On my mind and heart today:

This year, let’s all have more grace for each other. Be quicker to forgive, less likely to label. 

Let’s spend more time trying to understand each other. Because everyone’s walking around with wounds. 

God help us to be kind.


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God still likes you. 

Anybody who says differently is wrong. 


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Got online to do something completely different and ended up logging in here, so maybe I’m supposed to say something.

First thought in my head:

The way I look at the Internet is evolving.

When I was a teenager, social media sites didn’t exist in their modern form. Forums, Usenet groups, etc., but nothing like Facebook or Twitter. Unless you made your own webpage, you generally didn’t have a brand out there in cyberspace. Sure, blogs were around, but they hadn’t really taken off yet. 

And the thought of your own media online was unheard of. Well, not unheard of, but I remember sighing in frustration if it turned out the page I was trying to load had a video or too many pics on it, because that meant it would take forever. This was in the days of dial-up, of course. 

And the fact was, the WHOLE WORLD was not yet on the world wide web. And it was a tamer place. You can argue with me on that point; I know it’s had unsavory content probably since its inception. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about this:

Now, the Internet has become a different kind of animal. And when I say animal, I mean wild animal. It almost has a life of its own, and what that means is that anything you post is out there forever and ever amen. 

Why? Because once that picture/video/status update is up, it’s up forever. Even if you take it down. All it takes is one quick screen cap that can be taken from a phone, laptop, tablet, or desktop computer. Most people have some or all of those things. 

And what that means is that you have to be really careful what you say. Really careful what you post. Because once it’s out there, it’s out there for the rest of forever and there is absolutely no getting it back. 

The kicker is that, even though we know this, we complain about the lack of privacy on social media sites. DUDE, privacy is out the window as soon as you do anything on the Internet. Say you have your Facebook set to “friends only.” All it takes is one friend and one screencap posted to another Facebook page, and IT (whatever it is: picture, video, poorly thought out political rant) is out there. You’re done. 

And beyond the fact that the Internet is forever, there’s another huge problem with it. I like to call it the “windshield” syndrome. It’s like when you’re driving a car. All of us normal, nice people become total jerks behind the wheel. I’ve been there. 

As for other drivers: while you may perceive them as being perfectly nice and respectable outside of a motor vehicle, if they get in your way while you’re driving, THEY ARE FREAKING IDIOTS. Right? And you are free to scream at them from the safety of your truck cab or the inside of your sedan. 

Now, pretend the other drivers can hear all those things.

THAT is the Internet. Only instead of being safely ensconced in our respective cars, we sit safely behind our respective screens. And we feel like we can say whatever we want.

I’ve done it.

But we shouldn’t. Think of it this way: If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t type it.

So how should we use the Internet?

Very, very carefully. Treat it with the same kind of caution you’d afford a wild animal. 

And sometimes that means you should toss it a steak and run away from it. 

Always remember: it is NOT tame anymore.


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Online Abuse

I’m not feeling quiet today.

I just wanted to say a word about cyber bullying. I was witness to some pretty horrific cyber bullying on Twitter today, strangers hurling abuse on someone I don’t know (and happen to disagree with), and it made me think…

It’s so easy to throw darts at strangers, isn’t it? Especially ones we disagree with?

Let’s even go so far to say that they are, in factfundamentally wrong in some of their thinking. That, of course, gives us the right to write them off as a moron, and thus, it’s okay to throw all kinds of abuse in their direction, right? If they are wrong about ONE thing, that gives us the right to strip them of their God-given humanity and verbally set them on fire – am I right?

No. Of course not.

Now, think of a time when you’ve been wrong about something. I can think of many things I’ve been wrong about in pretty short order.

Does that fact that you and I have been wrong about things mean that our human cards should be taken from us? Does it mean that we should be beaten down? Kicked? Taught a lesson?

Or does it mean that we, like all other humans, are in need of some grace?

Let’s all agree to take it easy on people. Because they are people – just like we are. It’s no more complicated than that.

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Why so quiet?

It’s a legitimate question, considering that I was blogging almost daily two years ago.

I will blog occasionally, still, but there are a few reasons that I’ve slowed down –

One of them is that I’m writing fiction.

Another is that I’m working on some other creative endeavors.

These things leave very little brain left for writing blogs that are worth reading.

There are other reasons, but those three are all I feel like sharing right now. Not to be all vaguey-mc-vague-sterson, but…well, actually that’s exactly what I’m doing, isn’t it?

I guess the crux of it is that I don’t really want to share everything with the internet. At least, I want to share a little bit less with the internet.

That’s all for now. And who knows, maybe I’ll get all inspired and start blogging in more frequent spurts here and there. But for now, I’m feeling quiet.

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Bad shame spiral, no donut

It’s okay to feel really stupid sometimes. Just don’t roll around in it and relive it forever.

We all do dumb things. We are all a little bit hypocritical, too (I’ve been there).

For example, sometimes I read over advice I’ve given here, and my thought process goes something like this:

Well crap, I did that. I told people not to do that, then I did it. Whoops. OH CRAP THAT MEANS I CAN NO LONGER WRITE ANYTHING ON THIS BLOG SHAME SPIRAL OF DOOM

However, I can’t do that. And you’re not allowed to shame spiral, either.

Why? We both have a life to live. Words of wisdom to offer. Gifts God has given us. And once you and I allow ourselves to be shut down and chained by guilt or mistakes, we are rendered ineffective.

And we both know who does that.

So let’s not let that happen to us, okay? I’ll make you a deal: If you don’t let it happen to you, I won’t let it happen to me.

Let nothing silence you. You have things to say.

And God still likes you.

That’s all for tonight.

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The best movie I’ve seen this year was written hundreds of years ago.

William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Fun facts:

  1. Joss Whedon directed it
  2. It was filmed entirely in his house
  3. There are no explosions

It isn’t that Shakespeare couldn’t benefit from an explosion here or there (imagine a few well-placed grenades in the background as Hamlet walks epically toward the camera), but my point is that this movie didn’t need them to be good.

But more to the point: I didn’t miss them. Because the truth is, I love character. And I love plot. And I love good writing. And I enjoyed the fact that I was sitting in a movie theater watching what was essentially Joss Whedon getting together with his friends and filming a movie in the space of a few days. I found myself thinking: They can still do that? Throw together a movie with great acting, character, and plot, and people will pay to see it? Is that like, LEGAL in Hollywood?

Unfortunately, most blockbusters are missing all three of those things: great acting, character, and plot.

This is how I imagine most Hollywood screenwriting sessions:

Writer 1: So I have about five lines.

Writer 2: I have three more!

Writer 3: All I have is “GO GO GO!!!” “Take cover!” and a few lines of evil monologuing.

Writer 4: GREAT! Now all we need are fifty pages of special effects shots.

And thus, “Battle: LA” was born. Also, every other summer movie for the last FIVE YEARS.

Let’s try an analogy:

Pretend you’re going to make chocolate chip cookies. Now, sugar is GOOD, isn’t it? It makes cookies taste good. And say you have tons of sugar at your house.

SO WHY NOT PUT ALL THE SUGARRRR IN THE COOKIES? In fact, let’s just axe the flour while we’re at it and add more sugar??? THAT WILL SURELY BE BETTER THAN COOKIES WITH STUPID FLOUR!!!!!

I know from experience that you get cookie soup when you do that.

Now, if special effects are sugar (and great acting, character, and plot are flour)…well, you can see where this is going.

Instead of a delicious movie, you get a pile of crap that you have to scrape off a cookie sheet with a spatula.

And you have to PAY other people money for it.

I love the movie Alien. It’s kind of horrible. People die, and there are angry aliens. And it is spectacularly well written, acted, and directed. Sure, there’s action, but it isn’t center stage. Nor should it be.

The characters are center stage. The plot is center stage. And that’s what makes it amazing.

The special effects and action are just there to assist these things. They should not run the show. If they do, they RUIN THE MOVIE.

To sum up:

Do I love a good action movie? Yes.

Do I appreciate good special effects? Yes.

Do I want to continue to pay money to see inflated extended special effects demos on the big screen? NO.

no no no no no.

I should not have to take my spatula to the movies. 

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