Good Friday

I remember walking somberly into my church as a child on Good Friday, surprised at the dimness of the sanctuary and the absence of candles on the altar. A black cloth hung over the cross and no music played.

cross draped in blackIt was a powerful reminder of Jesus’ death and the hopeless of a world without God.

I had a time several years ago when I believed God had abandoned me and so I allowed a wall to form around my heart. But eventually I found I missed him. I didn’t want a world without God.

So today I reflect – again – on the thorns of my own pride and find my heart longing for the abundance of God’s fruit.

Fortunately he’s promised never to leave me or forsake me. I don’t have to wait until Easter to celebration.

My joy happens moment by moment.


Media at its worst

Personal assistants are a wonderful thing and, when one is built into your phone, it’s a free wonderful thing, right?

Let me tell you a story about that.


siri (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

One evening, I was busy and my hands were full. But I had my iPhone and my personal assistant, Siri, right? So when the text came to my phone, I instructed Siri to read it to me. She did, informing me that my husband was letting me know that we were out of milk at home.

“Would you like to repeat or reply?” Siri is so efficient.

“Reply,” I said. I dictated the reply: “I forgot about milk. Sorry.”

Then I got the bright idea to let my children know. My daughter was driving home with my teenage son so I instructed Siri to send him a message: “Dad just told me there is no milk—” Then Siri interrupted me with a beep and asked if I wanted to send the message. “No,” I instructed.

But I didn’t read the screen. I just repeated the whole message: “Dad just told me there is no milk. Do you want to go back and get some?”

After a longer pause than my son usually needs when it comes to text messages, I got his response: “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

When we got together to compare messages, I discovered that I had first replied to my husband like this: “I forgot about mountain sorry.”

And the text to my son read, “Dad just told me there is no mouth. Dad just told me there was no mountain. You want to go back and get baby?”

Siri may be very efficient but apparently I can’t trust her around milk.

Madness, brackets and a dollar

Because I am currently in first place in my group’s March Madness bracketing, I’ll reveal my system. It seems to be working as well as my granddaughter who, last year, got a long way in her brackets by picking the winners based on their mascots. Cutest won, I think.

I wish my system was as sweet.

March Madness Experience logo

March Madness Experience logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mine is simple and fast: pick the games based on ranking and, when rankings get close toward the center of the bracket, go with defense. We’ll see how that works out in the final rounds.

But my favorite March Madness story goes back many years, when I was a cub reporter on a tiny newspaper that didn’t even have typesetting capability. This was waaaay before the Internet.

So I traveled to another site a hour away once a week to get our newspaper typeset, arranged, and sent off to the print shop.

One of the employees at our sister site was big into office pools and he insisted that I put in my dollar for the March Madness brackets. Each round required a new dollar but I wouldn’t see him for a week. A dollar seemed a polite and easy way out of plunking down a dollar a day.

When I got back a week later, I discovered that I had won the first day’s pool.  And Kent reinvested my winnings because he knew I’d want to do that. Uh-huh.

Well, I won a second time during that week. And Kent knew I’d want in every day.

By the time I got back to manage my winnings, there were none.

So that year I won twice in March Madness, had nothing to show for it, and it only cost me a dollar.

Hints of a story

I didn’t expect to like this video. I’m ashamed to admit that online videos need to be under three minutes – two minutes- well, short – or I won’t watch them. I flit in my online video watching.

And this video is 7 minutes long. I figured I’d bail after the first minute or so. As soon as I got bored.

I’ve seen it twice now and wanted to share. Pay attention to the colors (and changes in colors) and the background. A bevy of detail gives hints of the story.

Solitude from robin risser on Vimeo.

I’ll not say more so I don’t spoil your experience but I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Technology and dinosaurs

Technology and writing may seem odd companions, especially for  someone my age. In my defense, I do have a teenage son.  I admit that he claims I rode dinosaurs to school and took notes using a chisel, hammer and piece of slate.

Which I think is a pretty lame description considering I sent out emails holding him in my arms (well, arm while I typed with the other) and taught him how to operate a mouse before he could read.

applevintagelogoAnd the coolest thing I did in the last year was uncover an old advertising sign I painted while selling Apple computers. I’m talking Apple IIe computers with the painted logo in vintage colors, not the new silveresque look. “You sold Apples?” He wasn’t quick enough to hide his surprise.

Well, a mother doesn’t reveal everything to her teenagers.

OK, after that digression, I’m here today to tell you about this cool blog that I enjoy reading. Author Media is devoted to melding technology with writers, including a few who didn’t sell Apple computers way back when dinosaurs marched through the streets.

A recent post made me laugh: “Why you need a hashtag for your next book.” If you don’t know what a hashtag is, check out their site. If you do know what a hashtag is, you may not have considered one for your next book. So it’s still relevant.

Their motto is to “help authors timid about media.”

And I might add, to help authors who can’t read enough about media and technology and all that. It is impossible to keep up with the expansion of technology and the internet. Author Media helps some.

I’m not sure they target writers with chisel and hammer but, on the other hand, maybe they do. If you’re not familiar with their site, check them out.

Whose way?

I didn’t think we were going to Cuba until two days before we boarded an airplane at Cancun and headed east. “Americans can’t go to Cuba,” I told our missionary host.

Fortunately, he ignored me and we went. Four days were spent in Havana before we drove across the island to the mountains at the east end.


English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On our first night in Havana, we went to a fancy restaurant where waitresses wore black dresses, white aprons and white caps. Like old-fashioned maids. Glittering crystal adorned each table with heavy silverware resting on starched napkins at each place setting.

And a pianist filled the air with sweet music.

When he saw us, he recognized us as Americans. Americans are rich in Cuba. No matter what money we had.

So he immediately began playing tunes by Frank Sinatra. Cuba seems lodged in the 1950’s and the musician must have assumed that Sinatra melodies would net him a nice tip from the Americans.

Emboldened by his strong Sinatra performance, the pianist then approached our table. “I know many other American songs,” he said. “What would you like to hear?”

My husband leaned toward him. “Could you play Amazing Grace?”

The man frowned slightly as he searched his memory banks. He finally shook his head. “I do not know that one.”

We smiled at each other and then my husband surrendered. “How about some Sinatra?”

“Oh, yes, sir!” The pianist scurried back to the piano and played instead I Did It My Way.