Half-baked Ideas

Priorities

(First Things First Edition)

Every day you and I make choices that reflect not just what we say is important, but what truly are the prime movers in our lives.  Hopefully our choices line up with our stated values, but we all know that isn’t always true.

That why it’s refreshing to be reminded every once in a while to put first things first. And I have no finer teachers than my students, who often blow me away with the quality of their writing.

If you’re new to this thread, let me catch you up. I’ve graded tens of thousands of papers or projects that were nice and decently written. But every once in a while someone captures a phrase or goes off on a riff that gets my attention because of the quality of the writing or the urgency of the point. So I started keeping a file of Favorite Student Quotations.

Every once in a while I like to share seven or so of those with my readers. Consider yourself blessed and highly favored.  Hear the challenge from some pretty awesome writers to keep first things first and remember what is most important.

You can thank me later. [click to continue…]

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(Life in the Public Eye Edition)

I’ve been listening to a lot of professional communicators lately. I’ve also been seeing a lot of people in the public eye, for better or worse.  Politicians. Preachers. Entertainers. Protesters. Prophets of doom. Leaders, or leader wannabes.  Victims or those pretending to be victims.

I’ve had some thoughts about all that.  Wildly accurate thoughts, of course, because hey, they were mine.  But rather than blather on about my forgettable opinions, I thought I would share some real wisdom.

As I have mentioned in previous posts like this one, I get a front row seat to some amazing writing, all sent like these with the hopes of earning an A on a paper or discussion forum.

(I get plenty of bad writing too, but I’m saving that for another day.)

So I’ve been keeping a file of my favorite student quotations for quite some time now, and today I would like to share a powerful collection with you. All of these are about something to do with living in the public eye, either as a leader or as a public servant or communicator.  Sooner or later this could be you in your 15 minutes of you-know-what.

Read on (it’s a quick read) and brace for impact. You will be impressed and blessed by these insights. [click to continue…]

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Beautiful single woman with perfect teeth and skin and a nice smile(Celebrating Jesus Christ Edition)

One of the joys of teaching in Christian universities is that I get to read the research and reflections of students who freely and openly follow Jesus Christ. They are still learning from Him and in offering their insights (almost always for a grade!), they continue to teach me.

In this edition of quotes from actual papers and assignments from students from all over the world, I celebrate the life, death, resurrection, return, and Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Read on… you’ll be as blessed and challenged as I was.

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student-in-lecture-hall.150603

(Defining Moments Edition)

“I believe every Christian walk has a string of defining moments.”

So wrote Brian Fouts, a former student. And since I’m buried in grading papers and watching for more treasures like that one, I thought Brian and some of his peers could show you a few of their defining moments.

The following quotations come from student assignments and represent amazing writing and insight, or a unique way of capturing truth or marshaling language. They taught me a thing or two about those defining moments we all have, and I think they’ll encourage you as well. Enjoy…

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Cheerful smiling funny boy on a green background.

(The Spiritual Passion Edition)

What happens when senioritis and spring fever hit at the same time?  That all depends, I guess, on whether you’re the student who’s writing or the one who’s grading.

But even if you’re neither – if you’re the poor soul who must trudge off to work, there is something to be learned and something to be challenged by.

So while I’m plowing through papers in search of the next little nuggets of profound writing, I thought I would share some insights from former students.  These aren’t about spring fever, but spiritual passion. And they’re very well put. It’s a quick read, but I think you’ll be blessed and challenged.  And if you’d like to see more of these, click here and here.

So slow down a minute, enjoy these seven nuggets of great writing, but also take your spiritual pulse while you’re at it. You’ll be glad you did. [click to continue…]

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funny surprised girl  with glasses reading books

Well, the spring semester is well under way and the papers are already starting to fly.  Most of them get their well-deserved grades and get sent back with a little feedback.

Next!

But every once in a while a student will arrest me with a statement that is profound, beautifully written, or just plain funny.  And so over the years I have kept a file of favorite student quotations.

This edition is dedicated to some of the smiles or laugh-out-loud statements I have seen over the years.  Keep in mind that all of these were written for a grade, so humor carries a bit of risk when you’re supposed to be writing about serious things.  That didn’t stop this bunch.

So have a smile break on me and enjoy these seven… Click here for a smile or two… you’ll be glad you did.

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Here in My Heart

by Andy Wood on January 14, 2015

in Half-baked Ideas

Businessman playing with car and goes down

(Sort-of-random thoughts after an oddly-shaped holiday season, complete with the Princess and her seven miniature companions… oh, and that reminds me… a trip to Disney, along with other uncertainties of life.)

Nearly every New Year’s night during my growing up years, I would find myself howling at the moon or somebody because of the insanity that was the college football bowl setup.  Finally I have seen with my eyes what for years I had only seen in my dreams – a true semblance of a playoff.  My team didn’t win.  But it had a chance to compete, and that’s all anybody can ask for (unless you’re TCU, but I digress…).

Did you feel the earth rumble from all the photos taken at the Detroit auto show?  Have you picked out your favorite auto eye-candy yet?  The whole idea of a “concept car” fascinates me… slick looking ideas that get people all excited, only to be told they’ll never actually see that vehicle.

I started to get all huffy and offended, until I realized that the world I move in has its own version – the “concept Christian.”  Sleek and slick, shiny and sexy-for-Jesus. But it is only in concept showrooms. How to get it into “real production” remains a mystery. [click to continue…]

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Notebooks

Welcome back to my front-row seat.  In my work I have the privilege of reading a lot of stuff.  Some of it is forgettable.  Some of it is way-past-profound, either because of the quality of writing or because of the truth it conveys, and I keep a collection of the ones that bowl me over.  You can see previous collections here and here.  Both are quick reads, but profound in what they speak.

Now this collection of seven happens to have a leadership theme, but they also speak to your spiritual life, your courage, and you humility (or lack thereof).

Now… slow down… breathe deeply… and take these in.  You’ll be glad you did. Click here – you’ll be glad you did…

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Another semester has passed, and in the transition to summer school, I’ve been reminded again that some of the most powerful expressions of language often come from people who are just trying to get an A in a class.

I shared a collection of seven profound insights I gained from students here.  Today I thought I’d take another swipe at it.

Read these slowly.  Enjoy the insightful use of words and truths.  This is good stuff… Click here – you’ll be glad you did…

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You’re the Inspiration

by Andy Wood on January 11, 2014

in Half-baked Ideas

Footsteps 3

(Sort-of-random thoughts from the Gulf Coast after a memorable Christmas, my first real vacation in four years, and the delicious taste of clarity, vision, and blackened grouper…)

You know it’s time for something different when going through airport security seems preferable to the schedule you’ve been keeping.

Our recent travels have been a nice reminder that all of life doesn’t have to be lived in the bunker – even if you love the people or causes you fight for when you’re in it.

I’ve been reminded lately that life was meant to be lived connected with other lives.  The kind of connections may vary, of course, from lives that profoundly touch us once to love or friendship that lasts forever. Regardless, the bottom line is that “solo” equals “so low” or “slow go” if you stay in that gear too long.

Show me the lives you have crossed paths with in the last 24 hours, and I will show you the lives you have influenced somehow, to some degree – whether you necessarily want to be an influence or not. [click to continue…]

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