Going Back for More

A little over a week ago, I wrote of my struggles with writing and editing a piece for someone who does it for a living.

Well, here’s the final post.  To say I’m pleased and excited is kindof an understatement.

Going Back for More


A guest

Today I am a guest in someone else’s house.  I’ve written my first ever guest post and I’m a bit nervous about it.

Head on over to Writer Dad for today’s post.

And, no, I didn’t go crashing through the wall yelling “Oh, Yeah!”  🙂  I do have better manners than that.

Lucas Bright: Why HomeSchooling is Awesome

I first “met” Lucas Bright last year when his words danced across the screen of Writerdad.com.  He’s a touch snarky, way smarter than your average bear and brings the rhyme like a ten year old well-mannered Marshall Mathers.

As part of my prize from Collective Inkwell, Lucas Bright, through Sean Platt, penned a much needed, new-and-improved About page for me and my new home here.  It’s the perfect housewarming gift.  But, as an added bonus, Sean also has allowed me to revisit  Lucas Bright’s snarky thoughts on how children are taught in schools today.

I hope you enjoy Lucas as much as I do.

Lucas Bright: Why HomeSchooling is Awesome

Hi again, it’s Lucas. I’m just sitting here in class,

considering a conclusion that I didn’t want to pass.

I was diddling some doodles, on my paper with my pen

when I had a little insight that was altogether zen.

The thought was kind of large, at least larger than me,

but it shined a bit of light on the way that things should be.

You may think it silly, but I have some concern

about the way we get our answers and the way that we all learn.

The way our teachers teach us, well it’s based on an old system.

Now that times are changing, I think we should be changing with them.

The methods they use now reward all those who memorize the most.

Learn by rote, take the test and then they’re fit to boast.

But facts and figures fall to fruitless when you’re looking at your feet,

and find that they’re now bopping to a wholly different beat.

It blew in like a cyclone, this redefining shift.

We didn’t catch it quickly. Now we’ve found ourselves adrift.

You see, a system built on answers simply can not grow.

We need creative queries to bring us brand new things to know.

With the Internet inside our palm, answers lose their worth.

The techniques we use to learn deserve to have a brand new birth.

Questions have more value because they teach us how to think;

our thoughts and are behavior share an undisputed link.

Should we absorb the moment of that first shot in a war

or could there be some bigger issues that we could explore?

If we believe that answers shouldn’t come first anymore,

then we’ll develop questions that have not been thought before.

Let’s ponder this example: let’s bow our heads and think.

Take your time, take a breath. Okay, now go ahead and blink.

Let’s flip back in time a while to when Human Beings were new.

Before we had societies, in the dawn of our debut.

We were not committing answers then, with just one thing to solve.

The question we were asking was, “now, how can we evolve?”

First we worked with fire. Then we worked the land.

We had so many questions, and so much to understand.

We created language, art, religion and set Governments in place,

as the entire population spread across our planet’s face.

Now we have computers and answers oozing cheap.

It’s time for the entire race to take another giant leap.

Let’s ask ourselves about our future and discover what is next.

If we start out asking simply, we can soon grow more complex.

The next time that your teacher asks the answer to a question,

raise your hand and say “Excuse me, but I’ve got a suggestion.”

Say, “Answers were for yesterday. I’m looking toward our fate;

a future filled with such potential, I can hardly wait.

Perhaps tomorrow we’ll have a world where there isn’t any war;

no disease, hungry people, or violence any more.

If we start knowing what to ask, our future has no ceiling.

I know that I am just a kid, but listen to my feeling.”

You can be just like my teacher when I told her the word.

She said, “Lucas Bright, that is the smartest thing I’ve ever heard!”

Sean Platt is a dad and ghostwriter for hire who also tweets.

Welcome to China

I have another guest post and I’m very excited to share it.  I found this blogger – or more accurately, I think she found me – just recently, so I haven’t been able to explore as much of her blog as I’d like.  (Just so you know, it’s hard to catch up on blogs when there’s so many out there to read!  I had 56 new posts in my reader this morning!).

She writes about many things, particularly writing, travel and her experiences in China.  What’s so amazing to me about her is that she packed up and left her country just a few months after college and moved to China.  Most of us pack up and move to another city or state but she moved to another country.  Now THAT is stepping out of your comfort zone!  She is a teacher by profession but is also exploring her Chinese heritage and writing.  Her name is Kate and I hope you’ll take time to visit her blog, Live Out of the Box.  Her tagline is “write, travel and think beyond,” and she certainly does.

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photo by ernop.

She looked down on me as if I was nothing but a pesky mosquito in her large encompassing world. She held out her hand and said something. 

The words rang in my hand. Alien sounds. Fleeting notes of melodies I couldn’t grasp. I opened my mouth but no words came out that she could understand. 

Suddenly she started screaming obscenities at me, lashing out with unbridled rage, shouting with such a fury and passion that went unnoticed by all the passengers in the bus. 

Welcome to China. 

I had gotten on a crowded bus. It was my first month in this wild country. I was soaking up every experience and adjusting to the fact that I’m an expat. To me everything was all new and great and nothing could go wrong. 

Until the moment came when the bus conductor almost threatened to kill me. 

Or at least that’s what I understood from the tone of her voice. 

I felt so helpless. The language I came so much to depend on was of no use here. I had not yet learned the survival street skills needed to get out of this situation. I hastily gave her the correct fare and hoped that would satisfy her. 

The people in the bus looked at me with a mixture of curiosity, incredulity and pity. They along with that conductor, naturally assumed I was one of them because of my Asian looks. Not one of them had the common sense to talk to me in English or tell off the conductor. 

My cheeks were flaming because they were looking at me as if I was the stupidest person in the vehicle. 

Who’s this Chinese that doesn’t know how to speak Chinese?

What an ignoramus!

Can’t even speak Mandarin.

 She must be from the far outskirts of the countryside. 

It was so unfair! They don’t even know me. They don’t even know half the truth. I had these concepts about these people being educated and supposed to know the outside world. Boy, did that give me a reality check. Have you ever had moments when you just felt so small, like a speck of dust? Like the whole world is judging you on a false assumption and you can’t even put up some sort of defense? That’s how I felt back then. 

While I was nursing these open wounds, apparently the conductor felt she wasn’t through with me. No! While I was minding my own business she came back –spit foaming around her mouth like a mad dog. She screamed at me and pointed at me with twice her original fury and once again I was the center of humiliating attention. Whatever pride I had as a person was stripped away. I was treated like an animal. 

So what did I do against this person who treated me like a four letter that starts with s

I gave her more money. 

Why didn’t I retaliate? Because I wasn’t that strong then. I wasn’t raised to shout back at people (apparently it’s common courtesy here). This was the first time this has ever happened to me and the first time I ever suffered culture shock, and a cruel one at that. 

Shaking, I called my friend and said a lot of things. Many I won’t repeat because they were a string of dirty words so foul that came pouring out of me from my rage and anger at the unfairness of it all. I made sure to raise my voice so that everyone would get to hear it, so that everyone would know that I wasn’t one of them and that I was a foreigner and I don’t speak a word of Chinese! That they were all making a big mistake.  I made sure to have eye contact with that conductor while talking but she avoided it in obstinate embarrassment. 

A few months later, I realized the reason why the conductor was so mad at me was because she had asked me how many persons was I paying for (I think it was clear to anyone who would be looking that I had nobody sitting beside me) and  that I was unable to answer her. 

Try letting that sink in. 

For all the products it distributes around the world, China is still a closed country. Many people here are ignorant even those in the big cities. Probably because most of the residents came from the poor countryside, bringing with them their hard to break habits that they think are still applicable to civilization. They get carsick. They puke in the bus and on the roads. They take a dump in big swanky malls and I should tell you, they don’t do this in the bathrooms. They allow their children to pee on the floor in the arrival section of the airport under the public eye of all those arriving from other countries (and I’ve seen this happen in Beijing). Spitting, cutting in line and hitting others whether by bike or if they’re in a hurry with not a word of apology are all part of their common culture. Whatever heritage they had was wiped out during the Cultural Revolution and the sad truth is that most of them don’t know that. The government doesn’t want them to. 

They have no idea that so many of their fellowmen immigrated abroad and have a new life of their own in other countries. They’d be shocked to find out that these immigrants’ children don’t even speak Chinese. They don’t know that Southeast Asians look similar to them. Most of them have never even seen a foreigner before let alone another Asian so how else would they know that I’m one? 

There are still a lot of things they don’t know. 

And I’m still learning about that.


You are crazy!

Yippee!  Another guest post this week!  This is from Ryan Detzel.  I found his blog over the summer when a friend of mine was talking about Pastor Ryan on The Pioneer Woman.  See, one of his many interests is cooking and he did a guest post recipe on her site.  Well, I figured a pastor with tattoos should have some interesting things to say so I visited his blog, this is reverb…, and I haven’t been disappointed yet.  
Not only does he write honestly and openly about his family, his church and other randomographies (plus a whole lot more!), he also takes amazing, crazy, really cool pictures.  I’m so excited to introduce Ryan Detzel.  
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photo by detzelpretzel

Have you ever felt like you were nuts? Like you just don’t fit, or maybe everyone else doesn’t fit?


That’s because you’re crazy. Just as crazy as everyone else, but a different flavor, and crazy still.


We all have this thing inside of us that causes us to think, move, and be different than everyone else. We were made that way. And so there are some things that just feel natural to us. There are some things that feel so natural to us that we wonder how in the world all these other people don’t have the same feelings/insights/thoughts/wants/desires/passions/et cetera. What might feel like common sense to you is hard to grasp for another.


And that’s because you’re crazy.


You were made with very specific gifts, talents, and abilities inside of you. You think a fingerprint is unique? Try the whole human being. Now that’s unique.


And in all that uniqueness; we still have a desire to be a part of a bigger something-or-other. There is a want and a need to belong…a yearning to be connected.


And that’s because you’re crazy. To the world’s standards at least. Because people are afraid. People don’t often like to admit that they’ve submitted to mediocrity. It’s easy to say no to community and no to your destiny when you’ve already said yes to the status quo.


But maybe you are crazy. Maybe you’re just crazy enough to swim upstream and find the deeper waters. Maybe you’re just crazy enough to say yes to the greatness you’ve been called to. Maybe you’re just crazy enough to trust as if you couldn’t get hurt. Maybe you’re just crazy enough to be a fool for glory rather than straight-laced for the crowd.


Maybe you’re just crazy enough to take off your mask and be the person you’ve always known you were supposed to be.


A Rebirth

I said before that I’m jumping in, after checking the water first, with guest posts.  I ambushed someone in the comments section of my post talking about wanting to ask people but wasn’t sure if I could.  This particular blogger I found through comments on WriterDad’s blog.  Come to think of it, I’ve found lots of great blogs through comments there.
His name is Scott Carver and he’s a recovering alcoholic and speaks very openly about his life on his blog, The Ever-Changing Thought.  I’m thankful that he accepted my challenge of putting together a guest post.
I hope you enjoy and please leave your thoughts with us.
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photo by foxypar4

When I turned the steering wheel to the right and saw the the campus, the arch over the driveway, a lump of nerves jumped into my throat.  They didn’t really just go away either.  It’s as if they sat there spinning around and around.  Yet, I knew, this was my second chance, my final chance, and I tried to swallow them away, squeezing my throat muscles hoping to choke them off.  Didn’t work out so well. It was a tough knot.  They were persistent.  I just had to learn quickly how to live with them.  

I had many chances to turn around.  Drive away.  Go back.  But what was back?  Looking through the rear-view mirror of my life, back was a train wreck, the scene of a horrible accident, death and destruction, a hellish scene with pain and moaning and torture. A spot in the road where there seemed to be no God.  No one there to help me in my struggles.  Yeah, I immediately looked to the present and forced myself into a parking spot. 

 I had a few minutes to spare.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  I sat in my vehicle, luggage in the back.  Going through every failure, every triumph, every miserable moment of my life.  Now, though, it was the last chance I would get to use my cell for a couple of weeks, so, I called my dad. 

Told him I had made it.  Immediately cried to him how scared I was.  How sorry I was.  How I wish someone would have came with me.  All while failing miserably to choke back the tears, fend off the crying.  I was a mess.  But I could go back.  

It was time.  The next step.  The beginning of the birthing pains.  The beginning of 2 of the most wonderful, spirit filled, annoying, painful, upsetting, happy 2 weeks of my life.  Over those 2 weeks, I experienced every emotion times 10.  But I could go back.

 March 10th.  I was at the end of my re-birth.  The final day.  I could see the light.  It was time.  Time to leave the safety of the scariest place I had ever seen.  Leave the darkness behind.  Leave my new friends behind.  Left to wonder if they could make it, who would be back, would I be back, was I ready? 

“Scott, it’s time.”, there as someone with me now.  A voice of someone inside.  Not someone.  Something.  Something strong, without fear.  I was letting him go with me. He was on my shoulder as I gathered my things.  All the while letting me know that he was going to be here, and I would never be alone.  

I made my way from my room with my things, to check myself out.  Scared stiff. I’m not going to lie.  I had to go back into the world.  But he was going with me.I said my goodbyes to my new friends.  We cried, wished each other luck. I said my goodbyes to the school pastor, who helped my find my new friend.  I said goodbye to my old self as I had left a part of me there.  

The final stage of birth now.  The head is visible.  The light is ever more clear.  With both hands on the wheel, shaking, that bundle of nerves has made it’s way back.  I took a deep breathe, turned the key, and said “Let’s do this.” 

Leaving the campus, on the side of the arch facing the campus was the words, ever so elegantly written.  So powerful, so fulfilling.  The words were.  


I drove under and heard the voice say,“Yes, that’s right.  Let Go, and Let Me.” I was reborn into this world that day.  I made it home, passing bars and convenience stores.  I could hear the devil in those places, begging me to come in. “Come on Scott, just one won’t hurt.”  Then my God said “Move On.” 

And I did.  I’m so glad I didn’t go back.  

wheee…. this is fun!

I’m so excited!  I got brave and emailed a few of the people on my list for guest blogging.  Well, actually, one I ambushed in the comments section, but he’s kind enough to still do one.  I heard back from another that he would do it, too, but I haven’t yet heard from the other two women I emailed.

The fear of rejection is hard to suppress, so having two out of four say yes feels pretty good.
Stay tuned…