Goodbye, 2015

As I sit at the end of another year (my 27th year end – yikes!), I’m not only evaluating myself on how I met the resolutions and goals I made at the beginning of this year, but reflecting on all of the things that have changed over the days, weeks, and months of 2015. Let me tell you, it’s been full and nonstop and intense, and a lot of that hasn’t been covered on the blog or social media at all.

At the beginning of this year, I had a picture in my mind of how it was going to go. I always have a picture of how things are going to go – it’s part of the whole writerly imagination thing – but somehow it doesn’t ever turn out that way, which is totally fine.

As most of you remember, and as I was reminded by someone who found my blog by searching “Lydia Thomas Seattle” this week, I was going to move to Seattle this year.

At the end of January, somebody found me at my place of employment. I didn’t know this person, but this person knew who I was, and proceeded to tell me about a situation that, as far as I was concerned, had nothing to do with me. I had limited knowledge of the situation already, through a series of dreams I’d had, but this person filled in the blanks. It was a sucky situation, and it continued for many months with this person finding me many more times to discuss things, but God was trying to get my attention.

Instead of talking about what was really going on, though, I told you about Bethel (an important theme this year, for sure) and my Christian Friend(s) in the Closet, and fed you Confessions, Baptist Snippets, and Favorite Writing Quotes.

For the first time in February, I ended up owing taxes. I usually donate my refund, and some people have come to expect that support. It wasn’t there this year. It sucked having to explain to people that I just didn’t have it to give, and it seemed like even more people than usual were asking, especially given my new position as a marketing manager at Booktrope Publishing. People who couldn’t have told me what was going on in my life were asking for my money. I’ve never felt less loved in my entire life.

But I kept those less than pleasant thoughts under wraps, and focused on funny, positive anecdotes and analogies.

In March, I went to the doctor for the first time in six years. My parents actually forced me to go because one evening my mom noticed excessive hair loss (actually, her exact words were, “Lydia, are you going bald?!” which, you know, was pleasant). My dad showed up the next day with an insurance card and the phone number of his doctor, telling me to get my thyroid checked before I got booted from his insurance. (I was about to be 26). Anyway, I went to the doctor to have blood drawn and we made an appointment to discuss the results, and was told they wouldn’t contact me before that unless there was something that concerned them. Well, they contacted me. When I went back to my doctor in March, she said, “Lydia, are you diabetic?” To which I responded, “You tell me.”

But, I really didn’t want to talk about all of that. Not about how long I’d been feeling bad and had complained about feeling bad before I just shut up and lived with it, or about how my doctor told me I couldn’t have anything that enjoyed (forget dessert, we’re talking bread…and cheese), or about how my parents got on me for going to the doctor wrong. (Apparently, if I had gone in for a well check up, the insurance wouldn’t have charged me for something I couldn’t afford, which I might have known if I’d been to the doctor more than once in my adult life. In my own defense, my dad told me to tell them I wanted my thyroid checked.) No, during March, I mostly talked about books and reading.

April was lonely. It was lonely because I wanted to talk about it – all of it – but I didn’t want to talk about it online, and by and large, that’s how my community has been done the past few years … online. I was hearing so much from my parents about how preventable the whole situation (health and insurance) was, I really didn’t need to hear any more well-meaning tips and lectures. I needed a hug and someone to listen to my side of things over a cup of (black, haha) coffee.

So in April, I was pretty quiet. I did end up tackling loneliness, at least a little:

On the other hand, I hold back.  With a few notable exceptions, this is how I have lived my life.  After all, if I have to make transitions, why not make them as easy on myself as possible?  Except living life this way doesn’t actually make things easier at all.  It’s made it much, much harder, and I’m realizing it much, much too late.

In May, I started making some changes, starting with church. Don’t get me wrong, I had been attending a great church throughout 2014 and into 2015, but that’s all I was really doing. I hadn’t really connected with anyone and so much of that had to do with a beyond hectic and unpredictable work schedule, and the rest of it had to do with the aforementioned why bother relationship ethic I’d developed. It wasn’t me at all, but at that point, I kind of figured most people there had given up on me, so I started over at another church, which was neither my best nor my worst idea.

I didn’t talk about this either, at least, not literally, because the Lord knows I am a recovering church hopper, and if there’s something the Church doesn’t like, it’s a hopper. I started writing posts with more substance, though, and got back to anecdotes. I also wrote my most popular post this year – about the Duggar’s – in May. (Well, I say it was about the Duggar’s. Really, it was about justice.)

At the end of June, there was an intervention staged in my honor by my Dad concerning me not taking very good care of myself. This has been the nature of every lecture and intervention that I can remember. And it’s hard to explain the why to my dad, because the fact that I sometimes get depressed and have more difficulty functioning is not something that has ever registered with him, since I gather depression is not supposed to be a Christian reality. His thought was that I was doing too much between three jobs, and that I had very little to show for the work I was putting in, especially in the newest one I’d acquired. (It was royalties-based). Add to that, I couldn’t afford to really take care of myself and the health issues that had cropped up for me. (Seriously, is the Affordable Care Act affordable for anybody?) So, even though I loved my authors and their books, I decided to step down in most of my marketing projects to do things like eat and sleep. (I stepped down from the rest of my projects soon after).

I really didn’t want to talk about that, so I spent most of the month talking about reading and writing.

A big shift happened for me in July.  I decided, not for the first time this year, that I was going to live my life, after a sermon on money (of all things) at church. Money is always my biggest reason to not do anything, and I made up my mind it wasn’t going to be that way anymore. There were things I wanted to do and see, and I was going to do and see them. I started with an impromptu road trip that same day, and two weeks later I headed to Oklahoma City on a trip that literally changed my life’s direction, when I realized God was saying, “Yeah, it’s not time” about Seattle, yet again. For whatever reason, I was more open to hearing it at that point.

God opened the doors for a relocation to Oklahoma City in August, and I did a lot of reading and launch prep for the republication of The Field for Vox Dei. And in September, I moved.

Since moving, I’ve been readjusting to a more traditional church atmosphere, which given my background, really shouldn’t be difficult, but it’s not without it’s challenges. I’m also trying to connect better with people, not just at church, but at work as well, and looking for new social opportunities with people my age. I’ve been trying to feel out my community, especially my apartment complex, for ministry opportunities. I’m learning about sensitivity and identity. I’m learning that I don’t have to be just one thing, but I don’t have to be all the things, either. I’m learning about patience.  And moderation. And compassion for local and global issues. And empowerment.

Most of all, between reading this blog and my journals over the past year, and noting the discrepancies between the two, I’m learning I don’t want to be a brand either. I don’t want to just pick certain parts of myself to share (like, “Reading, Writing, and Matters of Faith”), and completely leave out others (like science and history and my completely dorky side or anything else I might develop an interest in). I want to be able to talk about the stuff that’s impacting me. Instead, the first thing I’m asking before posting is, “Does it fit my brand?” And now all it feels like I am online is a brand.

Naturally, I have plans to change that, because this isn’t working for me – this writing a post at the end of the year to let you know what actually happened in my year. This blog should be actual, not blow by blow by any means, but realistic about what I’m going through.

And that’s going to be my starting point for 2016…

 

 

 

 

 

O Little Town of Bethlehem

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”

~Micah 5:2

 O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given;
so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
o come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel!

~Phillips Brooks

Merry Christmas, y’all! Remember that God’s business is often done in unexpected places this holiday season.

My #1LineWed Offering: How to Handle Nosy Relatives

This week, for ‪#‎1lineWed (the theme is Christmas or a festive occasion) on Twitter, I’m offering some awkward questions and answers that come up around my characters’ dinner table, and some of the responses.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll find some inspiration for how to handle your own nosy relatives this holiday season. Though … hopefully your family gatherings don’t go down this way.

Christmas Q1

“You two have been married five years.” It’s an accusation from Mrs. DeBoer, leveled at my husband and I. “When are you going to have children?”

Joey puts an arm around me. “We’re not. At least, not biologically.”

 

Christmas Q2

“So, Julia,” Mrs. DeBoer says, “have you met a young man yet?”

A smile plays at the corner of Julia’s mouth. “I’ve met a lot of young men, Mrs. DeBoer.”

I snort, but Ashlee shakes her head. “That is not what Momma DeBoer meant, Julia. She’s teasing, Momma.”

“Oh,” Mrs. DeBoer says, winking. “How do you meet all of these young men?”

“The usual places,” Julia says. “Just today, I met one on the street.”

“Well,” Daddy says, “you know where to send them if it ever gets serious.”

Christmas Q3

When she comes back, she places her hands on her hips. “I love you, Marti, but seriously now. Why?”

I busy myself packaging leftovers. “Why is he so nosy?”

“He’s not nosy,” Ashlee replies. “He’s interested.”

“I’ll say,” Julia says.

 

Christmas Q4 Christmas Q5

“It’s probably just as well,” Pastor DeBoer says. “Have I ever told you that some people believe the antichrist will be the product of an interracial union?”

“Yes,” I say. “You’ve mentioned it a time or two.”

Before I can launch into an eschatological lecture, Joey says, “Did you hear that from the same people who told you about the uteruses of women on birth control?”

The 2015 Thomas Review Book Awards

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Goodreads tells me that I’ve read 41 books this year. My goal was 52, so I didn’t make that, and for ethical reasons, I couldn’t review all of them. I did want to take a post to recognize some of the truly exceptional stories I’ve read and characters I’ve met throughout the year. Without further ado…

Best Male Character. Without a doubt, this goes to Will of Ashley Townsend’s Shadows Trilogy.

I get Will, and I am so thankful for the grace and empathy Ashlee displayed writing his character.  Most Christian writers don’t have the ability to write a character like him without getting preachy, but she did an excellent job.  There was actually a point where Will was discussing some of his issues, and I actually cried.

Because besides relating to him, he’s actually this really knowledgeable and skilled character, with an incredible sense of purpose.

“To stop yourself from feeling is like ceasing to live; life no longer holds meaning.  Hurt, anger, pain, desire, compassion, love – they’re what make us human.  They’re what living is all about. Being able to feel is something we shouldn’t take for granted or push away when offered.”

I truly can’t commend Ashley enough for Will’s character.  While very much a hero, Will realizes both his own brokenness and the broken situations around him.  He struggles to fight through those situations, and even learns a little bit how to let someone else fight for him.

“I have always wondered,” he began slowly, drawing the words out, “if my failure was because I lacked conviction to follow through, or perhaps I was afraid of death and wasn’t aware of it.”

Best Female Character. The best female character I read this year was Sparrow from Hilarey Johnson’s Sovereign Ground.

I completely identify with Sparrow’s desire to be free (and also, her love of grape pop), so while I have never had to face the choices she faces, I understand why she makes them. Sparrow is direct, smart (an avid reader), and strong, and so not only is Sovereign Ground a great story, Sparrow is a great protagonist.

Runners up in this category include Ruby from Jenna Zark’s The Beat on Ruby’s Street and Isa Maxwell from Ana Spoke’s Shizzle, Inc.

Best Supporting Character. The Best Supporting Character goes to Addy from Penelope A. Brown’s The Gatekeeper’s Forbidden Secret.

Addy was my favorite character, reminding me of my younger self with her wild imagination and dolls and stories. When I was little I had a fake phone on which I talked to all of my imaginary friends. Anyway, as I got older my grandma told me that the way I talked she would have sworn someone was on the other end. Maybe there was, Grandma. Maybe there was.

Best Couple. Best couple goes to Chase and Mads from Emerald Barnes’ Entertaining Angels and Before We Say I Do. They’re just super adorable. ‘Nuff said.

The runners up in this category are Macy and Dillon from RJ Conte’s The 12th Girl in Heaven.

Fiction That Needs to Hit the Big Screen. Tabitha Caplinger’s Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline.

It’s a great alternative to much of what exists in the YA market. This is both praise for Caplinger and Vox Dei Publishing (full disclosure: my publisher) because they have managed to bring a story that contains the classic elements of YA fiction (difficulties navigating high school relationships, a romantic element, and intrigue, to name a few), yet manages to empower teens at the same time. The teens in this story are kind and brave and relatable (i.e. not perfect), and they also have mentors who care for them and speak into their lives, something that is all-too-often missing in YA fiction, and perhaps in real life. (Let’s bring that back, shall we?)

Runner up in this category is Heather Huffman’s Ties that Bind.

Best in Fantasy. Best in Fantasy goes to Elise Stephens’ Guardian of the Gold Breathers.

When his mother remarries a disgraced scientist, their new family moves to a country estate where Liam discovers a world beyond his own.This book has the feel of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield and George MacDonald’s At The Back of the North Wind, so I’m not surprised how much I enjoyed it. It’s the perfect blend of reality and fantasy, bittersweet in its execution.

Best in Literary Fiction. Best in Literary Fiction goes to Run, River Currents by Ginger Marcinkowski.

This story is harrowing, absolutely harrowing. I cried as it ended, because it was so familiar. I am so, so grateful for its brutal honesty, and yet, it ended in a tone of hope. It gave me courage, and it gave me hope.

Runner up in this category is A Decent Woman by Eleanor Parker Sapia.

Best Family Saga. Best in Family Saga goes to Last Child by Terry Tyler.

Hannah was my favorite character from Kings and Queens, so I was overjoyed to see her in the role of narrator for this book. I thought Raine, Isabella, and Amy were fantastic characters, but I adored Erin – a woman after my own heart right there, not to mention she was a refreshing change from the “woman scorned” characters that preceded her.

Best Memoir. Best in Memoir goes to The House on Sunset by Lindsey Fischer.

You may wonder why I – a single, independent twenty-something woman – picked up a memoir on domestic violence. It’s simple, really: before Lindsay met Mike, she was a single, independent twenty-something woman, too. I hope this doesn’t sound too terrible, but since I personally dread getting into a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, I was hoping to glean some advice as to how to avoid one.

What I found was a woman looking for love and acceptance, like any of us might be at any given time. What I found was a woman who learned rejection from a mother who learned it from her mother. (Something I deeply relate to).  I found was a woman who internalized so much pain for so long she began taking it out on herself. What I found was an optimist, a healer, a lover. What I found was impossibly complex.

Runner up in this category goes to Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter by Sarahbeth Caplin.

Best Non-Fiction. Best in Non-Fiction goes to Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster.

I was surprised to find it was very much in line with my theology, which has drastically changed in the past year or so. Shocked, actually. I didn’t expect to be pumping my fist in the air, saying, “Yes! Somebody gets it!” but that’s what ended up happening. And because Foster includes many thoughts from theologians from history, it was comforting to realize that the things I have come to believe about God are not new and untested; in fact, they are ancient and respected. Foster introduced me to concepts I’d never heard of, but that made perfect sense.

Runner up in this category is Pulpits and Pink Lipstick by Tabitha Caplinger.

Best Fiction. Best in Fiction goes to There and Back by George MacDonald.

In There and Back, George MacDonald did for me what Dickens never could: he went to that deepest level and he lived there with the story and characters. The story takes place in nineteenth-century England, and follows the aristocratic Lestrange family and those who cross their paths, from other aristocrats to tradesmen to clergy. MacDonald explores the social, emotional, and spiritual standing and evolution of every character he introduces. It’s a complex look at how people’s philosophies shape how they relate to God and one another. No less important is the gritty look at why a good God allows bad things to happen – an age old question, I think.

I’m actually feeling a little burnt out on reading and reviewing, so I think I’m going to try a different approach – in 2016. I’ll probably still do little reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but reserve blog space for more analytical and critical reviews – maybe once a month or something. I don’t know. I just know I’m not going to attempt 52 books in one year ever again, haha. (Probably).

 

 

 

Breath of Heaven

On Sunday morning at my church’s Christmas program, I’m going to be singing Amy Grant’s Breath of Heaven. I love this song – have always loved this song – from Mary’s perspective about mothering God’s Son. There’s the scandal, the fear, the isolation, the awe, and the faith all at once.

I’ve been meditating on how Breath of Heaven is used as a name for God in the song, a cry to God, as all His names are. It’s a beautiful expression, Breath of Heaven, but it’s not used in the Bible, and I’ve been wondering what to make of it.

Earlier, I ran into this quote that I posted a year ago (those On This Day posts are actually good for reminding you about something other than ex-boyfriends as it turns out): “The ‘summum bonum’ [greatest good] is therefore the work of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father’s testimony to men. He is the wisdom that sits by the throne of God. He is the expression and vindication of God among men. His life will more and more express itself through the sons of God among men” (John Loren and Paula Sandford, The Elijah Task: A Call to Today’s Prophets and Intercessors, emphasis mine).

What is breath, but life?

“In Him [the Word, Jesus] was life” (John 1:4).

“Whoever believes in Him [Jesus] shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself” (John 5:26).

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b).

“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

“This is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

And what is life, but the presence of God?

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11 NIV)

It seems in this song that Mary is making an appeal to the Life-Giver, to the presence of God, further evidenced in the lyrics “Be with me now” (verse 1) and “Be forever near me” (chorus). And the power of God’s presence was not to have the overwhelming task of mothering Jesus taken away, but to have God with her in it, surrounded by God Himself.

It’s evidence is all throughout her life. Not long after her conception, she visited her cousin Elisabeth who instantly recognized God’s blessing in her life because her own baby leapt in her womb. Her fiancé first made a decision to leave her quietly so as not to shame her, but upon God’s conviction, married her and took care of their family. We know Mary and Joseph went on to have more children. Even dying on the cross, Jesus made sure she would be taken care of (John 19:25-27).

And that’s the essence of the Christmas message, isn’t it? God with us? That in our sorrow, hardships, and humanity, we can make the same appeal to the Breath of Heaven.

Breath of Heaven/Hold me together/Be forever near me/Breath of Heaven/Breath of Heaven/Lighten my darkness/Pour over me your holiness/For you are holy/Breath of Heaven.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

My Distant Cousins, The Quakers

Whenever I think of Quakers, I think of the man on Quaker Oats. (Naturally.)

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I didn’t grow up exposed to the Quakers, or anything they believed. In fact, the only thing I really knew about them was that they were distantly related to the Plymouth Brethren Assemblies, the non-denomination in which I was raised. (Literally. One of the Plymouth Brethren founders, Benjamin Newton, was related to the prominent Quaker Fox family.) Oh, and I read about a Quaker family in Katherine Paterson’s Lyddie, so I had this idea in my head that they were kind of like the Amish. That was the extent of my Quaker education until earlier this year.

I was visiting a church this spring (Shout out to Ranchland Church in McKinney, Texas!), and we were in the middle of a series in Psalms. In the bulletin one Sunday, there were two quotes about rest from a book called The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster. (Y’all know how I am about rest, and if you don’t, just read my old blog.) Together, the quotes convinced me: I needed to read this book. A few weeks later, I noticed it on the shelf at Half-Price Books, and picked it up.

The Foreword, given by D. Elton Trueblood, informed me that not only was the author a Quaker, but that the book itself was heavily-influenced by Quaker tradition. For whatever reason, I thought, What am I getting myself into? Despite the quotes that had drawn me to the book, the word Quaker made me think I was about to be subjected to something legalistic and patriarchal and punishing.

I was surprised to find it was very much in line with my theology, which has drastically changed in the past year or so. Shocked, actually. I didn’t expect to be pumping my fist in the air, saying, “Yes! Somebody gets it!” but that’s what ended up happening. And because Foster includes many thoughts from theologians from history, it was comforting to realize that the things I have come to believe about God are not new and untested; in fact, they are ancient and respected. Foster introduced me to concepts I’d never heard of, but that made perfect sense.

In this book, Foster combines the things I love about the Plymouth Brethren and Baptist traditions and what I have gleaned from the Pentecostal tradition. To be honest, I’m not sure if that combination is Quaker tradition, or if it’s some mixture of Quaker tradition and what Foster has come to on his own, but I really, really appreciated it.

And guess what? The chapter on submission changed my outlook on the Epistles.

The Epistles first call to subordination those who, by virtue of the given culture, are already subordinate [wives, children, slaves]. The revolutionary thing about this teaching, to whom first-century culture afforded no choice at all, are addressed as free moral agents. Paul gave moral responsibility to those who had no legal or moral status in their culture. He made decision-makers of people who were forbidden to make decisions.

It is astonishing that Paul called them to subordination since they were already subordinate by virtue of their place in first-century culture. The only meaningful reason for such a command was the fact that by virtue of the gospel message they had come to see themselves as free from a subordinate status in society. The gospel had challenged all second-class citizenships, and they knew it. Paul urged voluntary subordination not because it was their station in life, but because it was “fitting in the Lord.” (The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster)

The gospel calls everyone to die to themselves and submit, regardless of gender, race, or class. And so Paul isn’t saying, “Because you’re a wife/child/slave, it’s your role to submit.” He’s saying, “Regardless of your status, because of Christ, you are free to submit.” And that, to me, makes all of the difference.

And then there’s the distancing from Calvinism, which, Lord knows I’ve never been particularly sold because I wasn’t raised that way, in spite of many noble attempts to persuade me in that direction over the years.

A popular teaching today instructs us to praise God for the various difficulties that come into our lives, asserting that there is great transforming power in thus praising God. In its best form such teaching is a way of encouraging us to look up the road a bit through the eye of faith and see what it will be. It affirms in our hearts the joyful assurance that God takes all things and works them for the good of those who love him. In its worst form this teaching denies the vileness of evil and baptizes the most horrible tragedies as the will of God. Scripture commands us to live in a spirit of thanksgiving in the midst of all situations; it does not command us to celebrate the presence of evil. (The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster)

I haven’t believed in a god who wills evil and horrible tragedies in years. I have never taken comfort in a god who would put people through hell for his own glory. I do believe in a God who is good and wills good things, and who, in the midst of glaring human failure, brings restoration. It was good to hear someone say what I’ve been thinking about that other god – that perversion no doubt perpetuated by the enemy.

I was also reminded that Christian community is not so much about shared beliefs as it is about being a group and not a group of individuals.

Dallas Willard states, “The aim of God in history is the creation of an all-inclusive community of loving persons, with Himself included in that community as its prime sustainer and most glorious inhabitant.” Such a community lives under the immediate and total rulership of the Holy Spirit. They are a people blinded to all other loyalties by the splendor of God, a compassionate community embodying the law of love as seen in Jesus Christ. They are an obedient army of the Lamb of God living under the Spiritual Disciplines, a community in the process of total transformation from the inside out, a people determined to live out the demands of the gospel in a secular world. They are tenderly aggressive, meekly powerful, suffering, and overcoming. (The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster)

Cue High School Musical‘s “We’re All in This Together.”

What I realized most reading The Celebration of Discipline is that the Quakers, those distant cousins of the Plymouth Brethren, are not so far removed from me.

10 Things Abraham Lincoln Never Said

I mean, probably not, anyway.

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It’s widely believed that this is from William Makepeace Thackeray to one Laurence Hutton, and that the actual quote is, “Whatever you are, try to be a good one.”

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It’s sage advice, but it’s also been attributed to Mark Twain, Solomon, and someone named Maurice Switzer, who I’d never heard of before today.

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Actually, he said, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

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Most likely an English adaptation of a French poem by Alphonse Karr.

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The earliest versions of this quote are actually from scientists, which, you know, actually makes sense.

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I wonder just how long it would have taken Mr. Lincoln to locate a tree in Illinois.

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Pretty sure Joel Osteen said this.

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What he actually said was a lot more powerful: “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide.”

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See also, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.”

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Just how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

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And that really sums it up.

It’s a meme world, and we’re all just living in it, but I think all of us need to do a better job verifying that what we’re sharing is accurate. Accurately-quoted and accurately-attributed. There is so much bad information out there it’s ridiculous, but we (yes, I’m guilty too) share it because it justifies our point of view or inspires us or maybe some combination of both. On top of that, we’re losing the richness of original quotes in trying to make them more gimmicky and fit for the internet.

Come on, now. We’re better than this. Let’s be fact-checkers. Let’s say more of what we think and less of what other people think, and when we must rely on the words of others, let’s use their actual words. Let’s have intelligent conversations with each other, and use memes for fun. (And if you’re not sure how to do that, I can direct you to some awesome people who can show you how to meme).