Bounce…Bounce… “OINK” [State of the Blogosphere]


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“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

Matthew 7:6 from Jesus‘s Sermon on the Mount.

Today, the people who haunt the blogs and freely spew their criticisms are known as trolls and I think there is a spot on parallel with that phenomenon and the point of this scriptural adage.

Here’s how the urban dictionary puts it:

One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. ‘you’re nothing but a fanboy’ is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.


Not too many people troll around at this blog and make a mess. But once in a while. It’s not too often that I pontificate on a controversial topic. However, many do. I was at a blog recently where there were a few trolls about and the topic was a disputed sort. Antagonistic little buggers, cloaked (quite conveniently!) in anonymity were pig piling, gorging themselves on accusations and generally being unpleasant and ill-reasoned. (Note that Trolls tote suitcases! They are filled with lots of emotional contents. Baggage. The more baggage there is the more the trollish nature flares up.)


So, it reminded me of the deeper phenomenon, shown in the “pearls and swine” reference.


Rather than readers contemplating or valuing the expertise in any way, I heard the sounds, “Bounce, bounce, “oink!”


So why is that? And why pigs and dogs?
In the Middle East in Jesus’ time, dogs were rarely lovable pets (except maybe to a few the royal class who had time to breed and train them to be lap dogs or sporting dogs that were kept outside and used for hunting). They were not as we tame to be and treat them today. At best they guarded the property, lived on scraps and barked at strangers. Most had bad habits, went scrounging around like tenacious vultures with paws, and would ingest anything, like dead and rotting carrion. Frequently they’d get sick on the stuff and vomit. Then they would eat that too. Yuck.
They were cited in Biblical times as a cautionary tail…er…tale.
Proverbs 26:11
As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.
Pigs fit in the same category. Most people assume that the ancient world couldn’t prepare a delicious and diesease-free pork entrée. Not so. In ancient Summer, pigs were eaten frequently (like me, they adored bacon perhaps). But, in Egypt swine were considered gross and vile. This sentiment seemed to filter into the Levitical laws for the Hebrews who would have been exposed to that cultural norm and largely imitated those dietary preferences. That meant Pigs=yuck. Dogs too.


Even now, dogs and swine both are in the habit of eating most anything and undervaluing certain precious things, jewelry from instance. They will even eat their own excrement, so I’m told. Omnivores indeed! I can vouch for the the fact on dogs, but I have little experience with pigs. Nevertheless, both have undiscriminating tastes, or they have discriminating tastes that are arbitrary and illogical. They also write the worst restaurant reviews.


If a hungry dog or pig, especially if it is untamed, from the wild, and thinks you have food, it will take you out and gobble it up and maybe a few of your fingers too. (I saw Bear Grylls wrestle a Razor Back once.) Best not to bring true valuables to the barnyard or wilderness.


This leaves us with a problem as writers or even as blog comment-writers. Do we bother writing for the public with so many pigs about? With so many unappreciative trollers who are ready to eat us alive, we often end up writing for the folks who won’t value it. I can see why writers close down their comments sections. Pigs and trolls and dogs appear to have a lot of time on their idle hands!


But finding the right audience is hard, even among our friendships.
A friend of mine said something like, “When I write I think about what you’ll think; and if you’ll think it’s good or not. I don’t like the idea of you not liking it.”  I told her, “Well, if I don’t like it, then it wasn’t written for me–it was written for someone else, and that’s fine.”


We aren’t writing for everyone. We are writing for the people who are ready and able to hear us, best.


If pigs or dogs eat your pearls, remember that the jewelry was never for them anyway. They trampled you down because they don’t know any better and they couldn’t comprehend the value you offered. Hold the hope that you will find those who see your pearls for what they are: valuable.


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Video followup: Moms Don’t Wait for that Book Deal

Last week in this post, I told you about some of the problems with blogging to get a book deal and the misconceptions that surround the industry of book publishing.

I mentioned that I would be speaking more about ways to make money writing that don’t include some of the typical stuff–like snagging a big book deal, freelance writing, or selling ads on your website. Below is the preview of the first installment–it’s in video form.

There will be much more and we’ll go into depth too.

This won’t be something to read or watch and then move on from. You’ll get to dive into your particular situation and find some answers!

In addition to video content and some related blog posts, I’ll be creating some speedy worksheet downloads that will help with the process.

Here’s a supplemental piece for this video! Is is Free? You bet.

View: worksheet


Now for the amazing part.

From the get-go you can make passive income from this series…Right now.

It’s 50/50 profit split.

Just watch the video below and embed it on your website. (twitter and Facebook shares work too)

Here’s the Affiliate link, to take part in the income portion. It only takes a moment to sign up.

This video is a PREVIEW to the introduction of the series. The first video goes into the 2 BIG RULES needed to  be successful as a writer on the side. Do you have to be a mom or a Christian to view it or use the advice?

Nope. That’s just my niche for this endeavor.

Start by watching the preview. For less than a taco to can see the first video in what will be a super helpful series. Then, if you want to be part of the profits, embed it on your website. Only TWO people have to view it for you to make your money back. (That’s the beauty of a 50/50 split!)

Then passive income starts rolling in for you. Sweet, right?

(These will not be available on YOUTUBE. So, come back soon.)


Once you watch the video, think about the two rules as they relate to you and write down YOUR answers. Feel free to share them here too, if that gives you a boost. If you link to your website, we’ll visit.

SOON! Renew, Refine! (and spot a Secret Promo Code)

29 DAYS!

That’s all the time that’s left until a retreat I’m really excited to be a part of!

The Renew and Refine Retreat for Writers is a very special weekend that mixes fellowship, community, expert writing insights, and an enriching spiritual experience. Ed Cyzewski and Kristin Tennant have put their heads together to create something important and lovely that will give you perspective and space to find refreshment and inspiration unlike any typical writing conference can. Let’s face it, you need this!

Whether you’re a seasoned writer who’d like some sacred space to learn, grow, and rejuvenate, or you are a part-time or aspiring writer who’d like to pursue a deeper calling, meet other writers, and hear from seasoned pros, this retreat will be a boon!

I’m personally extra excited that the beauty of nature, time for laughter, relationship building, super yummy, specially-cooked family style meals, and time for personal reflection or solitude is built-in from the onset. Some have even called this the retreat keeps the introvert in mind! (But I assure you extroverts, like me, will love it too.)

Breathe a sigh of relief! Instead, of just getting bombarded with great info or squeezing in networking between workshop breaks, this time (May 24-26) will have space built-in for you to connect, learn, and enjoy relaxation and times of quiet too. Heaven? Maybe.

We’ll be at the Trinity Lodge. An interior picture is shown here…Looks cozy, huh?



If you’d like to save $25, see if you can spot the secret promo code word in this blog. I left some clues.

(Psst. If you figure it out, you can share it.) See you soon!

Sign up or learn more about the weekend here!

(Oh, one more thing! Did you already sign up to go? Or do want some extra awesome?

If you spot promo code and you are the first share it on Twitter with the hashtag #RRforwriters I’ll have a special care package for you when I see you there, May 24th.)

3 Rough Patches on the Way to Success (Henri Nouwen)

3 Rough Patches on the Way to Success (Henri Nouwen)

Some quick Housekeeping:
This year I won’t be posting 3-4 times per week, most of the time.

Since February 2009 I written 815 posts. I’ve put in the time. (Before that I had a Blogger blog (several actually), and a before that I had a Xanga blog (remember them?), and before that in 2004 or so, I sent weekly email articles to about 200 people, when word “blog” hadn’t made it to the vernacular. It adds up to thousands of articles.)

Plus, I’m at a season where my posts should be fewer. All this makes email delivery or a RSS feed situation optimal, because when I do post, I’ll have landed on some cool things I simply must write about. So, fill out the Feedburner button fields in the right column, and never miss a beat.

3 Rough Patches on the Way to Success (courtesy of Henri Nouwen)

As promised back in November, I’m sharing some of the gleanings from my required course work reading. The first book is a short, sweet work chock-a-blocked with wisdom by the beloved Henri Nouwen.

In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership (Click title for book info. Bonus: It costs just a few bucks. ) In this book Nouwen makes short work tackling common 3 pitfalls we routinely encounter.

The title is a misappropriation because his advice is so helpful for anyone “on a quest” or trying to make their way. Be it an artist, blogger, writer, or just about anyone following a dream will encounter the very same issues Nouwen covers as he targets “leaders”.

He uses his own life and success in academics and leadership as the impetus and a background of practical knowledge and captures crucial insights on the things that most often beset us.

Nouwen was a revered scholar and professor at Yale, Harvard and other impressive-sounding places. Though everyone was telling Nouwen he was doing well, he noticed something deep down. Something just wasn’t right. Then, he realized his success was actually putting his own soul in danger.

“I was living in a very dark place and the term “burnout” was a convenient psychological translation for a spiritual death.”

I’ve been there! Have you?

He came to a point of spiritual dryness and removed himself from the life he knew as a talented academic and choose instead to live with, care for, and minister to the severely mentally disabled. He covers this quite briefly in the book. (In other books he mentions just how nuts people thought he was for the decision.)

What came from that choice is arguably his most memorable and lasting work. A host of profound and transformative pieces. To many some are bona fide Christian Devotional Classics.
To handle the topic of Christian Leadership (which I’ve mentioned may be cast more widely for many of us as success), Nouwen describes the particulars of Jesus as he was tempted in the desert. The lures and trappings of leadership (read: success) typical in this world are cast in sharp relief with the divine call of Christlikeness in one’s life.

It is a striking model for Christians to follow. Jesus was tempted to abandon his Kingdom mission in favor of acquiescing to the temptations offered up by Satan who promised success in the course and manner of this world.

Nouwen also riffs off intimate conversations Jesus has with Peter. They involve calling, leadership, vocation, and Jesus-style success. The heart of these exchanges give us insights to our own path to success and finding our purpose or way in the world.

The three temptations are labeled by Nouwen as the lures to be relevant (necessary, a cure for the world), spectacular (popular, skilled, apt), and powerful (influential or in charge).

Have you ever wanted those things as you reach for your dreams?  (Who hasn’t, right?)
Jesus’ response and subsequent choices are worth noting. Not only that, they bring solace for the journey.

The temptations experienced by Christ are shown as the archetype for the human experience in the realm of success (and any sort of leadership). The three kernels of wisdom include–

1. being prayerful instead of craving relevance

2. serving rather than desiring popularity found through skills and competencies

3. being led rather than focusing on power (leading/influencing)

It’s all very counter-cultural.

Nouwen lays out concise and clear arguments for these three and also includes which spiritual disciplines make the Kingdom way plausible (think of discipline here as “training” or “taking your vitamins”).

In a time were celebrity and influence (and even infamy) is the jackpot, just as much in Christian spheres as in secular ones, Nouwen speaks with a fresh and prophetic voice of wisdom that brings us to a path of peace.

In our strivings it’s easy to miss the presence of God, and even the mission of the Kingdom. It’s a quick trip to succumbing to temptations common to humans and not being people of Christlikeness. This book soothes the soul.

# # #

If you’re interested in delving further into spiritual formation, creativity, and learning for a full year, the private online community/learning group called The Cadre is forming right now. (100% free, and I’m not selling anything.) It starts February (2013), and there are about 8 spots open. Click “The Cadre” at the top of the page to learn more, or contact me.

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Goodbye 2012

Goodbye 2012

This is the year-end post. Hey, 2012 see ya…wouldn’t want to be ya!

I’d like to make this final post exciting and sexy and convince you that this blog had an awesome year with so many things that gladdened so many hearts. As far as stats are concerned, yes, it was by far the best year yet. But this doesn’t lighten my heart. Not that much.

I think I’m about ankle deep in a rather unexpected “dark night of the soul” (a topic which I’ve covered here, but won’t touch on now). This makes it hard to amass and list the victories of 2012 or even forecast too much into what 2013 will hold for us here at the blog. I will carry on, and I hope you come with me!

Here are a few highlights of 2012:

January. My video series with some great authors (usually called the NINJA Interviews)

February-March. The Spiritual Guidance for Bloggers Series featured many contributions from authors and bloggers with stories, advice, or encouragement about blogging and the unique spiritual dimensions to that calling and activities. I really appreciated this series and the generosity of the participants.

Spring/Early Summer. My first digital book Soul Care for Creators and Communicators came out. (This is no longer a free PDF document as it was in the beginning, but can still be found at the Kindle Store).

For that, click the Kindle Bookstore image at the top of the page. It’s whispering to you right now, waiting to offer encouragement and water for the thirsty artist’s or communicator’s soul…you.

Autumn. I started as the Director of Communications at Evangelical Seminary. Some of the responsibility includes overseeing all the entries and themes at the Deeper Leader blog. New entries occur 2-3 times per week. Get in some good reading from many notable thinkers, leaders, and authors in the archives. It’s a real treat.

3 other digital books were completed and housed in the Kindle Store too. All are $2.99…cheaper than most anything at Starbucks. Click the Kindle Bookstore image above for the list. It’s high time for a spending spree, right?!

Autumn/Early Winter. Lots of stuff on Advent (especially from my twylah account which includes lots of articles from the interwebs). It’s safe to assume that when Victoria’s Secret puts out an Advent Calendar any shred of  original purpose and meaning of the season has been thoroughly …um…stripped…as it were…from it by a perverse culture that we haven’t properly influenced enough. Am I right?

December….um. we averted a Mayan apocalypse (or any other kind) and yet despite this wonderful news…still I descended into a strange funk that had something to do with the intense brokeness of the world and my acute response to it… :) NICE, right?!

So, it’s a sabbatical time for me and I’m also sitting with my pain. This is something you’re supposed to do to heal and grow and avoid 1. finding ways to go “numb” 2. Finding distractions that hinder growth or 3. Shoving away feelings that should get attention. I’d love to tell you this is a beautiful experience, but no. It may be on the other side of it. I’ll let you know.

In the next post….in 2013, I’ll be sharing some things I harvested from a Henri Nouwen book. It’s about how the 3 desert temptations of Christ give us a model and insights into how we handle ambition, leadership, and success, as well as pitfalls and problems common to the human condition. Quite good stuff. AND…Grad school starts January 8th for me. Gulp! I’ll keep you up to speed. There’ll be much to share.

In 4 weeks, I’ll be ending the call for entry into The Cadre (see tab above). See if this is something that would benefit you in the new year, especially if you’d like to embark on something new creatively. It’s free, and it’s a secret community…so shhh. Contact me with questions, if you have them.

May you have a great time kicking 2012 to the curb, and may the new year bring greater insights and blessing for you.

Love you all!


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