Monday, May 9, 2011

Blog has been moved.

This blog was moved to a permanent location. You can read current postings at

New helps and tips article is posted every Tuesday. Various postings will magically appear as I get the urge to throw something online.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Authentic Leadership

Teaching my kids the meaning of true leadership is a challenge in a culture where poor examples get kudos, andAlone honor is  overlooked. Politicians lead by observing trends, and running ahead of the crowd. Celebrities and athletes gain popularity through public displays of immorality and foolish choices. Businesses exalt employees who conform to the current mindset, and sacrifice honesty for gain. These arenas rarely provide examples of authentic leadership; in fact, most examples of leadership are from those who lead by following the trend of the moment.

When my kids were young, they followed a boy who led the group into mischief. They excused their behavior by saying, “Everyone was doing it.”

This is the worst possible excuse. I explained, “A true leader does what is right, even if they have to stand alone.”

Elijah stood alone, and became an enemy of the state. Jeremiah stood alone, and lamented over the scorn he had to endure. Those who hated Jeremiah said that he was a discourager and weakened the hand of the people, yet, seventy-years later, the people found encouragement from the words of Jeremiah as they waited for restoration from the Lord.

Anyone can follow the shifting mindset of the culture, but leaders stand as lights anchored to truth as they point to the right way. An authentic leader influences others to stand upon the word of God, but they also accept that they may rarely find glory on this side of eternity. It is easy to follow the counterfeit leadership the culture praises. Few, however, have the courage to stand in the face of criticism.

Some churches are abandoning truth, and critical of those who will not sway. This trend confronted Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor who participated in the German Resistance Movement against Nazism. He spoke before an auditorium of pastors and criticized the church’s cooperation with Hitler. As he spoke, pastors walked out in protest. By the end of the speech, he addressed an empty auditorium. Despite his many shortcomings, history testifies in favor of this man’s willingness to stand for what was right.

All leaders are motivated by something, whether it is the desire for praise, the desire for gain, fear of rejection, or eternal truth. A Charismatic leader may influence others, but an authentic leader does what is right regardless of consequences. In the end, a leader’s success is measured, not by the number of followers gained, but based on the truth upon which they stand.

Martin Luther, while being tried for his faith, pointed to the scriptures and uttered the famous words, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” His faithfulness to truth inspired many to return to the word of God. Our ultimate example is Christ, whose life testified to His words. Let us lead by standing on truth as we look to the Author and Finisher of our faith. We are all leaders, if we stand upon truth, and do what is right.

Eddie Snipes

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Computer Humor

Some computer humor for your Geek side.

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch,
'Who's on First?' might have turned out something like this:
ABBOTT: Super Duper20computer store.. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about
buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write
proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm
sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue 'w' if you don't start with some
straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can
track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
(A few days later)
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on 'START'.............

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Name the silly movie quotes.

Are you a movie buff? Here are six movie quotes. Can you name them without googling them? Post your answers as comments. Hint, they are from highly intellectual movies. Okay, I lied. But the next ones will rise above the male glass ceiling.

1. "Yeah, I called her up. She gave me a bunch of crap about not listening to her enough or something. I don't know, I wasn't paying attention."

2. You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line

3. "You want me to strap her to the hood?...She'll be fine. It's not as if it's going to rain or something."

4. When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled.

5. Name's Barf. I'm a Mog, half man half dog. I'm my own best friend.

6. Sir, the truth is I talk to God all the time, and no offense, but He never mentioned you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Mom's Meltdown

One advantage writers have is that every situation is viewed through the eyes of our internal writer. Frustrations, heartaches, joys, and all other events of daily life find their places on our ‘to write’ list. The truth is, smooth sailing doesn’t make for good reading. So when someone tells me a frustrating story, internally I’m wringing my hands and saying, “This is going to be great on paper!” Not that I don’t feel sympathy, but it quickly fades when my devious writer begins to emerge.

Such a story crossed my path the other day. A friend we’ll call Jane had a difficult day not long ago. Jane drove down the road in her brand new SUV. The new car smell still hung in the air. Her three boys were cutting up in the back – as boys often do. One was eating hard candy. Knowing hard candy and whooping and hollering don’t mix well, she said, “You need to calm down while eating that. Or you’ll get choked.” Her warning held his attention for about twenty-five seconds.

Less than a minute later, she heard a gagging sound, and sure enough, her little boy was choking on the candy. Before she could respond, his internal bodily functions solved the problem. The candy was dislodged when he threw up all over the back seat of her new car. A new smell hung in the air. The neighborhood was now in view, so she rushed to get home to clean out her brand new SUV.

Jane’s second son suffers from a very sensitive gag reflex. The sight of his brother puking had a spontaneous response. You guessed what happened next. Just as Jane turned into her neighborhood, boy number two began to spew. Oh, if she hadn’t fed them a kids meal on the way home. Now Jane rolled down all the windows. Partly to clear the smell, and partly to give her boiling rage a place to escape.

While she shouted at her son for not listening and causing all of this, her four year old notified her of his eminent eruption. The sights and odors made him sick and he started to gag. That was it! Jane slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop. Screaming like a woman possessed, she snatched her youngest from his car seat and deposited him on the curb. She reached in and jerked the other two out, shouting loud enough for the world to hear as she did. Then a wonderful idea hit Jane. She could just leave them where they stood.

Over the sound of her screeching tires, she could hear little voices crying, “Mommy, don’t leave me!”

The SUV whipped into the driveway, and she stepped out. Still screaming, she yanked open the doors of the vehicle to air it out. Then the world around her came back into view. Her husband was on the porch with a look that said, “Have you gone completely mad?” Curious neighbors stepped outside to see why three boys were wailing at the top of their lungs while running down the street toward her house. A house where mom stood outside of her car with two fists full of hair.

Well, there goes my Christian witness. This is how a real homeschool family works.

When I told this story to my wife, she laughed evilly. “At least it’s not just me,” she said. “And at least I’ve never left the kids on the side of the road.”

Yep, our nuclear meltdowns only happen indoors, and she just bangs their heads on the floor. Okay, not really. But I know she has thought it a time or two. And I just bang my own head on the floor. When the neighbors ask about that banging sound, I shake my hair out from between my fingers and say, “It’s just the sound of my Christian witness.”

If you have been moved with conviction by this testimony, feel free to confess in the comments below. We promise not to laugh. Okay, you’re right. We will laugh, but we promise to laugh with you.

Eddie Snipes

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Author Interview - Erin Rainwater

How long have you been writing?
A girlfriend and I began co-authoring a book about twin girls and their horses when we were in grade school. We never finished it, and I have no idea what happened to it, although I’m pretty sure it ended up in the landfill. My next writing effort didn’t come until I was in my thirties when I began writing historicals set in the 1860s, my favorite time period in American history. But I was an ICU nurse with a husband and four kids, so writing wasn’t exactly a full-time profession. In two decades I wrote two novels. I self-published them in 2006, and am happy with how they continue to sell and with the extraordinary feedback I continue to receive from readers.

What challenges did you encounter in your journey to getting published?
I know someone who calls query letters “invitations for rejection.” I’ve accumulated TNTC (Too Numerous To Count) over the years. Another challenge is length. Refining Fires started out as a short story, but it seems I’m incapable of such a thing. “Short” and “story” constitutes an oxymoron as far as I’m concerned.

What motivates you to write?
I have only one motivating factor, and that is the story itself. When an idea comes, and grows, and I can’t stop it, and it simply must come out, that is my motivation. I’m not what other authors would consider “disciplined” in that I don’t write at the same time every day. Sometimes I don’t even write for long periods at a time, because I don’t write unless I have that spark inside that says I must. I’ve never written under a deadline. I once met with an agent at a conference, and we discussed my novel about a nurse during the Civil War. He wasn’t too interested, and asked if I’d be willing to write about a nurse in the Iraq War. I said no, because I had no passion to do that. I love historicals, and that’s what I write. Some might say I was stupid to say I won’t write a certain setting or time period if someone like an agent shows interest in it, but I believe that if I write something I have no passion for, my stories won’t come across as powerful and personal as readers are telling me they do.

I understand you had a book released recently. Tell me a little about your book.
It’s titled Refining Fires. It’s unique in that it’s in three parts, each with distinct main characters, although God weaves their lives together into a tapestry that glorifies Him. The first story, “Refining Fire,” is a love story between a disfigured veteran and a nurse with a ruined reputation. He tosses her out, but his anger is no match for her pluck, and her determined efforts elicit renewed life from his body while evoking a raw yearning in his soul. “Blind Courage” introduces a young girl who must act courageously in the face of tremendous challenges and overwhelming fear to save her mother’s life. The third is the story of a “Kept Woman,” of how she got to that point, and of “Who” has been keeping her all along. Paths cross and lives intertwine, showing how God’s hand is ever on us, leading and refining.

What do you hope the reader takes away from your book?
The title, Refining Fires, is taken from a verse in Isaiah that says:“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”  The characters each go through a refining process in their own particular furnace of affliction. My desire is that these stories will show how when our faith is tested, God provides the courage and tools we need to persevere, achieve victory, and come out refined.
What was your best decision as a writer?
I have two really. One was joining a critique group, who’ve turned out to be invaluable to me, and I hope I have been to them. I’ve heard crit group horror stories, but mine is the best. My other great decision was joining the Military Writers Society of America. The Society members are such a supportive bunch, and there is a camaraderie there you only get among military-connected folk. Not to mention they awarded my Civil War-set novel, True Colors, the 2009 Gold Medal in Historical Fiction.

What is your greatest success?
Always, always I feel great success when a reader says they loved my stories and gained courage or hope from them, or that my characters were inspirational to them. Nothing like it.
You can purchase Erin's book, Refining Fires by clicking below.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Review - Written in Blood

If you are a true crime fan, Written in Blood is a good read. Diane Fanning has a very clear and thorough writing style.

Michael Peterson was a very successful novelist. As the drama of two suspicious deaths unfold, people begin wondering if Peterson’s ability to spin a story also applies to his real life dramas.

Peterson was a decorated Vietnam veteran, multi-published author, father, and respected member of the community. When his wife has a tragic accident, the pieces don’t add up, and soon a similar death from his past emerges. With little physical evidence, no witnesses, and high powered lawyers, investigators fight through the confusion to determine the evidence. Add to this, his ex-wife gives a positive testimony on his character, and one of the world’s most respective forensic blood analysis experts testifying on his behalf. Yet each one has inconsistencies which convolute the case. It all adds up to a real world story with all the makings of a fiction novel.

Diane Fanning does an excellent job of bringing all the history, testimonies, and events together so the reader can digest it and follow this complicated case.

On the Word Turnings scale of 10,

Readability and reader interest – 9
Content – 8
Plot or Book Theme – 9
Overall Word Turning Value: 8.7
You can buy this book at Amazon by clicking here.