Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Day in the Life Of…

Posted by Luther D. Powell on November 15, 2012

It occurred to me in the middle of work this morning that I had to write a blog for today! Whoops! Sometimes, my entire week slurs together and I forget that certain days happen when I have to do things and stuff, it’s confusing. In the midst of my morning confusion, I decided I would just write about my day. ‘Cause I figured… I can do that.

I woke up around 10:30, fell asleep, and woke up again, probably several times. If you added up the collection of moments this happens during my life now, there would be like three whole years or so composed entirely of me struggling to decide when to wake up. I was officially up by 11.

Would have had time for breakfast, but I spent a full five minutes staring blankly at my computer screen, fighting the desire to post an interesting Facebook status update. I’m ashamed to admit, this happens on a fairly regular basis, mostly because part of me feels obligated, if I’m on Facebook, to post about what’s REALLY on my mind, considering, that’s the question in the little box when you first log in. It’s my duty to let my friends know how I’m doing, right? HAHA!

So I sit for a while, pondering, “What IS on my mind?” before concluding that most of the things on my mind would probably erase my ‘friend list’ in a heartbeat. No, seriously. I’m a horror author. If I just went around telling everybody what was going on in my head, people probably wouldn’t like me very much. I eventually decided not to post anything, then realized I no longer had time to throw together a peanutbutter sandwich.

I tossed on my work uniform: black, dress pants –check. Orange polo, still kind of stiff from the sweat of last shift –check. Nametag –check. Hat –check. You’ll note that I didn’t shower today; you’d think that, working in food service, being clean –REALLY clean, is crucial. At my campus food court, that’s not quite the case. Really, wearing a hat for 4+ hours, to me, just means nobody can tell that I haven’t washed my hair in a while. And bathing everything else? Well, that’s a little pointless when you wash dishes for hours and get food waste plastered all over yourself.

Brushed my teeth after getting dressed. Gathered what I needed for my drawing class which follows work. That took longer than expected, and with eight minutes before the start of my shift, I booked it to work. On a normal morning, my walk to work takes a solid ten minutes. My apartment isn’t far from the campus food court, so that’s nice. However, when I have to half-walk half-sprint in bursts to make sure I keep my record of punctuality, that’s not so nice.

My record of not-being-late has not been broken yet.

At work, I shuffled into an apron, clocked in, looked over the beverage coolers. They were already full, so I headed to the dish machine and started washing. Luckily, today, two other workers were sent to dish because there was nothing else for them to do. We tackled a rather intimidating pile of dishes in about an hour. I had earned myself a well-deserved lunch break.

For lunch, I ate a big ol’ stack of pierogies with an ice cold Coca-Cola (for those of you who don’t know, pierogies are Polish dumplings filled with  mashed potatoes and cheese. Basically Heaven in your mouth). I sat alone and  ate, watching customers pass me by, wondering what they would eat, smiling casually at those who looked over.

After break, I returned to the beverage coolers to find that a few slots had been emptied. That was my cue. I mounted my trusty steed –the stocking cart, and rolled into the stocking room, where all the bottled drinks are stored. With clipboard in hand, everything I needed written down, I started loading the cart full of drinks. I spent another forty minutes or so putting those drinks in the coolers.

The rest of work consisted of scraping old food gunk out of the inside of garbage cans. Not much to say about that.

Once work was over, I had a few minutes to browse Reddit.com, one of my favorite websites. It’s for posting pictures, funny stuff, news articles, basically anything. Scrolled through the ‘photography’ section, which just has a bunch of cool, inspiring pictures.

At 3:30, I headed to my drawing class. In which, I drew things. But not just any things. I drew my cat, because I did not feel like working on the project we were supposed to be working on. Call me a bad student, but I plan to do the next project in ink and water, and that’s not very easy to transport on foot. And, my instructor liked my cat drawing.

When I returned to my apartment after class, I entered a cloud of the sweetest-smelling aroma of grilled cheese and tomato soup. My roommate had a guest over and was cooking dinner with her, and offered to make me a sandwich. I took him up on that offer with glee. The sandwich –grilled cheese with chicken- was delicious.

By the time I had finished my sandwich, my roommate and his guest had already left to go do…stuff, I don’t know where they went. So, apartment’s empty. Know what that means?

DRUM MYSELF INTO A COMA TIME!!!

Which is exactly what I did. Drums. Then naptime. When I woke up, I typed this, and now I’m posting it. Later tonight, I’ll probably draw some more, catch up on my NaNo wordcount (I confess, I’m too embarrassed to post my wordcount here for all to see. It’s pathetic), and I might hang out with some friends if they show up like they normally do after the Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) meeting. I used to go to those, but choose not to now, for reasons I might explain another day. My friends who go usually come over to the apartment afterwards. If they don’t, more drawing, more writing. Maybe some reading in there, we’ll see. Bedtime anywhere from 3 am to 7 am. No, I’m not kidding. My brain works best during those hours.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my day. If I had anything else interesting to talk about, I would have posted about that, and not my day. So yes, I legitimately hope you got anything out of this. Cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Friendship, Life Experiences, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Giving Chances and Hugs

Posted by Luther D. Powell on September 6, 2012

I apologize for my posts getting so late nowadays; classes and work make it hard for me to get this done earlier in the day.

In a recent post of mine, “Smile and Wave Basis,” I mentioned how making friends in this age is kind of a weird deal. Maybe you’re introduced to new people by those you’re already friends with. Maybe you work with someone you get along with and you gradually become closer through interaction at work. Maybe you exchanged brief words with a stranger, and the moment lasted just long enough for you to see something in them you wanted to know more about. Either way, Facebook happens. Or Twitter, or Skype, or MySpace (if anybody even still uses that). Once that’s settled, friendships vary in smoothness.

So what happens when a person wants to be friends with you and you don’t really want to be friends with them? That DOES happen to people other than me, right? ‘Cause if not, I’m gonna go crawl into a hole and never come out until I’ve read The Bible 50 times in a row or something for feeling so guilty. Seriously, it happens. I know it happens, not just because it happens to me, but because… it happens to me. But, the other way around. People don’t always want to be my friend :gasp!: I get it, sometimes I come off weird, my interests are a little on the morbid side, metal is not a widely-accepted  genre of music and not everyone loves Godzilla as much as I do. If someone turns down friendship with me, I’ll get over it.

Back to the other end of the spectrum. I’ve learned to give friendship a chance with just about anybody over the years. Partly because, I’ve noticed that adults (I mean, older-than-22-adults) don’t seem to ‘hang out’ with friends a whole lot. I see it happen, but it seems rare from my perspective. People age, they grow more independent of community and friendship, start families, work and accomplish stuff. Because my freetime dwindles as I age, I want to make as many friends and have fun with as many people as I can while I still can.

The other reason I try to be open about friendship is that, quite frankly, I know what it’s like to get turned down once in a while. No, not by girls (I mean, I do, but…nottalkingaboutthisrightnow). I know how much it hurts to want to be friends with somebody who doesn’t want that friendship, and I’ve seen what that sort of thing can do to people.

I wanted to bring this up because I’ve been around a some people who don’t seem to have many friends. I say I try to accept people with differences, oddities, what have you, but honestly, the more people I get to know, the more I learn from those differences that push so many other people away. I don’t really have to try, because I want to learn. I hang out with folks who might not have that many other friends, not because I feel sorry for them, but because I want to hang out with them. I like being around them, I like hearing what they have to say, I laugh at their quirks and I want to share Christ’s love with them. All the while I have to wonder, why doesn’t anybody else give these people a chance? If I ‘turn down’ a friendship these days, it’s usually when I see something in the person which is potentially harmful to my mental, emotional and spiritual health. I’ve realized that it takes a lot for one person to ‘harm’ me in so many ways, so I give people chances. I do it, I enjoy it, I love my friends and they make me happy. Why can’t these people have other friends too? Why can’t other people want to be friends with my friends? Why doesn’t anybody else give them a chance?

I’m usually pretty scatterbrained with these posts, but my point in this one is fairly simple: give people a chance. If I’ve learned anything as a Christian in the past few years, it’s that giving chances is everything. People won’t want to hear what we have to say if we’re not listening to them either. They won’t accept us if we won’t accept them, and they probably won’t accept HIM either. If Christ lives in us, then what we show to others is what they will see of Him. If we show them nothing, they’ll see nothing. Jesus hung out with the lowest of the low, and called us to do the same. However, I don’t think He asked us to do that to say that there are people actually ‘lower’ than we are. None of us are perfect. We may choose not to befriend someone because we think they’re a ‘weirdo,’ but guess what? That weirdo is you. That weirdo is me. We’re all weirdos, and we can learn so much from each other, whether the differences are in beliefs or personalities or whatever.

I want to end this with a bit of conversation I had with a friend who, to my knowledge, is not a Christian. I was talking to this friend about another friend I was having troubles communicating with. I was saying to this friend about the other, “I don’t know how to talk to them anymore. About God, about life, anything. What do I do?” My friend replied, “Don’t waver.”

Don’t waver. Those were such powerful words to me then, and they still hit me whenever I think about giving up on people who are different from me. If you let go of them, they’ll let go of you. Give people –friends- a chance, because God gave you a chance.

On a final-final note, I received a hug in the middle of work today from a friend I’m not even very close with, and I must say, it made my whole day. So, give hugs too. Hugs mean everything. Cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Encouragment, Friendship, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Why Aren’t There More Illustrated Novels?

Posted by Luther D. Powell on July 12, 2012

I made a post on Facebook about this a few nights ago and already got a lot of feedback, but I kind of planned to make it my Thursday bloppick as well. I figure, more feedback wouldn’t hurt anything, and it feels good to voice my thoughts on ambitions, no matter how crazy they may sound.

But really, does having artwork in an adult-level novel sound so crazy to you? I’ve contemplated this for years, ever since that faithful day in seventh grade when I realized drawing/writing comic books wasn’t working out for me. When making my own comics, it occurred to me that I did not have the patience to draw entire stories out scene by scene, at least, not with enough detail to know what was going on. I also had troubles writing for comics. I either wanted to write too much in one panel or too little; couldn’t find a medium. Since then, my art and writing paths have separated, but I’ve been on a drawing binge this past week (hobby drawings and commissions) and I’ve been thinking, why keep them separated?

WHAT IF… I just wrote novels and drew some pictures for them?

I don’t see novels with artwork in them very often. The only one I can think of at the moment is Seth Grahame-Smith’s, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It’s a gruesomely-great parody of the Jane Austen classic, and it’s exactly what the title suggests. What I didn’t expect is the artwork; there are drawings every 50 pages or so, and they add a lot to the book’s humor and uniqueness. However, the book being more or less a comedy, it’s not the best example for what I have in mind to do, just… the only example.

It seems that, once you move from chapter books to young adult novels and so on, artwork disappears. You still get some compelling image on a book’s cover which urges people to buy the book, but once you open it up, it’s good ol’ Times New Roman text for another 400 pages. Occasionally a different font, but you get the idea. (By the way, a tip for my fellow writers suffering from writer’s block: try switching up your font. Sounds silly, but once you settle on something new and exciting, it might renew your desire to write. Helped me out a lot!)

I get that more intellectual readers may prefer their imagination over the images that could actually appear on the pages, but what’s stopping authors/artists from giving 300-400 page novels artwork anyway? I, for one, would love to let my brain rest every 75 pages or so and see some artwork. It’s not something I’m constantly wishing books would have, I just don’t get why I never see that. Not suggesting that adults need picture books too. We grownups have magazines when we wanna look at pictures, right? Or rather, the internet. But who would start complaining if some daring author got away with putting pictures in a novel of whatever genre? I honestly can’t imagine anybody reading something of their own free will and thinking, “Aw man, this book has PICTURES in it? That’s lame. I’m so offended, I’ll never read again.”

Most of the advice I’ve gotten from friends and fellow writers amounts to this: if you can pull it off, it’ll be awesome, but you don’t see it often because those who are trying aren’t pulling it off. If I want to draw pictures and incorporate them into my stories, they have to be images that appeal to the readers’ imagination, and keep them reading at the same time. They can’t give away too much about the story, but they can’t just be there to show a reader something he or she already understands, either. I wouldn’t draw pictures to act as portraits of main characters, nor would I draw out entire scenes. In order for the “illustrated novel” to be a more acceptable idea, the illustrations and the writings would have to harmonize tastefully. The writing not necessarily describing the pictures, but the pictures holding just enough weight to gain more interest from readers. I know illustrated novels EXIST already, but they’re not like, a thing of their own. They’re few and far between, and I would like to change that.

My last blog was so preachy, it feels weird not mentioning God for any reason in this one. Jesus loves you. There, that’s better. :)

This picture is also on Facebook, but I wanted to share my first ever framed drawing. Framed it about a week ago, and now I feel all uber-professional and special and stuff. The drawing is a scene from my favorite book/movie, Let the Right One In. I’m thinking about writing a blog about that as well, ‘cause I’m always talking about it anyway. Cheers and God bless!

In Christ,

Luther D. Powell

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Observations on the Aftermath of Whitney Houston’s Death

Posted by Ben Erlichman on February 16, 2012

Whenever a celebrity dies, especially one of the caliber of Whitney Houston, or Michael Jackson, or Larry King–wait…he’s not dead yet? Oh, he just kind of looks like he’s dead. My bad.

Whitney Houston

Anyway, there’s a predictable pattern of reaction from the media, from social networks, and from other celebrities. It’s horrible, but true, and most of it infuriates me. Here are two of my observations regarding Whitney Houston’s recent passing:

1. The media was well-prepared–too well-prepared. I think we all know by now that major media outlets have obituary files and footage already picked out for most of the world’s major celebrities, so all they have to do is pull out that file, mash together that footage and have the anchors/reporters practice going through some of said celeb’s lifetime highlights, low periods, and everything in-between before going on live and presenting the obituary.

That means that these news outlets not only have those files and footage, but that they update them regularly, and they also probably prioritize them based on who they think is going to croak first. In a way, this is a totally heartless and cold approach to the death of an important person, but if you stop and consider it, isn’t that kind of news exactly what everyone is supposed to get? Even-tempered, unbiased reporting of the facts?

I still don’t think I like it, though.

2. Idiots used Whitney’s death as a chance to advance their own agendas. This is the reason why I felt I should write on this topic today. I’m flummoxed at some peoples’ stupid behavior in response to Whitney’s death. If you thought the media outlets were bad for being well-prepared for Whitney’s death, you’ll be disgusted at some of the things coming out of celebrities’ mouths and from social networking sites like Facebook.

Two examples in particular really made me fume. Tony Bennett, who, for our younger readers, is a very famous singer/performer from yesteryear, made one of the dumbest comments I’ve ever heard after a celebrity’s death: he said, “I’d like to have every gentleman and lady in this room commit themselves to get our government to legalize drugs. So they have to get it through a doctor, not just some gangsters that sell it under the table.”

Tony Bennett

Look, I’m not going to comment on the validity of his argument. Maybe he’s right, maybe not. But that’s not the point. The point is that he stood up in public and used Whitney Houston’s death to advance his own agenda. Wow…what a way to pay tribute to a friend–use their death to tell the government that drugs should be legalized. How do you think the population would have responded if reputable pastor like Rick Warren (not that he would) came out in public and said that everyone should accept Jesus and live fulfilled lives so they don’t end up like Whitney Houston? The universe, including a lot of Christians, would throw a conniption fit. To sum up, Tony’s comment was poorly-timed, and inappropriate.

Here’s another dumb thing I saw, this one on Facebook:

Yes, I know this is Steve Jobs and not Whitney.

I used Steve because I saw this meme used after his death first–and also because the one I found with Whitney had a picture of her with her chest halfway hanging out. You get the idea, though, right? Millions “cry” when a celebrity dies, but no one cries for the millions dying from AIDS in Africa, or from ethnic cleansing/genocide, or from hunger.

::Sigh::

I won’t argue with the premise. Yes, the world is a place of a profound injustice, and this does a good job of showing that discrepancy. That said, this is just as opportunistic and inappropriate as Tony’s comment above for exactly the same reason: the author is using a tragedy to advance their own agenda at the expense of the departed person immortalized in their meme, as if subtly implying that somehow, it’s partly Whitney’s or Steve’s fault that millions are dying. Or, at the very least, such memes are made to make us feel guilty about how we react to celeb deaths.

I’m probably not the best example of how to react to a celebrity’s death because I generally don’t spend much time following their lives in the first place. That said, you’re getting my opinion anyway.

When Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson died, and even more so when Steve Irwin (the Crocodile Hunter) was skewered by a stingray a few years back and died, I felt very sad. I didn’t go out and place flowers or notes or teddy bears on their graves (or in front of their chain of Apple stores like folks did with Steve Jobs), but their deaths impacted me (less with Steve Jobs, as I’m only a recent convert to the cult of Apple).

The meme above makes the assumption that we stupid, spoiled Americans care more about a person (who has actually affected our lives in some way) than we do about those suffering and dying around the world. Honestly, I’m sure that is the case with a lot of people, but to use a celeb death as an opportunity to guilt-trip the rest of us, including people close to Whitney or Steve or Steve or Michael, is wrong.

Sorry, but you’re just being a jerk. You haven’t considered how many people those celebs actually did touch in a profound way, who are already hurting at the loss of a friend, family member, or loved one (celebrity), upon seeing your meme, feel guilty and used as a part of a scheme to raise awareness for an issue that most people would already agree with anyway. In other words, your timing sucks because you don’t have the balls to try to promote your ideas in a time of normalcy and instead do it at the expense of someone’s death and others’ grief.

Alright. I’m done ranting. I’d love to get your thoughts on this. Next week, stay tuned for a much anticipated post, probably the second-to-last one you’ll get out of me here at Reflections: Things that Weigh a Thousand Pounds (aka things that I can leg press).

-Ben

Posted in Anxiety, Authors, Encouragment, Friendship, Happiness, Hospitality, Inspiration, Life Experiences, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Music, Publishing, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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