Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why I'm Disagreeing with Seth Godin

:::DISCLAIMER::: I love Seth Godin.

Today, Seth had an interesting post about design that hit close to home. Check it out if you haven't read it.

Here is what I agree with:
  • Having "beautiful powerpoint slides, handsome business cards, clever bio photos and a decent website" is really important.*
  • If you hold meetings, you should learn how to make a good PowerPoint.
  • Someone who is trying to figure out how to design a good PowerPoint presentation will never be a gifted or breakthrough designer.
*If you're not a designer, you can't make them good enough. You can get yourself taken seriously in a presentation, but that's about it (and that's if you're lucky).

Here is why I disagree:
  • He says it takes less talent now to be a good designer. I don't even know what this means. How could it take less talent to be a good designer? Because it's easy to find something you like online and rip it off?
  • Seth is perpetuating the popular notion that mediocre design is "good enough." Sure, it's good enough if you don't want to be taken seriously. Most professional designers won't even design their own logos because of the challenges. 
  • Great design is based in great research, education and a great eye. You can learn formulas from a book, but you can't learn how to be an artist.
  • What is "breakthrough?" Does that mean better than mediocre? I guess. We all have different levels of what is "good enough," so maybe we should leave it to the professionals to decide.

I'm annoyed. The end.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama vs. the Colonel

Just thinking, since everyone and their mom is suing everyone else's mom over Shepard Fairey's Obama poster, maybe KFC should jump in.

I mean, hello:

Friday, March 27, 2009

OH HAI readers

Remember when I blogged for 30 days straight? Yeah. I'll get back with you in a couple of days. ;-) Until then:


Thursday, March 26, 2009

30til30: Day 30

I have 30 days until I turn 30, so I thought I'd try to choose 30 moments that have helped shape who I am and want to be. Coming up with the list has been challenging...and enlightening. These final few ARE in a particular order.

30: My 17th Surprise Birthday Party.
Thirteen years ago, my friends threw me a surprise party for my 17th birthday and I found Jesus there.

For most of my junior year in high school, I ran with a bunch of Christians. I didn't realize it. I just thought they were hilarious and awesome. For some reason, there were a lot of Christians in the drama club and choir, too, so it was inevitable. As the year went by, things kept unfolding that opened my eyes more and more to what was around me.

Looking back on it, I can see everything unfolding and leading me straight to that birthday party. I had injured my knee earlier in the year playing basketball and we played basketball at the party (yeah, this is how smart we were). I re-injured my knee (I found out soon after that it was a torn ACL). I can't explain the pain, but to this day I haven't felt anything worse. I cried through the rest of the party because of it. Everyone felt really bad. I just wanted them to leave so I could scream.

After everyone left, I laid on Jamie's floor and completely lost it. While she cleaned up, I was alone in her living room thinking about Jesus of all things. I started to get really angry because I didn't understand why anyone would love a God who just let's things happen. I wanted to cut the strings that bound my friends by the evil puppet master.

I was supposed to sleep at her house, but I asked her to take me home because the pain was too much to bear. In the car, I just got more and more angry...at God. I remember with perfect clarity the rage I felt inside of me. I hopped into a quiet, dark house: my family was already sleeping.

I went into my room and started throwing things around and screaming. I think I wanted my parents to wake up (they didn't: in fact, I asked my mom the next day and she said she didn't hear anything). I was getting even more angry and I started yelling at God out loud. I remember every word I said. I've never come close to matching the anger I felt that night.

This is the part where a lot of you are going to think I'm insane.

I sat on my bed and put my hands on my knee. It hurt so bad, and I suddenly didn't know why I was so angry. I started to focus on the pain in my knee and I asked God to make it stop. I have no idea why I did that. I just did. Here's the thing: it stopped. I remember specifically that it got really hot and then the pain was gone. The only feeling left was the tightness of the joint. It still felt the same, minus the pain. (This was so real that I didn't have knee surgery until two years later...for a torn ACL and meniscus.)

I started crying uncontrollably. I was so ashamed of myself for everything I had been angry over. The prevailing emotion, however, was fear. I was terrified of what just happened. Then, I said this:

"I need you."

Immediately, the tears stopped and a wave of peace swept over me. I felt comforted and secure. I laid there, content to just be still.

The next day, I woke up and I was never the same again. I've never looked back.

What I'm not:
  • Crazy.
  • Naive.
  • Intolerant.
  • Ignorant.
  • Relying on a crutch to get through life.
  • Unloving.
  • Hypocritical.
  • Better than someone who isn't a Christian.
What I try to be:
  • Loving
  • Joyful
  • Peaceful
  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Good
  • Faithful
  • Gentle
  • Self-controlled
I can't comprehend where my life would be without Jesus. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

30til30: Day 29

I have 30 days until I turn 30, so I thought I'd try to choose 30 moments that have helped shape who I am and want to be. Coming up with the list has been challenging...and enlightening. These final few ARE in a particular order.

29: Dave.
I married Dave because I thought he was pretty cool. I was wrong. He's REALLY cool. 

Here are some of my favorite pictures of him:

What I love about Dave:
  • He's cute.
  • He always wants to try and do the right thing.
  • He's sensitive.
  • Never saw an episode of Seinfeld, but he watches Family Guy. You do the math.
  • He is the most talented and creative person I know (ALERT: I am not, repeat NOT, overstating this).
  • Dave is old fashioned in a lot of ways.
  • He is the funniest person I've ever met. I mean, hello?
  • When we decided to care for Candace full time a while back, he was awesome.
  • He is brave. 
  • If you think you know what he's going to do, you probably don't.
  • He makes me laugh like no one else.
  • Dave loves America (but not more than Jesus).
  • He is a really good writer and editor.
  • Three words: jedi video master
  • I love that he has no idea what the previous statement is referencing (no, i'm not kidding).
  • He has "mellowed" in a lot of areas. 
  • Dave has a very unique perspective. A lot of people think they have him pegged. They don't.
  • He...sigh...loves weather.
  • He also loves everyone I love...and they love him. It's awesome.
How he has shaped me:
  • He's made me more adventurous (and afraid of heights at the same time).
  • Before I met Dave, I had a plan (that sounds bad, but trust me, it isn't).
  • He pushes me to be more creative without even knowing it.
  • He loves me in spite of myself, which has made me a more confident, loving person (I hope).
  • His story reminds me that God is sovereign, merciful, mighty and loving.
Dave - 
I just want to tell you three things:

  1. I'm really proud of you.
  2. I am happy that you're my husband.
  3. You are the best man I know.
I Love You.
(ok that was four. so SUE me)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

30til30: Day 28

I have 30 days until I turn 30, so I thought I'd try to choose 30 moments that have helped shape who I am and want to be. Coming up with the list has been challenging...and enlightening. These final few ARE in a particular order.

28: Mom.

I can't even begin to explain the relationship I have with my Mom. I love it. She brings me so much joy. I think she loves ME too much, though. ;-)

Why I think my Mom is the best Mom:
  • She was 19 when I was born, 22(ish) when Amanda was born, and 24(ish) when Brandi was born. I'm 30 and can't imagine having one child, let alone THREE.
  • She had a really rough childhood. It's the stuff of movies. She came out of it determined to have a different life, and she does. 
  • She wasn't afraid to let us learn from our mistakes (SOME of us are still learning). ;-)
  • My mom has always put us first (by the way, Mom: it's time to put yourself first).
  • She is a great friend. Watching her with her friends is amazing. 
  • She's a gift giver. 
  • She's a social networking machine (FB, Flickr, TWITTER)
  • She is still married to and loves my Dad. 
  • Grandma is her middle name. I can't wait for my children to know her.
  • She is giving Emma and Candace the same love and support she gave my sisters and me.
  • She supports me no matter what. 
  • She listens to me.
  • She likes to talk to me and tell me about things. I think she trusts my judgment. 
  • Everyone who really knows her loves her. 
How she shaped me:
  • In every way possible.
  • I hope I care for people the way she cares for me.
  • If I need advice on raising my kids, I don't need to look any further than my own childhood.
Mom - 
I know that sometimes you feel like you failed as our Mom: you didn't. You made a commitment to give us a life that was better than yours. You did that and WAY more. I don't look at my childhood and ever think, "oh, I wish she would have..." My memories are full of love, caring, support and joy. You did that. You're the best Mother and friend anyone could have. I am who I am because you're my Mom.
I'm proud to tell people that you are my mom. I love you more than I could ever try to explain.
Love you,
P.S. You and Dad are too young to be parents of a 30 year old.

Monday, March 23, 2009

30til30: Day 27

I have 30 days until I turn 30, so I thought I'd try to choose 30 moments that have helped shape who I am and want to be. Coming up with the list has been challenging...and enlightening. These final few  ARE in a particular order.

27: Dad.

I don't think you fully realize how great your Dad is until you see him as a Grandpa. It has been amazing to watch him through the eyes of Emma and Candace. I have a new perspective on my childhood.
Why I think my Dad is the best Dad:
  • He was 18 when I was born and started work to support his family right out of high school (and he's still doing the same thing today).
  • We did a lot of fun things growing up...we laughed a lot.
  • Speaking of that, my dad is literally the funniest person I know.
  • He is the only male in our house. Even our pets have been girls.
  • I have photos to prove that he tried to get my sisters and I into what he was into (fishing, pool, bowling, golf, hunting, etc.). Amanda's the only one who took to any of it, and that was just fishing.
  • He knows EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. Just ask Molly. She will confirm.
  • From a broken hinge to lending money, he always tries to help me if he can. Even if he's frustrated with any of us girls, I truly believe he wants to help us because he does it again and again.
  • He gives good and sound advice.
  • He is silent unless he has something worthwhile to say. He doesn't feel the need to "fill the void."
  • He lets me spout off my opinions and listens.
  • Technology hasn't passed him by. He's even on Facebook.
  • He is actually a really great friend to me. 
  • My Dad is a professional Grandpa. I'm moved by how much he loves those girls. 
  • He is still married to and loves my Mom. There have been many things that could have torn their marriage apart, but they're still in it. It's inspiring. Dave and I talk about it all the time.
  • He made the decision to start bringing Emma to church with my mom. I know it isn't about me, but it means a lot that he's around on Sunday mornings. It feels "right." I love it.
How he shaped me:
  • I mean, he's my Dad...so...pretty much in every way.
  • My sense of humor is largely inspired by him.
  • We are both painfully introverted, and need to get to know people before we can truly be ourselves.
Dad - 
The sacrifices you made to raise us aren't lost on me. And the sacrifices you make to help raise Candace and Emma do not go unnoticed. I'm in awe. I believe there is potential to see glimpses of Jesus in every person, and you show that glimpse through your love and sacrifices for all of us. 

You have been a great Father, and you've given us all a wonderful foundation for life. I am who I am because you're my Dad.

I will never love anyone like I love you. I wouldn't even try.

Love you,

Sunday, March 22, 2009

30til30: Day 26

I have 30 days until I turn 30, so I thought I'd try to choose 30 moments that have helped shape who I am and want to be. Coming up with the list has been challenging...and enlightening. These final few  ARE in a particular order.

26: The death of Felicity.

This is one of the few dates I picked on purpose. It's been a year and six months since Felicity died and I lost a niece. If it's still difficult for me to reconcile, I can't come close to imagining the ongoing grief of her parents. I wasn't sure how to handle this post, because in some ways, her death has been the most significant of all the moments I've listed. I hope this doesn't seem over-dramatic. That's not my intention.
I'm not going to talk about what I remember. It's way too painful. Instead,
This is what I want you to know about Felicity and her death (from my perspective):
  • Felicity was a real human being. She actually died. She was alive and then she died.
  • Her parents are not supposed to "get over it."
  • They'll never "get over it."
  • It isn't wrong for people to feel pain over her death.
  • My pain is through and for Molly, Aber and Orison.
  • The pain is more about what could have been and what would be, rather than remembrance.
  • Grief is a process, and it's different for everyone.
  • The 22nd of each month is important in the Piper house.
  • If you are close to Molly and Aber, don't make them be the ones to always bring her up. Talk about Felicity. If they don't want to talk about it, I'm sure they'll tell you (wouldn't hearing that be better than not saying anything and wondering?).
  • Molly and Aber aren't strong: God is.
How it shaped me:
  • I remember talking to Molly about how this changed my perspective on our relationship. Felicity's death made me suddenly aware of all the potential tragedies and deaths we would walk each other through.
  • My view of pregnancy and childbirth has changed drastically.
  • I can't explain all of it. I'm going to stop trying. I've been on this last point for 45 minutes and I can't find the right words.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

30til30: Day 25

I have 30 days until I turn 30, so I thought I'd try to choose 30 moments that have helped shape who I am and want to be. Coming up with the list has been challenging...and enlightening. These final few  ARE in a particular order.

25: Molly Piper.

Molly and I have known each other since the first grade. We attended separate schools for 6-8th grade, but then came back together in 9th at McDowell. We became fast friends again, mainly through choir and drama club (nerd alert). However, Junior year, our friendship went to a whole new level. We both started doing youth group things at Grace and became Christians within a few months of each other. When that happened, our bond became stronger than anything we could have created by our own strength. 
I love Molly. She has and will always be my best friend.
This is why I love Molly:
  • I can say "N*Sync" without her making a weird face at me.
  • She loves New York City.
  • She wasn't selfish when it came to her new faith, she brought me alongside her.
  • She's a connector.
  • Molly isn't afraid of silence. Sometimes, it's okay to sit in a room and just "be."
  • We can always pick up where we left off...no matter what. We're both really bad about keeping in touch, so we have to give each other grace there.
  • She is generous.
  • I know that I can always go to her...about anything...and it's 100% secure: locked down.
  • Molly loves my family. I'm pretty sure she's my dad's favorite out of all of his daughters' friends.
  • She is the best person to cry with or to.
  • We've never been in a "fight." Everything is dealt with immediately. I can honestly say I have nothing negative in my heart toward her.
  • We just "get" each other.
  • Before I got married, she made sure to make it abundantly clear that she loves my husband.
  • Molly is...yeah...she's the coolest person I know. 
  • She is the most faithful friend I've had, and I can't imagine anyone else ever comparing.
  • The love Molly has for her three children is incredible. It's awe inspiring to watch her love them.
  • She is a lover of Jesus.
  • She is REAL and transparent. I don't ever have to guess with her. I know what's up with her, where she stands and where we stand.
  • Molly has always believed in me.
  • She loves me.
How she has shaped me:
  • She introduced me to the idea that religion void of a relationship with Jesus is pointless.
  • She taught me how to squeeze out what little extrovert I have when I need to.
  • I am working at Grace because she took me there in high school.
  • I have some pretty sweet parenting skills up my sleeve from watching her.
  • Watching her wrestle through the pain of losing Felicity has definitely changed the way I view grief, motherhood and Christian community.
  • There is a comfort to knowing that you have a friend for life. Having that comfort is huge.
There was no way I could do you the justice you deserve by writing about our lives in one blog post. I could have made every day of this series about you and it still wouldn't be enough. You are an incredible, Godly woman. I can't believe God saw it fit that we should be friends. He has blessed me more than I deserve through knowing you. I would not trade our friendship for anything. Thank you for being a faithful friend and walking through life with someone like me. I don't deserve any of it. 
I love you,

Friday, March 20, 2009

30til30: Day 24

I have 30 days until I turn 30, so I thought I'd try to choose 30 moments that have helped shape who I am and want to be. Coming up with the list has been challenging...and enlightening. These final few  ARE in a particular order.

24: Abraham Piper.

For some of you, this choice might seem random. I assure you, it isn't. By the end of this post, I hope you'll see why I had to put him in this list. Aber has made an incredible impact on my life in the seemingly short time I've known him (and the distance that separates us...oh the distance). 
Things about Aber:
  • I remember hearing the buzz about "this guy" and thinking, "oh gees...this is not going to end well." (prediction FAIL)
  • Aber's story of repentance and conversion shattered the box I was using to keep God cooped up in.
  • He really takes care of and loves my BFF. He's a faithful provider for his family.
  • He loves, supports and prays for my husband.
  • He is way too smart for his own good. 
  • Aber's sense of humor is very unique. I love how hysterical he gets about things.
  • He is a lover of words.
  • I like that he prefers "Aber" to "Abe."
  • I will never forget crying with him at his dinner table after he got a phone call from someone who had experienced a stillbirth. He quoted the caller, "you will always feel like someone is missing around the dinner table."
  • He honors his daughter's memory every time he writes on his blog (and in many other ways).
  • He is totally cool with me being lazy and bumming around his house when I visit (or, he's a good actor, at least).
  • He challenges me to push harder and be better at what I love.
  • He acts like I'm the best designer and photographer he knows.
How he has shaped me:
  • His grief over losing Felicity changed the way I viewed parenthood. It's hard to explain...it's a good thing...but I don't know how to put it into words.
  • I fully believe God for the "impossible conversion" because of his story.
  • I believe in myself a little bit more after spending time with him. If someone as awesome as him thinks I'm good at something, I might just be good at it.
(if you can guess who's turn it is tomorrow, well, then you're not stupid)  ;-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

30til30: Day 23

I have 30 days until I turn 30, so I thought I'd try to choose 30 moments that have helped shape who I am and want to be. Coming up with the list has been challenging...and enlightening. These are in no particular order.

23: Derek Sanford.

I don't even know. I really don't. This is going to be a bulleted list of whatever comes to my mind, because there is just way too much:
  • One of my first memories with Derek was sitting in his office and singing, "Thyroid is a gland inside of me, that secretes into my brain" to the tune of "Thy Word." Yeah, I know. I should have walked away right then.
  • Derek is a faithful friend. I know he has my best interest at heart.
  • I've definitely peed my pants laughing with him.
  • His mind is incredible. The ideas and strategies that come out of him are pretty awesome.
  • He has led me through a lot of ministry transitions and has given me the chance to try a lot of different things.
  • He has also led me through a lot of life stuff. I remember one time he said, "Bad self-esteem cannot be a crutch for the rest of your life." That was a stake in the ground moment.
  • Derek has just...been there, you know? As a pastor, a boss, a friend and a brother.
  • I can't even count the number of times we've put our hands in the middle and decided to push forward together.
  • He is the best leader in the world. He could be the President if he wanted to. I'm not even kidding.
  • You know all those cool leadership and ministry ideas you read about? He probably thought of them two years earlier.
  • His ability to cast vision is incredible.
  • Derek loves Erie, and not because he's afraid to leave. He feels a strong calling to be a light in this community.
  • I love working on projects with him. Our minds work well together.
  • He is, without a doubt, the funniest person I have ever met.
  • I truly don't know where I would be if I hadn't walked into Grace in 1996 and met him.
  • I know that God has specific plans for us in ministry. I'm 100% sure of it. I'm loving this time, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.
How he has shaped me:
  • I am doing what I'm doing, feeling what I'm feeling, and passionate about ministry because Derek let God use him to change my life.