No Biggy

Some of you may have been wondering how Biggy the fish is doing.

Let me correct that to “how Biggy the fish was doing”.

He lasted about one more week than the other fish, so about two weeks total.

picture of a dead goldfish floating in a fishbowl

The kids were not distraught at all. They think that’s what fish are for – bring them home and check each day if they’re floating or swimming.

I came home from work one day and was greeted by “He’s floating!” I noted somewhere in my head that I would need to scoop him out and throw him away (I’m not stocking our septic tank with fish).

And then I got distracted by more important tasks

…for a few days.

When Beta asked me why Biggy’s eyes were turning white, I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer.

picture of a dead goldfish

So now we are the proud owners of…

an empty fish tank.

And we would like to keep it that way for a while.

The fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul, and the Egyptians will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile.

Exodus 7:18

Being Socially Responsible

Much of the discussion about being socially responsible relates to corporations’ actions. (e.g. “What can this company do to improve its social responsibility?”)

But what about personal social responsibility? Why is that not a larger topic?

Here is a list of some things I see as what a socially responsible person does. I will attempt to instill these in my children as parts of a civilized society. This is just what people are supposed to do. These are not necessarily rules, but I know I would rather live in a community where these were practiced more often than not.

  • Look at the person to whom you are speaking
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Offer your chair to the elderly (or to a lady if you’re a gentleman)
  • Address elders as Mr., Mrs., or Sir, Ma’am
  • Say please, thank you, and you’re welcome
  • Use a salutation or valediction when meeting or departing from someone (say hello or good-bye)
  • Be able to apologize
  • Chew with your mouth closed
  • Say excuse me when appropriate
  • Hold doors open for others
  • Find the end of the line and wait in it
  • Watch your language
  • Ladies should be served before gentlemen
  • Offer to help if you see someone in need

In the old days, these things were known as manners or maybe even common courtesy. I guess they fell out of favor and need a new buzzword (i.e. social responsibility) to become popular again.

Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

Luke 6:31

Flowchart of Infant Decisions

Some of you may have ignored this post when you saw that the title contains the word flowchart. But that would mean that you’re not reading this, so why am I bothering to explain that?

Here is a flowchart that documents the three possible actions or behaviors of an infant along with the decisions he uses to get to those actions. How does a baby know what to do? Simple – he follows this handy guide.

flowchart of an infant's decisions among sleeping, crying, and eating

I do wonder how a baby knows the difference between rocking while standing and rocking while sitting. I contemplate the answer to that question around 3:00 or 4:00 AM, while walking around with the baby. Not only how does he know the difference, but also why he doesn’t like sitting.

Transcript (although it’s hard to type a flowchart in plain text) :
Start
Am I hungry?
Am I being fed?
Am I being held?
Are we walking?
Sleep
Cry
Eat

The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.

Proverbs 16:33

Writing an SCL Guest Post

or, How to Double Your Website Traffic in 3 Easy Steps

This post will tell you how to write a guest post for Stuff Christians Like. Jon Acuff has already listed some hints on what to write in a guest post, but this post is going to tell you some additional details on how to do that.

Steps for Writing an SCL Guest Post

Step 1. Come up with a good idea.
Step 2. Write a 500-word humorous essay on that idea.
Step 3. Email it to Jon (his email is listed in the link above).

It really is that easy, but there are some other details that might help – things I’ve picked up over the years.

Tips for Writing an SCL Guest Post

These tips are not guaranteed to get your guest post published on SCL, but they might help.

  1. See if your idea has already been covered in SCL. It’s okay if the topic is the same, but you must write about a different angle.

    For example, Jon and I both wrote about meal-time prayers. But he wrote about which meals deserve prayers and I wrote about the reason for a prayer.

    Same topic + different take on things = different posts.

  2. A guest post should be ready to publish. Write it well. If you’re not good with grammar or proficient in proof-reading, then find someone competent to be your editor (your English-major sister, the guy who leaves blog comments correcting things in the post, etc.)

    Yes, Jon will clean the post up a bit, but if he is choosing between your guest post and someone else’s similar guest post, my guess is that he will pick the one that requires less work on his part.

  3. Remember that you’re writing for SCL. The audience is there because they appreciate a certain style, so work within the culture of SCL.

    This might not work for all people, but I write my SCL guest posts differently than I write my own posts. Posts for my blog are drier, so I try to be more entertaining in a guest post. Something along the lines of “what would Jon write?”

    But guest post are for variety, so don’t try to mimic him. Which leads to the next point…

  4. Don’t add trendy pop culture references just for fun or because you think Jon will like them. If that’s a part of your writing, then fine – go ahead.

    Jon is known to tweak or add things to guest posts, so if he thinks a current topic deserves a cameo in your guest post, he will make it so.

  5. After you send it in, just wait and don’t worry. Sometimes he sends a reply the next day. Other times it takes a week or two. It depends on his travel schedule and who knows what else.

    He usually sends a “Thanks for your guest post” reply first, to let you know that he got it. Then, once he knows that he will actually use it, he sends a “I loved it! It will go on SCL in a few weeks” reply.

    If all you ever get is the first email, then your guest post is languishing in purgatory.

  6. Type out your website in your email signature. If you just sign your name when you send in your guest post, Jon won’t know that you have a website. Therefore, he won’t provide a link to your site. And that means you won’t get all those visitors.

    Because that is why you’re writing, right? No? You just want to help others? That’s not a very sustainable business plan. (of course I’m joking here. I don’t have a business plan either)

  7. If you want visitors from SCL to return to your site, you might want to think about having an update just for them. You could have a new post all set to introduce yourself (and your site) to them.

    I did this the first time, but I don’t bother with this anymore. Maybe if I had a product to sell or a goal in mind, I would do this more.

That’s all I have to share with you today. Help out Jon and write a guest post for him.

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?

2 Corinthians 3:1

Delivery Details

For those interested in the details of the most recent addition to our family:

  • 9:00 am – I get a call from my wife. She is calling as she is leaving her doctor appointment for a regular weekly check-up before her due date. She tells me that we have to go to the hospital. The doctor said to be there in an hour because we’re going to have the baby today, even though my wife isn’t feeling any contractions. We decide to wait until lunchtime or she feels contractions, whichever comes first.
  • 11:45 – I get home from work and greet my sister, who is over to watch the kids while we’re at the hospital
  • 12:25 – We get Alpha off the school bus. They had a half day, so now all the kids are together with some cousins.
  • 12:45 – We leave for the hospital
  • 1:05 – The nurse chides us for not arriving sooner. “I’ve been waiting since 9:00,” she says.
  • 1:15 – They hook up monitors to see how contractions are going. There are some contractions – they’re just slight enough that my wife had been dismissing them or not noticing them.
  • 1:30 – two students from a nearby nursing school arrive. It’s their rotation on the maternity floor.
  • 2:20 – the doctor comes in and checks things
  • 2:30 – the doctor decides she wants to deliver the baby soon, so she breaks the water. The nursing students get to help clean up
  • 2:35 – contractions every 3-4 minutes, looks like the doctor will get her wish.
  • 3:15 – parents arrive. I greet them and usher them to the waiting room. They do get to peek into the delivery room and say hi.
  • 3:30 – epidural is in. Good thing, because the contractions are coming in waves now.
  • 3:40 – the doctor checks things again. She brought a resident with her. There are a lot more people in the room this time than for the other 3.
  • 3:50 – the doctor and resident get suited up and then the pushing starts
  • 4:08 – baby is born. He is silent for the first few seconds, but then he starts crying like one would expect. It’s always amazing how the baby can go from not breathing air one second to breathing air the next second.

For those keeping track:

  • Baby #1 – at least 90 minutes of pushing.
  • Baby #2 – 20-30 minutes of pushing.
  • Baby #3 – 6 minutes of pushing.
  • Baby #4 – 5-10 minutes of pushing. I didn’t keep good track this time. Things progressed too quickly and I wasn’t facing a clock.

Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.

Psalm 48:6

Defensive Schemes for Parents

Since we’re in the sports doldrums (between hockey and football seasons), there’s a lull in the play-calling world. I know baseball is being played, but there aren’t many different defenses you can have in a baseball game. But enough about baseball – don’t get distracted from the main topic…

To fill the void of play calling during the summer months, I present to you Defensive Schemes for Parents.

You can look at this in at least 2 ways:

  1. You’re a parent who wants to understand sports lingo, or
  2. You know sports but don’t know how to handle the number of children you have

Guide to Football-style Diagrams: O is for offense (children in this case) and X is for defense (parents in this case).

diagram of double team, man to man, zone, and prevent defensive schemes as they relate to parents and children

I haven’t quite figured out what’s analogous to the goal line. But whatever it is, I have to make sure my kids don’t get there.

Transcript:
For a two-parent family,
1 child = double team
2 children = man to man
3 children = zone
4 children = prevent

Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.

Acts 22:1

Athletic Differences

If this is how your child looks when you take him to a gym and give him a ball:

picture of a happy boy with a ball

then you’d better save up for cleats.


If this is how your child looks when you take him to a gym and give him a ball:

picture of a bored boy with a ball

then you’d better save up for the bookstore.

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6