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Bridget Spitznagel
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sometimes a very little kid picks up a thing that you need to get away from them (because it is bad for them, like the big kitchen scissors, or a discarded cigarette butt on the sidewalk, or a shiny marble that they are about to contemplate swallowing) so you say "put that down" and maybe they put it back down and find something else to try to put in their mouth.

or maybe they hang onto it because it is shiny!

if they don't respond to directions, then you gently pry off one finger at a time until you can get it away from them, because you are a patient adult, and maybe you also at the same time pick them up or set them in your lap or distract them with some other thing that would not be bad for them. in extreme cases (with greater danger of the object to the child or to those around them) maybe you do other things that the child would find less pleasant. In any case, you don't just say "oh well" and give up; you try something else until they let go of it.

we were talking about Luke 18 yesterday (convenient link ) and someone said they always wonder what happens to the rich dude who does not just immediately give up all his possessions / power / rank. But luke 18 starts with the importunate widow, whose chief feature is persistence, so I think you have your answer right there already.

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Devi is going up against Harry Dresden in a cage match. The storytelling is cool, and the voting is pretty close if you want to go check it out....

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i don't know about you but i needed this

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This April 22nd, I'll be in Toronto, Canada on the TEDx Talk stage trying to fit 5 years worth of information into a 10 minute presentation.

For more:

And for more on Autcraft, go to

St Nicholas Owen: if you know what a "priest hole" is you may be interested in this carpenter (and martyr) who constructed an unknown but large number of them
Warning: the Wikipedia page is graphic.
If you don't know what a priest hole is, (not so graphic).

History, unlike fiction, is not required to seem plausible and is often rather extravagant.

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Young writers and illustrators: Over the years I've been doing interviews on Inkygirl (as well as interviewing authors of books I've illustrated):

Huge thanks to authors who have been generous enough to offer advice for young creators!

I'm compiling excerpts from everyone's advice (still working my way through the archives), along with links where you can find the full interview of each author or illustrator.

today's reading is Peter (always asking the "there are no stupid questions" questions... ok, once in a while someone else does get a turn but usually it seems to be Peter's job), asking "soooo how many times do I need to forgive the same person? like, seven times (and then the 8th time it's ok to be pissed and say 'you OWE me for this')?" which, already, is a lot.

As we know the answer is "dude no, you need to forgive them every time" and presumably Peter's My-Face-When reaction to this looked like "wtf Lord r u serious" because then there is a parable, the point of which is: God is always willing to forgive us, no matter what we have done or how many times we did it. And we are supposed to act like God. Well, duh. But maybe you should unpack this a little bit more.

God knows whether we are going to screw the pooch again, in one way or another, and in point of fact you don't really need to be omniscient for that; we know we are most likely going to screw the pooch again (we, collectively, have done this over and over in really epic ways, e.g. office of readings today is God saying to Moses "dude your people have apostasized, go down there and read them the riot act").

It is not hard to forgive someone who is genuinely sorry and is amending their ways and who we feel confident has totally turned over a new leaf and is a Good Person Now. (actually it is hard but let's pretend for the sake of contrast.)

It is really hard for us to figuratively cancel out a debt (this is what forgiveness means) when we strongly suspect that this well-meaning person has not really learned anything lasting and is going to hurt us in the same way all over again real soon now. Like, it seems literally insane (a lot of Christianity's do's/dont's seem literally insane, and we listen to their familiar phrases, and then discard the idea of actually following them). But, like the trick reveal by prophet what's his name "guess what, king, you are that man", we are that well-meaning person. If you read stuff that saints (or less-officially holy people) wrote, you can see their frustration with this because they do it too (or if they are irrepressibly cheerful like St Philip Neri they phrase it as "today I will start to do good".)

I would ramble more but I have to go drive a car to a place.

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