Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Napoleon Dynamite, God, and a Celtic Bird

AKA: Gina's Rejected Tenative Doctoral Thesis
by Gina Welborn
with enhancing tips provided by Matt Welborn, esq.

In the beginning (which those bound by time would define as the fall of 1999) was a Word document, and the Word document was with Gina (okay, on her computer for those bound by technicalities), and the Word document was...well, blank. That was also a good description of Gina's mind. Not to be one dismayed by such high obstacles, Gina managed (as she always does) to put words to monitor and produced--a month or so later--her first fiction manuscript. And Gina saw what she'd written and said, "This sucketh."

Actually, in addition to having a blank mind, she was also delusional because she didn't realize what she'd written sucketh until several years later. Sometimes being having "magical thinking" (as ACFW publicity director Angie Breidenbach calls it) is rather nice. Don't tell Angie Gina said that.

Creator. According to Merriam-Webster, it means "one that creates usually by bringing something new or original into being; especially capitalized: GOD.

Uggh. Doncha hate it when a word uses the word to define the word?

One of the most powerful sentences in the world was created 234 years ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Matt: Now what?
Gina: I don’t know. I’m blank again.
Matt: Now that’s a drag. Wait, I can’t say now twice. That’s redundant.
Gina: Sucks to be you.
Matt: Mom, that’s mean.
Gina: I can’t type “mom, that’s mean.” You’re dulling my blog post. Think of something more creative, more transistional.

In a day and age when society—and the public school system—does all it can to diminish the spiritual core of our founding fathers, the truth can be found in our Declaration of Independence.

We…the fifty-six men who signed the document.

Hold these truths to be self-evident…instinctive knowledge.

All men are created equal…all of mankind has these rights.

That they are endowed by their Creator…that God gave each of us these rights.

What are these rights? Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The right to live. The right to be free. The right to strive for our dreams, goals, aspirations, ownership of land, time to play video games, to beat up our siblings, to climb trees, to knit when we’re 96 years old, and to eat cake with lots and lots of icing.

“I majored in Bible in college. I went to the seminary and I majored in the only thing they teach there: the professional ministry. When I graduated, I realized that I could speak Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and the only thing on earth I was qualified for was to be the pope. But someone else had the job.” –Anonymous Pastor, Pagan Christianity? by Frank Viola

Okay, so that reminds me (Gina) of a guy I went to church with years ago who wanted to be a youth pastor. He went to seminary, got edumacated, earned a nice shiny diploma, and couldn’t get hired anywhere. Why? He had the head knowledge, even the heart knowledge, but he had no youth pastor skills.

Napoleon Dynamite: Well, nobody's going to go out with *me*!
Pedro: Have you asked anybody yet?
Napoleon Dynamite: No, but who would? I don't even have any good skills.
Pedro: What do you mean?
Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.
Pedro: Aren't you pretty good at drawing, like animals and warriors and stuff?
Napoleon Dynamite: Yes... probably the best that I know of.
Pedro: Just draw a picture of the girl you want to take out... and give it to her for like a gift or something.
Napoleon Dynamite: That's a pretty good idea. [referring to the dance] Who are you gonna ask?
Pedro: That girl over there.
Napoleon Dynamite: Summer Wheatly? How the heck are you gonna do that?
Pedro: Build her a cake or something.
Pedro: Do you think people will vote for me?
Napoleon Dynamite: Heck yes! I'd vote for you.
Pedro: Like what are my skills?
Napoleon Dynamite: Well, you have a sweet bike. And you're really good at hooking up with chicks. Plus you're like the only guy at school who has a mustache.

(rough transition here)

Far too many times we excuse away the pursuit of our dreams because we look at our lives and think, “I don’t even have any good skills.”

The truth is every one of us has skills. From there to here, from here to there, abilities are everywhere. Some have one skill, some have two skills, some have red skills, some have blue skills. Good skills, bad skills, shark skills, plaid skills. Oh, the things we can think up...if only we try.

"A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals." ~Larry Bird

(less rough transition here)

Our Creator gave each of us talents that are natural—inherent. During our family movie night recently, we watched X-Men 3: The Last Stand. Jean Gray was had the inherent talent to be a class 5 mutant--the most powerful level of mutants. Only Professor Xavier put a mental block on those abilities because he knew Jean didn’t have the ability to control her skill. Or he feared she didn't. Because she never had a chance to hone her skills at a younger age, she ended up killing the man she loved and the man who thought he was helping her. Plus she lost her beauty when she went Phoenix-psycho. Word to the the wise, learn from Jean because Elizabeth Arden Prevage can lessen aging but not correct manical wrinkles.

Don't assume that possessing a skill means that skill makes you the Larry Bird of 1980s basketball. Whatever our natually skill (both developed and unrealized), to utilize them to the fullest, we have to find a something strong and stable to hone them.

We must develop those skills. Scripture teaches that the Word of God is a double-edged sword that sharpens us--our skills--to be prepared for good work.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. ~2 Timothy 3:16-17

Matt: Mom,I’m out of creative juice.
Gina: Really?
Matt: I know how to end this, though.
Gina, risking being redundant again: Really?
Matt: Live long and prosper.

Serious Question of the Day: What skills do you have and how has God honed them over the years for you to do good work with them?

Non-Serious Question of the Day: What character in a movie or book or tv show is most like you. Or if you could be a character in a movie or a book or a tv show, who would you be?


  1. I'm going to have to think about both of those questions. But I enjoyed the post. Many thanks to Matt for making a guest appearance at the Inkwell.

  2. God's been honing my writing skills a lot this year. On a totally different front, I've learned that I do a better job of teaching God's word to others when I'm honest and real about my own struggles and who I really am. That's when it starts to create real change and not just a bunch of mindless clones ready to crack under the pressure at any second.

    That was a bit of a rant.

    As for a tv character. For some reason I'm thinking like Allie MacBeal or J.D. on scrubs. Someone who lives in their head most of the time and has outrageous thoughts.

  3. And tell Matt Christi says "hi," or she would, except that she's out getting her driver's permit this morning.

  4. Matt's taking his driving test this week. It encompasses three days. Today's is driving on the interstate, which we have to go practice before he tests at 3pm.

  5. Lisa, thanks for enjoying the post. Matt came home from VBS, flopped on the bed next to me, and asked what I was doing. I said writing my blog. He asked what it was about, and after I told him, he said he'd help me write it. We were doing fine until his siblings, and eventually Dad, decided they needed to have a conversation with us at that moment. Uggh. And play with the dog on the bed, causing it to bounce, breaking my concentration.

    Once I finally finished, I had to spend a whole nother hour fixing the paragraph spacing after I'd uploaded it. Uggh uggh.

  6. Dina, you so right about developing our skills by being open. Once I was able to look at my writing and say this is awful and I need to learn to write, that's when I actually started learning to write.

    One of my prayers for years has been that God would give me a teachable spirit. I don't want to be so stubborn in thinking I'm right that I can't see when I'm actually wrong.

  7. Oh, to answer my own question, sometimes I feel like Sarah Conner minus the awesome muscles. Othertimes I'm the Cookie Monster.

  8. Fun post, Gina (and Matt)! Excellent point. I have to consider your Q's for a while. Not sure which character I'm like. I can tell you who I'm *not* -- anyone on a medical show, the Bachelorette, or June Cleaver.

    Hmm, maybe I'm like Jim on the Office. Lately, I feel like I'm trying to keep my sanity any way I can while I sit amidst several Dwight Schrutes.

    I'd say I am working to develop my writing skills, but one way I think God wants me to use them is by writing letters to people. Not exactly Steeple Hill, but can't it be a blessing and an encouragement to get a note in the mail? And being married to a pastor, I write a lot of sympathy notes. Anyway, writing to others can be one way to help build and encourage the body of Christ.

    I wish I had better cookie-making skills. Then I could eat more cookies. Maybe I'm like the Cookie Monster too, Gina.

  9. LOL, Suzanne! The Dwight Schrutes in life can drive us insane.

    Writing TY notes takes skill...and a compassionate heart...and dedication. Kudos, girlfriend!

  10. Took me a few hours to find the Celtic Bird in this post.

    I haven't come up with answers to your questions. I will someday and you'll get the answers completely past their expiration date.

    thanks Gina!

  11. Okay, for one, anyone who can include Napoleon Dynamite in a blog post about a doctoral thesis has my admiration!! :) And secondly, Gina, you also have my admiration for your teenage son's participation! My kids tend to just make fun of my blogging. :)

    My skills... I think God has given me the gift of teaching. He's at least given me the desire! I've taught in Bible studies and Sunday school before (and also at the local technical college), but it's not easy. It takes lots of prep time and practice.

    Although it's not part of the gift of teaching, I'm hoping that readers will be inspired by my fiction as well!

  12. Missy, I've read enough of your blog posts to sense your gift of teaching. You not just convey the information, but you do it in a manner even the slowest of us can understand.

    I ought to confess that I have a link to one of your Seekerville blog posts and one of Cheryl Wyatt's that I tend to include on most contest entries I judge. There's just that good of writing tips!!!

    Thanks for enjoying the blog my son and I put together. If he hadn't have helped, I...*sigh*. He's a good boy, Charlie Brown.

  13. Now that I've stopped laughing ... Goodness, Gina, are you this hysterically funny in person? Because if you are I'm going to want to make sure I've got some of those Poise pads handy when we finally get to meet. (See, that 40+ thing is kicking in.)
    We've watched Napoleon Dynamite so many times most of us have it memorized, but I never, ever put it together this way!
    I must have major self-esteem issues, because I can't come up with any "sweet skills" on my own. Other people have told me I write well, and that I'm gifted to teach, and I make a mean muffin.
    I guess until I can come out and say it based on MY conviction I'm not exercising much faith, am I?

  14. It just dawned on me that I have the skill of connecting people. I love introducing people with like mindedness in order to help both grow in their perspective directions.

    Um, yep, I heard you "say" he magical thinking thing, lol.

    And I am most like...Snow White. Any guesses why?


  15. Niki, yes, Gina is as funny or even funnier in person. She's been trying to lure me up to Richmond again, and I'm tempted.


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