from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

24/7 News Channels Have Corrupted Quality of News Reporting

Wikinews Breaking News orange

With all the recent “Breaking News” stories so far this year, I’ve come to realize that competition is not always a good thing. When CNN began to broadcast as the first 24/7 news channel, it was wonderful to be able to catch up on  what was happening around the world whenever we wanted.


Now we have several big name news networks and lots of wannabes. Lots of competition. Lots of hours in the day to fill with programming. Lots of opinions filling our minds. What was once factual news reporting is now a sensationalized production to see who can get the most viewers. The line between entertainment and news reporting is becoming quite blurry.


Sure we get tons of information quicker than ever, more and more live as it happens. But how good is that info? How many people’s lives are affected negatively by erroneous reporting in the rush to be frist? How do we know what to believe? And perhaps most importantly, how are these sensationalized stories and so-called expert opinions being spouted off throughout the programming day shaping our country?


Is it political propaganda in its most modern (to date) form?



Is It Possible to be An Accidental Racist?



By now you’ve probably heard the Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song Accidental Racist and probably the controversy it has stirred up. I’ve listened to the song and the two artists’ comments on the song. I find it to be thought provoking and largely accurate.




Obviously a lot of people don’t. You can read some commentary here. Hopefully Paisley and LL have learned humans love to criticize and stir up stink, especially on such a topic. Is it possible to be accidentally racist? I think it is entirely possible to accidentally offend someone. Whether that is racist may be a matter of opinion.




The saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” can be very true, but intentions also speak to the heart. A true racist doesn’t care; an “accidental” racist does. So is it possible to not know blacks are offended by confederate flags? If I hadn’t explained that to my kids, at least one of them still wouldn’t know.




Teaching about the past and living in it are two very different things, and  I guess I’ll never understand why some people insist on living in the past and constantly dragging up the pain associated with it. It only keeps the hate alive on both sides. I think that’s part of what the song is trying to address.








Life Lesson: Busyness Does Not Have to be Chaotic

There are some people who just walk into a room and chaos erupts. This tends to happen because of the way they approach life and/or business. Being organized, having a plan, methodology, and workflow goes a long way toward a smooth running day, office, life.

Of course this is also a personality thing.  Some people just aren’t organized. Some people try to please everyone. Some people don’t think realistically when making promises or commitments. Some people thrive on chaos. Not me.

I’m a huge realist. I shoot straight about what I can do and how long it typically takes. I’m not going to purposely mislead you or promise you something that I haven’t thought through just to win your favor or business. That’s how I prefer to be treated by others. Don’t book me in an appointment that is already double or triple booked. Don’t tell me you’ll be able to do something in a few minutes when historically it takes an hour or longer.

Busy is good. Chaos is not. They are not one in the same. One does not have to result from the other. Understand I’m not talking about stretching yourself, learning new things, and taking on new challenges. Those things are necessary for growth. But be honest about it.

Before you make your next commitment, consider realistically your capability to fulfill that commitment. Don’t over-obligate yourself, your team, or your family and end up sending the situation into a tailspin and stressing everybody out.


Life Lesson: Rest is one of the most important things you can do

I’m not aware of scripture specifically telling us to get plenty of sleep, but we are told to:
“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10
“keep alert with all perseverance,” – Ephesians 6:18
“Be sober-minded; be watchful.” – 1Peter 5:8
And there are others. It’s hard to hear God when you’re busy, busy, busy. It’s hard to be alert and watchful when you’re tired. Even Jesus slipped away for quiet time and rest.
It is a common practice of Satan to wear us out and wear us down in order to slip us up. Cult leaders know this well. It has long been a brainwashing tactic to deprive people of sleep and rest in order to fill their heads with the leader’s ideas.
Here”s a recent example from an article I just read by a middle-aged woman visiting a zen monastery  She described a schedule that allowed for much less sleep than she was accustomed to.
“I was so sleepy I was dizzy. I asked one of the practice leaders what was the point of the sleep deprivation. What was the wisdom in not being able to keep my eyes open when Zen practice is about endeavoring to wake up? He said that tiredness can help us to soften and let go where we might harden and grip if we were well-rested and comfortable, and thus ready with our usual defenses. Instead of falling asleep, we fall awake — opening to all that we experience because we’re too crazy tired to fight for our preferences.”
Don’t miss those key words and phrases. In other words, they wear you down through sleep deprivation until you can no longer think straight and hold on to your morals, convictions. You are too tired to fight for what you know to be true.
You don’t have to be taken in by a cult or go to a monastery to start compromising your beliefs. Life can do it to you before you know it.

Revival or Politics

I’ve been reading through Isaiah, and this morning a picture of where our society seems to be headed came to mind. In Chapter 16, the prophet speaks of  fallen nations and longings for how wonderful things used to be.

People have always referred to the “good ole days,” but this kind of longing is different. It’s not just one of reminiscing. It’s one of desperation, with a sense of hopelessness. More and more of us seem to feel this way about our country. Political slams and warnings dominate unsolicited emails and Facebook shares. But no matter how much we criticize the government, we’ll never find the answer there.

The solution isn’t far away in Washington or Europe. It is inside each one of us. The only solution for Isaiah’s time, and the only solution for us is revival of God’s people. A great awakening, if you will. That’s where our concern should be. That’s where our prayers should focus. Otherwise…

“Moab’s splendor will become an object of contempt, in spite of a very large population. And those who are left will be few and weak.” – Isaiah 16:14


Life Lesson: if you don’t stay on top of messes, they will stay on top of you

18/365 - Messy Bed

There’s a lot to be said for organization and processes. It may sound boring, but it sure can save you some grief down the road and leave more time for fun stuff.

I had this thought one morning while straightening our bed covers. I say straightening because the only time I fully make up the bed is when I change the covers. This particular morning I was straightening my husband’s mess because I had moved to couch during the night. My husband could care less about what the bed looks like, and I don’t believe he would bother straightening it up even if all the covers where on the floor. Let’s just say he destroys the bed during sleep.

So I’m re-tucking sheets, etc. thinking, “you know when he’s gone and I sleep by myself, I barely have to do anything. I sleep in the middle and hardly disrupt the bedding. Then for some reason I thought about work and offices and messy desks versus neat ones. A government regulator had been in the office that week for an inspection and commented on how neat and organized we were compared to competitors.

I have long had a reputation for a neat desk. Some people said it was because I didn’t do anything, but we’ll dismiss that misnomer. I have hectic times when the desk gets cluttered, but at the first opportunity (sometimes you have to make those opportunities) the desk gets cleared and everything put in its place.

Do things neat and orderly every day, and you won’t have a mess to straighten out later. Once you get under a mess, you may get lost there.

Competence Breeds Trust

English: A Sennheiser Microphone

English: A Sennheiser Microphone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve run audio for very long, you’ve no doubt encountered  timid singers. The ones who hold the microphone six inches or more from their mouths and get softer when they hear themselves. Experience will eventually help with part of this issue, but trusting the sound person is another important factor.

When a singer can be confident any sour notes they hit are not going to overshadow everything else, they tend to relax and sing more fully.

This requires attentiveness on the part of the audio engineer. Pay attention during rehearsals to who may not be as prepared as they should be or is just struggling with a particular part that week . Know if and when you may need to adjust their volume down. My mixing style tends to keep vocals close to the music anyway, but I try to be aware of spots where I may need to bury something for a second or so.

Obviously you can’t do this as much with a lead singer as you can background singers, and there is only so much overall we can do. But knowing you are going to “protect” them and not hang them out to dry, will help them sing more confidently. This reassurance from you, as the one in control of the sound, should always be accompanied with proper mic technique instructions and a brief lesson on the proximity effect.

The same goes for musicians and speakers as well. I’ve had to pull instruments out of the mix more than once because their playing was off. If the team knows you care and will handle those awkward situations to minimize the effect, they will become more comfortable quicker.

It’s Called Counting Your Blessings

I recently added LifeHacker to my Flipboard reading collection so I can catch the articles more often. I ran across this one the other day:  “Write Down Three Positive Things About Each Day, Every Day.

It’s good advice. Just like the old hymn Count Your Blessings tells us to “name them one by one,” It can definitely wrap up your day on a positive note and maybe even help you sleep better.

Life Lesson: sometimes God puts a slow vehicle in front of you for a reason

English: Slow moving morning traffic Crossing ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While driving to work this morning in the fog and rain, I ended up behind a van that I knew was not going to be moving at the speed I normally travel. I sighed rather strongly and then thought about the weather. “It’s probably best I don’t drive my normal speed today,” I said to myself.

It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last that I get behind a slow vehicle “for a reason.” The temptation is always there to pass them when one of those rare opportunities comes along on the winding, twisting roads I have to maneuver.

Sometimes I am smart enough to realize God probably put that slow poke in front of me to protect me from myself and my rush to get to my destination. Such is life. We may be headed in the right direction, doing all the right things, but moving just a little too fast for our own good. Danger along the way, or our inability to properly control things, or maybe the destination itself just isn’t ready for us.

Next time something slows you down and makes you go slower than you want, think twice before you try to bypass it. Maybe God is at work looking out for you.

Life Lesson: violently shaking things rarely untangles them

kitty vs clothes hanger

I was in a dressing room over the weekend trying to remove a hanger, covered with foam padding, from a turtle neck sweater. At one point I began to shake the two items (not violently in this case) to release them from each other’s custody. My thoughts quickly turned to all those times I have gotten frustrated with clothes hangers, cables, and such that just didn’t want to cooperate. I have a tendency to shake and sling at that point.

So I asked myself, does this ever work? Honestly it has, but only on rare occasions. Acting out of frustration and anger usually doesn’t offer favorable results. Only when I stop and look do I see that I need to move the item in the opposite direction to set it free. It’s only when we calm down and look at the situation rationally that the problem untangles.

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