Posts made in October, 2013

C4C Update

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Offsite Content, Writer's Diary

Two Weeks ago, I blogged very briefly about the fact that my time was limited due to my building for Creations for Charity, which you can learn more about here. I am happy to say that as of this post, I have submitted my donations, and they are now available in the Creations For Charity store, available for purchase by members of Bricklink.

I proposed a pretty high initial charge for them, but I was very proud of the way these works came together, and I think they’re worth asking a few extra dollars to go toward buying Christmas presents for children this year. Below is a picture of each model and a brief description. If somebody reminds me come in November, I will try to post how it all went. Last year I submitted six models, and I sold five. This year I’m hoping to sell all five that I was able to submit.

 
“Lego Logan Versus Ninjas”

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Item Description: If you enjoyed this summer’s hit film The Wolverine, or the legendary comic on which it was loosely based, then “Lego Logan Versus Ninjas” is for you. Featuring 3 warriors and Logan himself, this set includes assorted weapons (plus two chrome knives), flesh-tone figs (like a topless Wolverine), and a simple brick-built base. Check out more pictures on Flickr. Shipped from USA

 
“Wookies Are Known to Do That”

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Item Description: We all know the dialogue: C-3PO: “But sir, no one worries about upsetting a droid.”
Han Solo: “That’s cause Droids don’t pull peoples’ arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookies are known to do that.” We never got [to] see this event in all it’s wonder during the Star Wars films, but NOW you can own a little artistic representation of how that might look in the Lego Universe. Featuring 4 Star Wars mini-figs and a simple, brick-built base, “Wookies are Known to Do That” is a perfect gift for some Star Wars or Lego Fan this holiday (or just a fun piece for one’s own enjoyment), which will likely be both a conversation starter and source of laughs! Check out more pictures on Flickr. Shipped from USA

 

“Call 9-1-1 for Heroes”

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Item Description: Every Day in the United States, people need the help of doctors, firemen, and the police! Celebrate the heroism of every day heroes who save lives, fight fire, and protect and serve! “Call 9-1-1 For Heroes” features 4 mini-figs, and a brick built base! Shipped from USA

 

“Ent & Orc”

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ITEM DESCRTIPTION:  Any Lord of the Rings fan will love this Mini-fig scaled Ent inspired by Tolkien’s renowned world of Middle Earth. Using a Bionicle skeleton for increased flexibility, this highly-articulated Ent can be posed in a variety of positions and can even HOLD the Orc minion that accompanies him. The Build is sturdy, but rough play will result in his losing a limb. For Lego Fans or LOTR fans in general, this brick-and-bionicle Ent will serve as a wonderful display piece! Check out more pictures on Flickr. Shipped from USA

 

“Parker-In; Spidey-Out”

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Item Description: One minute he’s mild-mannered photographer Peter Parker, the next he’s the Amazing Spider-man! “Parker-in; Spidey Out!” features a flesh-toned version of Peter Parker with camera running into a building’s front door, and your friendly neighborhood Spider-man exiting out the back window! This dual-sided dio captures both characters in one felt swoop! Check out more pictures on Flickr. Shipped from USA

 

As of this post, none of the Builds have sold, but I am hoping they will by the end of Next Week!

 

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Scripture Memory: John 11:35

Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Love of Scripture

The shortest verse in the Bible is one of great value to me.

The context leading to it in John 11 is as follows (and worth clicking the link to read in full): Christ’s friend, Lazarus, died while Christ was teaching elsewhere. After Lazarus’ passing, his sisters, Mary and Martha, alongside and others in the community, grieved his loss and buried him. Upon Christ’s hearing of his friend’s death, he returned to the home of Lazarus’ grieving sisters, both of whom independently said to Christ, “My Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” To this Christ asked them to take him to the grave of his friend, and he wept, before raising Lazarus from the dead in the presence of many witnesses, whose belief in Christ grew as a result of the miraculous event.

“Jesus wept.”

The sentence is about as short as sentences can be, and I find it odd that the independent clause, such as it is, stands alone in the passage. Of course, when I consider it from a writer’s perspective, the concept of setting the two words apart as their own verse makes sense for two reasons. The first is that in our Bible’s, verse demarcation often forces us to pause during study. Though we know the original text was provided in more of an interrupted format (and I tend to memorize that way as well), the chapter and verse structure of modern Bibles in the west lead us to separate and underscore key ideas by their contextualization and separation. Additionally, the verse offers us a truly wonderful picture of Christ, if we approach the verse NOT as a solitary thought, but a summation of his emotional character, given who we know he is.

Those who have read the Gospel of John to this point know that Christ has claimed to be the Messiah. He has informed the crowds that he is “The way, the truth, and the life”. He has spoken the immortal (and, oft, misquoted) words, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” in reference to himself. He has provided the most well-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16. The doctrine of who Christ is and who claimed to be are well documented in John to this point.

And then we place that knowledge alongside John 11:35. Christ is God’s son, the Messiah, the Truth by which men will be freed from their sinful lives. He has great power that he has already displayed, and he is assured that with God the Father, all things are possible.

Given this, he could have approached the mourners with a stoic attitude that all was well and, in fact, good. He could have rebuked them for their lack of faith in his absence. He could have immediately raised Lazarus so as to give those grieving all they wanted at that very moment. Instead, he paused, listened, and wept. He wept.

I do not believe that he wept for Lazarus; I believe he knew full well that Lazarus would be among them all soon. I think he wept for those around him, those grieving over the painful sting of death on this world. According to John, all the world was made through Christ (John 1), and that world was good and without the emotional pangs of death. To be among his Creation and see the toll that its brokenness takes led him to tears. He hurt for those who were hurting; he cried with them because they cried.

Christ was a man of compassion, of mercy, of gentleness, of kindness, and of meekness. Christ was a man of love. In two words the Gospel of John encapsulates Christ’s deep resounding empathy with mankind, for he not only died for us but hurts with us and for us, and he died so that we may, in time, join him in a paradise where such grief, turmoil, and anguish are no more.

John 11:35.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Inclusion of this translation does not imply endorsement of this author’s thoughts by the copyright holders.

 

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October Links

Posted by on Oct 26, 2013 in Offsite Content

LIFE
Dear Parents, You Need to Control Your Kids
A surprising article about one parent’s response to another’s dilemma

 
Dear Parents with Young Children in Church
A great read about “those families” who may or may not even exist in your congregation

Is Your Fire Fading?
A Pastor’s 11-year-old asks a valid question for believers of all ages.
 
 
WRITING
13 Rules for Comma Use
A Good “Secondary Primer” on commas

15 Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic with Irresistable Tweets
This helps

How to Write a Solid Business Plan
Good Stuff, this.

50 Cliches to Ban from Your Script
A solid litmus test/checklist for any writer
 
 
CULTURE
75 Years of Heroic History
An Awesome Vid of Superman’s Exploits for the last 75 years!

“To the Flying Public, We’re Sorry”
A Flight Attendant’s Manifesto of sorts

Pope Warns Church must Find Balance or Fail
He’s at it again!

What Does It Really Mean to Cause Someone To Stumble?
This kind of goes without saying, but it’s still worth saying again.

Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy
Hey, I resemble that remark!

Giving Money to Children Beggars
Some interesting food for thought on charity in the streets.

The Male Architect’s of Miley’s Wrecking Ball
A great Article by my friend and former mentor, Mark Joseph

Why We Love #AddaWordRuinAChristianBook
A Christianity Today Article on the Trending Hashtag in which I participated
My entries were:
Don’t Waste Your Life Cereal #AddaWordRuinaChristianBook
The End of our Exploring Ninjas #AddaWordRuinaChristianBook
Out of the Silent Captain Planet #AddaWordRuinaChristianBook

Was Jesus Political? Undoubtedly
A look at Christ’s subversive insurrection

Mark Driscoll: 7 Ways We Kill Sabbath
I don’t agree with Brother Mark on everything, but this is legit

Pornography: The New Narcotic
John Piper breaks it down for us.

The Christians as the Romans Saw Them
A fascinating look at how ancient Christians appeared in the eyes of their contemporaries

 

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Review: Real Men Don’t Text

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Reviews & Recommendations

 

 

Dear Readers, please note, I received this book free of charge from the Tyndale Bloggers program in exchange for this review. 

 

When I offered to review Real Men Don’t Text, I thought the book was written to men regarding how to engage women in real relationship, rather than controllable, safe, text exchanges to keep them at arms’ length. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the book is actually written to women in order to warn them about manipulative relationships. While this misunderstanding created initial confusion, I invited the opportunity to learn something from a text written for a demographic other than my own. Sadly, I did not have a great experience with it.

In part, the issue with Real Men Don’t Text is tone. Tone is the difference between a person receiving advice or condescension, of feeling understood or insulted. The tone of Real Men Don’t Text is dually problematic. Due to its two authors, a husband and wife, the book’s tone is inconsistent and, at times, confusing (p86-89). Additionally, both parties can give the impression of finger-wagging, which makes their message less appealing. At times, the content feels like it’s coming from folks who have all the answers because life is going good for them right now, and if you would only avoid their mistakes and just take their advice, you’d be as fulfilled as they are.

Tone aside, I’ll grant that the book has some good things to say. For one, the authors are upfront about the difference between when a guy is interested in caring for a woman and when he is merely interested in self-fulfillment; one major theme of the book is “he just doesn’t like you” (but is using you, so get rid of him). Additionally, the book is forthcoming about a young woman’s responsibility to behave in a way that warrants respect. “You are always teaching people how to treat you,” (p21) is a quote I will likely carry for some time. The authors also address the emptiness of sexting relationships (though neither of them engaged in such), and they stress the importance of real interpersonal communication. These are all good thoughts, and at times they are communicated well.

At others they are not. For example, the “text translations” found in each chapter describing what men “really” mean in their texts become tiresome, as do the additional inserted anecdotes of broken hearts and bad choices, many of which come across as generic copies of pain rather than the true heartbreak that occurs in abusive relationships. I would have preferred that only the stories directly told by the authors within the context of the chapter’s prose been included, for some of those are startling and authentically poignant.

In fairness, The book is a relatively fast read, which is saying something for a work of nonfiction. Inasmuch as the tone or some issues of content are problematic, any reader will likely find her (or his) way through the text quickly.

I truly wanted to like this book more than I did, but then again, Real Men Don’t Text was not written to or for me. As something of a niche author myself, I can understand that some books just do not work for some readers, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a good fit for somebody else (and based on the other reviews I’m seeing, this is almost certainly the case).

 

You can read other reviews and check out more about the book at the link provided below:

 
 
 

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Spreading Wings or Spreading Thin?

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in Writer's Diary

Next Friday, NANOWRIMO will begin. In the month of November, I will write the first draft of another novel, my fourth to be specific (though only 1 is published). Frankly, I need to get back to revising prior first drafts rather than completing new ones, and I will–after November. As far as this upcoming month is concerned, I will add another first draft to my shelf. Given my weekly Sabbaths and a handful of unavailable days, I’ll get 20 total writing days during month, which means I will need to clock about 2,500 words a day. I am looking forward to it, as I am much more prepared than I was last year (of course, last year I wasn’t working).

I have three ideas with which I’m toying. The first is a science fiction piece about two individuals finding attachment to the same robot. The second came from a more organic place and serves as a 20-something, finding-oneself, coming-of-age tale. The third is a fantasy novel about warring factions trying to inhabit the lands of a fallen country. All three ideas are of interest to me in different ways, and chances are I may eventually try my hand at each them.  I’ve spent a good deal of time on the outlines for the first and second books, while the third has emerged simply from “eureka” moments shaving or driving, which makes it a dangerous one, as it may is clearly not ready.

Of course, prior to NANOWRIMO’s beginning, I will need to complete two articles I’ve promised to others–a review and an editorial. And I have to get my blog posts prepped, as I won’t have much time to write anything outside the first draft if I want to complete it in time.

Then there’s the children’s books on which I’m working, the study guide for Stronghold which went into limbo, and the romance novel about which I wrote earlier in the year.

And Twitter. I am really lousy on Twitter.

I’m incredibly excited about my writing, but I am also exhausted and somewhat discouraged. Some days I really do not think I have it in me. Then I look at the above outlined list, and I realize that I do. I AM a writer. If I can harness my energies, commit to realistic goals, and persevere past the rejections, disappointments, and the failures–I can make it. I believe that the Lord has given me the talent and the tools to do so; I just need to be diligent in using them.

But the present is still hard, and I really have my doubts. I wonder if I am broadening my skill set with all these new endeavors or simply trying to do too much, with none of it being done to my highest potential.

I wrestle with questions like these. Like every other real author out there, I want to create because I feel the work is worth doing and the truth is worth exploring, even if one does not see many results from doing so. At least not yet.

My apologies. This has been quite a rambling session. But this is the life we writers live, at least during some seasons in our career. Thank you for bearing with me as I pursue my dream.

Here’s hoping yours is going better,
C

 

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