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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Start Doing Something You Stopped Doing

I’ve got a really bad habit of washing and drying my laundry and then letting it sit in the laundry basket all clean and dry. This isn’t a huge issue for things like socks, boxers, and undershirts. It really gets you with pants and shirts. When I had a dryer in my living quarters it wasn’t a big deal – I could throw something in the dryer for five minutes and be good to go. Not so much when the dryer is across the apartment complex and it costs me $1.25 (nothing short of highway robbery) to run it! Nevertheless I let the bad habit continue.

On Saturday I decided that I ought to iron some of my shirts and pants though. Now, some of you may be thinking that I mean I asked Hillary to show me how to iron, or I was going to learn how in some way but you’d be wrong. I’ve been ironing my own clothes since at least my freshman year of high school. That’s over a decade of ironing experience. It’s ok, you can be impressed. So. I decided to do some ironing. It took me a few minutes to find the iron – I hadn’t used it since we moved into the apartment in January. Once I found it and got into a good rhythm I was reminded of how much I love ironing. It’s relaxing, I can see immediate results of the work I’m doing, and it’s great time to veg. out with the tv, listen to a good cd, or talk with a loved one. I’m glad I finally got over my laziness and did it.

I feel the same way about “Things I Only Share With Everyone”. I’ve had a few people ask me why I decided to start blogging again, and the short answer is that I missed it. (I would have loved to have resurrected SuperStippy.com, but not only can I not access it here on WordPress.com anymore, I can’t even find any of the content from it. And this is probably for the best. TIOSWE is different than SuperStippy.com was.) I missed writing regularly. Having an outlet that was mine that people who were interested could read my view of the world. I substituted by over-tweeting, and eve decided to write for the newspaper at my university (which I enjoy). But those weren’t the same.

I stopped writing SuperStippy.com for a few reasons:

  1. I started taking it seriously. And because I did, people who believed in me did. And I started to get a bit afraid of it. I’ve had a bit of a phobia for failure as a young adult and have tended to shy away from things that could lead to it. There was a time where I strived for mediocrity. The old blog was becoming a bit more than mediocre so I decided I’d just stop rather than see what happened.
  2. Somewhat relatedly: The blog was starting to see some traction and growth. Those people who believed in me were helping me out – sharing the blog with others, and helping me improve it so randos could find it easier and might be drawn to it. I’m a bit of a “stats” junkie (see: whore), and I was getting around fifty hits a day when I first started getting really into it and when I quit it had been climbing steadily for about three months. I look back now and realize that actually small beans. Like. Really small beans. But for this (then) 22 year old it was too much. I didn’t want anyone taking me too seriously or thinking that I actually thought I had anything to say.
  3. I was getting exhausted. I was blogging six days a week. About crap that didn’t matter most of the time. I was grasping at straws to find something to talk about to people that I wasn’t sure were all that interested. Lots of people only work 5 days a week and their hobbies, which blogging was for me at the time, in their spare time. I was burning myself out on something I’d only started doing because I thought it would be fun. Because I was writing so much, so carelessly my content began to suffer.

So I stopped.

Now? I’m welcoming the challenge. If I fail, I fail. I’ve been told my whole life by teachers and peers that I’m a good writer, and until a few years ago it was something I thought came naturally to everyone. Turns out it’s one of the things I’ve been lucky enough to have been gifted at by God. Now. I’m not a great writer. I’m good, a little above average. But not great. And now I’m committed to that. To making my writing great. Because if you’re going to do something why do it halfway?

Now? I’m aiming for strategic growth. In the past I was after growth at any cost. Didn’t care what I needed to do to get one more reader I was going to do it! Now I know what kind of reader I’m trying to reach and I can focus what I’m writing to those people. Once I’ve got that down I can look for new ways to expand.

Now? I don’t spend 3 hours on 6 posts (or worse – 30 minutes) on a Sunday evening which is what I was doing in the dying days of SuperStippy.com. I spend the entire week thinking about what three posts will look like. I write notes to myself. I work on them here and there in between when they post. I give the m the time and attention they need to be something more than a space filler because I’ll feel stupid if one week I have 5 posts and not 6.

What does that have to do with you? I’m probably not the only one who stopped doing something they were kind of good at because they thought about being better than kind of good at it and it looked like something to big for them to do (does that make sense?). I doubt I’m the only one who has stopped taking the time to do something I enjoy because I turned it into something I had to do.

Does that sound like you?

If you’ve got Case Of The Mondays right now: What did you stop doing that you need to start doing again?

What is your thing? What are some of the reasons you stopped doing your thing? List them in the comments.

Grace & Peace,

Stippick

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Cases of Mondays

 

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Wendie’s Wish Isn’t Looking For A Cure

I’ve known Laine Melikian since he was in the sixth grade. He’s a great guy with a love for Jesus, others, and a good time. I’m blow away by and excited about what he’s doing, and allowing God to do through him. I got him to talk with me for a while yesterday about his organization Wendie’s Wish. Here’s what he had to say:

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Laine Melikian, I’m a 20 year old sophomore at Texas A&M University. I’m called to Youth Ministry so that’s what I’ll do when I graduate. I’m the Director of Wendie’s Wish, and my favorite color is red.

Tell me specifically about Wendie’s Wish, what does it do?

Wendie’s Wish exists to help cancer patients and their families with financial problems that come with cancer. We work primarily in Georgetown and College Station, Tx right now.

Do you guys have any plans to expand?

Not in immediate our future no, but I’d obviously love to expand as soon as possible.

Now, tell me why you started it.

Wendie’s Wish started because we were put in a situation where my buddy and I wanted to help raise money for cancer patients, but we didn’t really know how. We talked to my dad and started doing some research about existing organizations and soon we realized that the best thing we were going to be able to do was to do it on our own. We’d seen similar in other states for some specific cancers but we wanted to have a broader scope.

Can you talk specifically about your mom?

Yeah, Wendie of Wendie’s Wish was my mom. When I was 18 she was having back problems for a while and went to go get it checked out. When she was in the hospital we found out that with the kind of cancer she had no one had ever lived past the 90 day mark. We found all this out right before Christmas and it was about 40 days later that she passed. The thing about my mom is that even going through what she was she wanted to give money to what her doctors were working on.

Ok, so you’re a 20 year old president of a non-profit that you founded…what’s that like?

It’s kind of funny most of the time. I couldn’t do anything without the older men on my Board of Directors. There hasn’t been a decision I’ve made alone. My dad has handled a lot of the legal stuff and the money stuff. We wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing now if a year and a half ago some 40 year old men weren’t willing to sit with me and say, “Yeah this is possible”.

Did you ever think you’d be doing…anything like this…?

I would say definitely not. It was the furthest thing from my mind when we were going through the cancer fight with my mom. I didn’t even want to do ministry at that point, I wanted to coach. I wasn’t involved in fighting cancer until much after.

What is Ride For The Wish?

Ride For The Wish is actually a big part of how Wendie’s Wish started. RFTW is an 1,800 mile bike trip starting in Virginia and ending in Texas. Me and a buddy were biking a lot two summers ago and wanted to raise money through that. That was when we went to my dad to help us do some of the research and we couldn’t find an outlet so we made our own. We’re just a couple of college guys who want to give their time to get some people’s attention to give some focus to the fight for cancer.

What’s been the hardest thing about training for that?

A lot of it is the consistency. It’s been basically training for two years for one event. We all come from an aerobic background so it’s not been that hard – on our worst day we can pump out fifty miles.

What are you most looking forward to about the ride?

I’m looking forward to two things really. The first thing is the challenge. I haven’t competed in anything since high school so it’s just something for myself that I’m pumped for. The other thing is getting to spend more time with these guys. I’ve known them since high school and they’ve been on board with this since the beginning no questions asked. We haven’t spent this kind of time together in the last two years since we’ve been in college, so I’m pumped about that.

Most nervous about?

I was actually talking to someone about that the other day. It’s getting hit by a car. Or like something going drastically wrong. We’ll have a lot of tools for the routine stuff, but getting side-swiped is not that. A flat tire we can fix, a busted skull we can’t. So we’re just praying against stuff like that.

I’ve seen several times where you’ve said “We’re not riding for a cure”, what do you mean by that?

Like I said, when we originally started we realized there were a lot of organizations like the American Cancer Society doing that [looking for a cure] – a lot of their money goes toward cure research. The thing about us is that our money doesn’t go to that. Not that we’re not for that – we want that. But we want people to know when they give money to us it’s going to meet an immediate need for a family right now.

How many families are you guys working with or have you worked with?

Just a couple right now. This past year has been a lot of getting official and stuff – legal, website, advertising. The last thing we wanted was to start saying, “Hey we’re doing this thing”, and then not have the tools to do that. We’ve been focusing on building a solid base so we don’t have to say, “We can’t help you right now”. We’ve been doing things like planning an interview process for people looking for assistance, and things like that. We’re just now at a point where we can offer to help people and actually be able to do it.

Where can people connect with your organization?

The best place to go is http://www.wendieswish.org. They can also find us at www.facebook.com/wendieswish. We just started a blog that you can get to from the website where you can read a weekly blog until ride, and then once the ride starts there will be daily blog from a rider, and a weekly video by Davis Emmert. He’s giving us a huge blessing and doing that for us so people can see what’s happening instead of just reading about it. Later on you’ll be able to subscribe to stuff on the website and get updates about “here’s who we’re helping”, “here’s the next event”, “here’s how you can be praying”, and things like that.

Take a few minutes and connect with this great organization online – you won’t regret it. Thanks for checking out this interview.

Grace & Peace,

Stippick

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2013 in Friday Interviews

 

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Should I Get A Sex Doll?

About seven months ago a friend loaned me the movie “Lars and the Real Girl”. imagesCAKUA10S

Last week I finally watched it with a few other ministry students and one of our professors. Yeah. (There may be a few spoilers)

In this charming story Lars (Ryan Gosling) is a bit of a “homebody” to put it lightly. But at one point orders a sex doll and makes her into his girlfriend. His family and community respond in a way that will surprise most of you if you haven’t seen it and only read the words “sex doll” just now. I’ll let you pop the movie in and judge for yourself but here’s the two biggest things I took away from the movie:

  1. Community is wildly important to the way we live our life. Lars’ brother and sister-in-law, though concerned for him, allow the delusion hoping that it will “cure” him. The community embraces Bianca (The sex doll girlfriend). She gets a job, volunteers, and is elected to the school board. She has her own life with the people in this small northern town. They love Bianca because they love Lars. The old preacher of their little church asks “What would Jesus do?”. And it made me wonder what the people of my current town – or my hometown would do if I had a public, prolonged mental break like that. Or, what would I do if someone in my community did? I had to ask myself what my relationships were like in those communities. Are they strong? What are they based on? What can they survive? Do I need to get a sex doll and see how people react to know the answers to these questions? If we’re going to survive the journey that is life with a modicum of sanity, it is essential that we build strong, deep, loving relationships. Especially for those of us who are brothers and sisters in Christ.
  2. Ministry can and will change me as much as, or more than the person I am ministering to. There are two pivotal scenes for Lars’ brother. In one he confesses to his wife that he feels partially to blame for Lars’ condition because he left home as soon as he could and left Lars with their less than communicable father. He breaks down and begins to cry into her. A few scenes later he is apologizing to Lars for this. This is a huge shift from his attitude in the beginning when he tries to berate Lars our of his delusion. The whole time he’s involved in caring for Bianca, and in the process Lars, but it isn’t until now that you believe that he believes what he is doing is for the best for Lars and that he wants that because that is…best. I started to wonder when the last time I got over myself enough to be changed by the person I was ministering to. I didn’t like the answer.

I’d encourage you to watch the movie. It’s funny in a quirky way. You’ll likely enjoy it. More than that ask yourself those questions. How strong is your relationship to your community (Where you live, or your social group, or your faith group, etc.)? Have you been changed by someone you were trying to help? How? If not, why not? Share your answers in the comments, or share something else you took away from “Lars and the Real Girl”.

Grace & Peace,

Stippick

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Wednesday (I still sound it out)

 

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A Decade

Yesterday my siblings and I found ourselves at the end of a full decade since our father passed away. I’ve experienced a whole host of emotions about it in that time.

Sadness that my daddy was no longer there.

Sorrow and despair that were more and deeper than sadness. Sorrow and despair that brought me to the brink of taking my own life.

Anger at my dad for leaving me.

Anger at God for taking him from me.

Disorientation (Is that an emotion?) as I navigated teen (and navigate early adult) years without the guidance I’m sure I’d have gotten from my father.

Joy and happiness. Which sounds strange, I know, but I’m positive that this was the event that led to my relationship with Jesus two years later.

Questioning what he would and wouldn’t be proud of, what he would and wouldn’t approve of.

I’ve experienced these and so many others. Yesterday I didn’t dwell on these for too long like I have in the past. I chose instead to think about where my siblings and I are now, and how much I see of our father in each of us.

There have been new children (who would be his grandchildren), who have brought such joy to our lives.

There have been marriages, and I so wish my young wife could have met my father – I believe they would have absolutely delighted each other.

There have life events and decisions that we would have consulted him about., but have all been blessed enough to have others in our lives to turn to when the times came.

I’m still sad. It’s still hard sometimes. It likely always will be. But there is a comfort to look at what he left each of us with – our relationships with each other – and feel him with us in that way. My father loved joy, laughter, good food, good tv, a good book, a good joke, and even a really bad joke. These are the things we still share today and I hope to continue to share with them, and with my own children someday, for years to come.

I am thankful for my dad. I am thankful for my siblings – for the sadness we share this time each year, and for the joy and life we share always.

Grace & Peace,

Stippick

 
5 Comments

Posted by on April 22, 2013 in Cases of Mondays

 

The Boston Marathon: An Interview And A Reflection On Tragedy

Dorothy DeYoung is a long time family friend. Her daughter and my sister have been best friends since they were in diapers. She and my mom have been running together as long as I can remember.

She has run 29 marathons, and qualified for the Boston Marathon 13 times. One of those was for this year. She crossed the finish line seven minutes before the explosions went off. Yesterday she gave me some of her time to talk about that experience.

I started by asking her to tell me about her experience from start to finish:
I finished about 7 minutes before the explosions went off. I’d just received my finishers medal and that sliver blanket they give you to keep you warm. I was happy to be done, and I was absolutely exhausted. I was talking with other finishers and volunteers having a good time and all of the sudden there was this gigantic thunderous boom. I looked over where I’d just been and there was this plume of smoke over by the spectators. I felt the explosion in my chest. My first thought was that it was a gas explosion. When we heard the second one I thought it was in the same vicinity, but I could only hear it, I couldn’t see it.

My very first thought was that the people who’d just cheered me on at the finish line and called me by name because it was printed on my shirt were now in a terrible situation. Then I started thinking, where is the next one? Where are we safe? What can we do?

What did you do next?
In a marathon they give you a yellow bag to put all your stuff in at the start of the race. Your phone, wallet, warm clothes to change into. Then you can pick it up at the finish line. So the Marathon workers are telling us to get our bags and get out of there. I’m going over where the bags are, but it’s way chaotic at this point. There were runners trying to leave, and emergency personnel already rushing in. I knew I needed to get my bag though, because without my phone or any money I was going to be helpless. I got my bag and police officers were telling us to go to the train station before it closed. I started that way, but when I got there it was already closed, so was the next one. I eventually ended up at the Boston Commons which is a big park in the middle of the city.

What did you do when you got there?
I sat down in the middle of the park and called [my son] Craig. I called him and said, “Craig something bad has happened, we need to get people praying.” And I just started crying and telling him the whole story up to that point. It wasn’t even on the news yet, so I was glad to be able to let my family know I was ok before they saw anything. I was surprised he picked up on the first ring too, because it was a Monday and he’s generally busy all day. So I let him know what was going on and I was ok. Then I sat and got my emotions and my thoughts together. The first thing I thought of was that I had not transportation. I ended up trapped in the middle of the city for the next three hours.

There were several false alarms throughout the day. I was sitting in a Starbucks hoping to have some time to just rest, and recover and get warm, when the manager came out and said they were closing and we all had to leave. There was smoke coming from nearby. This was a Starbucks in the middle of two huge hotels, and it could likely have been a target. So as we get out and start off we see two fire trucks and police cars, and realize we’re going in the same direction as them, running toward whatever was going on! Then I realized I was jogging. Actually jogging. I was amazed that I was able to that just after running a marathon. The thing that was smoking ended up being just a car. It wasn’t another explosion.

When I left the Starbucks there was a guy who’d been in there leaving to. I saw that he also had a finishers medal. He saw me, and he just walked up and hugged me. I didn’t know him, we’d never met. But I hugged him too. It felt good – this was someone sharing the experience.

We start walking and this bus pulls up. The driver opens the door and says the ride is free and he’ll take us anywhere we want to go. This guy and I got on and there’s only one other person on the bus. So it’s me, this other Marathoner, and this older Asian lady on the bus and we just started talking. The guy was a Vietnam Vet, and a Christian. When he was there he told the people of the town he was evacuated from that he was going to come back and start a Christian Camp there for them. By the time he got back to the states he’d found out the city had been obliterated. Now he runs to raise money to buy Bibles and take them back to Vietnam. We’re all talking and he’s telling this story and they lady on the bus says, “You’re not going to believe this but I’m from Vietnam.” She is going to be giving him money to help purchase Bibles.

After all that, I finally got dropped at my hotel. I’m not really sure what time it was, but I know it was late afternoon. That was my experience. My phone had been blowing up all day. I’d been getting calls to make sure I was ok. I’d been texting with your mom.

Now, I know you’re a trauma nurse, was there any part of your training that kicked in during all this?
Yeah. It was a different experience. Being the nurse, I’m usually in charge of the situation. I have control. This time I was a victim. It gave me a great appreciation for what my patients go through. It definitely made me realize my physical limitations. I was exhausted, but I had to move. I knew I couldn’t go back, I couldn’t be a responder. Several of my co-workers have said things like, “I would have been a mess, I wouldn’t have known what to do,” and I’ve told them that they would have. The training kicked in. You prioritize needs and you move into action.

You mentioned not being able to go back and be a first responder. I was going to ask if it was hard for you not to be a responder because it wasn’t your situation to respond to?
I couldn’t be a responder because I wasn’t physically able. I’d just run 26.2 miles. My body wasn’t capable of being the help it would needed to have been there.

That makes sense. I don’t run, I hadn’t thought about that.
I did think about it when I was in the Commons. I thought, maybe I should be back there helping. I had a clear vision in my head of the girls who’d cheered me by name, and wondered if they were ok now. If I hadn’t just run I would have gone back.

How has this impacted your desire to do the big events?
This was going to be my last marathon. I’ve done 29 and qualified for Boston 13. I was going to be done. But this makes me love running more. I’ not afraid. We’re not afraid. It makes me want to go back and do it next year to say that “We’ll run it again without any fear.”

I thanked Dorothy for her time, and let her know how happy I and my family were that she was ok. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to talk about that experience three days later as well, and with as much strength as she did.

Who would have guessed that two days after these bombings there’d be another explosion tragedy. West, Texas was rocked on Wednesday by a huge fertilizer plant explosion. In times like these we’re prone to sharing platitudes and cliché’s. I sent a tweet on Wednesday night that said, “The only explanation for tragedy, intentional or accidental, is that we live in a fallen world. The only hope is Jesus. Pray. Serve. Love.” If you’ve ever experienced tragedy you know how empty those words are in the midst of it. Here’s what we can do:

  1. Pray. Dorothy had it right when she called Craig. We      ought to bathe the events, victims, families and friends of victims,      rescue workers, medical personnel, and anyone else involved in the relief      efforts. Pray for peace. Pray for wisdom. Pray for understanding. Pray for      healing. Pray.
  2. Serve. If you’re near one of these two areas, or any      other number of areas involved in some kind of tragedy, serve them. Find      out what they need, and bring it. If that’s water, diapers, food, napkins,      whatever. Get with a group of people and bring it. This is really just one      aspect of having a Ministry of Presence. Be there. Serving could be      digging through rubble, or it could be sitting beside a hospital bed, or      in the lobby with family. Just. Being there. Serve.

Lastly: Last night I voluntarily went for a run for the first time in…a long, long time. And it felt nice. Mostly thanks to this great post. Check it, maybe you’ll go for a five minute run too.

Grace & Peace,

Stippick

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Friday Interviews

 

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