Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why I'm okay with being obnoxious (Repost)

This is a picture of my childhood friend, Karen and me at our 20th high school reunion. Do you want to know what I enjoyed about that night? That I was able to enjoy being there without being nervous about whether or not some wildly elaborate made up story about my life would hold up under scrutiny. I figured out a long time ago that I am a very square peg surrounded by round holes. Trying to fit into those holes simply wore me down and slowly chipped away at the person I was meant to be.

That is not to say that I am completely satisfied with every aspect of me. I am always striving to become the person God wants me to be. But God, not someone else's ideal picture of what a 43 year old wife and mother of two is supposed to be.

That's why I'm okay with being obnoxious. Some of you might be wondering if "katdish" is some sort of persona that has been created that allows me to say things that I might not otherwise have the guts to say as myself. Let me clear that up for you. This is me. Warts, monkey butts and all. Those of you who know me in real life can attest to this. Jon Acuff paid me a great left handed compliment at Catalyst One Day in Atlanta earlier this year. He said, "You're not obnoxious, you're just from Texas." Thanks, Jon. I big red monkey butt heart you, too.

I'm not smart enough to keep up with more than one personality. Besides, I think doing that drains your soul and robs you of a valuable witness to the power of God's grace - for the sinner and the saint. And for the record, you ain't no saint! (Please, no theological arguments here, you know what I mean.)

Sometimes I say things that should probably have been left unsaid. But in the non-cyber world, I have my husband and friends who love me enough to tell me to shut up. In the blogosphere, I have a handful of good friends that will do the same. (You know who you are.)

I'm totally okay with someone not liking me. I think caring more about what people think and less about what God thinks is a horrible, wretched way to live. Now here's a newsflash, if you don't like me, there's a pretty good chance I don't like you either. But that's okay. God calls us to love one another. He never said anything about like. Just as long as we're not walking around with giant planks in our eyes, I'm cool with that.

This much I know is true. While I am a product of genetics and life experiences, the essence of me has remained much the same as it was when I was a silly, talkative, klutzy little girl who found herself in the spotlight more often for misbehaving than behaving. If you cannot fathom how that silly little girl might allow God to witness for Him, then you don't get me. Which is okay. You don't have to.

The following statement is intended for those who need to hear it. Clearly, some of you grasped this concept a long time ago. But I offer it anyway:

May I be so bold as to offer some advice? Stop trying so hard to keep up appearances. Accept that you are broken. Even if, like me, you have been smashed with a hammer. God's light often shines brightest through the broken vessel. I for one, will love you for it.

God? He loves you, regardless. His love was poured out for you at Calvary. He doesn't need you. But He desires your abiding love with all of His heart.

How cool is that?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shocking but true...

I wasn't on the twitter much last week. I'm busy people! But I still managed to enrich a few lives through the power of social media.

In particular, @sarahmsalter, who has never heard of Festivus! I know what you're saying to yourselves, "That can't be!"

In the words of Elaine to Jerry, "Oh, it be..."


@BridgetChumbley Oh, right. I haven't had any gray hair since I was about 27.

@br8kthru Oh shut up. (in reply to: @Helenatrandom I know- the funny thing is I joked about her avoiding me then she never responded. I was trying to lure her out - oh well...)

@BridgetChumbley Hair day? Every day is hair day for me. Mostly ponytail hair day though...

@br8kthru Did you not see my earlier tweet Jason? Sheesh!

@sarahmsalter It's Festivus for the Rest of Us:

@sarahmsalter Oh, hold on...

Does anyone else celebrate Festivus?

RT @tremendousnews: Announcement! I now have an agent. I know. I know. His name's Doug. He's State Farm's finest.

@Helenatrandom No regrets, I'm like you. I'll forget to read it if I don't.

New rule: I'm going to actually read a post before I RT it. So if I don't RT right away, that's what I'm doing.

@PeterPollock You're welcome.

@PeterPollock SNAP OUT OF IT!

@br8kthru Why would I avoid you, Jason? I've just been a bit busy. Besides, the sweater vest is hard to miss.

Are y'all freaking kidding me with the ads in my DM column? STOP IT NOW!

RT @muchl8r: Starting a new day. This one will rock yesterday's socks off! Or else I'll be forced to stab someone!

" I know that my lack of detachable feet has never interfered with my self esteem." - @helenatrandom

What am I missing in Chicago? Besides @helenatrandom?

@pwilson You're not going up on the roof again are you? Because if you are, you'd better bring your camera.

RT @unmarketing: How to properly add a comment to a ReTweet //Hint: not like this.

RT @unmarketing: @katdish I'm putting you on probation, and this is going in your file //Read: @katdish is AWESOME

@unmarketing Just because I subscribe to your blog and follow most of your advice, does not mean you're the boss of me. Probably.

@unmarketing Says who? You're not the boss of me.

RT @unmarketing: Just saw another person add a comment to a retweet that makes it look like the originator said it. Comment before RT

@RachelleGardner Best book on writing I've ever read. Also the only book on writing I've ever read. But still...

RT @RachelleGardner: "The editor is always right." But: "No writer will take all of his or her editor's advice." ~Stephen King On Writing

@marni71 Actually, no. I wouldn't know. Snort! (in reply to: @katdish It hates me. Sigh. And I love it so. Rejection is hard, ya know?)

@PuriChristos Oh, like you wouldn't pester me anyway.

RT @PuriChristos: @katdish my net went down. Do u like my new avatar? I picked it special 4u//See? Annoying...

Follow @PuriChristos, because it's his birthday, and he's like the annoying little brother you never wanted.

"A good writer is basically a storyteller, not a scholar or redeemer of mankind." -Isaac B. Singer

RT @redclaydiaries: @billycoffey @katdish You know, I like the word "GAA." It has so many practical applications.//It really does.

RT @makeadiff21: @billycoffey You been hangin' with @katdish too long? // You say that like it's a bad thing.

RT @redclaydiaries: @billycoffey TWSS!

@billycoffey Oh, like that would ever happen. We're delightful!

@billycoffey You know me. I always go there.

RT @shrinkingcamel: Still waiting for that agent to discover your brilliant blog? //Not really, no...

As always...Sorry/you're welcome.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Confessions of a Christian Mother

I have a confession to make.

Despite advice to the contrary from well meaning friends, I am a Christian mom who allowed her daughter to play with Barbies and (GASP!) Bratz Dolls.

But thanks to generous giveaways here at HLAC, the Bratz dolls that formerly resided here now have new homes with Erin, Tony C and Jake. After all, my daughter's body image is important to me, and I didn't want her thinking she wasn't pretty because she didn't have a giant melon head, botox enhanced fish lips and detachable feet. Some lessons come slower than others, and parenthood is a series of difficult choices.

It's such a shame I was not aware of these wholesome Christian alternatives:

God's Girlz Dolls
Tired of toys with a worldly appearance? You'll welcome these dolls with a perfect fit of faith and fashion! Whether your girls play with child of God Imani, nature-loving Hannah, worshipful Sarah, or musical Abigail, they'll love the stylish outfits featuring faith-affirming T-shirts. And you'll rejoice in the biblical message each poseable doll communicates.

Which is awesome and all, but seriously none of them look particularly wholesome when they're lying nekkid in a clear rubbermaid container under the bed. Just saying...

I have put my foot down about certain clothes. My daughter will not be a devil fairy for Halloween despite an Academy Award worthy performance of flailing, crying and slammed bedroom doors. Nor will I allow her to wear "attitude tees" like this one:

Because if I'm being honest, there's plenty of attitude around here without it being reaffirmed by wardrobe selections. But if you want to take it a step further, why not get a Godly attitude t-shirt?

At first glance, you think it's snarky, but upon further inspection you realize that it is actually a bible verse!

How very clever! Take THAT satan!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Max and Ruby: The Halloween Edition (by Beck)

As a very special, spooky Halloween treat, I've invited Beck from Toad and Frog are Still Friends (Profile: I'm a stay-at-home mom who likes to write! I know! I'm a delicate, unique snowflake!) to guest blog for me today. She has a gift, you see. A gift for taking beloved children's stories and making them scary. I was really hard pressed to choose just one, but having suffered through countless episodes of Max and Ruby with my daughter, this one is sort of my sentimental favorite.

But enough about me, here's Beck with her take on Max and Ruby:


Once there had been a mother.

He remembered her, a bit - her breath that smelled like communion grape juice and cigarettes, her harsh laugh and her sudden rages, the way he was frightened and small and hiding underneath his bed, in his tent, under the slide at the playground, hiding from her giant hitting hands and her loud voice.

Ruby made her go away.

He didn't remember much of that night - nothing much more than Ruby giving him warm funny tasting milk at bedtime and then his sleepy awareness of raised yelling female voices and a sudden loud noise and then silence. Then he woke up the next morning to Ruby bright and extra cheerful and the kitchen extra clean and a new vegetable garden in the backyard.

He likes working in the garden. He likes putting his hands in the dirt, likes watering the fat jolly vegetables. Ruby smiles and brings him lemonade and they have picnics for lunch and sometimes he sits on the swing even though the swing is getting smaller and smaller all the time.
He keeps forgetting to ask Ruby about the shrinking swing. He forgets sometimes that Grandma went away a long time ago and finds himself standing in front of her house where strangers live now. He forgets that Mom went away, too, and hides under the piano bench, hides under the front steps, until Ruby lures him out with gummy worms and trips to the ice cream store.

"Ruby," says their neighbour Mrs. Huffington over the fence. "You're doing a wonderful job looking after him, but your whole life is passing you by."

He remembers that sometimes, the way he remembers the surprising bits of red in the kitchen, the loud sound, his mother's sharp breath and giant hurting hands. But then it's time for a picnic and the sun is bright and it's time to work in the garden again, their special garden where the vegetables come up so big and ripe.


For more children's stories turned spooky including Clifford the Big Red Dog, Arthur, Winnie the Pooh, Pippi Longstocking, Scooby Doo, Franklin, Berenstein Bears and Goodnight Moon, check them out HERE.

Visit Beck at Toad and Frog are Still Friends and follow her on the twitter at

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Be in the world only a little different...

(Above picture is one of the buttons Jon Acuff gave away at Catalyst this year.)

Some may read this post and say themselves (or to me directly if they're Nick), "Hey! She's totally ripping off friend and spiritual sarcasm guru Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like!" (Whose book is now available for pre-order on, btw.)

Okay, maybe...but not really. I like to think of this post as more of "Sky Mall - The Spiritual Edition." Sorry/You're welcome.

If we are to be in the world but not of the world, would someone please tell me why Christian marketers try so hard to imitate every popular secular trend? Case in point:

Guitar Praise:
From the creators of the hit game Dance Praise comes Guitar Praise! You can grab the guitar and play along with some of Christian music's top bands. Pretend you're right there on stage with your favorite bands as you handle the guitar controller and play the notes they're playing.

Who needs that rock and roll devil music when you can rock out with G-O-D? (Yeah, you know me.) Also: The hit game Dance Praise? I must have missed that one.

Sunday School Musical:
This school has all the right moves! Two competing groups of high school students must rally together and enter a song and dance competition in order to save their youth center from closing. Featuring a hot 21 songs, Sunday School Musical is wholesome family entertainment with an inspirational message!

If your tween daughter keeps nagging you to see High School Musical but you just don't want to go there, give her this instead. Her friends will understand.

"But katdish, we have little ones! Do you have any wholesome movies that sort of look like a Disney production without all the vile language?" Why yes. Yes I do:

The Kingdom Under the Sea:

Who needs Finding Nemo when you can have this wholesome edition? Okay, so maybe don't take this reviewer's word for it:

Much more frightening than "Nemo". Purchased it as I thought it would not frighten my grandchildren. Barely into it and we had to turn it off all three stories. The scenes were even frightening for me! Visuals that I am still trying to forget! The Humpty Dumpty was demonic, maybe realistic to Satan but children below ages 11 to 12 shouldn't view it if they want to sleep at night. I was extremely disappointed in this product and would like to return it, otherwise it will end up in the dumpster.

Okay, so there's other movies....

They don't even apologize for such a blatent rip off of someone else's idea! (BTW - Sorry, Jon.) I understand that imitation is supposed to be the highest form of flattery, but COME ON! This is more like, "This is like the secular version, but much better for you." Gaa! Stop it, already!

There's so much more folks. But since I'll be pretty busy over the next few weeks, I thought I would make this a short post and drag this on for at least two more blog posts.

Again, sorry/you're welcome...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Loving thy neighbor (by Billy Coffey)

(This is a repost from What I Learned Today, April, 7, 2009)

My friend Pete loves everybody. It’s a matter of pride to him, I think. He’ll tell you that he loves you the first time you meet him. Doesn’t matter who are or what you look like, either. “I’ve never met anybody I didn’t love,” he’ll say, “’Cause I love Jesus and Jesus loves me. So I gotta love you, too.” Then he’ll grab you in his gargantuan arms and lift you off the ground, shaking your bones like a pair of dice.

That’s Pete.

Pete is also as traditional as they come. Church every Sunday and Wednesday, and not a morning goes by without scripture and prayer. The combination of the two has infused in him and his family a bedrock of faith that for years refused to be shaken by anything life could throw at him.

Until the other day. Until my phone rang and he said in his breathless, forty-four-year-old voice, “You gotta get over here. Now.”

Pete was on his front porch when I got there, rocking back and forth in a lawn chair that was not made for rocking, looking thoroughly displeased. He offered me our usual snack—a Coke and a bag of peanuts. I proceeded to dump the latter into the former and take a sip of the salty sweetness.

“What’s up?” I asked him.

“Don’t believe it,” he said. “Don’t believe it, don’t believe it, dontbelieveit.”

“Don’t believe what?” I asked. Another sip.

“Johnson house sold there, across the street,” he said, pointing.

I turned around and followed his finger. Sure enough, the FOR SALE sign on the house across from his had been topped with another that said SOLD. The Johnsons had moved three weeks ago, and everyone figured that the house would be empty for a long while given the economy.

“Great,” I said, facing him again. “You have new neighbors. What’s the problem?”

“Dontbelieveit dontbelieveit dontbelieveit.”

“Pete, you swallow something you weren’t supposed to?" I asked. "You been in the moonshine?”

“Lookie!” he almost shouted, pointing again. “Lookie there and see what the cat done dragged in. Dontbelieveit!”

I turned again. Standing on the front porch of the Johnson house were Pete’s new neighbors. Older lady, slightly younger gal. They were attempting to arrange an assortment of rocking chairs and tables just so and not quite getting it. An aggravating situation for some, though they seemed in bright enough spirits.

“Pete, I don’t—”


The older woman, now utterly confused by the configurations of her new porch, simply gave one of the rockers a hard shove into the younger lady. The act of frustration was met with laughter from both, who then proceeded to fall into one another’s arms and share a very long, very deep…kiss.

“Dontbelieveit,” I said.

Pete buried his head in his hands. “Lawd,” he said. I wasn’t sure if he was praying or merely dumbfounded. “Lawd Jesus God help me.”


“Lawd, why’d You do this to me?” he moaned. “Thissa sort of thing that happens out in Hellywood, Lawd. Not ’cross the street.”

I shook my head in amazement, and the sheer irony of it all made me laugh. Pete, God-and-mama-and-apple-pie Pete, I-love-everybody Pete, had gotten a gay couple for neighbors.

“Huh,” I said. “Ain’t that something.”

“Somethin’?” he retorted, raising his head to look at me. “Don’t you know this ain’t good? Ain’t you read your Bible, boy?”

“Yep,” I said.

“Well, there then,” he answered, as if that explained things.

“You a little homophobic, Pete?” I asked, with a sip of my Coke and a smile.

“Homophobic?” he said. “Homophobic? Boy, I gotta eat a corndog with a knife and fork.”

I snorted out my drink and bent over, wiping it from my mouth and blue jeans.

Pete stared at me, unsure of what had just transpired that would cause me to make such a mess of myself. “What am I gonna do?” he asked. “What. Am. I. Gonna. Do?”

I thought about that. What was Pete going to do? Fume and pout, I supposed. For a little while, anyway. But then Jesus would come calling. The Jesus Pete loved and Who loved him more, Who said that hate was never really any good for anything other than eating up your own insides. He would come calling and tell Peter that it’s easy to love those who are like you, that everyone does that. But that love Jesus wanted from Peter was the hard love, the kind that’s not easy.

It’s okay to not like what they do, Jesus would say, because He didn’t like it either. But Jesus also loved those two women, and He wanted Pete to do the same. Because Pete had faith, and because that faith just might be the closest thing to Jesus those two women ever see.

“Just wait,” I told him. “It’ll come to you.”

We stared across the street. The two women resumed their rocking chair arranging, then stared at us.

They waved.

We waved back.


To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at at his new website and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.


And be sure to stop by Nick the Geek's blog and wish him a Very Geeky Birthday and check out my little tribute to him over at
The Fellowship of the Traveling Smartypants.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Christian versus Christ Follower

UPDATE: Jeff quoted C. S. Lewis this morning in church. I thought it fit nicely with this post. Besides, you know I love me some C. S. Lewis:

"For the church is not a human society of people united by their natural affinities but the Body of Christ, in which all members, however different, (and He rejoices in their differences and by no means wishes to iron them out) must share the common life, complementing and helping one another precisely by their differences."

Let me first say that I'm not slamming the term "Christian". I'm okay with it. I am one. Secondly, while the Mac versus PC commercials are mildly entertaining, I have not yet nor do I plan to partake in the drinking of the Apple kool-aid. I'm sticking to my Gateway, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, I thought these parodies were pretty cool, so I wanted to share them with you. I would also like to thank, because they originally posted these almost a year ago. They have a pretty cool website, too. You should check it out.

And one that's close my little church planting heart:

There are several of these on YouTube. Just something to think about. Not bashing, just makes me pause and think about how non-Christians see us sometimes.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Neighbor (Repost)

The girl sat at home alone; at least without human company, but the family cat was there.

At 10, she had become an expert at faking a sick day. The truth was she didn't want to go to school. She had always been a bit of a square peg, and now with her family still reeling from a bitter divorce, facing her school friends with their in-tact families seemed a bit too daunting for a Monday. Money was tight for a single mother of four, especially when said mother happened to be employed as a waitress. A day off to care for a sick child was not really an option when you worked for tips.

Her mother reluctantly left her youngest child home alone, knowing there were neighbors next door and across the street the girl could call in case of an emergency.

The girl was enjoying her solitude. She was ordinarily a talkative, outgoing child, but lately wasn't really feeling that way. She was perfectly content with the company of the television and the family cat, Nicky.

Nicky was another matter. After an expensive series of treatments for feline leukemia, he was finally in remission. He represented the life before her dad announced (on Christmas day, no less) that he was leaving. Nicky was a reminder of a family unbroken - Dad, Mom, sisters, brother, dog and cat. Perhaps that was too much to expect from a cat, but as the girl sat there with the cat purring in her lap, she felt comforted.

That is, until the cat fell from her lap and onto the floor. He began to pant and become limp. Terrified, she did the first thing that came to her mind. She called Mrs. Jones.

The Jones family lived two doors down. Their youngest daughter was friends with the girl's older sister. They were a good, Christian family who always seemed to be doing something for someone else. Mrs. Jones was one of the kindest, most sincere people that the girl had ever met in her young life. Even though the neighbors obviously knew what was going on in that house, the girl never felt judged or pitied by Mrs. Jones - only loved.

The girl dialed the Jones house, said something incoherent into the phone through her tears and hung up. Mrs. Jones was there in a matter of minutes. She embraced the young girl and told her it was going to be okay. She then calmly wrapped the cat into a towel, and walked with the girl and the cat the short distance to her driveway.

The girl sobbed quietly on the way to the vet. She knew that Nicky would not be making the return ride home in the car. Alas he did not, but Mrs. Jones was there. And somehow that made the ride home much more bearable.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, that little girl was me. As I sat at the funeral of Mrs. Jones over 30 years later, I reflected upon how on that day and on countless other days for countless other people, her kindess and love reflected the Love of Christ. She really understood about that kind of love. I am so grateful for people in my life like Mrs. Jones.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I big pink fuzzy heart social media

It has come to my attention that by adding "(in reply to tweets)" in my twitter updates, some of them actually make sense and can be followed by the average reader. I will not do that this week. I feel like being confusing and random. Because that's how I roll sometimes.

Something kind of cool happened on the twitter yesterday. And by "kind of cool" I mean AWESOME. It also gives credence to my assertion that being a tad pushy isn't always a bad thing.

I big pink fuzzy heart social media...

RT @FaithWords: @billyCoffey - the tribe has spoken you must plan a BlogTalkRadio chat with us ; ) //The tribe is grateful. Thanks.

@HeatheroftheEO Oh, that's what you WANT me to say, isn't it?

@HeatheroftheEO You need to be more specific. Deep dish or hand tossed?

Son: I thought you were in the den but you were in the office. That's called situational irony/Me: No, that's called you being wrong.

@JeanneDamoff Thank you. You really can apply many life experiences to an episode of Seinfeld.

@sarahmsalter I knew you were incredibly perceptive, Sarah.

HEY! @BridgetChumbley @VariantVal @sarahmsalter @JeanneDamoff @PuriChristos @PeterPollock ! Did you see my RT?

Everyone's a comedian...

RT @FaithWords: Which Faithwords author(s) would you like to be chat with on Blogtalkradio? //@BillyCoffey!

@VariantVal Ssshhh! I'm trying to find something.

Hello everyone! Are you paying attention?

Okay...I have to turn off the tweet deck and do some actual work. Sigh. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

@redclaydiaries And that's all that really matters in the end.

@redclaydiaries Yes. We are hilarious.

RT @marni71: @katdish @redclaydiaries Awww how sweet. How many of us can truly say we've found friendship by harsh Biblical conviction?

@forthegirls Okay, well I like CSI too. Except Miami, because David Caruso is annoying.

RT @redclaydiaries: @marni71 Did u see?! @HeatherSunseri LOVES Caillou! WHO'S WITH ME ON ANOTHER INTERVENTION?! // UNFOLLOW!

@sarahmsalter Caillou is the poster child for annoying children everywhere.

@redclaydiaries OMGoogle! You must watch it. "I want people to love me so much it hurts." - Michael Scott

@sarahmsalter You've never seen The Office? I'm not sure we can be friends anymore...

@billycoffey Was it like a crazy, maniacal laugh?

@chrissulli I'm multi-talented.

@chrissulli That's what I'm here for, Chris.

@chrissulli You've obviously never been pregnant.

I'm going to RT @peterpollock's guest post as soon as he changes "bost" to "post". Cuz I'm in editor mode right now.

@marni71 I swift head butt if I recall correctly.

@marni71 Trying being fitted for ski boots only to have the guy tell you (in a surfer accent) "Your calves are HUGE!" Nice.

@marni71 Yes. An OCD germophobe. He completes you.

@marni71 Monk is good. He's a germophobe.

@PuriChristos What do you mean "ewww"? I'm mildly offended.

@Helenatrandom @makeadiff21 @Doallas @BridgetChumbley @billycoffey @HeatherSunseri @br8kthru Thx for the RTs. I'm officially overexposed

@redclaydiaries Right....because I have so many more followers than you do. You broke spades w/your own poop tweet.

I crack myself up. I truly, truly do...

@redclaydiaries Oh man...that's a TWSS moment if I ever saw one. I'm not touching that one though...(ha! TWSS)

Dear @BridgetChumbley 's blog carnival. I have nothing set out for dinner. I blame you.

@Helenatrandom Thanks, but I meant she's an epic procrastinator.

@marni71 Yes. I think my sister is supposed to set up an etsy account, but she probably hasn't because, well...she's like me.

@marni71 Yes. Covered with sticky fingerprints already.

@JeanneDamoff You know what? I don't but I really need to make a road trip to Dallas. My daughter loves American Girl Store.

@gyoung9751 Hey! Thanks for making me feel all convicted and stuff this morning!

@bryanallain Okay, that's just gross...

RT @bryanallain: if I had a nickel for every time I've eaten guinea pig, I'd have a nickel.

@chrissulli You say "incredibly random" like it's a bad thing....

@CandySteele I didn't even know there were more than 15 types of beans. Were there jelly beans?

RT @marni71: A UPS truck just tried to kill me while on the hwy. "What can Brown do for me?" Not swerving into my lane is a good start.

@PuriChristos Awesome Cat, Watermelon Cat, Bus, Stink Eye

As always, Sorry/You're welcome...

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Watching Seinfeld

    As promised from last week, here's my updated version of Robert Fulghum's "All I Really Needed to know I Learned in Kindergarten", the Seinfeld edition:

    Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned from kindergarten or watching Seinfeld. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox or on late night reruns on TBS.

    These are the things I learned:

    From kindergarten:
    Share everything.

    From Kramer:
    "Retail is for suckers."

    From kindergarten:
    Play fair.

    From Jerry:

    "To me, a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We're all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box."

    From kindergarten:
    Don't hit people.

    From Kramer:
    "The camp ended a few days early....I punched Micky Mantle in the mouth."

    From kindergarten:
    Put things back where you found them.

    From Jerry:
    "Very few crooks even go to the trouble to come up with a theme for their careers anymore. It makes them a lot tougher to spot. "Did you lose a Sony? It could be the Penguin. I think we can round him up; he's dressed like a penguin. We can find him; he's a penguin!"

    From kindergarten:
    Clean up your own mess.

    From Frank:

    From kindergarten:
    Don't take things that aren't yours.

    From Kramer:
    "Wait a minute. You mean to say that you drugged a woman so you could take advantage of her toys?"

    From kindergarten:
    Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

    From Jerry:
    "Why do people give each other flowers? To celebrate various important occasions, they're killing living creatures? Why restrict it to plants? "Sweetheart, let's make up. Have this deceased squirrel."

    From kindergarten:
    Wash your hands before you eat.

    From Jerry:
    "When somebody has B.O., the "O" usually stays with the "B". Once the "B" leaves, the "O" goes with it. "

    From kindergarten:

    From Elaine:
    "No, I don't have a square to spare. I can't spare a square."

    From kindergarten:
    Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

    From Jerry:
    "The black and white cookie. I love the black and white. Two races of flavour living side by side in harmony. It's a wonderful thing, isn't it?"

    From kindergarten:
    Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some every day.

    From George:
    "Just remember Jerry, it's not a lie if you believe it."

    From kindergarten:
    Take a nap every afternoon.

    From Jerry:
    "Sleep is separate from That, and I don't see how sleep got all tied up and connected with That."

    From kindergarten:
    When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

    From Jerry:
    I can't go to a bad movie by myself. What, am I gonna make sarcastic remarks to strangers?

    From kindergarten:
    Be aware of wonder.

    From Elaine:
    "I wanted to talk about how we had nothing to talk about."

    From kindergarten:
    Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

    From Newman:
    "The mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming, there's never a let-up. It's relentless. Every day it piles up more and more and more! And you gotta get it out, but the more you get it out the more it keeps coming in. And then the bar code reader breaks and it's Publisher's Clearing House day!"

    From kindergarten:
    Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup - they all die. So do we.

    From Jerry:
    "According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy."

    From kindergarten:
    And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK . Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology and politics and sane living.

    From Jerry:
    "Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."

    What valuable life lesson have you learned from Seinfeld?


    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    One word at a time: Regret (by Bridget Chumbley)

    By "social media guru" standards, I suppose I don't have many followers on the twitter - 954 at last count. But that's certainly more than I could ever really keep up with. But the great thing about tweetdeck is that you can create a "favorites" column to keep up with your favorite tweeters. Bridget Chumbley certainly falls into that category. Always kind, always encouraging. And did I mention she's a very good writer? Also? She quoted me - which has nothing to do with the fact that she's guest posting. (It's just nice to hear someone else quote me besides my kids, because they use my words against me.)

    Here's Bridget with some thoughts on Regret:

    I've found myself spending a lot of time recently dwelling on regrets. Some regrets are for things I've said or done that caused hurt and pain, some revolve around situations that were completely out of my control, while others resulted from a lack of comprehension, simply because I was young and immature...

    Growing up, I used to get really angry and frustrated with my mom. She's struggled with health issues and chronic pain for as long as I can remember, but as a child I tended to be selfish and focused on how it would affect me...not how hard it was on her (physically as well as emotionally). There were times we'd be driving to Disneyland (or somewhere else I REALLY wanted to go), and half-way there we'd have to turn around and go home, because she'd be sick or hurting.

    1Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

    I'm not sure how you dealt with disappointment when you were young, but I got pretty upset. I'd sit in the car with steam coming out my ears, insensitive to the fact my mom was obviously feeling guilty enough without my 'tantrum' in the backseat. Now that I'm older (and I hope wiser), I understand what she was dealing with, and what a constant struggle it was for her to plan those family outings, never knowing what each day would have in store for her body.

    Another regret is of a time I was being babysat while my parents were at work. The babysitter decided we'd take a ride on her bike up to our local store. This was NOT something we were supposed to do while she watched me, and to top it off she put me on the handlebars! Sadly, she hit the curb with the front tire, and subsequently I hit the gravel driveway (face-first). I ended up in the emergency room, with much of my face left behind on the road.

    I don't remember most of what happened (being unconscious can do this), but I've been told that when I was able to talk, I blamed my babysitter for the 'accident'. I was upset and scared, and said a lot of things I didn't mean!

    Most of us have had moments like this, we're hurt or afraid and we speak before thinking...then when we've come to our senses, we apologize and hopefully we're forgiven and we move on. Well, not long after this 'incident', before I realized how stupid and childish I was being, my babysitter was killed in a tragic school bus accident. When I read her name off the list of deceased students in the newspaper, I remember being shocked and full of regret...why didn't I just say I was sorry?

    Many years later, during the summer of my freshman year of high school, I spent a few weeks with some relatives in Connecticut. It was a great trip (my first one without parents along), but about 2 weeks into the trip, I received news that my dear friend Brian (we'd had a crush on each other for years) had been killed in a horrible car accident, along with his dad.

    Needless to say I was devastated. Not only didn't I get a chance to say good bye to Brian, I also missed the funeral by the time they were able to reach me. I went to the cemetery as soon as I got back home, but it wasn't the same. I still have a deep regret for things left unsaid and unresolved...

    Now I'm an adult (at least according to my age), and I've had plenty of lessons taught to me (some harder than others)... life is short, take nothing for granted...take opportunities as they arise, because there might not be others...

    Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

    Why then is it still so hard to do what we know to be right? There are situations I need to put in the past... words left unspoken... people I need to forgive (starting with myself)... but it's a constant struggle! I know better than to procrastinate, yet here I sit with a heavy heart and a stubborn head!

    "Forgiving others is a gift we give ourselves" ~ katdish

    It's never too late to show compassion, and Jesus Christ gave us the ultimate example of forgiveness! Should we continue living with regrets and heartache, or are we ready to give ourselves that priceless gift and finally let go?


    To read more from Bridget Chumbley, visit her at One Word at a Time and follow her on the twitter at @bridgetchumbley.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Trust God, trust yourself

    "Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, and sense of spiritual deadness." -Shakti Gawain

    "If you do not ask yourself what it is you know, you will go on listening to others and change will not come because you will not hear your own truth." -Saint Bartholomew

    "I believe, first of all, in God, and next to all in Mary McLeod Bethune." -Mary McLeod Bethune

    Having spent a large portion of my life allowing other people's opinions shape who I thought I was, at some point I had an epiphany. I realized that some of those opinions were without merit and simply wrong. This one in particular:

    "She's not really good at anything."

    Because everyone is good at something.

    If I believed in such things, I would say I simply stumbled upon the things I was good at quite by accident. But I have come to believe that everything happens for a reason -- even if God never reveals said reasons to us. I also believe we all know on some level what our gifts are and that we should not allow ourselves the luxury or the burden of being deeply affected by either high praise or profound criticism.

    We trust God first and foremost, and we trust ourselves. Because the Master Creator of the heavens and earth reveals in His Word this assurance:

    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

    My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place.
    When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

    your eyes saw my unformed body.
    All the days ordained for me
    were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

    Psalm 139: 14-16

    For most stories about Trust, visit the blog carnival going on at One Word at a Time.

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Coffee Shop Research (by Billy Coffey)

    I am of the opinion that people have a right to their own privacy, whether in deed or in word. “Mind your own business” is what my mother always told me, often with a wagging finger in my face for effect. The lesson was taught both early and often— Jesus doesn’t like eavesdropping.

    Which is why I don’t eavesdrop, I research. Jesus doesn’t mind research.

    I spent the better part of a recent morning in a coffee shop researching Tori, Laura, and Heather, the three twenty-something women at the next table. Very bright, very opinionated, and very vocal. In the twenty minutes I listened to them, they touched upon everything from politics to the environment to who’s doing what to whom on their favorite television show.

    I was about to turn my attention to the newspaper in front of me when Laura mentioned the fact that the most recent episode wasn’t very realistic. It seemed as though one of the main characters was in a delicate position involving an unwanted pregnancy.

    “Seriously,” she said, “why doesn’t she just have an abortion? No one would blame her.”

    Heather took a sip of her coffee and nodded, then flicked a crumb onto the floor. “I gotta say I would,” she answered. “I really don’t see another way out for her.”

    Tori, I noticed, remained silent through the recap. Her shoulders had closed in and her hands were folded around her coffee cup, as if she were trying to shrink herself enough to be forgotten.

    Unfortunately and as is often the case, trying to go unnoticed was exactly what made her stand out.

    “What do you think, Tori?” Laura asked.

    Tori’s grip tightened around the sleeve on her cup, and she ran her other hand up and down the leg of her jeans to smooth away a wrinkle that wasn’t there.

    It was pretty obvious what her opinion of the situation was; agreement with her friends wouldn’t have given her cause to be so anxious. No, I decided that Tori held the opposite view. The question was whether she would play along or be honest.

    She chose honest.

    “I’d keep it,” she said. “I’d find a way.”

    “Seriously?” asked Heather. “You would seriously keep that baby?”


    Laura let out a snort. “Please tell me you’re joking,” she said.

    “I’d keep it,” said Tori.

    The three sat in silence, unsure how to proceed. Changing the subject would be good. Ignoring the comment would be better. Heather glanced at her watch, hoping she would remember somewhere else she had to be.

    But then Tori found her courage.

    “I don’t think she should kill that baby.”


    “She’s not killing anything, Tori,” said Laura. “There’s nothing there to kill.”

    Heather nodded. “She’s just a few weeks pregnant, Tor,” she said.

    Tori shrugged an I-don’t-care. “I don’t think it’s right.”

    Laura shook her head. “You know Tor, if there’s anyone at this table who should be pro-choice, it’s you.”

    “You got that right,” echoed Heather.

    I wasn’t sure what was meant by that. Evidently Tori shared my sentiment.

    “Why would you say that?” she asked them.

    Heather and Laura exchanged an uncomfortable look between them, as if what they had to say was both obvious and awkward.

    “Hello?” asked Tori.

    “You’re black,” Laura said.

    My eyes widened. How could a conversation about a television show turn into a discussion about abortion and race?

    “So?” Tori asked.

    “If there’s anyone who should appreciate freedom, it’s you,” said Heather. “Your ancestors were robbed of their rights, but you have them all. I think you’d be protective of them.”

    “But it’s a baby,” Tori said. “You can’t kill a baby.”

    “It’s not a baby,” stated Laura. “It’s not even considered a person.”
    Tori took a long sip of coffee and stared at her friends. “Maybe that’s why I don’t think she should have an abortion,” she said. “Maybe that’s why I think it’s wrong.”

    “I don’t get it,” Heather said. “What’s that have to do with anything?”

    “You say if anyone should be pro-choice, it’s me? I don’t think so. I think if anyone should be pro-life, it’s me. Someone has to say that baby is a person. Someone has to stand up for him, just like someone stood up for my ancestors.”

    “What are you saying, Tori?” asked Laura.

    “I’m saying that you can’t sit there and say that baby isn’t a person, because two hundred years ago people would say I wasn’t a person, either.”


    To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at at his new website and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

    Sunday, October 18, 2009


    My friend and pastor Jeff Hogan graciously allowed me to pilfer this post from his blog, Convergence. I should probably tell you he wrote this post while he was still living in Ohio, as we don't get much snow here in southeast Texas. He's not blogging much anymore, as he's busy pastoring Convergence Christian Church. Which has a wicked AWESOME website, in case you haven't seen it yet.

    Here's Jeff in his own words:

    I love to watch the snow fall- especially in the evening... From indoors... With a fire in the fireplace...

    Okay, I'll admit it: I like snow once or twice a season (it's a plus when it happens the way I described it above) but after that, I'm really just waiting for Spring. So, I guess it would be more accurate to say that I'd like to visit a place where it snows- see it, play in it- and then go home.

    Reality, however, woke me up this morning to find five inches of new, wet, heavy snow on the ground with more falling. I suppose I could have climbed back into bed, pulled the covers up over my head and told myself, "I don't want any more snow, so it can't be snowing." I suppose I also could have stood at the window lamenting all the bad weather this town has experienced in the past 6 months thinking, "It's not fair."

    I am anxiously waiting for Spring. But while it is very true that I don't think there should be any more snow this Winter, it's also true that I'm not even remotely equipped to make that decision. And, come to think of it, I'm also not equipped to talk about what is "fair." After all, there are several things about life that aren't "fair," (particularly in the area of God and eternity) in which I am relieved that I don't have to get what I deserve. Besides, denial and self-pity won't get the cars and porch cleaned off or the sidewalks shoveled.

    The only response which accomplishes that result is action. So even though I'm still waiting on the Spring, I got dressed and got to it, remembering that Winter doesn't last forever.

    But in that brief moment, it wasn't an easy choice, even though I clearly knew it was right. Precisely because I'm waiting for it, the big snow seemed to somehow make Spring more implausible- as if it might not actually happen. It was temporarily defeating. Waiting seems to trigger a unique combination of thoughts, emotions, and physiological effects in most people- especially when the wait is ongoing.

    Waiting tires us out and wears us down.

    Don't think so? While waiting for something, have you ever used the phrase, "I'm so tired of..."? Or how about this one: "I can't take this much longer."

    When our emotional batteries get drained, our judgement can be compromised. I believe that more than a few poor choices have been made out of a desire to end the waiting and find closure. In order to avoid this situation, we need to find a source of renewal; a way to keep our stamina while things are on hold.

    Waiting is a theme that is literally found throughout the entire Bible. Jacob waited seven years to be allowed to marry Rachel, only to be tricked by his father-in-law Laban into marrying her older sister. After re-negotiating for Rachel's hand in marriage, Jacob worked an additional seven years for Laban (Gen. 29:16-30).

    At the age of seventy-five, God promised Abraham (then called Abram) that he would be "a great nation" (Gen. 12:2). After receiving that promise, Abraham waited twenty-five more years until God gave him a son, Isaac, through his wife Sarah.

    And in Acts 1, after the resurrection and just before he is "taken up before their very eyes," (v.9) Jesus tells the eleven remaining apostles not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there instead for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Okay- so in this case He actually tells them it will happen in a few days. But when they ask if this is the point when He will "restore the kingdom to Israel" (something for which the Jewish people had been waiting a very long time) Jesus responds by telling them, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority" (Acts 1:7). I'd say that roughly translates to "nobody gets to know that, you'll have to wait and see."

    In each of these examples, they chose to act while they waited. Jacob negotiated for Rachel's hand in marriage, and then continued to work for Laban until the terms of that agreement were met. Abraham trusted God's promise that he would be a great nation, so he left his country and set out on a journey to a new land. The apostles returned to Jerusalem, joined together in prayer and chose someone to take the place of Judas.

    So where did they find the stamina to do those things?

    Isaiah 40:27-32 says, "Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, 'My way is hidden from the LORD, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God'? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." (NASB version)

    Interestingly, sometimes "wait" in v.31 is translated "hope." These verses, compare Israel with a person waiting for some kind of resolution. In frustration, the cry goes out, "I'm so tired of this! Don't you see me God? This isn't fair!" But, they are reminded that God does indeed see everything, and he never gets tired. And they will find the strength and renewal they need to endure the waiting if they will put their trust and hope in Him.

    Life is full of waiting, for both the mundane and the very serious. Waiting to check out. Waiting for lunch time. Waiting for that file to download. Waiting for the light to turn green. Waiting to find out if you got the job. Waiting for those test results. Waiting to see if the surgery was a success.

    It's likely that you are waiting on something right now. It may be wearing you down and draining your strength.

    Do you need renewal?

    Where will you go?

    In Him We Live,


    Saturday, October 17, 2009

    Playtus Rainbow Revisited

    Back on September 22, I posted a short series of haikus entitled Platypus Rainbow in honor of having outpatient surgery that day. (Just smile and nod like you understand.) I also invited everyone to post their own haikus.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the HLAC Comments Section:

    Dory said:

    May I start by submitting an old one I did on my blog when I was bragging that I knew so much about wrestling that I could write a haiku about a half nelson?

    Hand under the arm
    free arm under the other
    lock together wrists

    Helen said:

    The supermarket
    is the perfect place to dance
    for those named Helen

    Nick the Geek said:

    This week is busy
    Oh boy I am very tired
    Please pass the Monster

    Marni said:

    Here's a haiku about my experience in the elementary school drop off line this morning...

    Can't take turns in line.
    Why be mean fourth grade parents?
    God saw that, white jeep!

    Steph at the Red Clay Diaries said:

    Oh Katdish wake up
    Your audience awaits you.
    Tweet some crazy sh*t

    Steph at the Red Clay Diaries said:

    I almost forgot
    About the haiku challenge.
    Thank you for the Tweet

    Annie K said:

    Steph said a bad word
    But Katdish won't give a rip
    She's looped on pain meds

    BridgetChumbley said:

    Katdish is my twitter idol
    Her tweets make everyone smile
    Fried pie is amazing

    BridgetChumbley said:

    I had an inspiration for another so here goes:

    The twitter is lonely today
    It just doesn't feel the same
    That's what she said

    David said...

    My nose is dripping.
    Katdish advice, Why'd I listen?
    Silly Neti Pot.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    Jason said:

    Once upon a time
    Little fairies drove steamboats
    Don't shake a baby

    Marni said:

    Email from Sherri
    What kind of meat do you like?
    Ha! TWSS.

    Glynn said:

    Katdish surgerized;
    Asleep, cracking herself up.
    Time for a rant soon.

    Helen said:

    Twitter ho's unite
    to comfort our wounded friend
    surround her with love

    Beth said:

    Dude! Jason, I'm not even on pain killers and that CRACKED ME UP. Why? I have no idea...

    Strange sense of humor
    I embrace you like the night
    Lemming tortilla

    Sarah Salter said:

    I like to call this one "Frog":

    It is still raining
    I have mud between my toes
    Oh no! A Truck! Splat.

    Shark Bait said:

    Once I had a life.
    It was full and rewarding.
    Now I have a blog.

    Annie K said:

    Oh our dear Katdish
    We are having so much fun
    At your expense. Dang.

    Sarah Salter said:

    And now, "Cricket":

    Shiny black cricket
    A tasty treat for the cat
    Chirp! Crunch. Then, silence.

    (I think Haiku brings out my dark side...)

    Vanities of Vanities said:

    Must obey Father
    Despite your persecution
    Here, still not a Twit

    Doug Spurling said:

    What is a haiku
    a poem of some kind
    or Chuck Norris

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    We interrupt this Twitter update for a special annoucement

    A VERY brief twitter update this week. Sorry, I'm pretty stoked about some other news, which I will get to in a minute. For now, here's the shortest twitter update ever:

    @peterpollock: The slave driver has put me to work again!.... just sayin'

    @katdish: @PeterPollock Mush! Mush!


    @katdish: @billycoffey Thanks. Staying busy?

    @billycoffey: @katdish Sigh...yes. And cold and wet.

    @katdish: @billycoffey Oh, don't fret. I have a feeling your week will end on a high note.

    @BridgetChumbly: @katdish All this 'code' talk between you and @billycoffey is driving me crazy! Will we get to hear this news on Friday, or no???

    @billycoffey: @BridgetChumbly Hmmm....

    @katdish: @BridgetChumbley Stay tuned....


    @katdish: RT @PeterPollock: I'm scared this morning. I was woken up by orders given through twitter DM's... I'm just obeying, it's safest //Mwha ha ha


    So what's the big news? Well, hang on...I tell you in just a minute. But first...

    Billy has done some really great interviews. I've enjoyed each and every one of them. But no one does an interview quite like my pal Matt at the Church of No People. Here's a brief excerpt from Billy Coffey's latest interview with Matt:

    Your writing has a signature style. It’s been said by readers such as myself that it can be calming like a butterfly, fierce and poignant like a tiger, or ironic like a three-legged dog. What do you say?

    I would say my style resembles a three-legged dog who gets so distracted by chasing a butterfly that he doesn’t see the tiger that comes along and eats him.

    Now as a test of writing dexterity, I’m thinking of three random things: a hula-hoop, a pudding cup, and that three-legged dog from the previous question. Can you write an inspiring story using all three?

    To read how Billy answers this and other questions, hop on over to Matt's blog,
    The Church of No People. I'll wait right here....

    Are you back so soon? Did you go read the interview? Good, huh?

    Okay. Here's the big news: I'm not going to tell you. You have to go HERE. to read about it. Okay...bye!

    A Refresher Course in Kindergarten Ethics

    I would venture to guess that the vast majority of those reading this post have already read the following excerpt by Robert Fulghum at least once. Having said that, I sometimes need a reminder of the simple truths found within this book, and I hope you don't mind me sharing them here.

    All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

    - by Robert Fulghum

    Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

    These are the things I learned:

    Share everything.
    Play fair.
    Don't hit people.
    Put things back where you found them.
    Clean up your own mess.
    Don't take things that aren't yours.
    Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
    Wash your hands before you eat.
    Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
    Live a balanced life.
    Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some every day.

    Take a nap every afternoon.
    When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
    Be aware of wonder.
    Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

    Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup - they all die. So do we.

    And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK . Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology and politics and sane living.

    Think of what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: I am currently working on a revised version of this list where I will contrast and compare Mr. Fulghum's wisdom with that of one of my favorite television shows. It will be delightful, I'm sure. Stay tuned...

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    What DO you do with a Voodoo Doberman? (by Stephanie Wetzel)

    I asked Steph of the Red Clay Diaries to guest post for me roughly six months ago.

    Then I asked her again.

    Then I said, "Steph, seriously - just give me SOMETHING!"

    So she says, "Like what?", and I say, "Voodoo Doberman." So she says, "Oh, okay."

    (insert sound of crickets chirping here)

    Then I say, "You're going to have to email it to me, because I'm can't do EVERYTHING!" Then she called me pushy or something like that and says, "You're not the boss of me!"

    (That might not be our conversation verbatim, but pretty darned close.)

    Without further adieu, Here's Steph of the Red Clay Diaries:

    Based on the blog name, you might think that as an outsider, I am making fun of the rural South. But here’s the truth:

    I grew up in California, but in the part that nobody knows about: central California. During my teen years, my family lived in a single-wide mobile home – with the wheels still on – on one dusty acre behind my parents’ junk store.

    Yes. Junk store.

    Surrounded by cotton fields and dairies, our household consisted of four people, five dogs, one horse, and anywhere from five to twenty chickens.

    One of our dogs was named Buffalo, and he had issues with cats. He hated them. When we moved to the country, he quickly transferred this animosity to the chickens. In fact, Buffalo made it his mission to purge our property of poultry.

    I heart alliteration.

    My dad built a Buffalo-proof pen, so the dog spent most of the day glaring through the wire at his feathered enemies. He was biding his time, because he had learned that my little sister wasn’t consistent at latching the chicken gate. She forgot about once every three months.

    Chickens being, well, chickens, an open gate drew them out into the yard. And to their demise. It never happened when we were home, so here’s what we gathered from forensic evidence:

    Buffalo waited until all the chickens left the pen. Then he systematically killed them. And stacked them in a neat pile against the fence. Obsessive-compulsive? We never knew for sure.

    My parents tried every solution, but Buffalo could not be broken of his chicken habit. As a last resort my dad tried something that the old-timers swore by: letting the animal live with the consequences of his actions – literally.

    So, after the next killing spree, my dad chose a dead chicken – our biggest rooster, as it happened – and tied the carcass to Buffalo’s collar. The idea was to leave it there until your dog grew to hate chickens, and then he’d never go near them again.

    So hanging from our Doberman’s neck, tied by the feet and dragging on the ground, was a chicken pendant. A chicken necklace. A chicken choker.

    This training method did not have the desired effect. Buffalo soon adjusted to the weight and awkwardness of his new accessory. And apparently the smell. In fact, I think he kind of forgot it was there.

    Days passed, and the rooster rotted in the 100-degree heat. We girls spent our time dodging a 90-pound dog as he dragged around what looked like a large feather duster. A large smelly feather duster that kept shedding body parts all over the yard.

    Even my dad questioned his plan when he realized that he’d lost his junk store dog. He couldn’t really lock Buffalo and a dead chicken in the store every night.

    So eventually Dad decided to remove the carcass, and there was much rejoicing in the land. But when Buffalo greeted us that morning, something was missing. At first it looked like the chicken had finally disintegrated.

    But then we saw it: Buffalo had removed the chicken himself, by chewing it off at the feet.

    The only thing hanging from his collar now, like the necklace of a voodoo queen, was a pair of large bright-yellow chicken feet.

    See? Rednecks = my people. The soil may be red here instead of brown, but it feels like home to me.

    In your FACE, Jeff Foxworthy!


    To read more from Stephanie Wetzel, visit her at The Red Clay Diaries and follow her on the twitter at @redclaydiaries.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Pain Management

    Last week, quite suddenly and inexplicably, my neck started hurting. It started out as a nagging, muscular thing. By Sunday morning it was downright debilitating. I made it to church, even made it through the worship set. But as soon as we got home I put on my jammies, took some extra strength Excedrin and spent most of the day lying on a heating pad. As I write this post, I am still in pain. I have an appointment with a chiropractor, but until then, all I can do is manage the pain as best I can.

    Sometimes that's all we can do, isn't it? Manage the pain. We know (or at least we think we know) how to alleviate it, but sometimes all the other stuff in our lives takes precedent over immediate relief. So we endure and try to compensate.

    Here's what I learned over the past few days about compensating -- too often we overcompensate. The pain that began at the base of the right side of my neck soon found a new home at the base of my skull, then radiated up the back of my head and behind my right eye. I didn't stop the pain, I simply chased it to another location. I'm guessing I will continue to chase the pain from one place to another until I can get some relief. Because I've got to feel like I'm doing something other than simply enduring. Right?

    Maybe not. Perhaps we're meant to endure some things. Because without enduring the pain we can never truly appreciate the healing.

    My observation, anyway.

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    The Manly Man(ifesto) by Billy Coffey

    I usually don't introduce Billy Coffey's posts here, because let's face it -- no one comes here on Monday to read what I have to say. But hey -- this is my blog after all, and I couldn't be prouder to present Billy's first ranting post. Not incessantly ranting, but still...


    My daughter is perched on my lap in front of the television. Her blond hair pokes me in the eyes and tickles my lips, but she’s almost asleep and I dare not move. Besides, I like her here. Every little girl belongs on her father’s lap.

    The show we’ve been watching goes to a commercial, where I see three boys prancing around a stage surrounded by thousands of screaming prepubescent girls. The noise is enough to stir the little blondie on my knee.

    “Yuck,” she says.

    “What’s yuck?”


    “I thought all girls loved them,” I say.

    “I don’t,” she answers. “I love you.”

    She rests her head back onto my shoulder and I smile. There are a lot of things I’m still not doing right when it comes to raising a daughter to be a woman, but I’m doing okay with this one.

    From what I understand, the three boys on our TV are the types of males women seem attracted to nowadays. The guys who know more about hand cream than their mothers. The ones who exfoliate, wear pink shirts, and like to talk about their feelings.

    This is what most women call men nowadays. My father has another word for them—pansies.

    The Oprahfication of our society is such that we’ve been told the male of old is outdated and barbaric. That we’re mean and nasty and dirty. There’s no place for Neanderthals in the modern age. We must evolve into kinder, more nurturing people.

    Somehow along the way kindness was remade into softness and “nurture” was turned into “neuter.”

    I still blame men for this. Yes, my own kind is at fault here. More than anyone, guys are to blame for allowing themselves to buckle under the whims of convention.

    I’ve heard faint grumblings lately that men are making a comeback. Manly men. And for that I am exceedingly grateful. If there was ever a time when the world needed more real men, it’s now.

    The problem is we’ve gone so long since the manly man was common that no one knows how to spot the real ones from the fakes. Wearing flannel shirts, lifting weights, and cussing a lot doesn’t make you a manly man. There’s a little more to it.

    So for the uninitiated and the confused, I offer this little primer on what it means to be a manly man.

    A manly man does not draw attention to himself. He blends in rather than stands out, does much more than he says, and his eyes will say much more than his words ever could.

    He knows the realities of this world, that despair and conflict are the norm rather than the exception. But even as he sees the way things are, he will work toward what should be.

    A manly man knows the unimportant moments are just as meaningful as the important ones. No matter how alone he is, Someone is always watching.

    He is eager to open his hand to help the helpless, and willing to close it to defend the defenseless.

    A manly man is at ease regardless of his surroundings. He is a man of the world and yet untouched by it.

    A manly man is by nature kind and compassionate, but those traits have their limits. He is not a doormat and will refuse to be stepped on.

    He knows it is better to die with courage than to live without a spine.

    A manly man knows that there is no equality of the sexes. Women are a step above men and should always be treated as such. To make a woman a man’s equal is to make her less than she is.

    A manly man knows that this world is not his home and keeps his end in mind. He is ready to die, whether it be on a battlefield ten thousand miles away or a bed in the next room. And he knows that it isn’t the manner of death that defines him, but how that death is faced.

    And maybe most of all, a manly man knows he will not always act like one. He knows that he is fallible and fallen, beaten and scarred. His mistakes and faults are many, and yet he owns them. He sees the darkness in his heart and yet chooses daily to stand in the light.

    That is a manly man. Someone worthy of one day taking the hand of the blondie snoozing on my knee. I hope she finds him. And I hope that once she does she hangs on to him tight.

    Because there are far too many kittens out there and far too few lions.


    To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at What I Learned Today and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

    (I originally posted this excerpt on November 30, 2008)

    In "The Reason for God", Keller offers the skeptic and the believer an intellectual defense of the Gospel of Christ. I am a huge fan of the object lesson, and while I am of the opinion that Jesus was the master of the object lesson, Keller provides some excellent ones in this book.

    The following is an excerpt from Chapter 11 - Religion and the Gospel: Two Forms of Self-Centeredness:

    In Robert Lewis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll comes to realize that he is "an incongruous compound of good and evil." His bad nature is holding his good nature back, he believes. He can aspire to do things, but he cannot follow through on them. Therefore he comes up with a potion that can separate out his two natures. His hope is that his good self, which will come out during the day, will be free from the influence of evil and will be able to realize its goals. However, when he takes the potion one night and his bad side comes out, he is far more evil than he expected. He describes his evil self using classic Christian categories:

    I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold "more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought in that moment, braced and delighted me like wine...(Edward Hyde's) every act centered on self.

    Edward Hyde is so named not just because he is hideous but because he is hidden. He thinks solely of his own desires; he doesn't care in the slightest who he hurts in order to gratify himself. He kills if someone gets in his way. Stevenson is saying that even the best of people hide from themselves what is within--an enormous capacity for egotism, self-absorption, and regard for your own interests over those of all others. Self-aggrandizement is at the foundation of so much of the misery of the world. It is the reason that the powerful and the rich are indifferent to the plight of the poor. It is the reason for most of the violence, crime, and warfare in the world. It is at the heart of most cases of family disintegration. We hide from ourselves our self-centered capacity for acts of evil, but situations arise that act as a "potion" and out they come.

    Once Jekyll realizes that he has this capacity for evil acts, he decides to clamp down heavily on this terrible self-centeredness and pride at the core of his being. In a sense, he "gets religion." He solemnly resolves not to take the potion anymore. He devotes himself to charity and good works, partially as atonement for what Edward Hyde has done, and partially as an effort to simply smother his selfish nature with acts of unselfishness.

    However, one day Dr. Jekyll is sitting on a bench in Regents Park, thinking about all the good he has been doing, and how much better a man he was, despite Edward Hyde, than the great majority of people.

    "I resolved in my future conduct to redeem the past; and I can say with honesty that my resolve was fruitful and of some good. You know how earnestly, in the last months of the last year, I labored to relieve suffering; you know that much was done for others...(But as) I smiled, comparing myself with other men, comparing my active goodwill with the lazy cruelty of their the very moment of that vain-glorious thought, a qualm came over me, a horrid nausea and the most dreadful shuddering...I looked down...I was once more Edward Hyde.

    This is a deadly turn of events. For the first time Jekyll becomes Hyde involuntarily, without the potion, and this is the beginning of the end. Unable to control his transformations any longer, Jekyll kills himself. Stevenson's insight here is, I think, profound. Why would Jekyll become Hyde without the potion? Like so many people, Jekyll knows he is a sinner, so he tries desperately to cover his sin with great piles of good works. Yet his efforts do not actually shrivel his pride and self-centeredness, they only aggravate it. They lead him to superiority, self-righteousness, pride and suddenly -- look! Jekyll becomes Hyde, not in spite of his goodness, but because of his goodness.

    Sin and evil are self-centeredness and pride that lead to oppression against others, but there are two forms of this. One form is being very bad and breaking all the rules, and the other form is being very good and keeping all the rules and becoming self-righteous. There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. The first is by saying, "I am going to live my life the way I want."

    The second is described by Flannery O'Connor, who wrote about one of her characters, Hazel Motes, that "he knew that the best way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin." If you are avoiding sin and living morally so that God will have to bless and you and save you, then ironically, you may be looking to Jesus as a teacher, model, and helper but you are avoiding him as Savior. You are trusting in your own goodness rather than in Jesus for your standing with God. You are trying to save yourself by following Jesus.

    That, ironically, is a rejection of the gospel of Jesus. It is a Christianized form of religion.
    There's more, but I'll stop here and let you soak that in. Maybe you read that and were unaffected; not at all convicted. I have read books others have considered life changing that, while I considered them good reads, did not affect me profoundly - to each his/her own. Over the past two years, my concept of what it means to be a Christian has radically changed. The Holy Spirit convicts me left and right. All other major faiths have founders who are teachers that show the way to salvation. Jesus was the only one to make the audacious claim that He is the way to salvation Himself. As I wrestle with the understanding that orthodox Christianity is not about being good as a means to salvation, but abiding in His will out of a sense of overwhelming gratitude for the salvation that has already been granted, I am becoming more aware of how often I fail to express this gratitude.

    "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
    These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

    I don't want to be lukewarm. Do you?

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    Isn't it Ironic (not particularly) Repost (sort of)

    Irony -
    1: a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other's false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning —called also Socratic irony
    2 a: the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning b: a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony c: an ironic expression or utterance
    3 a (1): incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2): an event or result marked by such incongruity b: incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play —called also dramatic irony tragic irony.

    Okay, I realize this song has been around awhile, and this particular dead horse has already been beaten, but I thought I would point out the fact that the situations described in the song "Ironic" are unfortunate, but not ironic.

    As a public service, I have decided to add some words to the song, thereby making it ironic. (You're welcome.)

    An old man turned ninety-eight
    He won the lottery and died the next day (because he accidentally poked himself in the jugular vein with the pencil he used to fill out the winning ticket)
    It's a black fly in your Chardonnay (that happened to be an albino fly, so it was white)
    It's a death row pardon two minutes too late (because the electric surge caused by the execution resulted in the phone lines going out two minutes earlier)
    Isn't it ironic ... don't you think (no, not really)


    It's like rain on your wedding day (in the Sahara desert)
    It's a free ride when you've already paid (for the bus)
    It's the good advice that you just didn't take (from the Olympic committee insider that assured you Chicago had no chance of winning the bid)
    Who would've thought ... it figures

    Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
    He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye
    He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
    And as the plane crashed down he thought
    'Well isn't this nice...' (Okay, that actually is kind of ironic)
    And isn't it ironic ... don't you think

    Repeat Chorus

    Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
    When you think everything's okay and everything's going right
    And life has a funny way of helping you out when
    You think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up
    In your face (and that is very unfortunate, but not ironic)

    It's a traffic jam when you're already late (for your job as the head of public transportation)
    It's a no-smoking sign on your cigarette break (at the Marlboro plant)
    It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife (to cut open the boxes of spoons)
    It's meeting the man of my dreams
    And then meeting his beautiful wife (who works as a pharmaceuticals rep for Ambien sleep aid)
    And isn't it ironic... don't you think
    A little too ironic... and yeah I really do think... (no, not really)

    Repeat Chorus

    Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
    Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out
    Helping you out (which is nice, but not ironic)

    Here's some irony for you: Angry, white Canadian girl becomes international singing sensation with a smash hit called "Ironic", which isn't.