blogging for dummies

I came across this article yesterday, and I found it quite humorous and interesting. I wouldn't nescessarily heed all of Tony's advice, though he has a lot of good things to say. He seems to be a "pro-blogger", if there is such a thing. I've edited most of it, because Tony seems to have a problem with using apostrophes. And, anywhere you see a missing number or an ellipsis (...), that means that I have cut out some of Tony's words. And where you see [brackets], I have changed his word to a softer, less harsh one of my own or added new words where I felt nescessary. ;) Anyway, I wanted to share this with you all, because I think a lot of people should take some of what he says and apply it to their blogs. Especially the part about changing my cursor to a butterfly. Ugh. I can't stand that! Once again, I will remind you all that I don't agree with all that he said. What I don't agree with, however, I find humorous. Hopefully it will give you a good laugh as well. :)


how to blog by tony pierce, 110

1. Write every day.

2. If you think you're a good writer, write twice a day.

3. Don't be afraid to do anything. In fact, if you're afraid of something, do it. Then do it again. And again.

5. Don't tell your mom, your work, your friends, the people you want to date, or the people you want to work for about your blog. If they find out and you'd rather they didn't read it, ask them nicely to grant you your privacy.

6. Have comments. Don't be upset if no one writes in your comments for a long time. Eventually they'll write in there. If people start acting mean in your comments, ask them to stop; they probably will.

7. Have an email address clearly displayed on your blog. Sometimes people want to tell you that you rock in private.

8. Don't worry very much about the design of your blog. Image is a fakeout.

9. Use
Blogger. It's easy, it's free; and because they are owned by Google, your blog will get spidered better, you will show up in more search results, and more people will end up at your blog. Besides, all the other blogging software & alternatives pretty much suck.

10. Use spellcheck unless you're completely, totally keeping it real. But even then you might want to use it if you think you wrote something really good.

11. Say exactly what you want to say no matter what it looks like on the screen. Then say something else. Then keep going. And when you're done, re-read it, edit it, hit publish and forget about it.

12. Link like crazy. Link anyone who links you, link your favorites, link your friends. Don't be a prude. Linking is what seperates bloggers from apes. And especially link if you're trying to prove a point and someone else said it first. It lends credibility even if you're full of [crap].

13. If you haven't written about...religion and politics in a week, you're probably playing it too safe, which means you probably [messed] up on #5, in which case [you should] start a second blog and keep your big mouth shut about it this time.

14. Remember: nobody cares which N*Sync member you are, what State you are, which Party of Five kid you are, or which Weezer song you are. The second you put one of those things on your blog you need to delete your blog and try out for the marching band. Similarly, nobody gives a [crap] what the weather is like in your town, nobody wants you to change their cursor into a butterfly, nobody wants to vote on whether your blog is hot or not, and nobody gives a rat's [butt] what song you're listening to. Write something Real for you, about you, every day. (
See, I slightly (personally) disagree with the part about "what song you're listening to", because, :shrug:, I kind of enjoy finding out what songs people are listening to, what mood they're in, etc. I think it's interesting, and sort of sets up for their blog post. It almost gives you an idea of who they are.)

15. Don't be afraid if you think something has been said before. It has. And better. Big whoop. Say it anyway using your own words as honestly as you can. Just let it out.

16. Get
Site Meter and make it available for everyone to see. If you're embarrassed that not a lot of people are clicking over to your page, don't be embarrassed by the number, be embarrassed that you actually give a crap about hits to your gay blog. It really is just a blog. And hits really don't mean anything. You want Site Meter, though, to see who is linking you so you can thank them and so you can link them back. Similarly, use Technorati, but don't obsess. Write.

17. People like pictures. Use them. Save them to your own server, or use Blogger's free service. If you don't know how to do it,
learn. Also get a Buzznet account. Several things will happen once you start blogging, one of them is you will learn new things. That's a good thing.

18. Before you hit Save as Draft or Publish Post, select all and copy your masterpiece. You are using a computer and the internet, [bad stuff] can happen. No need to lose a good post.

19. Push the envelope in what you're writing about and how you're saying it. Be more and more honest. Get to the root of things. Start at the root of things and get deeper. Dig. Think out loud. Keep typing. Keep going. Eventually you'll find a little treasure chest. Every time you blog, this can happen if you let it.

20. Change your style. Mimic people. Write beautiful lies. Dream in public...cry scream fight sing...and don't be afraid to be funny. The easiest thing to do is whine when you write. Don't be lazy.
audblog at least once a week.

21. Write open letters. Make lists...Lead by example. Invent and reinvent yourself. Start by writing about what happened to you today. For example: today I told a hot girl how wonderfully hot she is.

22. When in doubt, review something. There's not enough reviews on blogs. Review a movie you just saw, a tv show, a cd, a kiss you just got, a restaurant, a hike you just took, anything.

23. Constantly write about the town that you live in.

24. Out yourself. Tell your secrets. You can always delete them later.

25. Don't use your real name. Don't write about your work unless you don't care about getting fired.

27. Nobody likes poems. Don't put your poems on your blog. Not even if they're incredible. Especially if they're incredible. Odds are they're not incredible. Bad poems are funny sometimes though, so fine, put your dumb poems on there. whatever.

28. Tell us about your friends.

29. Don't apologize about not blogging. Nobody cares. Just start blogging again.

30. Read tons of blogs and leave nice comments.

Courtesy of tonypierce.com


God bless,


who will chase the clouds away

I wish that I could say
The world was one and fighting was a fable
And that greed would turn the table
I wish for peace
I wish for peace

I wish that I could see
A world that can be free with no more crying
Oh but some of us are trying
I wish for peace
I wish for peace

Who will hold the children near
If there’s a painful tear
Who will chase the clouds away

Why pretend that there’s no God
Why pretend that there’s no love to wrap around you
I speak justice to confound you
I pray for peace
I pray for peace

Michelle Tumes


Hello Friends and my family,

Peace.....those are the words echoing in my heart. Peace, yet not the words echoing in the world around me. So, let me tell you how I got to peace. To begin, I arrived safely back in South Africa December 29th at 10:00 p.m. Only to realize I had not been accompanied by my luggage, which was still in Amsterdam. So I drove home, only to get to sleep around 1-sh. I then woke at 5 to meet up with my team which was waiting for me at 6 to leave. Little did I know about my next two days. We, the leaders of c-kruis 2005 were going on a hike/adventure/rough bonding type experience. So we all left and funny enough the whole point of the hike was to only have the clothes on your back, so that solved my luggage crisis. During this two day hike we walked, sweat and burned in the sun, slept under the stars on the cold ground, and ate our live chicken (we were given as an extra team member) for food. This hike definitely served its purpose. Ok, so then January 1st came and the teams all arrived and now it's their turn to experience bonding for four days while we, the leaders, sit back and drink our coffee and watch (one of the glories of being at the top I've learned to appreciate). So the teams survived their bonding torture we call ADVENTURE CAMP which took place in Caroliena - beautiful farm land full of God's special touch. After A-Camp we all arrived at our beautiful new training grounds call Donker Hoek, which means Dark Corner. Interesting connotation seeing as we are the light of the world.

So training has been happening for an entire month already. We had our first show/dress rehearsal on Wednesday which I, myself, co-produced with my other producer, Elonie. It was a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun. The first team started their dress rehearsal at 7 pm and finished at 12 am. Then my team started at 12 am and finished at 5 am. It was one of the longest nights of my life. But I am young and I have the whole weekend off at the moment, so I intend to catch up on some sleep. I have been so busy since I've arrived. I am doing alot of choreography for all the new shows, as well as co-writing and touching up on all the last minute preparations. As well, I started back with taking Ballet and will take my last exam in May. I am also busy counseling and shepherding five young first year ladies, which has been a huge challenge for me. I am learning how to live and breathe integrity. Yet, since I 've been here and jumped into this whirlwind life of mine, God has placed a peace in my heart. I often times feel I don't spend nearly enough time with Him like I used to and yet He just reminds me that He's with me all during my day. He attends every class, rehearsal, and conversation or meeting I'm in. So this peace has been my stability in my too-busy lifestyle I've chosen. Please know I do find time to miss home. I think of you so often. Often when I am somewhere watching something too beautiful to describe, I often miss you. I wish you could see what I see, and experience what I experience. To end off, I want to tell you that my passion, my dreams, my zealous love for the Lord are being fanned by his hand. The Lord is busy fanning this flame, which is extremely exciting because my vision, I believe, is in the process of being reformed again to include more of my future. This has been good for my spirit and soul. Thank you for your time. Please excuse my delay in getting this to ya'll. I trust your lives are in the Lord's will as is mine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and continual love and devotion of my love for dancing and the Lord! May you be blessed through this year and further! Thank you again!

Dancingly His,


I received this lovely email from my sister today, and it's just amazing how much I needed to hear every word that she said. Peace is exactly what I'm not feeling at the moment, but she gives me such inspiration and a desire to strive for the peace that she has searched for for so many years. It's amazing to me that the same girl who often expressed to me her fear of leaving home at the age of 16 is now at peace about her future. Mash has reminded me that the peace of resting in the comfort of God's arms and being able to completely abandon yourself to His will is the greatest peace you will ever find. I just thought it was awesome how much this email spoke to me, and how perfectly on time it was ... I wanted to share it with you all in the hopes that you will be inspired by her persistence and faith.

God bless,


bringing you back home to stay

Each day, my Bible teacher writes a thought on the board that requires some intellectual brain power and some Bible meditating. I always look forward to the few simple words that will surprise me each day. When I really like them or get a lot from them, I will copy them into my planner and save them for personal use. I thought I'd share some of the most recent with you ...

Prayer is the exercise of drawing on the grace of God.
:: John 6:37

Jesus will be your Savior without your behavior. If you've allowed Him to be your Savior, He'll change your behavior.
:: Acts 20:21

When you live in the joy and peace of abandonement, you have the confidence that things will work out for your good God's way.

The difference between discouragement and encouragement is determined by whom you rely on - God or man.

God will do whatever is required to draw the impurities out of you And allow you to face them, so that He can deal with them And you can be set free.

These are yours to interpret. Take them however you wish, and hopefully you'll get something out of them. :)

My day today has been fairly uneventful. Went to school, which wasn't too incredibly exciting. I have either a test or quiz in every single class tomorrow excluding dance. What else is new? Haha. English was fun, though. Tiffany, Emily and Kalylan did their George Orwell project ("It's time for TEK Live!"). It was cute :-p, and very informative. Parts of it were spazmatic, but it got the point across, and it kept me awake. I was ready to doze off in geometry, and I could hardly grasp the concept Mr. Callahan was trying to drill into our brains because I was trying so hard to keep my eyes open. Stephanie, Jenna, Jason and I tried to (in a roundabout way) figure out our schedule for Senior Slave Day tomorrow, but I don't think we've come up with anything yet. Hopefully we'll figure out something soon! After school though, Jenna's taking me out to get ice cream, coffee or something of the sort, just so we can hang out and chat. I don't think Jason's coming, because he's leaving to go out of town or something. Anywho, that should be fun. Katie and Austin might come as well. Perhaps I should make them pay for some of Jenna. :-p

Uncle Richard's funeral was today, in Orlando. Had I not missed school on Tuesday, I would have been able to go, but I couldn't afford to miss another day. I'm already having make-up work issues. :sigh: But, I talked to my mom and she said it was a beautiful service. Then ... "The pastor read your letter." "My letter? What letter?" "The thing on your journal ... the online thing." "Oh! :eek: Why?" "Because it was beautiful!" Haha. Yeah, so, that little blurb a few posts back about Uncle Richard was read at his funeral. Kind of sweet - but odd at the same time. Makes me wish I had been there. ^_^

Well, I better head out and study for all of those stupid tests and quizzes I have tomorrow. Katie's coming over to hang out with me too while the rest of my family is coming home from Orlando (and Spencer is ... who knows where!). Hope you all have a great weekend!

God bless,

When every boat has sailed away
When every path is marked and paved
When every road has had its say
Then I'll be bringing you back home to stay
Josh Groban

exhaustion . fatigue . overtiredness

There's a point during the year when one feels as if one cannot go on anymore, as if life needs to come to a pause and everything would have a chance to catch up with him, as if the world is spinning and one is standing there watching time pass one by.

This is generally referred to as exhaustion.

Not simply being tired, however much of a factor that is. But, even more so, physical, emotional, spiritual and mental exhaustion.

I've reached that point.

I actually entertained the thought that perhaps I have mono, which I quickly denied, knowing that I could not deal with such a diagnosis at this stressful period of my life. However, I have come down with a case of exhaustion, and it's hit me like a ton of bricks. I was slipping last week before LADF, and that just completely tore me down. Now I feel as if I'll never be able to get back up. I'm almost prepared to spend the rest of my life in this state of exhaustion. It's strage though ... as I sit here discussing how exhausted I am, I still cannot bring myself to carry myself to my bedroom, take a shower and climb into bed, despite the ticking time clock (10:41...42...43...). Because, I know that whether I go to bed at 10:30, or 12:30 won't really matter at this point. I don't think it's possible to be any more exhausted than I already am ... so might as well endulge my exhaustion. :blink: Fascinating way to look at it, don't you think? Just when I think I've come to a place where I can rest, something else comes up, and the torturous cycle begins again. I feel as if I'm running on a hampster wheel ... not in the way people usually mean it, saying that they're life isn't going anywhere ... I just feel like my hampster wheel has popped off of the track and it's rolling all over the place and spinning out of control; it's unstoppable. Kind of like my schedule. It's endless. I could practically tell you what I'm doing every day through July.

Well, now that I've rambled about my exhaustion which I'm sure none of you were interested in ... I'm curious to know if anyone knows or understands this level of frustration that I've reached as well. Please, share your stories. Perhaps we can start a support group or something. Haha. Well, hope you all have a good, restful rest of the week.

God bless,



laughter in the silence

Uncle Richard can make anyone laugh. He always makes silly little comments that will take you a few seconds to catch onto, and then you will find yourself rolling on the floor, laughing, while he simply stands, amused by your reaction. He is the one who will tell a joke and then observe everyone else laughing at it - but he never cracks a smile himself. Inside though, he's bursting with joy.

Was bursting with joy, that is.

My great-uncle Richard died today. He was someone I wasn't very close to in person, but he was always close to my heart. I never knew him extremely well, but the few times we did spend together were some of the most special memories of my life. He was always happy, and he always had something uplifting and funny to say. He could make a random stranger on the street smile if he so wished. His life was always about serving others - very rarely did he think of only himself.

A few weeks ago, I told you about my grandparents' 50th anniversary party. Uncle Richard was my grandmother's brother - and he surprised her by coming. He had told her he wouldn't be able to make it, but he showed up, and I have never seen Mamaw so happy. He truly made the party for her, and the rest of us. It was the greatest surprise of the evening, and it is even more special now that he's gone (That was the last time any of us saw him). I think the Lord knew his time was coming, and He blessed us all with that one last chance to spend time with him. Thinking back, I wish that I had spent even more time with him. Now that he's gone, there is so much I would have loved to ask him and talk to him about that, for now, I simply have to keep to myself. In my life, I have been very blessed and have not had to experience death very often. I think the death of my great-uncle has impacted me the most. You always hear people say that when someone dies, they wish they could go back and change things, or make more of an effort. I never understood that until now. I knew Uncle Richard, but I wish I knew him even more. He was a wonderful man, and someone who left a beautiful mark on my life, despite the few moments we spent together.

Thank you, Uncle Richard, for teaching me that laughter is a wonderful thing ... especially in the silence of pain. While it is sad to see you go, we all know that you would never wish us to mourn for you - but rather to rejoice in the time we spent together and in the times we can look forward to spending with you in heaven. Your joy has brought this family through so much, and it is clear that you were a wonderful little brother to my grandmother. You have truly touched us all.

God bless,

P.S. Please, everyone pray for my grandmother. She is taking this the hardest of all. As I said, Uncle Richard touched my life so much, and I barely knew him. I can only imagine what an impact he had on his sister.


through dark there is Light

But the voice of truth
Tells me a different story
The voice of truth
Says 'do not be afraid'
And the voice of truth
Says this is for my glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe
The voice of truth
Casting Crowns

I just returned from the L.A. Dance Force competition in Daytona. While everyone on my team had previously been to atleast one other competition, I had never been to one before. As my teacher said, I was the "virgin competitor". Haha. It shocked me. Not only was the tecnique, for the most part, incredible and unbelievable, but ... the sin and filth that was present was astonishing. Literally, (excuse my french, but there is no other word to use) whores walking around; dancing in bra and underwear (spandex shorts, but might as well have been underwear). One of the teams did a dance wearing white pleated skirts that didn't even cover their butts (the black spandex was sticking out), black knee highs with bra straps hooked up to lacy underwear (that could also be seen out of the skirt), black zip hoodies that then unzipped only to reveal white shirts with their bras hanging out. I don't know if I've ever been so disgusted in my life. I wouldn't have worn that outfit, much less done the dance that they did for all of the money in the world. Even sicker was the fact that their moms were there, chearing them on, encouraging their daughters to flaunt their sacred bodies to the world. I felt sick after the fact and was hardly in a mind set to perform. But then, I started thinking about the words of the song of our first dance (I've posted them above for you) and I realized that us performing that dance was more than just the Providence Competition Team dancing to a Christian song. God had placed us there to be a light in this incredibly dark place. We had the opportunity to be used by the Lord in a most amazing way. And, I have to tell you, He truly blessed our efforts. Compared to these other competitors (despite their raunchy display, they had excellent technique - i.e. 5 pirouettes effortlessly, a group of 15 people doing 10 or so fouette's perfectly together...are you getting the idea?) we were on the lower end of the spectrum. Granted, it was our first time competing as a team, and most of these studios have been competing for years. But, even so, despite our lower level, we managed to score high enough for a silver medal (though we weren't in the top 5) with Voice of Truth, and we placed third with our jazz dance, Car Wash. I thought that was an incredible blessing, and a goal that could have only been achieved with the Lord as our dance partner. If you all had seen our competitors ... you probably wouldn't believe that we placed as well as we did. To be third out of this group is astonishing. But, how awesome that the Christian, clean, polite dance was awarded and I can only hope that we were a ministry to the people and judges that watched us. You know, our technique may not be as good as the rest of them, but we have something far more important, and we were dancing for someOne far more important. Because our attitude was simply to glorify the Lord, we were content with whatever He allowed to happen. And He exceeded our expectations, greatly.

I said all of that just to say that Christians, especially Christian dancers, are so few and far between these days. And in this sin-infested world, we must always be a reflection of Jesus Christ in the way we dance. I feel so blessed to have been able to share the Word of God through dance - a medium that most people watching that evening could understand. My prayer is that it truly touched someone, and has moved someone one step closer to finding their ultimate goal in life; because, life isn't all about the Platinum medals that you get in a dance competition, and it's not about how perfect your technique is or how together your fouettes are...but rather, it's about glorifying the Lord with every breath, every movement and every step, and I believe that is exactly what the Providence Competition Team did last night. Take hold of every opportunity to be a light for God's kingdom, and get to know the incredible blessing He gives you in return. It surpasses any medal that a human can give you. The silver medal each of holds in our hands is miniscule compared to the award of being a minister of God's amazing love. :)

God bless,


closing time

What a holiday season it has been! Hectic, fun, exciting, boring, crazy, stressful ... just about everything you could possibly imagine. I'm not going to bore you with all of the details, but overall it's been great; spending time with family, having time to actually sit down and read a good book, waking up every morning and just being able to reflect on everything God's done for me rather than jumping out of bed to get ready for school. Of course, this lovely reality will end tomorrow, when I go back to waking up at 6 every morning, when I stay up until midnight or so doing homework because I decided to read my new book first, when I sleep on ice and heat from dance pains, and when the routine is so drilled into my head that I could pratically be blindfolded and still make it through the week in one piece. Life is good, isn't it? Haha.

My grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary was on December 27th, and we (my mom and my aunt, really) gave them a huge party on the 29th at the Yacht Club. It was beautiful, and very fun reflecting on old memories. It's amazing to me that they have been through so much together. They were married when they were 19 and 20, and it's just simply incredible to me that they have spent over 50 years in each other's lives. There aren't many people today that make it to their 50th anniversary, and there will be even fewer in this generation ... people marry much later nowadays, and divorce more frequently. But, what a blessing and an example to witness this milestone for my grandparents. They have taught me so much, and seeing them come to this place in their life is just further reason for me to take what they say to heart. My Mamaw and Dedad are two of the most wonderful people I know, and I am so blessed to be a part of their lives. They have truly taught me, simply by living, that love isn't love until you die completely to yourself, surrender to God, and then share God's love with each other. Happy 50th Anniversary, Mamaw and Dedad! :)

Their wedding, 50 years ago.

On the other end of the spectrum, a old, dear friend of ours called yesterday and announced that he was engaged to his girlfriend of 3 (or so?) years. It's a wonderful thing, sort of. No one really likes Meagan, but I guess if Scott loves her - that's all that matters. :) He also told me that he cut his blonde/orange/white afro looking thing down to 1/8 of an inch. I'm still trying to picture Scott Weinstein bald and it's turning out to be a very wierd image. He went on to tell me that he's been traveling all over the country, doing a variety of commercials, magazine advertisements, music videos, etc... and his most recent project? A small speaking part and a background dancer in Paris Hilton's Pledge This! "Not a very clean movie," he says. "Well, Paris Hilton isn't much to speak of." "No, and neither is her talent. But my part ... I'm pretty good in it." :-p Haha. Count on Scott to mention that. So, it was good to hear from Scott after so long, and just thought it was funny ... the opposite ends of 50th anniversary and newly engaged (Christmas day, by the way). Congrats to you, Scott - and Meagan as well. :-p

Well, I must head out. There is so much to be done before I go back to dance tonight and school tomorrow. Hope you all have a blessed 2005 full of truth, beauty, freedom, and above all things ... love, in Jesus Christ!

God bless,