An Offer While Waiting

snow trees

More snow today. The winter of never-ending snow.

Last week, most of the flights out of LaGuardia were cancelled due to weather (I took the picture above on my way to the airport). As I sat in the airport wondering if my flight would be cancelled next, as I waited out the delay to Pittsburgh, there were a few offers to places I wasn't going...


I am not,
as far as I know,
going to Raleigh Durham,
but if I want to become
someone else for a day,
maybe a lady who
goes to midnight plays
in the center of Raleigh
Durham, why I couldn't
be more in luck, because
Gate Number 5 just now
has a flight beyond
heavy snow, past fall
of white-blind night.

Snow Trees photo, by L.L. Barkat.

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Welcome to Dan's House

dan's house

Dan King is our new Social Media Editor at HighCallingBlogs.

Dan, how cool to see your front door. And even more cool to have you here at Green Inventions. This is my fun place, where I say anything I want about social media, creativity, healthy living, and home education. Do you have a place where you feel you can say anything (home or elsewhere)? Could you tell me about it? (What color are the curtains, the couch or the desk, who's there with you?)

I have a couple of places like that, but one of the special ones is with a guys' group that I am in with one of my pastors and a small select group of guys. We only meet once a month and we alternate homes where we meet. But what's really special about this 'place' is more about the people than it is about the surroundings. It's great having a safe place like that where I know that I can say anything that I want to without judgement. There is an unconditional love that exists there that is difficult to find anywhere else. One of the other ones is late in the evenings on the couch in my living room with my wife. Sometimes we stay up way too late talking, but I love being able to connect with her. It is also where I tend to do a great deal of my blogging. It's cozy, comfortable, and warm... in more than just the physical sense of these words.

dan's schnauzer

You're our new Social Media Editor at HighCallingBlogs. Could you tell me a little bit about that? Anything goes. :) (From how you found us, to how you came on board, to what you do for HCB on a daily basis. Or whatever else you think of that you want to say.)

First let me say that I absolutely LOVE what I'm doing with HighCallingBlogs.com! I was excited to find and join the network a couple of years ago, so it's cool for me to now have the opportunity to pour into others in the community. As the Social Media Editor I help manage what we do on Twitter (@thehighcalling and @highcallingblog) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TheHighCalling). Social Media can be tricky, because some people don't quite get how to use it yet. I see it as a conversation, not a destination. So my role is one of generating conversation, and I'm happy to see that conversation with The High Calling on Facebook and Twitter seems to be increasing. I'm also already planning a few posts to share with the network soon that will hopefully help us all get better at how we use these powerful tools.

I bet you noticed there's an awful lot of food here at Green Inventions. I love food. Seriously, I think it's one of God's best creations (or maybe He made the ingredients and we made the food?) Anyway, I want to know what your favorite food is. Appetizer? Drink? Entree? Dessert? (Sure, I'll try to put in some requests for when we all meet at Laity Lodge ;-)

Steak and shrimp! What dude doesn't love a good steak, but I also really love seafood. Growing up in Florida I've always loved it. But I also spent some time in Okinawa, Japan when I was in the Marine Corps, and really got to experience some great seafood cooked in ways that I just wasn't used to here in the States. So I love to try new things, and discover various interpretations on the foods that I really love. Lately I've been enjoying cooking in my smoker. I love throwing in a bunch of different meats (and veggies) and letting them soak in some good smoke from an oak tree or an orange tree. Dude... just thinking about this is making my mouth water!

You strike me as the creative type. One of my favorite things to do when I go to your place is listen to the music you sometimes recommend. Do you have a theory about creativity? Okay, or if you want to duck that question, tell me about some ways you're creative in your life (hobbies, interests, even dreams).

Wow... I don't know if I would consider myself a creative type, but thank you very much! It's something that I really work at, so it's good to know that it's paying off! That's actually one of my theories about creativity... Most people think that people are just born creative or they are not. I read somewhere that if you want to develop your creative side, then you should do creative things that you don't normally do. For me I like to try to draw (but I don't do it enough). I'm not really much of an artist, but it's cool to try force myself to do it anyway. I've also learned the value of observation. I've become a sort of student of my surroundings. I not only try to just observe, but also to look at things differently than I always do. One of the coolest exercises that I've done is to try to draw a picture of something by turning the picture that I am drawing upside-down. Doing that does something to your brain and forces you to focus on the actual lines and details without the filter that your brain normally puts on things. I love doing things like this that help me get in touch with my creative inner-dudeness.

If you could change one thing about our education system, what would it be? (I know, who knew this would be such a challenging interview. Do you feel like you're in a Miss America contest yet? :)

Hmmm... what a great question! For pre-K and Kindergarten my son was either in private Christian schools or homeschooled. But this year we've put him in a public school for first grade. So this is something that I'm thinking about a lot more these days. I think if there was anything that I would change it would be for allowing public expressions of one's faith. Starting with pushing prayer out of schools we have continued to make religious faith a private matter, and I don't think that you can separate one's faith from who they are. So to tell kids that they can't pray or express their faith in school is to deny them a part of who they are. I believe that it's a violation of our freedom of religion and our right to express it. I also like what I've heard happening somewhere in the U.S. (I think in Texas) with allowing the Bible to be taught as an elective. I think that it's purely from a historical perspective, so no religion is being taught or forced on anyone. But religion aside, there is a great deal of information there that would help students better understand some of the history surrounding the founding of our own country.

Any advice to bloggers?

I think if there is anything that I would share, it would be to focus on the conversation. Blogging is a social event, and in order to be truly effective you must listen as much (if not more) than you speak. It's a great platform to share what's on your mind, but you'll have a much greater opportunity to share with others if you listen to what they have to say first. Some of the most popular posts at my blog are the ones where I was looking for other people to share rather than just telling people what I think. There are exceptions to this concept though... There are some who blog that people like to listen to no matter what they say. They could type the phone book and people would be like, "Wow! That was amazing!" But most of us are not like that, and we can develop our platform by encouraging others speak. Some of these conversations can be very powerful, and I've discovered that readers of my blog have helped shape who I am probably more than I've helped shape them.

Thanks for having us over, Dan. (Or did I have you over here? No matter. Bring on the smoked zucchini. :)

Photos by Dan King. Used with permission.

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Creativity Blooms with Time

rocks at sea

I'm convinced that creativity finds its deepest expressions when afforded time. Today my Eldest moved slowly from one creative endeavor to another&mdash all self-chosen. Teaching herself Old English (I don't know why), teaching herself Gregg shorthand (because... um... ?), playing wild and poignant improvisations on piano, and finally when evening came... writing.

It is the writing I can share with you. But in it I feel all the other things lurking. And so you can have a small peek at today's creativity...

The Forgotten Land a short story by Sara, 12.

There were forty-five men on the ship.

She washed up, at first, an abandoned wreck, tattered sails, carrying more water in her holds than food or treasure. The rocks, hidden in the waves and sharp as teeth, had cut through the wood, but the ship had brought them there with her last breaths.

There was no sign, now, of the storm that had brought them to these shores, the waves splashed calmly against the sand, unconcerned. Forty-five men staggered onto dry ground, looked upon the strange land they had stumbled on. The sand stretched as far as the eye could see in all directions but the one they had come from.

They were not in good spirits. Ten wanted to go this way, ten wanted to go that way, ten would go forwards and the rest thought their fortunes could not get any worse no matter what direction they went, and didn't care.

Finally, they decided to go one day to the north. Then, if all was unchanged, two days to the south, and if all still was the same to go forwards and hope for the best. The sand, as they had much time to contemplate as the day went on, was white and fine. The sun kept up at the same pace it had all day, and if they had not seen the ship fade out of sight, might have thought they were not moving at all.

At sundown, they came to a place of jagged black rocks, and most were in favor of turning back, but ten went on alone. If the shore had not been in sight, there would have been no hope of finding their way back, as it was they were sure to die if on their second day water had not been found.

But amazingly, gratefully, wonderfully, a thin silver line lay in the distance... a ribbon fallen from some giant's hair. They had found a river.

Of the ten who stayed among the rocks, they had wandered together, drawing gradually closer to the tallest one, a tower of black above all the others. They found, however, it was not a rock, but man-made, hewn from the stone, who knew how many ages ago. Steps were through the doorway, illuminated by slits of daylight through tiny spaces too small to be real windows. At the top was a flat space, enclosed by a waist-high wall, where once you might have been able to study the sky. In the center was hollow depression, which, it seemed, had collected from countless rains, a shallow pool of clear water.

They had followed the stream for how long it was hard to say, but now the trees had risen up, old, old trees, a deep pool, a waterfall wreathed with mist. All animals that must once have inhabited the place were long gone, leaving the forest and its clear lake.

Fifteen had decided to go on to the unknown, leaving the strange forest behind; they had traveled together for six days, until at that place, run out of water brought from the forest, ten had gone one way and five the other.

On the north way, there was a city of marble, beautiful and empty, with only a broken down well to save the shipwrecked, telling not its secrets to those passing by.

Of the south way, a crystal pond, liquid water, with no river connecting or leaving it, a diamond scattered on the ground, and an old, old stone aqueduct, water carrier like the arches of the Romans, but crumbled away, quite suddenly, next to the pool, standing high, high up, grey.


Often Sara doesn't finish her stories. That's okay. They are creative experiences, experiments with processes, lovely bits, and to me that's enough.

Rocks on the Shore photo by L.L. Barkat.

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Vegetarian Cashew Snack Food

cashews & raisins

One of the fun things about being vegetarian is that I save money on my food bill. Well, then I spend some of the savings on things like raw cashews. (I buy them in bulk from a co-op though; not so bad.)

Here's one of my favorite ways to dress up raw cashews:

Saute lightly:

• 1 TB butter
• 1 or 2 cups of cashews

When cashews turn golden, add & saute briefly:

• 1/2 tsp curry powder

Sprinkle salt to taste and add a few raisins. Cover the pan and let the warmth of the cashews soften the raisins a little. Yum. :)

Cashew and Raisin snack photo by L.L. Barkat.

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Live-Streaming: A Techno Amazing World

Time was, if you couldn't make an event, you missed it. These days, if an event is live-streamed (a little bit like the Internet version of TV), you can watch from the comfort of your own home— jammies, slippers and all.

On Friday night I had a lot of fun doing a poetry reading with Brooke Campbell (who did the singing... yes, better that she did that part :). Friends all over the nation were able to watch the event, live-streamed.

And for those who missed it, there's still the option of watching a recorded version (above). Note that there is a 2:15 minute opening lag time before the program begins.

You can even embed the recording on your site by going here. How cool is that? It's a techno-amazing world.

*(Also, if you have trouble watching it here, try watching at the Ustream site.)

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