Likes, Comments, and Follows

This blog is intended to communicate with others. I am blessed when people read what I have written and acknowledge in some way. My goal is to build a blogging community.

The most common response I receive is a “like” message for a particular post. It says so-and-so thought my post “xxx” was awesome. It then invites me to check out their blog. It will list the titles of some of their recent posts.

Now, there’s no reason for me to be anything but honest here. I follow several blogs. I generally choose ones that the bloggers share some common interests with me. Unless something really stands out in this “like” invitation, its not likely that I’m going to check out their blog. Nothing personal, so please don’t be offended. The “like” doesn’t really tell me anything about the blogger.

When someone comments on one of my posts, I will very likely respond to their comment, hopefully in a timely manner. I also am likely going to visit their blog. If we share some common interests, or if their blog is extraordinary, I am likely to follow it. I like comments. It shows that they read and thought about what I wrote. If they disagree or agree is irrelevant, I like the communication.

Last, and best of all… when someone follows my blog, its the beginning of community. I almost always reciprocate by following their blog. When I read an excellent post on theirs, I wil (with their permission of course) re-post it in my blog, highlight it on my facebook, google+, Twitter, etc. This promotes other’s work, which in turn I hope makes them better writers. It builds the blogging community, which as I stated earlier, is part of the reason for this blog.

No Excuse For My Gluttony

Last Year in September, I had lost 102 pounds. I did this astounding feat with three simple (in theory,not so much practice) methods. My job can be physically demanding at times. That was simple. We were working full time hours and sometimes overtime. I simply worked hard. Secondly, I walked, not a leisurely pace, but not jogging either between four and eight miles three to five times a week. I like to walk. It’s therapeutic for me. And lastly, and most challenging, I conquered my tendency to overeat.

Then, last Fall, work dropped to three days a week, with several weeks completely off. I became very discouraged. Three of the books I was writing disappeared. I was devastated. My guitar student had to stop lessons for a while. The weather started turning bad. I started feeling physically bad (which is actually a side effect of depression). I quit walking. Guess what else I started doing again. Yep. Another symptom for my depression is serious overeating.

I gained about 30 pounds over the Winter. In the Spring, I started trying to turn it back around. Unfortunately, habitual behavior doesn’t change easily. Here it is mid-July, and I’m finally starting to see results to my efforts. I’m walking again. Work is up to four days a week, and I work hard.

Now the matter of eating is still hard. I will successfully exercise moderation, which is in complete contradiction to my nature for a few days, then I blow it. In the last two weeks, I had lost 11 pounds. Then Saturday, I went to a party. There was a criminal amount of food, and I ate an unlawful amount.

I was in a situation where gluttony was acceptable, so I excused myself. I used to do that at church dinners. Saturday, I ate til I was very uncomfortable. I actually looked at the amount of food I had taken, knew that I was going to be sick, and did it anyway. Have I conquered it yet? Clearly, no.

On work days, I eat a moderate breakfast. I am a diabetic, so its important not to skip meals (however, NOBODY should skip breakfast!). At work, I will eat a moderate lunch. I’m working hard, so I burn a lot of calories and sweat a lot. Then I come home and PIG OUT all evening.

I have a plan to change that. I have implemented the plan a few days, and it worked; however, then I went backwards a couple days. I don’t want to be too hard on myself, but on the other hand, I don’t want to continue excusing my inconsistency. I will nevr progress to my goal if I allow myself this lack of self-control. I did it last year. That means I can do it again. That means I WILL do it again.

Obsession Costs Too Much

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Revisionist History.”

In 2002, I was obsessed with finishing writing my first book, MORE THAN SONGS. I had labored over it with research, writing, re-writing, learning, un-learning, discouragement, and encouragement. I was unemployed. That of course put financial pressure on my home and marriage. I was in deep depression. But I was writing like a fiend.

In fact, I was neglecting my wife, I was so obsessed with completing the book.

I finished the book. Unfortunately, at the expense of my marriage.

Now… if things had gone differently…

I would have realized that the book was already written; it just required some editing and tweaking, and not become so obsessed about it. I could have devoted time and energy to job-hunting, which would have likely relieved a lot of my stress and discouragement. Finding another job would have eased the financial strain on our home.

And most importantly, spend time showing my wife that she was the most important person in my life. I would still be married. IF is such a BIG word, isn’t it?

Marriage Is…

 ******** I worked for days on this post, including losing it completely because I didn’t think to save the draft. I know this is a sensitive subject. Those who know me personally know my stance on this issue. That is not what this post is about.****************

Last week, the highest court in the land finally resolved one of the most divisive issues in the United States in the last few years. Much to the delight of millions of Americans and to the dismay of millions of Americans, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages are to be legally acknowledged in all fifty states.

While some states had considered themselves progressive and made this bold step in recent years, a majority of states were either hesitant or staunchly opposed. However, the opportunity for individual states’ citizenry, through representation, to determine for themselves on this matter is gone. It is a fete complete.

And who better in the federal government to make this decision than the US Supreme Court? These Justices are not elected officials. They have no accountability to constituents. They have no fear of losing their positions. Their only accountability is to their own interpretation of the US Constitution, and their personal consciences. The “conservative” justices refrained from voting on the matter. Perhaps they recognized the inevitability. We cannot judge their motivation for doing, or not doing, what they did or did not do. So, this was declared a victory for “liberals”.

Now there is no need for argument, or debate, or protests, or violence, or dissension of any kind. The issue has been settled irreversibly. The battle cannot be fought in the voting booths, news networks, opinions polls, or street protests. For those who object to this decision due to faith,  only one battleground remains: on your knees before your God. If you object for other reasons, perhaps over a period of fifty to a hundred years, social change may swing the nation the other direction.Good luck with that.

The point is: It is no longer a point of politics. It is no longer even a point of valid contention in this nation. It is beyond the power of any president or politician to change. The United States Supreme Court has redefined marriage, an institution as old as humanity. Now we don’t have to argue. The Federal government has settled it for us. Isn’t that great?

Making A Gem

The difference between a professional photographer and an amateur photographer is the professional takes hundreds of shots to get maybe a few good, and perhaps even one great picture. The amateur misses many photo opportunities because they only shoot when they think it will be a masterpiece.

So, what does that have to do with writing? Maybe you already guessed.

I follow some blogs (not as often as I should) of some amazing writers. While sometimes the content of their individual posts may not be amazing; I am awed by their consistent quantity. In a few cases, these bloggers are writing several posts every day. I don’t know how they do it.

I am a writer. I often write in my head. I do not often enough sit down to my laptop and literally write what I have been composing in my brain. This makes me a frustrated and ineffective writer. My inactivity on this blog reflects this. Every now and then, I’ll hit a hot streak, and I’ll declare that I will be more consistent. If you have followed my blog for very long, you know it doesn’t usually work that way.

One of my hindrances is a desire to make every post in this blog a gem, a meaningful work of art, an outstanding example of my craft. Yeah. I have worked multiple days on writing profound (at least I thought so) and time-sensitive posts, carefully phrasing and checking grammar; and then, thinking because I never closed the window, when the post was completed, I could click publish and it would publish to my blog. If any of you have ever tried this, you may know what happened. It disappeared, and did not publish.

If I had any sense about this, I would just simply write in this blog regularly. Don’t worry about every post being a gem. Take a lesson from the professional photographers.