The Whistler's Dream

Everybody needs a dream...
Mine is to go to Oklahoma and play whistles for The Pioneer Woman. (Having been invited, not in a "creepy stalker" kind of way, for the record.) Heck, I'd play in a pup tent in the backyard for the joy of the cows and critters. What can I say? I'm a fan.
Everybody needs a dream...

Random Fluffy Foto!

Random Fluffy Foto!
Writing in bed, and Beka editing by ear. Really. The ear typed some letters. Really.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Invitation

This is my iPad. There are many like it, but this one is mine...
A thought occurred to me this morning, as I put out my bits and bobs to do my writing thing at my beloved North Office. (That's CalbertSpeak for Biggby - the one near Celebration Cinema, and my favorite upon all the earth.)

The drill usually goes like this: Get out the writing stuff - keyboard, iPad, stand, extension cord, etc. Then plug stuff in, connect the keyboard, etc. Go get my beverage of choice. (A muffin or goodie is optional, but highly not recommended - they're delicious, but not Calbert approved...

But once in a great while...

Well, let's just leave it at that, shall we?)

Anyway, all the bits are bitted, the bobs are bobbing, and the event is ready to begin...

And that's when I done thunk the thought -

"When do I take the time to invite God to this little wordfest?"

*insert sound of foam-wrapped brick bouncing off of Cal's noggin*


Maybe this is just me, but maybe you can relate to this, especially if you're a "first thing in the morning doing my devo thing" person:

First thing that happens in my day (Usually - sometimes there are exceptions.) is some quiet time with coffee / protein cocoa, and listening to the Daily Audio Bible. Throw in some crochet, and that's when God has the most of my undivided attention that anybody's ever gonna git.

It all goes downhill from there...

But what I'm wondering is, if that morning time makes me think that it kind of opens a "God Umbrella" over the whole day. Since I started the day focused on Him, that kind of means that He's involved for the rest of the day, right? No need to stop, refocus, and specifically invite Him into whatever I'm messing around with at the moment, right? Automatic God inclusion in everything, kind of like Deus ex Autopilot.

(No, not really. Not even close. Forget I said that. Forget you heard that. *waves hand in mystical mind control gesture* That was not the phrase you were looking for. Totally.)

The wiser and slightly less patient ones out there would probably be gently but yet sternly calling out to me (In their less-than-indoor voices...), "Well, DUH! Everybody knows that's messed up! Of course you have to refocus, invite, include - all that there stuff! What is this - Devos for Dummies??"


Nope. Not gonna say it, lest the ire of the Proofreader be invoked. She already reminds me in her totally-indoor voice that there's way too much Calbert-bashing going on in that little noggin of mine. So, not gonna go there.

You are welcome, my Proofreader Peep.

So am I the only one that tends to forget that little thing - I need to actively refocus, to invite, to include Him in what's going on right now, this moment, this specific activity, those wayward thoughts, that distracting vision across the room or on the screen?

Or do I see others meekly nod their heads in affirmation of getting gollywhomped by the grind of a day, and forgetting the One who wants to hold our hands through it all?

Honestly, peeps, it's something I "know," but don't "remember." I understand the need, but almost never put it into practice. 

And so, I sit down to write what He wants me to write, while utterly forgetting that in order to write what He wants me to write, I probably should invite Him to sit down at this table with me, ask Him to get involved, and thank Him for His presence, even when I forget or ignore Him.

How do I expect to write His words, when I don't make it a point to be listening?

In His faithfulness, He usually shows up, takes an active role, and jumps into my wandering thoughts. He gently guides the words, the ideas, the expression, and as my beloved says, "the maintenance gets done." My mind becomes a tiny bit clearer, the truth and the lies are separated a bit farther apart, and I become a bit more of what He intends me to be.

But what if I turn to Him, right from the start? What if I extend the invitation?

I know this - He'll always accept.

So, here's the keyboard and the iPad. Here's the table, the place, the time, and me. Please - join me, Lord. Hang out with me, as we laugh, think, consider, and as I learn a little more about You in the process.

Thanks for the times you put up with me opening a God umbrella, and for Your faithfulness in walking with me, even when I'm a bit of a dufus and ignore you. Forgive that rudeness, Lord - I'm sorry.

Thanks for your patience as I try to remember to turn to You, not just in the morning, but at all the crossroads of this day. Help me remember that though spending the very first moments of my day with You is great, spending every moment of my day with you is amazing.

Welcome to the table, Lord. Please - speak. I'm listening.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Erosion of Belief

The erosion of belief: when doubt about one area of giftedness or ability begins to erode others.

Erosion doesn't discriminate - It simply erodes.

Wow - that was profound. Yay me...

Also, it's not real choosy - once it starts in, it doesn't just smack down its favorite parts but leave the stuff it doesn't care for alone, unlike the whole "white meat / dark meat" chicken negotiations that happen in our home. Fortunately, my beloved and I are pretty divided on our chicken preferences, so no diplomacy or intervention is needed.

And Beka doesn't really care either, as long as there's hope of something hitting the floor.

Anyway, back to erosion...

If one part of something starts to erode, the rest of it usually follows. Erosion isn't really selective - once it starts in, it tends to go for the whole enchilada.

Although I'm really not an enchilada fan - I'm more into tacos, or a nice taco salad.

Good gravy bones, I'm wandering all over today, aren't I? Yikes...

Where the rubber meets the road, or where the mudslide meets the bank, if you will...

(And if you won't, well, we're still going there...) this:

When a humanbean of the person persuasion gets clobbered in one part of that collection of stuff we call our "gifts," that can be the opening salvo in the erosion tango. If that humanbean gets clobbered again in that same area, then things shift to more of a swing dance.

Another clobber, and it turns into the kind of stuff that makes my back ache and my knees crunch.


But here's the thang... once that mudslide gets some momentum, the site of the original clobber isn't the only thing that gets swept away. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, other parts of how we see ourselves become erosion fodder.

Would you like a real-life example? Of course you would! We're only 300 words into this puppy, so we got time to burn...

There was a part of my life, at one time called my "career," that got majorly clobbered. I'd been working in this area for 19 years and some change, had moved a bit within that area, and finally seemed to settle in my "calling," a purpose that seemed to use all my gifts and interests. It was amazing, and I thought my "nomadic career path" had finally settled on one zip code.

And I was oh so very wrong.

The budget monster reared its ugly head, and I was launched out a porthole.

Cue the erosion.

So I become a vocational nomad once again, trying to find a path, a purpose, something to call "mine," and only seeing more wandering. I'm on shifting sand, looking for a path where there is none.

But my "calling" in this one area wasn't the only thing that took a hit - I just didn't know it yet.

To keep this thrilling tale from turning into a bumbling blimp of blah, let me sum up - I racked up a few more "clobbers" in the same area, none of which were my own doing, and wound up wondering how I ever stumbled into that work in the first place. If I was that awful at it, why didn't anybody tell me to just hang it up?

Belief in any giftedness I might have possessed in that area? Eroded.


That's not the only area that got swept away...

If I'm that lame in _________, and I just keep getting clobbered, how can I believe that I'm actually worth anything in ________? How can I believe anyone who says, "You have a real gift for ________?"

How can I believe that I have any gifts or abilities at all?

The erosion of belief: when doubt about one area of giftedness or ability begins to erode others.

Can I throw a rather unique wrench into the works here?

("You CAN...")

Sorry... MAY I throw a rather unique wrench into the works here?

("Yes. Yes you may.")

Sheesh. Tough room.

For the past four years, I've had the added upheaval of seeing my entire being changed, both physically and mentally. And though you'd think that losing over 200 pounds and being ReBorn would make everything shiny and happy, truthfully, you'd be full of flying beanie weenies.

I know I am. Full of the aforementioned beanie weenies, that is.

Talk about erosion of belief... What happens when you don't recognize yourself in the mirror? When your body doesn't move the same way it has for the previous 50 years? When everything changes?

How can you believe anything about yourself, when you aren't sure who you are?

The erosion of belief: when doubt about one area of giftedness or ability begins to erode others.

Another example, recent but equally tasty...

I met with a friend early this year about a music project - taking some songs she had written, filling them out with instrumentation, helping with style, etc., and getting them ready to be recorded and produced into a CD. I agreed to get on board, excited for the project...

On the surface, anyway. But, honestly, down below, the doubts were flowing...

And, I did nothing. I made a few attempts to begin the work, played with some ideas, but down deep, I really didn't think I was up to the task.

After all, if I stink at _________, what makes me think I can do ________?

So, I did nothing. And, my friend moved on. She has someone who will actually do the work, will actually produce the end product, and will deliver...

Like I didn't.

She kindly asked me if I'd be willing to come and record the bass parts for the project, and I really appreciated being asked.

But, I declined.

I recommended someone who is a "real" bass player, who could actually deliver an inspired, decent performance, instead of flailing and fumble-fingering, which is what I major in. I honestly doubted that I'd be able to bring creative, decent bass parts to the session, even though I play bass almost every week at church. I doubt my creative abilities, especially when the red RECORDING light is on.

I also don't know if I could have done that session, knowing that I had the opportunity to do that project, and just let it lie there. I let down a friend, by doing nothing...

Because, somewhere inside, I didn't believe I could actually pull it off.

Getting clobbered a few times created doubt about one area of ability, and that's created doubt about other abilities, and now I pretty much don't do anything...

Because deep down, I really don't believe I can do anything. I doubt my gifts and abilities.

Now, others will try and encourage me, telling me to get out there and do it, to put on the big boy pants and get moving, and to just suck it up, buttercup. They'll tell me how gifted I am, how much God has blessed me with, and how thankful I should be.

For the record, all those things are true.


Others, no matter how much they love me or how sincere they are, can't talk away the erosion. Encouragement, while heard and accepted on one level, really can't stop the doubt.

And, for the record, I appreciate those who love me and want to speak words of grace and encouragement over me.


The erosion can only be healed from the inside out. And I'm not sure how that works.

This is potentially where some pithy phrases about how "God meets us in the dark places" and "makes a way for us" and "is a refuge in times of trouble" and "never gives us more than we can bear" and "will continue the good work He began" and stuff like that would pop up. But if you've read my blog at all, you may know how I feel about pithy phrases that can fit so nicely on the changeable letter sign out front.

To sum it up for those who don't know how I feel about pithy phrases:


I have to slowly, quietly walk with my Father. And listen to Him alone. So for now, I won't be pushing ahead, blazing new trails, or grabbing all the gusto I can...

'cause frankly, I can't. Grab gusto, that is. My gusto grabbing abilities are pretty much zip at this time.

So I probably won't be taking on new challenges, other than trying to justify my existence and not run us into more debt. (And that's a lot right there...) And try not to pick up any new hobbies, vocations, or interests, 'cause ain't nobody got time for that schizzle bajizzle.

Word to yo rockin' chair.

I'll be quiet, I'll do what I do, and I'll listen...

And that's enough, for now.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Gotcha Day, 2014


Came into our lives 2 years ago today, June 16, 2012.

And this...

Pretty much stole our hearts the minute she walked through the door.


Began leaving puppyhood behind far faster than we might have liked.

But, this...

Was fast becoming the friend, packmate, and companion we were hoping for.

And so this...

Was her one year anniversary. Gotcha day, 2013. She'd grown tall and beautiful, but still...


Is the apple of her daddy's eye.

Just like this...

Will always be.

Yeah, even that.

Happy Gotcha Day, Beka Valentine Olson. We love you.

Hugs and doggie bacon strips, Momma & Daddy

Thursday, June 12, 2014

TBT + Update + Foreshadowing: The Tainted Legacy

Yup - this is a Throwback Thursday that also includes an update (A brief update - I promise!) and...


(Just getting to write all that gave me goosebumps... because I'm easily amused.)

UPDATE: As I move into a new reality, without 16-19 hours of my week occupied by my used-to-be-part-time-but-now-phased-out gig, it's taking a little effort to try and swing into a new routine. Thus, the blog (and my writing in general) takes a hit, things grow quiet, and even my 4.78 devoted readers look at their watches and consider where their mouse might take them next... 

I'm trying to get back to all the fragments of thoughts, ideas, and pieces of Scripture that have been rolling around in my noggin lately, being used as tiny soccer balls by Steve the Mental Hamster, and turning the interior of my skull into one big soccer net. (And that little booger can kick HARD...)

THUS, THIS POST - TBT, with an update, that is FORESHADOWING a new post on Tuesday, (ooh, goosebumps!!) where we'll be taking this thought of legacy and turning it on it's head thanks to Solomon, the original Wise Guy. (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk...)

So, my peeps, tune in Tuesday to put the Cart before the Horse, and the Ending before the Beginning. See ya then!

"He followed the example of Jeroboam, continuing the sins of idolatry that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit. Thus, he aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel." - 1 Kings 16:26

Jeroboam was NOT da man. Really.

I'm on my 2nd complete trip through the Bible, thanks to the Daily Audio Bible podcast. (Actually, it's time 2.5, since I started halfway in for my first trip, but time 2 for a complete run. This attempt at data integrity brought to you by the Proofreader, who, even though she didn't add these words, approves of them nontheless.) And in the middle of time 2...

(2.5? 2.38? 3.1414...? This is why I don't do data integrity. The Proofreader ALSO approves of this message, and adds a heartfelt "Amen.")

In the middle of what shall hereafter be called time 2, things continue to jump out at me, new stuff that didn't do so the first time around.

Like Jeroboam.

If you search his name in I and II Kings, you find a whole bunch of references that say things like, "He followed in the way of Jeroboam, doing the sleazy stuff that makes Jeroboam a monument to how to make God really, really angry to this day..."

Ok - you'll not find a single reference that puts it quite that way. Thankfully.

But attached to many other kings listed in those books is the reference that they followed in the ways of Jeroboam, leading the people to sin, worshiping idols, and doing evil in the sight of the Lord.

Now there's a legacy.

Think about it - how proud would it make you that your name can be used to immediately demonstrate just how far someone can sink in their sin? Like in a conversation...

"He's not a good man - a real Jeroboam."



"You... you're... you're a... a... Jeroboam!"

"You take that back!!!!"


"You're a no-good, double-crossing, two-timing, lilly-livered, down-dirty-sneaky-shifty-nasty-stinky JEROBOAM!!"

"That's IT! Them's fightin' words!"


Yup. Like that.

How bad do you have to be for your name to become a synonym for evil of cartoonesque proportions? Not just for 15 minutes of fame in social media, but for generations?

Whoa. Mega-whoa.

(I'm trying s-o-o-o-o hard not to type the word 'Honey' here... Or 'Boo'... Or even a second 'Boo'... 

He who has ears, let him hear. And throw up a little bit. Ok, a lot.)

In our insty-fame world, I think we've lost some of the weight of legacy. Of how our lives, our actions, our examples leave impressions or ripples long after we've passed by. We're too used to "100 likes, drops down in the news feed, gone tomorrow, let's see what interesting nugget pops up today." In this media-driven culture, it's the next thing that catches our attention - what new video, new picture, new article, new blog post (Oi to the vey, he typed into his very own blog post...) will grab us and cause us to re-tweet, share, like, post, or otherwise keep the wave going...

Until tomorrow, that is, when the next little nugget drops in and it starts all over again.

Oh, the ripples and waves of yesterday's goodie are still spreading outward, still leaving an impression, and their echoes will still bounce back from time to time. But that initial surge will be past, the attention is gone, and like devouring insects, we're all looking for the next field to mow down.

Not buying it? Take a good look at your Facebook activity (or whatever other social media you dip your toe into and end up soaked) and notice how many things are funny pictures, heartwarming videos, outrageous stories, or LOL moments.

Lots, right?

Now, how many of those "I've just GOT to share this!" tidbits are still a part of your world? How many of them remain with you, to shape your life and be a bright spot in a dreary world?

*insert sound of crickets*

I didn't think so.

"Dude - lighten up! It's just Facebook!"

Exactly. We live in a disposable media culture - see it, let it tickle your fancy, drop it and move on. Nothing lasts, nothing endures, there are no waves, no ripples, no lasting consequences, no reason to think beyond today - just this moment, right now, and tomorrow will be totally different with some other tasty little tidbit to fill the void.

And that's what prompts me to toss this around the ol' noodle and see if I get soup: I think we've lost the weight of what "legacy" means - that our actions, our responses, our lives, our statements, they can leave ripples and lasting impressions that remain long after we've passed by. Instead, our present culture ends up saying, "It doesn't really matter what I do today, because something different will come around tomorrow." We go on from day to day, knowing that tomorrow the channel will change, new stories will go viral, and some celebrity someplace will do something so dumb that all attention will be snapped onto it like bugs on a porch light.

Until the next tomorrow, that is.

No legacy - no lasting ripples or impressions. No long-term responsibility for the here and now. I don't have to be all that worried about what I do today, 'cause the swirling cesspool of culture will sweep the evidence away in nothing flat.

The stuff of which celebrity and political careers are made.

Politicians may talk about leaving a legacy, but they're talking to the masses who view most things from a "Use it and flush it" mentality. How can you create lasting change, a lasting legacy when many people don't understand the concept of something enduring beyond tomorrow?

Celebrities may talk about their responsibility to influence others as a role model, their position allowing them to pontificate on whatever is hot on their own agenda, (or on their radar to jack up a sagging career...) but all the while the people who hang on their every word in this moment have their hands on the pull chain, ready to send Spot the pet goldfish down the swirly funeral chute into the not-so-great beyond.

Besides, today's shining role model becomes tomorrow's YouTube fodder when they're caught doing something incredibly stupid. And yet, they'll probably be back to role model status the day after...


Because our actions, our statements, our thoughts have no lasting consequences, leave no impressions, do not endure. 

Think about some recent examples of "scandals" - have you noticed the closer we get to 'today,' the less time it seems to take to go from "Public scandal" to "Just made a little mistake" to "Whatever happened to..." to "Wow, it's nice to see them getting work again"?

No legacy. No lasting impressions. No enduring consequences.

"He followed the example of Jeroboam, continuing the sins of idolatry that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit. Thus, he aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel."

Hmmm... Apparently, God has a different view of legacy.

To spend any time in the overarching story of God's word is to realize the weight of legacy. The lasting impressions, the consequences of actions, the ripples spreading outward, on and on.

My generation, and those who precede me, understand the weight of legacy and the truth that some things endure. But I fear the closer we get to today, the more that significance vanishes.

Since nothing endures from all the media we are exposed to daily, and since everything gets replaced with the next bright and shiny doodad that hits the 'net tomorrow, so it is with me and my life. Nothing endures, consequences don't last, responsibility isn't needed, because it'll all be gone, swept away by the next bright and shiny doodad that comes into my world.

So what I do isn't that big of a deal, 'cause nobody will remember it tomorrow.

Except for Grumpy Cat, of course. Grumpy is forever.

Yes, I'm a fan. I never claimed to be strong - just sincere.

So, yes, I guess I'm not a huge fan of disposable culture. I'm old-fashioned enough to believe that legacy exists, that our actions have consequences, that what I do can leave impressions long after I've passed by.

I believe that if I'm not mindful about my thoughts and actions, if I'm not striving to follow God with all my heart, if I'm not out to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him, then I will leave a tainted legacy. Perhaps not like a  Jeroboam, reaching to multiple generations, (at least I hope and pray not!) but a tainted legacy all the same.

What I do today, with my eyes on what that will mean for tomorrow, can lay the foundation for a bright legacy, even if that legacy reaches no farther than my front door. It still matters. It all matters.

I'm comforted as I look at things from here in my mid-fifties, seeing my failures and shortcomings and tempted to believe that my time is already up, that it's not too late to build a legacy, or to shine one up that's been tainted and tarnished. God has been in the business of restoration a lot longer than Extreme Makeover, after all. He's a real pro.

So think about this with me, bat-friends:

If your name, if my name were passed along to a future generation, would it be a synonym for a bright legacy, or a tainted one?

Like Jeroboam.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Silly Saturday: A Beka Musical Moment

"Hit it, Music Boye..."

Calbert lays down a 70's folk kind of groove on the ol' tuba...

"Sunshine... On my shoulders... Makes me happy..."

"Sunshine... In my eyyyyyes... Makes me smile..."

"Sunshine... On my kibble... Looks SO lovely..."

"Sunshine... Almost always... makes me..."





** Sound of Absofragginlutely Silence-O-Matic Tuba Mute being re-inserted**

"And THAT is why I work ALONE. And shred his undies."

Thanks for joining us for a poignant musical moment with Beka. Tune in next time to hear her say...

"Remember, next time - no matter HOW MANY doggie bacon strips
he offers you,  NO TUBA!!..."


"Well... I mean, if it were like, I dunno, a LOT of doggie bacon strips... 

I guess... Maybe..."

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Pondering the Adjusting to the Pondering of the Adjusting...

Susie Finkbeiner, wise in the ways of writing and blogging, calls this type of blog post a "mutt..." One of those here's what's going on in my world, without any real content, sans poignant truths or lessons, nor any stuff that would further your career as a writer, or at least persuade people to join your "tribe" and build your "platform," kinds of posts

And that's all true.

But honestly, sometimes my head is buzzing so loudly that I simply want to sit back, look at some pictures, and think about where I've wandered lately. So I shall.

Feel free to mosey off, if such "muttly" meanderings aren't your cup of... something.


As I may have mentioned before, whenever things get quiet here at Fluffy Goodness Central, it usually means I'm pondering something... Or adjusting to something... Or pondering something that I'm adjusting to.

Yeah. That.

Anyway, the biggest part of my part-time gig at the radio station came to an end on May 31st, so I'm in adjusting and pondering mode... All without a net OR income. Whee.

I'm learning lessons, working on my "work at home and actually get something accomplished instead of staring at YouTube all day" thing, and starting to finally get a clue about what I'm doing with my existence now...

Along the way...

My teeny tiny little niecelet dun gradiated from high school. That makes one neffy and three niecelets, which completes the set. And I've got a picture with each one of 'em at gradiatian time. The first two, I was in a wheelchair for, the second two, on my own twos feets.


She is little (she was first in line, 'cause she's the shortest in her class...), and she IS fierce. Yup. Totally.

And I love my nieces to pieces. Totally.

Since the little one and I share a love of working with wire jewelry, the occasion actually got me down to my bench, (for the first time in a couple of years...) to make a little something for her...

Turquoise is her birthstone, so it works - especially since one of her sisters gave me some neat stones at Christmas to play with. So I did. And there it is - a little something for a little someone.

(See what I did there?)

So I'm trying to listen to the Lord's call in the midst of adjusting and pondering, keeping my hands busy with wire, with yarn ('cause that blanket ain't going to make itself... I wish it would, but no.), and...

Paracord.  (Oh, and sometimes hex nuts mixed in, 'cause that's how I roll...)

I really, really needed another thing to mess around with...

Said nobody who knows me, ever.


Besides, all the cool kids are doing paracord. And doing it well, I might add. Which really makes me wonder, "Why bother? There are already a bazillion people making a gazillion things out of this stuff, so why do it at all?"

Because Vicki said I could.

And anything that keeps me distracted and out of her hair is a good, good thing.

In other news...

I survived the first of four Sundays playing the organ at church. Now, "survived" might not be a word one would think of in relation to worshiping at the house of God, but I calls 'em like I sees 'em. I played, I didn't make a total doorknob of myself, and the service didn't hit any musical brick walls at 60 mph. That's "survived," and it's good. 

A very caring someone bought these organ shoes for me, and I'm so thankful. My feet were doing the happy dance on the pedals, when they weren't "surviving."

Meanwhile, Beka sits in the sunshine, near the shambles of things she's chewed, and her pen filled with other things she's chewed...

"Here comes the sun, and I say, it's alright."

I agree, little girl - it's alright.

"It'd be even more alright if you'd bust out some doggie bacon strips to go along with the sunshine..."

Maybe later. Eat your kibble first.

"Whatever, old man. We both know that I've got you wrapped around my back paw. Hah."

Yes. Yes you do, little one... Especially when you're sitting in the sunshine.

I ponder, my friends. I adjust. And I keep listening, to see where my "nomadic career path" is heading next. (I love that summary of my strange path that a friend gave me...) But for this day, I'll look at my girl sitting in the sunshine, and smile a little.

Thanks for pondering along... Tune in next time to hear Beka say...

"It's good to be the Beka. Now wander your "nomadic career whachamacallit" over there and get me a cookie, pondering pilgrim..."