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Bling Your Booth, Part Two

Our safari-themed cookie booth

Going on a cookie safari!

On Facebook? You can vote for our troop’s booth up to once an hour here.

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Bloggerhood Etc. 2/9/15

Parker at his dad's laptop.

Photo: The Mindful Dad

Best Guest Post.Daddy I Love You and Mom” by Parker at Mindful Dad.

Best List.16 Things That Happened When I Went to The Creation Museum” by Sarah Moon at Sarah Over the Moon.

Best Question.How Real Are Facebook Friendships?” by Jacoba Urist at The Atlantic.

Best Dad.This Single Dad Couldn’t Do His Daughter’s Ponytail, So He Went To Cosmetology School” by Jessica Samakow at Huff Post Parents.

Best Special-Needs Post.I’m Autistic, And Believe Me, It’s A Lot Better Than Measles” by Sarah Kurchak at Medium.

Best Diagram.Sy Fy Movie Venn Diagram” by David Vienna at Vienna Calling.

Sy Fy Movie Venn Diagram

Image: Vienna Calling

Most Alarming.Report: Requiring Kindergartners to Read—as Common Core Does—May Harm Some” by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Best Commentary.The Cowardice of Conversationalists” by Charlie Capen at How to be a Dad.

Strangest Gift.Lobster” by Thorn Caraway at Cara Strickland’s Little Did She Know.

Most Moving.Why I Don’t Cry to Christians Anymore” by Anonymous at Micah J. Murray’s Redemption Pictures Blog.

Best Essay.Meet the Bag Man” by Steven Godfrey at SB Nation.

Best Fake Trailer.Star Wars vs. Star Trek Epic Trailer” by Alex Luthor (via YouTube).

Ready or Not

Anna and red boards

Photo: Julia Ozab

It’s the first day of third grade. She’s ready … I’m not.

It’s her first ride to school on the bus. She’s ready … I’m not.

It’s Monday through Friday out of the house after three months of summer. She’s ready … I’m not.

She talks about what she wants to be when she grows up. She talks about going to college and getting a job. She’s only eight and she’s in a hurry to grow up.

She’s already eight and she’s growing up too fast!

She asks when she can have …

  1. an email account,
  2. a Facebook account,
  3. a driver’s license,
  4. and a credit card.

I tell her …

  1. when she’s nine (and takes the Girl Scout Internet Safety pledge),
  2. when she’s fourteen (and shows she’s mature enough to handle it),
  3. when she’s sixteen (and takes Driver’s Ed),
  4. and when she’s eighteen (and shows she’s responsible with money).

Eighteen? That’s less than ten years!

In ten years, she’ll be an adult. In ten years, she’ll be going to college. It’s too soon for me, and it’s not soon enough for her.

But as much as she wants to hurry up and as much as I want to slow down, we’re both traveling into the future at a constant speed of sixty minutes per hour, and twenty-four hours per day.

The time is coming and it will soon be here.

Ready or not.

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Bloggerhood Etc. 8/11/14

Exit 152. Bucksnort, 1 Mile

Photo: Spencer Hall/SB Nation

It’s been an eventful week here—and not in a good way. But now that the drama has settled and life is returning to normal, it’s time to get caught up. So here’s some of the best from around the blogosphere from the last two weeks in an extra-large edition of Bloggerhood Etc. …

Best List.Staff Picks: Worst Highways in America” by Spencer Hall and the SB Nation staff.

Best Demand.I Want My Christianity Back—Without the Ugly Baggage” by Mark Sandlin at Time.com.

Best Realization.Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed” by David Cain at Films for Action.

Best Correction.They Call Us the ‘Nones,’ but We’re So Much More” by Courtney E. Martin at On Being with Krista Tippet.

Most Empowering.Geared Up For Robotics” by Haley Hanson at Huff Post Impact.

Best Dad Post.Hunting Live Dinos” by Don Jackson at Daddy Newbie.

Worst Examples.The Lavish Homes of American Archbishops” by Daniel Burke at CNN Belief Blog.

Best Review of a Bad Product.SPAM” by Spilly at SB Nation.

Best Devotional.His Glory Appears” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Best Comic.Outbreak” by xkcd.

The outbreak started with Patient Zero …

Outbreak (Panel 1)

Continue reading

Is the Messenger the Message?

“The medium is the message.”—Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (McGraw Hill, 1964).

McLuhan’s famous quote from a half a century ago has never been truer than it is today. The proliferation of mass media—first audio recordings, film, and television, and later home computers, the Internet, and mobile devices—have placed an overwhelming variety of content in our hands every waking moment of our lives. From education, to entertainment, to mindless distraction, the digital media onslaught is never-ending.

But now, in this age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and every other social-media platform wrestling for our ever-diminishing attention spans, has McLuhan’s prophetic quote become passé? In our current, self-centered, selfie-obsessed, digital navel-gazing culture, has the messenger become the message?

This is the question I am trying to answer, as a writer, as a blogger, and most importantly as a Christian. How do I balance the need to create and maintain a platform with the necessary call of Christian humility? How do I get out of my own way and point back to the One who is the Maker and Sustainer of all things? How do I glorify Him through the gifts he has given me and use those gifts for the uplifting of others rather than my own glorification? And how do I accomplish the very practical task of bringing traffic to my blog and spreading the word about my writing at the same time?

These are difficult questions. I can ask them in five minutes, but I’m not sure how long it will take for me to answer them.

Five Minute Friday

Bloggerhood Etc. 5/5/2014

The Hagia Sophia

Image: Dylan Lathrop/SB Nation

Happy Cinco de Mayo! What does a beautiful artistic rendition of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul have to do with a popular Mexican holiday? Absolutely nothing! Here’s the best of the week.

Best Essay.The Istanbul Derby” by Spencer Hall at SB Nation.

Best Satire.What I Wish Women Knew About Men” by Micah J. Murray at the Redemption Pictures blog.

Best Parody.If Coaches Coached Their Teams the Way We Do Church” by Tyler Franke at Venn Magazine.

Most Honest.Open Letter to the Child I Hit at the Park” by Bunmi Latidan at Honest Toddler.

Best Advice.The Golden Hour” by Johanna Harness.

Best Commentary.Donald Sterling: Facade, Fiction, and Forgiveness” by Lisa Sharon Harper at Huff Post Religion.

Best Question.God Has a Body” by Emily Maynard at A Deeper Story.

Best Special Needs Post.How to Make Others Understand” by Jared Buckley at Not Alone.

Best Guest Post.(De)tales: the Bra Thief” by Natalie Trust, posting at Cara Strickland’s blog Little Did She Know.

Best Dad Post.The Tears of Saint Joseph” by Bill Peebles at ihopeiwinatoaster.

Funniest.Recipes for Gourmet Ingredients, Written by 20-Year-Olds” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.

Best Facebook Status.You Won’t Believe What My 14 Year Old Posted on Facebook” by Carl Wilke at Big Cheese Dad.

Best Photoblog.The Force is Strong With These 35 ‘Star Wars’ Fan Families” by Mandy Velez at Huff Post Parents.

Best Video.Honest Trailers: The Spider-Man Trilogy” by Screen Junkies (via YouTube).

Calling Each Other “Friends”

A giant FB friend collage.

A Facebook “friends” collage.

Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “friend.” Another repeat prompt—not the first—but coincidentally it’s back exactly one year later. Here’s what I wrote about “friend” last year.

Facebook has ruined the word “Friend.”

First of all, it is not a verb. You do not friend people, you meet them—preferably in person—and over time, if you find enough in common between you to make connections, a friendship will grow organically.

Second, “defriend” and “unfriend” are not words. I do not defriend someone to make him my unfriend, or unfriend someone to make her my defriend. If a friendship ends, it is usually through inaction. Except for a couple of Seinfeld episodes, no one ever “breaks up” with a friend.  Friendships don’t get killed, they die through neglect.

But worst of all, Facebook abuses of the meaning of the word “friend.” In real life, we have layers of friendship. Best friends, good friends, friends-of-friends, acquaintances, colleagues, people-we-know-but-don’t-think-too-much-about, people-we-nod-to-politely-as-we-pass-them, etc.

But in Facebook, everyone is a potential friend. All it takes is a friend request …

It was a real-life friend that got me on Facebook in the first place. And early on, the people I connected with—often after many years out-of-touch—were real-life friends too. But then I started connecting with people I only knew online. That’s when it got a little weird, and a few of these virtual “friendships” had to end.

But there’s a good part too, and maybe it’s proof that a tool is only as good as what you do with it.

I’ve since met some of the people I once knew only through social media. I’ve gotten a chance to talk to them face to face, if only for a short time. And it’s been wonderful. No, they’re not really “friends” in the same way people I’ve known for years are, but they are colleagues and, in many cases, fellow disciples of Jesus too.

Jesus said “I call you friends.” Maybe we can call each other friends, and—unlike Facebook—have it mean something.

Five Minute Friday