Category: Uncategorized

Pondering the Adjusting to the Pondering of the Adjusting…

Susie Finkbeiner, wise in the ways of writing and blogging, calls this type of blog post a “mutt…” One of those here’s what’s going on in my world, without any real content, sans poignant truths or lessons, nor any stuff that would further your career as a writer, or at least persuade people to join your “tribe” and build your “platform,” kinds of posts

And that’s all true.

But honestly, sometimes my head is buzzing so loudly that I simply want to sit back, look at some pictures, and think about where I’ve wandered lately. So I shall. Read more

Need vs. Want

“What do I want to do?”

“What does someone need me to do?”
————–
“What would I love to do?”

“What would I love to do to meet someone else’s need?”
————–
“What instrument would I love to play, just for the joy of playing?”

“What instrument do I need to play, to cover a part, fill in, or otherwise help?”
————–

I know these are really odd questions. I’m an odd sort of person, so no surprise there. Read more

Foto Friday / Saggy Saturday: Get Off Your Tushy Edition

Normally (yeah, like that word ever applies to any of the fluffy goodness around here…) the weekend post is humorous, usually involves Beka, and usually illustrates any number of ways I tend to put my human thoughts into her canine noodle.

“But it is not this day.” (Thank you, Aragorn…)

I realized yesterday afternoon that something is seriously askew in my noodle, and needs to be fixed asap… Read more

The Eye Gate

This is what it looks like when I write.  Biggby beverage optional… Not really. The fingers don’t function without it.

By combining some wise words from our pastor about idolatry with part of a re-telling of Bunyan’s Holy War by master storyteller Ethel Barrett, I arrive at a resoundingly firm butt kicking from my loving Father.

Um… Thanks?

My idols enter through the Eye Gate. In fact, I’m forced to admit the the Eye Gate is my number one weak spot. If I’m going to be defeated, the battle will be lost at the Eye Gate.


I shall elucidate…

In “The Chronicles of Mansoul,” by Ethel Barrett, the city of Mansoul is  surrounded by five gates – Eye Gate, Ear Gate, Smell Gate, Taste Gate, and Feel Gate. 

(I’m probably mangling the names of them, since I can’t find my copy of the book, but I know I’m right about the Eye Gate, and since that’s the one I’m working through, well, there ya go.)

And Mansoul can’t ever be conquered from the outside – the gates can’t be breached… 

Unless they’re opened from within.

*derp*

I’m not a gossip, so my Ear Gate pretty well stays shut. I do sometimes use my Mouth Gate in ways that I’m not happy about, so I guess there’s a doggie door on that gate or something. My Smell Gate got bricked over years ago, so nothing gets in there – unless you count the hand soap at my favorite Biggby… For some odd reason, I can smell that stuff and it smells wonderful to me. 

*snifffff*
*ahhhhhhhh*

Can you tell where I am right at this moment?

Feel Gate isn’t really a problem for me – I’m not apt to be knocked over by the velvety feel of BekaV’s lovely fur or the soft feel of my beloved’s cheek. I appreciate those things, but they usually don’t cause me to lose a battle.

But, the Eye Gate…

Ah, the Eye Gate.

I might as well take the gate off the hinges, open up the doorway, and post a sign – “Walk right in.”

Arrrgh.

I’m in a different Biggby than my normal one, and this one has a television. Now, I turned the sound off (and no one has complained, so that’s all good…), but still – I find myself looking up at the screen every once in a while, taking in the images, pondering what they’re about, wonder what’s being talked about, or being shocked at just how trashy the soaps have gotten.

And none of this adds anything to my life. It doesn’t assist my writing, it doesn’t enhance my mental balance, and it doesn’t produce any lasting good.

For a “normal person,” this probably isn’t a big deal. Just chilling in front of the tube, taking in some shows, checking out what’s on, no big deal.

But for me? There are profound reasons why we don’t have cable, and aren’t likely to get it anytime soon. There are also good reasons why I generally don’t go to movies. Sadly, movies are one of my beloved’s favorite things, and I hate disappointing her, but she understands the reasons, and once again proves just how perfectly God designed us for each other.

The Eye Gate is my weakest point.

No television, no movies, no problem, right? Um… no.

Internet. 

Wham. Thud. Crash. I done been mangled.

An infinite number of things to see, all which can lead to other things to see, which take you to other things to see, and some things that no sane person should ever see, and yet I see them because my Eye Gate is weak and I can’t look away. 

So yes, I can easily lose an entire day just reading blogs, looking at funny videos, or checking out crap on eBay that I don’t need, can’t afford, and really don’t want. But I look all the same.

To extend myself a little grace (Just a tad, anyway…), obsession can be a part of bipolar. And as I’ve said before, sometimes the demon wins a battle. So when I come back to reality after a day lost, I can accept it and move on, instead of dropping into depression. 

But what causes me angst is the times I just lay down and give up – the times when I don’t even try to resist. 

Oh, I may tell myself, “Now I’m going home, I’m going to do some writing, I’ll listen to the DAB and crochet, and I’ll get some time in on that music project I’m working on. Oh, and do some dishes too.”

This is a lie. 

The pathetic thing is, I know that it’s a lie. I’ll head home, intending to do some of the good stuff I’ve been yammering about, may even go through the motions of getting out my crochet or writing gear, but it usually ends with me in front of the computer, getting flooded through the Eye Gate, and losing an entire afternoon in useless surfing.

I’ve tried some strategies – setting a timer for example, and putting it across the room so I have to get up every so often to shut it off, thus hopefully breaking the obsession and letting me come up for air. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I usually go write at a coffeehouse – preferably one without a television – and that increases the chance I’ll actually do what I came to do.

I write on a 1st gen iPad that crashes if one tries to surf the ‘net too much. The smaller screen also seems to capture my attention and limit it. Again – it increases the chance I’ll actually write and not get lost.

But one can’t always work in a coffeehouse, especially when working on music projects. One can’t do everything on an iPad – there are things to be done that the ol’ tablet just won’t deal with. And there are times when I need the whole computer, not just the iPad.

And those are the times when the forces gather outside the Eye Gate, wait patiently, and walk right through as I open the gate from the inside.

So, this is my challenge, today and every day. How to do the creative work that I do, using technology that has a wide-open door to obsession, without opening the Eye Gate for all to enter. 

Ok, that’s the connection to The Chronicles Of Mansoul… What about the wise words from Pastor Craig, he of the cool bowties and the awesome bass playing? 

Through Craig’s sermon one Sunday morning, I realized that the struggle is more than just wrangling with the Eye Gate, more than just a war with bipolar obsession…

The screen is my idol. 

Where did I cross that line? 

When I found myself turning toward the screen when I’m bored. Or sad. Or lonely. Or frustrated. When I turn toward a screen (iPad, iPhone, iMac, or Kindle, just to name a few…) to fix what ails me, it becomes an idol. 

Which pretty much smacked me into a brick wall at about 60 miles an hour. Ouch.

The struggle has now been kicked up a notch. It’s about obsession, it’s about developing self-control when being flooded with the very stuff that is your own personal Kryptonite, but most of all…

It’s about kicking an idol to the curb. ’cause ain’t nobody got time for that.

(I feel so hip, cool, and trendy for using that phrase. Really. Ok – not really. I just like the phrase.)

I’ve already been a contestant in Big Time Idol Wrestling, and still do battle with the idol of food addiction. The hold that food has on me continues to be a struggle, and probably always will be. “My chains are gone,” but I’m fully capable of laying down where they used to hold me and not moving. My mind can always grab a hold of me if I’m don’t stay aware.

I just hadn’t realized that the screen had a hold on me too. 

But now I do. 

It’ll take some time, it’ll take prayer, it’ll be hard, hard work, but I know one thing…

I don’t want anything – not food, not the screen, not anything – to take the place of God in my life, and become the thing I turn to for my needs. 

And I don’t want anything to take Herself’s place in my world either. The screen can easily become my emotional partner, and that’s just wrong.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

(Hee hee hee…)

There are things that I love, things I want to give my time and effort to, but none of them will ever see the light of day if the idols are blocking the light.

I have no answers – yet. 

I’m not going to quote some pithy little phrase, designed to leave us (all 4.78 of us…) feeling warm and fluffy. I’m simply becoming aware of the idols, how deep their hold is on me, and how desperately I need to seek the One who can continue to set me free…

If I let Him. If I ask Him. If I follow Him.

(Sorry – that was borderline pithiness.)

(Ain’t nobody got time for that.)

Saturday Humor – Week From Sheol Edition

It’s been one of Those Weeks…

And the days to come won’t get a whole lot easier, making a certain Calbert want to retreat to the Fortress of Solitude (blanket fort) for a little while…
Like, the next couple of months. That sounds about right.
Sometimes sitting in the sun is a decent substitute for the Fortress of Solitude (blanket fort)…
But, the major drawback is while the sun is indeed warm, it’s not as snuggly as a Beka.
The problem this morning is, as every parent knows all too well, on a special day there is NO sleeping in…
Pssst! Are you awake yet? How about now? How about now? Now? Now? NOWWWWW??
For the love of tennis balls! The alarm went off at 6:30, you’ve snoozed to 7:30, now let’s get GOING!!!
Dad? DAD?? DAAAAAAAAAAAAAD????? GET UP!!!
Wakey, wakey, eggs and (doggie) bac-ey!! GET UP!!
To be fair, she does have some justification in her excitement… Today is her birthday, and our dear Beka is now a two year old. Terrible Twos? No – at least not yet. But she IS a little excited today…
(Or I’m having some fun at her expense, to bring some laughter to the end of a trying week… You decide…)
I don’t care what you’re doing – do it out of that Fortress of Solitude (blanket fort)… GET UP!!”
She has good reason to be excited, even though she doesn’t have a clue why… She’s spending her birthday at the Chuck E. Cheese’s of the canine world…
Open the door – this door. Right here. Open the door. Please please please open the door!”
For this is the Wardrobe Door, and beyond lies Doggie Narnia…
I’ll sit pretty. Open the door. See? I’m good. I’m pretty. Open the door. Please? Pleeeeese??
The dog park awaits, with friends to romp with, balls to chase, ropes to tug on, and lots of space to RUN!!
Ahem… Ready for take off. Beka in a locked and upright position. Ears stowed away. All paws checked and ready to hit the runway…

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease???
Yes, pretty girl. Off you go.
Now, the fine and friendly folks at Green Paws, besides taking such great care of every one of the furbabies in their charge, also take pictures, so we doggie parents can check on the kids… Actually, it’s a great way to see our dogs in full-tilt play… So here’s some pics from this morning, as our birthday girl gets her puppy on…
Oh HECK YEAH!!!!!
Stuff to chase…
Stuff to catch…
Stuff to drink…

NEXT!!” “Thanks, Beka.” “You are welcome, my peep!
And buddies to do it all with.  Well, “Ace,” actually. His name’s not Buddy – it’s Ace. She has two buddies that aren’t Buddys – they’re Aces. Just to be clear.
To every play day there is a season… a time to romp…
And a time to refrain from romping.
“Hey Beka – what the heck is ‘romping?'” “No clue. Just smile, pose for the paparazzi, and when they’re distracted, run away. Or lick yourself. Either works. But don’t try them both at the same time – not good. Believe me – not good…
Thank you, amazing folks at Green Paws. Our girl is having the best birthday ever, thanks to you! 
Happy birthday, BekaDog. See you tonight, in the Fortress of Solitude (blanket fort).
Thanks for helping us end the “week from the pit of sewage” with some laughs. Tune in next time to hear Beka say…
“Best. Birthday. EVAH!”