? Do it this year.
I have a few things I want to finish this year. Here are a couple:
I want to learn basic Spanish. I don’t need to be fluent because that would take more than a year but I want to be able to have a conversation if the moment presents itself.
I want to blog twice a week. This is tough. I don’t see how people do it daily. But the reason I want to do it is because I love to write and the more I write the better I will be at it and improving my writing skills could lead to bigger writing endeavors.
One more thing. I want to take this finish year one step further. I would love to help someone else finish something this year. Do you know someone who has a dream? Someone who talks about it all the time but you never see them act on it? One of my goals this year is to finish assisting someone finish. Did that make sense? Let’s face it. We can’t do it all alone. We need each other. Imagine what we could do if we helped each other with our passions and dreams. The world would be a better place.
So what do you want to finish this year? Don’t make excuses, make time and finish.
I love my church. Our pastors are great. They are skilled and knowledgeable. They bring messages that I can really apply to my life. But I never watch them preach. On stage that is. I’m distracted. My eyes are enticed by something else. The jumbotrons.
If you walk into any church these days, you will almost always see the giant video screens that hang on each side of the stage. They are a prominent part of the architecture. They have become standard in most churches. So, do they make the church service better? I believe so. Here’s why:
I don’t know the words to the music
I hate those embarassing moments when I think I know the words to the worship song but I really don’t. I sing the next verse but the words are wrong. I sing the next verse when there is no next verse and I’m the only one singing. Have you been there?
I like to think I’m a good Christian so I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I don’t know the words by heart but I’m thankful that the jumbotron provides the words for me. I’m thankful the jumbotron enhances my worship experience by saving me from those awkward “I don’t know the words” moments.
It supplements the service
My church likes to play videos. Lots of videos. Videos that enhance the message that is being presented. They are often funny or sentimental. They strike emotions and get the attendee’s focused and engaged. They won’t win an Oscar but they look good and are created by some very talented individuals.
The jumbotrons also supplement the service by displaying bible verses. I’m not suggesting we should leave our bibles at home when we go to church. But, in all honesty, I really haven’t needed it at church for a while. For one reason, I have a digital version of the bible on my smart phone (thats another blog post) and I take my phone everywhere. Secondly, we don’t have normal Sunday school at my church. It mostly takes place during the week. I guess I can’t call it Sunday school if it’s not on Sunday. So, while I’m at church, the jumbotron gives me everything I need when it comes to Bible verses.
I can read the speaker
I often wonder what is going through the speakers head when he looks over the auditorium and see’s people staring either to the left or the right and not directly at him. I never watch the speaker directly and, as I have observed, neither do many other people. I always watch one of the jumbotron’s. Why?
The main reason is that there is a tall guy in front of me or a lady with big hair.
Another reason is that we live in a digital media world. We have big screen TV’s in our living rooms. We watch a lot of YouTube. We gather most of our information from moving pictures. So it makes sense that we are inclined to watch an image of the speaker on the 200 inch monitor that is hanging on the wall beside the stage rather than watching the speaker himself. It just feels natural and comfortable.
Secondly, it is easier to read the speaker because we have a close up. We see his facial expressions. We see the passion. We see the emotion. We can really get a sense if this guy is bringing it or just mailing it in.
Do you have jumbotron’s at your church? Does it make the service better?