A New Office and an Old Saint

Monday, October 28, 2013

The title is a little misleading. I have a newly remodeled office in the same place it has been for the last year and a half, and sixty-four isn’t old these days. I’m also using the word “saint” in its secular meaning rather than its Christian one (although Roland meets that one, too, in the sense that all Christians are saints).

I’ve been wanting wood floors in my office ever since we moved into this condo and I ended up in a carpeted room, but we didn’t have the time or the money then. I also got stuck with the wrong bookcases, which looked the worse for wear after surviving the flood of 2008. (My April 30, 2012 post explains how I ended up with them.)

So I’m excited that I finally got to redo my office. You can see the new cherry floors in the picture at the top of this post and two of my four new bookcases in the one below. I also got new window coverings, and we painted the walls a mint green.

Roland painted the walls, that is. He also assembled the bookcases and helped me move the heavier furniture out of and back into the office. Then there is the fact that my meticulous husband was willing to spend half a week in cramped rooms filled with extra furniture and piles of books.
I knew on my wedding day that I was marrying a keeper. I still know it over thirty-four years later.
The office needed a makeover, but I’ll take the saint just as he is.

Sharing Blog Posts

Monday, October 21, 2013

This is not a legal blog, nor is it aimed at writers (although I do have some writers among my audience). But recently I’ve had several inquiries about using material posted on other blogs, so I thought you might be interested in how the copyright laws apply. That way, if you want to pass on an interesting post, you’ll know what to do.

Blog posts are copyrighted. They don’t require any magic words or even the copyright symbol. Just assume that you need permission to copy them for distribution.

You can provide a link, however. Research papers include a bibliography so that others can find the sources and read them. A link is simply another way of providing source information.

There are three exceptions to the general rule that you need to get permission. While they are too complicated for a blog post, I have included brief summaries. For a more detailed discussion, see my book Writers in Wonderland: Keeping Your Words Legal (KP/PK Publishing 2013), available from Amazon.

  • Titles, names, short phrases, slogans, ideas, and facts cannot be copyrighted.

  • “Fair” uses. The copyright laws protect fair uses, but what uses are fair? Unfortunately, there is no bright-line test. Still, the courts usually find that parody, reviews, news reporting, and research are fair uses as long as the user doesn’t borrow more than is necessary to make his or her point. Reprinting an entire blog post is rarely a fair use.

  • Material in the public domain is not protected by copyright. Works that were published before 1923 are in the public domain. Some later works are, too, but there the rules get trickier. If a blog quotes something you know is in the public domain (e.g., a sonnet by William Shakespeare), you can use the quoted material any way you wish.

If you want to share a blog post and don’t know whether your use falls within an exception, get permission or just provide the link. It’s as simple as that.

Wanted: Superhuman Pastor

Monday, October 14, 2013

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and I’m dedicating this post to my son-in-law, Peter Ill (shown in the picture on his ordination day), and my pastor, Donald Stock. The two men are in similar positions right now. Each is currently serving as the associate pastor of a large church (over 1,000 members) with a school and a senior pastor vacancy, meaning that each is currently the sole pastor of a congregation that should have at least two pastors.

As a minister’s daughter, I know what congregations expect from their pastors and their pastors’ families. Here is a template want ad for a senior pastor, but it works equally well for associate, assistant, and sole pastors. If your denomination ordains women, feel free to change the gender-specific words.

Wanted, Senior Pastor. Position requires 150 hours a week attending meetings, counseling members, visiting the sick, teaching confirmation and Bible classes, leading services, and evangelizing. [If the church has a school, add “The position also requires working with school staff to raise funds and pacify the parent-teacher’s association.”] The winning candidate will be a dedicated family man who is actively involved in the community and spends many hours in Bible study and prayer. Someone who can go without sleep is preferred. Sermons should rival those of great orators such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, and Billy Graham but must be given extemporaneously since the pastor will not have time to prepare them in advance. The candidate must be all things to all men, women, and children. Sinners need not apply.

The ideal candidate will have a spouse who views being a pastor’s wife as her full-time occupation and who will also be a dedicated wife and mother. Children should be perfect angels who can spout Scripture upon demand and unselfishly stand aside to let other children attend events with limited capacity or win awards that the minister’s child has earned.

Pastor and family are not allowed to complain about anything that happens at church or home. They must be gracious at all times, even when the congregation cuts the pastor’s salary or insurance benefits and provides substandard housing.

If you are qualified for this position, please send your resume to [fill in name and address here].

Satire aside, this is the month to make a special effort to say thank-you and pray for your pastor. I emphasize special effort because you should be doing both all year long.

Thank you, Pastors Ill and Stock. I’m praying for you.

Natural Strength Training

Monday, October 7, 2013

I walk regularly, but I’m remiss in my strength training.
Except for this past Friday.
I’ll be re-doing my office later this month, with wood floors and new paint and window coverings. But I also ordered four bookcases to replace the crummy ones I have now. Although I don’t need them for almost three weeks, I placed the order early because the website made it sound as if the free delivery came by mule cart.
When I returned from my walk on Friday morning, there were four big boxes in the hall outside my condo unit. Each box was 72 by 18 inches and, according to the information stamped on it, weighed 98.56 pounds. I wish I’d taken a picture of the boxes stacked in the hall, but I had already brought them inside before I thought of it. The picture at the top of this post shows two of the boxes after I wrestled them into our unit.
My first thought was that the boxes were too narrow. At that point, I fervently hoped that the back came in two pieces (it did). Since Roland was at work, my second thought was to wonder how I would get them into the unit all by myself. I suppose I could have called a neighbor for help, but I’m too stubborn.
One box was standing on end, leaning against the wall. I managed to shuffle all 100 pounds of it to the door, angle it slightly to get it over the threshold, and lean it against the wall in the foyer. A second box was lying on top of the other two, so I slid it off and wrestled it onto its end. Then I shuffled it in as I had done with the first one.
The other two were a bigger challenge. From their totally prone position, where was no way I could get them to stand on end. Shoving them from behind looked as if it would work until I bumped up against the threshold. Unfortunately, I couldn’t lift them even the fraction of an inch necessary to get them over it.
But human ingenuity is a marvelous thing. I used a screwdriver to cut the tops open, then removed several shelves. That lightened each box enough so I could lift it slightly and slide it over the threshold. The open end of the box also gave me a handhold to pull rather than push. You can see the open ones in the last picture.

I’m just grateful that someone let the delivery men into the building so I didn’t have to get those boxes into the elevator and down the hall.

But who needs a gym for strength training when bookcases will do?