A Beautiful Blogger Award (am I blushing, or is my blood pressure going up?)

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I just received word that Cathy from Expattery nominated me for this “Beautiful Blogger Award”.  I questioned her whether the nomination was for the quality of writing on my blog or the irresistible pensive expression in my Gravatar image.  She hasn’t responded yet, but I’m going to take my chances.  Either way, I could use the hits.

As with all human endeavors, this love in conditional.  Here’s what I have to do.

  1. Place the Beautiful Blogger Award in your post. (see above)
  2. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them. (done)
  3. Tell 7 things about yourself. (see below)
  4. Pass this Beautiful Blogger Award on to 7 more bloggers. (see further below)

Since my blog is about writing, I’ll make the 7 things about myself relate to my writing life.

1. The first poem I ever wrote was entitled “Ode to My Pet Rock”

2.  In high school, I wrote a parody of my senior class called, No Biggy.  This was before the days of blogging.  I hand-wrote the chapters and passed them around during class.

3.  I published a short story about a suicidal non-published author.  The last page was splattered with blood (actually red food coloring).  The problem was, the journal printed the page in black-and-white and it looked more like something from a Rorschach test.

4.  I co-wrote a collection of stories and poems with a friend under the influence of various substances.  It was entitled The Week That Was (Almost 10 Days).  My favorite poem was “How to Make Instant Pudding”.

5.  For my senior thesis, I wrote a collection of stories called Life (in obvious places) that combined family stories with quasi-fictional characters.  A lovely young woman named Allison served as my muse.  After I handed her a copy of the finished manuscript, she dumped me.

6.  In graduate school, I co-produced and wrote two satirical newsletters “The Institutes: A Publication of the John Calvin Men’s Society” and “Rude Dogma”.  They were short-lived, but one more radical professor deemed  “Rude Dogma” – “better than the book of Leviticus.”

7.  My current manuscript is a collection of meditations on mental illness.  It’s called From Sheol to the Highest Heavens: 101 Devotions for Persons with Bipolar Disorder and Those Who Love Them.  I am currently considering my publishing options.

Now, for my 7 nominees (in no particular order), I decree –

charlottesville winter – a nifty collection of poetry, poetic prose, and prosaic photography.

Peaceful Partings  – spiritual reflections from a seeker for truth and beauty.

Julie Israel – a writer who reads (and reviews) classics to write even better.

Sky Saiyou – various writings and edited photos that looks as good as it reads.

Jessica Wretlind – humorous (and hip) takes on just about anything in the world.

Allen Fiction – contemporary (and refreshingly clean) fictional forays.

One Starving Activist – hungry for inspiration, and finding nourishment to inspire.

Anything Can Happen

Tony - Work

As we approach the new year, it is tempting to set far-reaching goals to change our habits, adapt our lifestyle, transform our character.  It is important, though, to pay attention to the details, to follow the process step by step and let the outcome take care of itself.  It is better to focus on doing what is good and right rather than pursuing greatness.

There’s a great scene in the movie “Dad” in which Jack Lemmon, as an aging father in his hospital bed, shares with his son, played by Ted Danson, some of the wisdom he’s gained through years of living.  His mind wanders to a World Series baseball game in which a second-string left fielder – Al Gionfriddo –  finally given the opportunity to play after years of waiting on the bench, saves the game by catching a near-home run ball hit off the bat of Joe DiMaggio.

 “You know what that story means?”  asks the father.

“What, Dad?” asks his son.

The father’s face breaks into a smile as he looks into his son’s eyes.

“Anything can happen if you show up for work every day.”

Since I’m on disability, I don’t have a conventional job to show up for every day.  But I do have daily work with which I’m going to occupy myself.

1) Pray every day.  In addition to meditation, I’m going to renew the practice of keeping a prayer journal to be more mindful of including praise (Wow, God!) and thanksgiving (Thank you, Lord.) as well as confession (Forgive me.), intercession (Please help others.), and petition (Grant me, Lord…)

2) Read every day.  This includes a reflective reading of a passage of Scripture (a chapter or so) as well as readings of classics – right now it’s The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (on audio books), contemporary fiction (downloading e-books) and blog posts.

3) Write every day.  This month, my focus has been on developing this blog.  I plan to continue regular posting, but I have other projects as well.  I have a completed draft of a devotional book I wrote a couple years back that I want to revise and prepare for publication.  I’m meeting with some business owners and a community group about doing some blogging for them to enhance the traffic on their websites.  I expect to do a good bit of writing in my Internship which I hope will begin soon.  I really want to be more faithful writing letters to my two oldest daughters.

So those are my goals for 2013.

Pray.  Read. Write.

Every day.  And if I do, anything can happen.

How about you?  What is the work you are going to show up for every day?

(image “dictionary definition: work” from Jaboney, some rights reserved)