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. 6/1/15

Second Battle of the Virginia Capes by V. Zveg (1962).

Second Battle of the Virginia Capes by V. Zveg (1962).

After a few weeks off (thanks to a stubborn chest cold), here is the best of the last twenty one days (give or take).

Best Dad Post.Why I Want My Daughter to Curse” by Lorne Jaffe at Mighty.

Best List.4 Signs Your Baby is Ready for Solid Foods” by Alice Callahan at Science of Mom.

Best Confession. “We Quit Our Jobs” by Liz von Ehrenkrook at So I Married a Youth Pastor.

Best Transition Post. “Commencing” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know. 

Most Surprising.For One Irish Couple, Backing Gay Marriage Is a Matter of Family Values” by Hanna Ingber at The New York Times.

Best Commentary.When Mean, Scared, Scary People Have Stolen My Jesus” by John Pavlovitz.

Best Special Needs Post.A Writer in the Family” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Geekiest Post.On the Taxonomy of Spaceships” by Hageshii01 at Critical Sh*t.

Best Question.What’s in a Name?” by Andee Zomerman.

Best Insight.It’s a Good Life” by Alise Chaffins at Knitting Soul.

Best Parody. “The Kevin Smith Blog” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

To catch up on 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.

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.

Bloggerhood Etc. 11/17/14

Expensive and complicated watch

Photo: Sotheby’s

Geekiest.The Story of the Most Complicated Watch in the World” by Luke Jones at BBC Magazine.

Most Fascinating New Book.Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior,” reviewed by Elizabeth Esther and Cara Strickland (with giveaways!)

Best Special Needs Post.Astronaut” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best Dad Post.My 2-Year-Old Daughter Was Pressured About Body Image and Marriage” by Lorne Jaffe at Huff Post Parents.

Best List.5 Steps for Choosing Where to Spend Your Donation Dollars” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Best Dumb Idea.Breaking Madden: Beast Mode, 3,000 players, and one controller” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.

A bee! AAAA!!!

Image: Jon Bois

Best Question.Do Democrats want pro-choice purity or to win elections?” by Kristen Day and Robert Christian at The Hill.

Best Blog Hop.#8TerribleTitles” by Kiersi Burkhart and other MG and YA writers that are part of The Sweet Sixteens.

Best Award.Vatican Astronomer and Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno Wins the Carl Sagan Medal” by Sarah Christian in Millennial.

Best Guest Post.The Listening Program” by Kelly Pinkham at Jake’s Journey.

Best New Font.Dyslexie Typeface (for people with dyslexia)” by Christian Boer, featured in De Zeen.

Best Instructional Video.How to Be a Good Guest or Host” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

Bloggerhood Etc. 10/20/14

beach bonfire

Photo: Heather Park

Best Photoblog.Once I Went to a Wedding” by Heather Park and Evelyn Shoop at Momsicle.

Best Special Needs Post.The Path to Self-Advocacy” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best List.The 5 Worst Commercials of the MLB Postseason” by Grant Brisbee at SB Nation.

Best Satire.The War on Halloween” by Drew Chial.

Best Question.What Does it Mean to be Blackish?” by Christena Cleveland at Christianity Today.

Most Hopeful.The Secret to Stop Feeling Like a Failure” by Jennifer Dukes-Lee, guest-posting at Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience.

Best Social Commentary.Deus Ex Musica: Beethoven’s Bad Influence” by Alex Ross at The New Yorker.

Best Parenting Post.The Whole Truth About Infant Cereals: 7 Science-Based Tips” by Alice Callahan at Science of Mom.

Best Reflection.Mark Driscoll Impacts the Non-Mars-Hill People Too” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Best Sports Commentary.Kirk Cousins, E.J. Manuel, and Why Bad Quarterbacks Keep Getting Starting Jobs” by K.C. Clyburn at Football is Stupid.

Best Advice.How I Learned NOT to be an Obnoxious Author” by Sarabeth Caplin.

Best Mom Post.To Live Like a Child” by Ashley Larkin at Draw Near.

Best Dad Post.A Dispatch from the Gender Frontline (I Went to Some Toy Shops)” by Simon Ragoonanan at Man vs. Pink.

Best Essay. “The Other Side of the River” by Stephen Knox at SB Nation.

Most Awesome Video.3D Printed IRON MAN Child Prosthetic Hand” by Pat Starace (via YouTube).

Conflicting Whispers

There are two different whispers that I’ve heard throughout my life. I wrote about one of them in an essay describing my path to the Catholic Church.

God speaks to us all the time, but he usually speaks in subtle ways. Beautiful whispers that draw us little by little toward him. God spoke to me many times in the most unlikely places, although I didn’t recognize his voice until much later.

There’s another whisper that contends with God. An ugly whisper that feeds our doubts and despair at one moment, and puffs up our pride and self-image the next. A whisper that is confusing because the whisperer means to confuse.

Jesus called this whisperer “the father of lies” and all his whispers are lies. Sometimes he tells us what we want to hear and sometimes he tells us what we dread but everything he says is a lie.

“You are worthless.”

“You are better than everyone else.”

“You will never amount to anything.”

“You can have whatever you want, just take it.”

“Everybody hates you.”

“Everybody likes you.”

“You will die alone and penniless.”

“You will be rich and famous and live a long life.”

It doesn’t matter that his whispers contradict each other. He wants to confuse you, and get you to the point where you don’t know if you’re coming our going. Above all, he has to keep whispering to drown out the other whisper.

Don’t listen to him. Listen instead to the One who tells you what you need to hear.

“I love you.”

“I died for you.”

“I rose so that you may have life eternal in my presence.”

Amen.

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