Tag Archives: souls

A Home Renovation Is Easier Than a Soul Upgrade


It was a joy last week to finally come out of the closet.

Well, perhaps I’d better rephrase that lest you get the wrong idea. And, to be completely accurate, I probably should say “out of the closets.” Two of them.

For clarity, maybe I’d better back up and take another run at this.

One of my sons and his sweet family are moving into a new old house. New to them. But very old. And they’re involved “up to their eyeballs” in serious renovation.

Part of the renovation involves the kind of wall work required when you take out old wall furnaces, ducts, and vent covers, alter some existing walls and deal with various imperfections in old ones. This involves sheet rock and drywall work. And that means slathering on mud (gypsum joint compound), putting on drywall tape, floating it out with two more coats of mud, and matching the old texture.

Call me weird, but I like “taping and bedding” sheetrock. I’ve made this deal with several folks: I’ll do the sheetrock finishing if you promise me I’ll never have to touch a paint brush. I do not like painting. By the way, want to watch a real craftsman? Take a look at any of the YouTube videos featuring Laurier Desormeaux. Poetry in motion with mud!

So, that deal made with my son (oh, did I remember to mention that deal specifically before I jumped in?), I got started. And I was quickly sent to a closet. Patched some holes. Re-sheeted the ceiling and a wall or two. Then finished it. (This description was time-altered. Drying between coats takes time.)

Then I was sent to another closet. A really small one with three walls and one needing to be built. Repeated the process above.

But with that one, I ran into a problem my son says he has already repeatedly hit head-on in this house. (Did I mention that it is a very old one?) Do I try to agree with Earth and gravity with regard to what is truly level, square, and plumb? (Folks may think everything from gender to the Ten Commandments is alterable depending upon the latest opinion poll, but the Earth is amazingly close-minded when it comes to items such as “square.”) Or do I give in and match the sags, pitches, and yaws of the old house? Or opt for a combination thereof and go for a split decision?

Well, for the closet in question, I went with Earth, deciding that inside that closet one door frame board that tapers from 3 inches to 1/2 inch will rarely be seen anyway. The real challenge there was to suck in enough of my girth to be able to climb in, turn around, occasionally change my mind or my knife angle, and not mud myself into the wall. Coming out of that closet eventually was a joy.

Maybe I like working with sheetrock occasionally because there’s really not much about it that can’t be easily fixed with a little mud. That sort of progress and healing in my own soul and those around me is not as easy to see. Sad to say, even that old house is far closer to plumb, square, and level than my life has ever been.

But the renovation that I need in myself is underway, and my hope is in the finest Carpenter of all. It’s amazing to watch him work!



    You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!



Copyright 2018 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

A Tweet From the Apostle Paul: #WhateverIsAdmirable


If, like most folks, you deal with email and its accompanying blessings and cursings, you know that the first step after you open your inbox is to obliterate 90% of it by clearing out a ton of junk and deleting a few nefarious attempts to set a hook in you through phishing.

I’d love to change email addresses to try to buy 30 seconds worth of a cleaner inbox, but my trusty ol’ address is emblazoned on everything from a few thousand music albums to business cards to newsletters to coffee cups to . . . (An AOL address was really cool when I got mine. Cool marches on.) I’ve actually got several addresses, but all get a preponderance of junk and none more than my primary address.

Like you, I’ve long ago learned that anything marked “urgent” isn’t. I know that anything from the FBI isn’t. I know that Dame Nastasia Ambrovada living in exile in Nigeria and sadly short of relatives and heirs really does not want to deposit a million dollars in my account.

Most of us are all too accustomed to the daily task of hacking through our inboxes with DELETE key machetes to whack away stacks of dreary deadwood, knowing that a serpent or two lurking therein will need to be deleted and dispatched as well. But sometimes, I’m still surprised.

This morning, after clearing out the usual mess, I couldn’t help but notice two items. The first, purporting to be from “NFL Cheerleaders,” promised in the subject line that “these cheerleaders will delight your eyes.” “Delight” is not the word I would have used, but I have no doubt that my eyeballs would have been engaged had I chosen to be reeled in by that one. I try to remember that those gals probably have grandpas who’d much prefer that they wear clothes.

Also eye-catching was the exclusive email opportunity to own a bobblehead figurine fashioned after a more or less famous sheriff in Milwaukee. Evidently, the figure is very large by bobblehead norms. And it talks. Since our world is in no short supply of bobbleheads already, and since bobbleheads that talk are never farther away than a button on a TV remote control (C-SPAN is a great place to look if you find yourself in desperate need of a bobblehead), I deleted that offer, too.

Of course, it’s not just email that requires a little literate discernment. Most of us still receive plenty of Spam-equivalent paper via actual mailboxes. What we rarely receive are real letters. Do they still teach letter-writing in school? Lots of folks these days are as likely to write a good letter as they are to pen a treatise discussing alliteration in the Declaration of Independence. If letters, considered antiquated anyway, are far beyond our capability and a 350-word email is unbearably long (and even email is becoming “old school”), and if a twit with no attention span can hardly string together 140 characters cogently and almost never gets closer to opening (or downloading) a book than reading a two-screen text message . . . Well.

But some things don’t change. Whatever we let in our souls via our eyes, and whatever we expound or affirm via our words, written or spoken, says much about the condition of our hearts. By the way, the Apostle Paul recommends some great hashtags in Philippians 4: #WhateverIsTrue, #WhateverIsRight, #WhateverIsNoble, #WhateverIsPure, #WhateverIsPraiseworthy . . .


       You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!




Copyright 2017 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


Facebook, Privacy, Location Settings, and Souls

social media addiction

Does privacy matter to you? It does to me.

That’s why I find it annoying, and not at all comforting, or helpful, or efficient, if I’ve “Googled” a question—“Why can’t Americans produce really creamy chocolate?”—to come back in ten minutes and find that everywhere I go on the Internet, ads for chocolate pop up.

Privacy. This is one of a number of reasons I continue to have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. Yes, I probably get too analytical about the weird use of the word “like” and the devaluing of the word “friend,” an amazingly elastic word even before Facebook stretched it to the breaking point.

And, if you look up the definition of “narcissism” (a good word pointing to a bad affliction, and a word I’d vote onto the list of hardest-to-spell words in English), I’d not be surprised to find under the definition: “see Facebook.”

Facebook can be so much fun, and so incredibly annoying. I’m worried about me (see “narcissistic”) when I find myself liking it or disliking it too much. It deserves neither. I do know this: If the idea of not signing on for a few days makes me short of breath, I very badly need to take a “media fast” and unplug for a time. (The same principle applies to Instagram, Twitter, or any of the other cyber-offerings that we allow to own us as cyber-twits.

But among my other visceral responses to Facebook (and just about everywhere else we go on the Internet) are the privacy concerns. I just clicked on “Places” on my Facebook page and was not particularly pleased to find that a number of the “places” where I’ve been in the last few months were listed there.

Nope, now shame on you for thinking that I’m talking about 20 pins marking visits to Billy Bob’s Bar, Bait, & Booze Joint or Nana Peel’s Birthday Suit Burlesque. I did not visit those places. But Facebook helpfully tells me how many times I’ve been to nearby cities, hospitals, and restaurants. Thanks? Are the “places” supposed to appeal yet again to my narcissism? I want people to know I’ve been there because it’s cool to go there? I won’t hold my breath.

I was glad to find that my “page” is evidently set so that the “Places” tab is visible only to me. But I’d be happier if Facebook didn’t know, either. Where I’ve been is none of their business.

By the way, if you’re on Facebook (and this is just one of a bunch of privacy issues involved), you might want to check your “Places” setting. If you don’t want your “tracking” information visible to everyone who has access to your page, then in the Facebook app on your mobile device, click on the “Check In” pin, and tell it to “Turn Off Location Services.” (That will not turn off your GPS on the mobile device.)

But by far the most dangerous places we go have nothing to do with the Internet or Facebook. They’re in our own heads. Self-centeredness. Hatred. Bitterness. Envy. Cynicism. Lust. Vanity. Greed.

If our Facebook pages showed where we truly have been, and how many times, I hope places like Joy, Beauty, Love, Gratitude, Forgiveness, Mercy, Laughter, and Worship would show up most often.


      You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!



Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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