Bloggerhood Etc. 6/8/15

Oh no, baby GODZILLA!

Photo: Jeff Wysaski.

Best Photoblog.Prankster Replaces Pet Names With New Labels In Local Pet Store” by Jeff Wysaski at Sad and Useless (via Obvious Plant Care).

Best Diagram.The Shape of Story” by Christina Wodtke at Elegant Hack.

Best Comic.Beer” at xkcd.

Best List.5 Steps Toward Making Friends Out of Enemies” by Benjamin J. Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Most Mind Bending. “The Moon Terminator Illusion” by VSauce (via YouTube).

Best Dad Post.Duck, Duck, Sloane” by Gary Mathews at Skipah’s Realm.

Best Special Needs PostHer Fight, Our Fight” by Laura Smith at SLP Mommy of Apraxia.

Best Request.Dear Donald Miller: Thank You, and Please Stop” by Emily A. Dause at Slivers of Hope.

 Most Tragic.Two Lanes to Accockeek” by Michael Graff at SB Nation.

Best Cover of a Cover.Mad World” by Peter Hollens via YouTube.

To catch up on all the great posts I’m reading online and to get a sneak preview of future candidates, check out my Around the Blogosphere board on Pinterest.

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Consider the Birds

Perched bird.

Photo: Julia Ozab

I’m in a bit of a conundrum when it comes to my blog. First off, I’m a writer–if I wasn’t I wouldn’t use the word “conundrum.” And as a writer I need to find an audience. In the 21st Century, that means the Internet. As an up-and-coming writer, I need a net presence (blog and/or social media) or I’m invisible. So I need to put myself out there, but then I see my hits and follows and like stagnating while others’ seem to skyrocket and I wonder what I’m doing wrong.

I get so frustrated that I don’t want to blog or tweet or post or pin (or whatever) anymore. That’s the other reason why I’ve been so quiet. Yes, I was fighting a bad chest cold for most of May, but the slowdown began before that. Because the burnout began before that.

So what does this have to do with birds?

Two weekends ago, I took a day off, got away from my laptop, and drove to the Finley Wildlife Refuge with my wife and daughter. Birds were everywhere. We could see them flitting from tree to tree, but even when we couldn’t see them we could hear them.

At the first stop, while Julia and Anna had their cameras out waiting to spot a bird on a perch or in flight, I stood still, closed my eyes, and listened.

I heard music, a counterpoint of bird songs in surround sound. And through that wondrous polyphony, God spoke to me.

Listen to “the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” –Matthew 6:26

And I realized that all the worry wouldn’t add one more view, one more click, or one more meaningless web stat. That’s not why I write anyway. I write to capture just a snippet of the profound beauty we all experience in life.

And I was more inspired in that moment than I could be by a year’s worth of tweets or posts. Because in that moment, I got in touch with the Source of everything.

So consider the birds singing, or the leaves whispering their secrets to each other in a nearby tree, or a child praising her Creator in her infectious laugh. Consider the ongoing symphony, sonata, and song multiplied by a million that God conducts for his and our pleasure every day.

And leave tomorrow for tomorrow. That’s how I plan to write, blog, and live from now on.

With God’s help, I pray, at those times that I will inevitably stumble.

Amen.

Bloggerhood Etc. 4/20/15

Sleeping Angel Cemetery Marker

Image via John Pavlovitz

Must Read.I was a Lampedusa refugee. Here’s my story of fleeing Libya – and surviving” by Hakim Bello at The Guardian.

Best Reminder.Because People Will Die Today” by John Pavlovitz.

Best Dad Post.To My Wife: Thank You” by Carl Wilke at Big Cheese Dad.

Best Mom Post.The Tyranny of Mrs. Pepper” by Evelyn Shoop at Momsicle.

Best Satire.All Hail Hillvetica, the Hillary Clinton Typeface” by John Browlee (font design by Rick Wolff) at Fast Company.

Best Gremlin Post (tie).Punching My Gremlins in the Face” by Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations and “How I Got Rid of the Gremlins” by Andee Zomerman  at Nature of a Servant.

Best Special Needs Post.The Invitation Game” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best Story.How This ‘Mad Scientist’ Helped Shape the Music of Jack White, Trent Reznor, and ZZ Top” by Leigh Buchanan at Inc.

Best List.A Graphic Reminder to Be Kind to My Child” by Brent Almond at Designer Daddy.

Best Video. (That’s Also a List). “Top Ten Futuristic Products” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

To catch up on the great posts I’m reading online and to get a sneak preview of next week’s candidates, check out my new Around the Blogosphere board on Pinterest.

Another Badge Update

Brownies can do anything

Anna’s Brownie badge progress has slowed up a bit since the start of school. We had to switch troops once again in October, but now we’re settled into an excellent troop with a great leader who also happens to be a very good friend. So it’s time to start ironing and sewing again …

Making Games (January 22).

Making Games (1/21/15).

Anna began this badge at a Girl Scout Halloween/Juliette Low Birthday Party last October. She created a party game called Pin the Hat on the Brownie Elf, a mystery touch-box game, and a find-the-differences picture game.

Then at our troop party in December, she taught everyone a variation of Four Corners called “Trefoil.” Instead of separating into four groups, the girls split into three. And instead of the number called being “out,” the other two are. The goal of the girl who’s it (Anna) is to eliminate everyone. The goal of the other girls is to be the last one left.

Finally, at our meeting last night, Anna introduced a brand-new sport she invented called “Cookie Relay.” The nine girls split into three teams and ran a relay. The first girl in each team had to pick out a cookie based on a description, the second girl had to make correct change from a collection of play money, and the third girl had to find an appropriate hello, thank you, or cookie description. The first team to finish (without making a mistake) wins. Everyone enjoyed the game and learned important cookie-selling skills too.

Computer Expert (1/22/15)

Computer Expert (1/22/15)

Anna started this one at the beginning of January and is all set to finish it tonight. The first step in this badge is by far the most important—reading and signing an Internet Safety Pledge. After that, she created a picture in a paint app on her iPad, looked up a bird she saw in our backyard and correctly identified it, and researched Brazil to prepare for World Thinking Day next month.

This evening, she’ll write  “thank you” emails for her birthday presents and assemble a five-song playlist to share at her next Brownie meeting. And that will complete her Computer Expert badge.

 

Brownie Quest badges

Brownie Quest (in progress).

Finally, there’s our current journey, Brownie Quest. The Brownies in Anna’s troop are working on this set of badges together. Last month, we completed the requirements for the first two keys—Discover and Connect—and last night we brainstormed ideas for a community service project to complete the third key. The plan is to pick a project next week and try to complete it before booth sales start.

Brownie Cookie Badges

Wait! I almost forgot about Cookie Badges!

Quote

Gloria In Excelsis Deo!

Angel with Gloria banner.

The Song of Bethlehem by J.R. Clayton (1901)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin’i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2: 1-20—RSV)

Merry Christmas!

Bloggerhood Etc. 12/8/14

all houses matter

Best Cartoon. “All Houses Matter” by Chainsawsuit.com.

Best Commentary. “‘This Stops Today’: Eric Garner and Police Accountability” by Mollie Wilson O’Reilly in Commomweal.

Best Letter.To My Future Son With Thoughts of Ferguson” by Amena Brown Owen at A Deeper Story.

Best Reality Check.Being a Cop Showed Me Just How Racist and Violent the Police Are” by Redditt Hudson at The Washington Post.

Most Honest.Just Another Straight White Chick in The Burbs” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Most Hopeful.What if We’re Supposed to *Be* the Good News We’re So Desperate for When it Comes to Race Relations in America?” by Lisa-Jo Baker.

Best Guest Post.Through the Door” by Cara Strickland at The Hope Diaries.

Best Special Needs Post.He Has What?” by Patty Meyers at Not Alone.

Best Songlist.The Top 5 Most Moving Christmas Songs I Listen To” by Benjamin L. Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Best Photoblog.The Motions of Kayaking and Canoeing,” photos by Stephen Orlando, posted by Christopher Jobson at Colossal.

Best Tech Post.The Holidays Are Here. Which Apps Will You Share With the Children in Your Life?” by Julie M. Wood and Nicole Ponsford at Harvard Family Research Project.

Most Reassuring.Why the Immaculate Conception makes Protestants squirm {and why it doesn’t have to!}” by Elizabeth Esther.

Best Video.Hallelujah” by Peter Hollens, featuring Jackie Evancho (via YouTube).

Bloggerhood Etc. 12/1/14

An all-purple Advent Wreath

But where’s the pink candle? (Photo: Cara Strickland)

Happy December and a Blessed Advent to all of you. Here’s the best of the last two weeks, beginning with an Advent post.

Best Start to Advent.Dwell” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Best Special Needs Post.We See You, Calvin” by Kara Dedert at Not Alone.

Best Dad Post.Sorry Kids, I Will Never “Let” You Beat Me” by Beau Coffron at Lunchbox Dad.

Most Moving.Ghostly Grief: On Miscarriage and Loss” by Micha Boyett at On Faith.

Best Retrospective.A Eulogy for Radio Shack” by Jon Bois at SBNation.

Best List.12 Things For Which I Forget to be Thankful” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Best Commentary.Why the Lack of Indictment for Mike Brown’s Shooting is a Devastating Blow” by Kristen Howerton at Rage Against the Minivan.

Best Personal Essay.Gate A-4” by Naomi Shihab Nye at David Kanigan’s Live and Learn.

Best Response.Foolishness, Poverty, Mobility” by Elizabeth Stoker Bruening.

Best Photoblog.Read Me! Please!: Book Titles Rewritten to Get More Clicks” by Janet Potter at The Millions.

Best Interview.Faith and Science: 15 Questions for Dr. Stephen Barr” by Sean Salai, S.J. at America.

Best Reality Check.Pomplamoose 2014 Tour Profits (or Lack Thereof)” by Jack Conte at Medium.

Best Meditation.I Was Wrong About You, 2014” by Natalie Trust.

Best Profile.A Football Martyr” by John Rosengren at SB Nation.

Cutest Video.Paranormal Petivity” by Pets Add Life (via YouTube).

“What?”