It Starts Tomorrow…

Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tomorrow begins 21 consecutive days of posts on my blog. This endeavor is part of my annual fast. I was successful in this last year, so I hope I will be again. I have determined all of the topics I am going to write on, but not the order.

I am limiting my main topics to three items this year – faith, music, and writing. I will rotate through these topics, starting with faith on day one, then moving to writing on day two, then music on day three, then back to faith on day four until the 21 days are ended. In addition, I am also attempting to journal every day for 21 days during this time, which will be private and not available for public consumption, unless my journal entry wanders across one of my planned post topics. I hope to do 300-500 words for each journal entry, but I am going to be flexible on this, as I am more concerned with the blog posts.

Other items of my fast include refraining from visiting news sites, social media, and similar websites that tend to take up a lot of my time. I hope the time I gain from avoiding these sites is adequate to give me enough time to write my post every day and make an entry in my journal. I am using Notion to write my journal, and sometime after the fast is over, I will write an article on my experience using it. (Note to self – put this on my publication calendar)

Abstaining from the sites mentioned above will leave me somewhat ignorant of current events, which at this point is probably a good thing. The world, our country, and many other aspects of life are in a total mess right now anyway. I know I won’t totally avoid some information and events, but the more I can leave out of my daily thoughts, the better.

Following this course over the next 21 days will leave little time for writing in my fantasy novel, but I hope the time away will help me move forward once I start back at it. I have some daunting tasks ahead of me, including continuing to world build, develop characters, tie together my narrative and make sure that the story moves along and makes sense. I have 100,000 words written in my first draft and I expect to do at least 50,000 more to come close to completing the book. I hope and pray that I can stick with this project starting in February. I really need to finish a book.

I encourage you to drop by the for next 21 days as I post each day. Each entry will be written, edited and posted on the corresponding day, so they may post late in the evening, but I hope to always finish before midnight, so that each day has a post. It will be challenging, fun and interesting for me, and I hope it is for you also, dear reader.

 

Featured Image: Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

A New Era

Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

A new era is about to begin, at least in reference to this website. With 2020 now thankfully in the pages of history, I have decided on some radical changes to this site and my web presence.

First, and most importantly for those who actually read this and aren’t here just to spam the comment section, the address of this site is changing. The winsome “quietly passing by me” address is going away in favor of something leaner, quicker to type, and more…representative.

The new address will be QPB.one. That’s right, six little letters (and a period) will get you to the site. Way back when I first picked the “quietly passing by me” address, it was an opportunity to go on the cheap for my web domain. I cost a mere $0.99 for that domain the first year. Of course, it was twenty times as much when I renewed, but it had grown on me, so I kept it.

I liked the domain, it was quirky and fun, but I’ve recently been making changes in other parts of my digital life, so it was time for it to go. It will no longer get you to this page as of February 2021. The domain will probably disappear for a time, maybe to be picked up by some other blogger and author. Who knows?

I was going to go simple and just get the address “QPB.me”…until I saw the price. Apparently, that is a premium domain and the initial cost was $1000. Yep, you read that right, one thousand dollars. Being the budget conscious blogger that I am, I decided not just no, but #$%@ no. This led me to other potential TLDs (top level domains – i.e. .com, .org, etc.) and I came across the .one TLD. Cool. Now my quirky address could be nonspecific. Huh?

My previous address suggested that things or people “quietly passed by me”, but now with the nonspecific “one”, things could be passing by me OR they could be passing by the reader. I still wanted the much shorter “QPB” and guess what? It was available and at a bargain. I am now saving over $10 on domain costs a year, and that wasn’t an introductory price. It will cost the same next year when I renew. Cool.

Second, I am retiring the Security Is site and wrapping the one article I published there into the soon to be renamed QPB site. I have enough WordPress sites to maintain as it is and there is no real reason to put security stuff on its own site. I now have moved that article, added an InfoSec category to my category list, and will begin to use tags to more specifically denote what topics are being covered in a post. So you will see that the KINDLY article I moved here has been categorized as InfoSec and Technology, with a tag of “Social Engineering”. This should reduce my workload and make it easier for you to find my articles, because if you thought typing quietlypassingby.me was long, I’m sure you felt typing securityis.quietlypassingby.me was excruciating.

That’s it for now. Look for an article about my NaNoWriMo victory back in November in the next few days. I hope…

 

Featured Image: Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

Here We Go Again…

Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s October 30th as I begin to write this and if you’ve read many of the articles here on my site, you know what is coming next…National Novel Writing Month otherwise known as NaNoWriMo.

Yes, the mad dash by thousands of people to put 50,000 words into a book in 30 days is back!

I was VERY hesitant to participate this year. I was the Municipal Liaison for two years for my area and I was seriously considering not even writing, much less taking on ML responsibilities in this time of COVID-19. I had long let the opportunity to ML pass me by back in late spring. I didn’t even start to consider writing until this week. It’s all the result of a NaNoWriMo email, so I completely blame them for this.

I saw the email.  I thought about what it took to write those 50,000 words every November. It was hard work. It was early mornings, which I hate. It was late nights, which make me hate the mornings even more. It was weekends planted in front of the computer making up for the words I didn’t write during the week. It was writer’s block at the worst time. It was working around (and in addition to) everything else I’m supposed to care about in these crazy times. Masks. Social distancing. Washing hands. Disinfecting. Presidential elections. Violent riots. Peaceful protests. Disinformation. Blatant lies. Social bubbles. Zoom meetings. The list could go on forever.

I considered what I could write about in the midst of all this. I didn’t want to do any kind of contemporary action thriller novel, as I felt compelled to consider this stupid virus as a contributing factor in the narrative. I’m so DONE with this virus. I’m in a vulnerable population and I’m to the point that I can barely care about it. So anything contemporary was out.

Science fiction was an option, but my head is currently filled with too many conflicting storylines. I took advantage of a trial for the Peacock streaming service to watch their rendition of Brave New World. Good stuff. Nothing like the book past a couple of characters, settings and plot devices, but really good stuff. I may do a reaction (NOT a review) post later…after November.

I also dug into the vaults of my TV series collection and I’m rewatching Revolution from back in 2012 and PaInkiller Jane from even further back in 2007.  Both of these series were cut way too short. Not as bad as Firefly which I also watched again recently, but still, too short. Revolution was one of the most well-written, interconnected storylines EVER. Just sayin’, connecting all the dots on this show was akin to figuring out Lost, which I don’t think was ever accomplished, even by its own writers…

The thought of writing about people with hidden, “super” abilities caught my attention (and my fascination, thankfully) and I finally decided to try and complete my 2017 NaNoWriMo project Apocalypse. Fifty thousand words is just scratching the surface of this story. I may do another 50,000 this November and still not be close to done. I have a glimmer of understanding as to why George R. R. Martin has such a hard time finishing his fantasy books. There’s so much story to tell. Nothing can be assumed. These are totally different realms from our world and the ideas clamor to escape the mind of the author. I get it, in my own limited way.

So, here I go again, trekking toward 50,000 words in a mere 30 days. My project is officially/unofficially named Apocalypse Part 2 and I will post my word count updates, my highs, and my lows here as the month progresses.

21 Days of Posts – Day 21 – The Christian Life – Learning and Pruning

Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Welcome to the last day all you who decided to follow along as I posted for 21 days straight as part of our church fast. For those of you just jumping in, each entry is numbered as a particular day, so if you are reading this and the title above doesn’t say Day 1 (which it does not), then you should stop now and go read from Day 1, or take a peek at Day 2 and pick a topic you are interested in. Thanks to those who were brave enough to join me.

Day 21!

Wow!

I did it!

I’ve posted every day for 21 days straight. Yay, me! Now for this last post…

One of the main points of this fast we do every year is to devote more time to study and prayer, or even just contemplation. When we deny ourselves things we normally do not go without, we tend to notice other things, especially if we are giving up items of food. But even if we are just staying off social media, or not continuing a bad habit, or some other act of relinquishing, we hopefully go through the thought process of “what do I do now?”.

What do we do? What do we notice as we stay away from comfortable, familiar things? If we truly take the time to study and pray more, we probably learn things. Devoting more time to the Word of God is never a waste, nor does it fail to eventually reap benefits. Did you add a devotion to your quiet time? Did you read a book or two of the Bible, or dive into a Christian learning book? These weren’t required, of course, but they could have significantly contributed to your relationship with God.

Did you give up a bad habit? Quit eating an unhealthy food? Quit doing something that you knew you shouldn’t be doing, but just didn’t care enough or feel like you had the will or strength to quit? Are you dying to do that thing or eat that food, or has the desire ebbed and now, you could take it or leave it? A fast is a great way for us to prune things out of our life that aren’t good for us. If you did desist from a habit or food, I hope that you are able to toss it away for good, if that was your goal.

We as humans don’t like to be uncomfortable. We generally like familiar things, creature comforts, and unregimented use of our time. When we fast, we purposefully make ourselves uncomfortable. It is in the discomfort that we should look for an anchor, and I can think of no better anchor than our God. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, so he will be able to help you, knows exactly what you need, and will never leave you. What more could we ask for in a time of discomfort, whether purposeful, as in a fast, or when the unexpected happens, as when tragedy strikes?

As Christians, we should constantly be going through cycles of learning and pruning, as we strive to be closer to God and to develop those connections mentioned in yesterday’s post. Those connections are critical, as is our learning and pruning process. The more we do to take full advantage of these cycles, the closer our relationship with God will be, and the more fulfilling our life will be, even if it has been stripped of our comforts and familiarity.

Thank you so much for reading to (the very) end! It has been very gratifying to post for 21 consecutive days, even if no one reads any of it.

I will be posting more regularly in the future, at least once a week, so if you are interested, come back by and check out what is in my head. If I have time tomorrow, I will post a conclusion and summary of my takeaway of these past 21 days, maybe in the evening after the celebratory worship service.

 

Photo Credit – Photo by Kamil Szumotalski on Unsplash

21 Days of Posts – Day 20 – Connections Between People

Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Hello to all who have decided to follow along as I post for 21 days straight as part of our church fast. As you can see, each entry is numbered as a particular day, so if you are reading this and the title above doesn’t say Day 1, then you should stop now and go read from Day 1, or take a peek at Day 2 and pick a topic you are interested in. Thanks for being brave enough to join me.

Welcome to Day 20! In this post I want to talk about connections, mostly connections between people.

Most humans crave connection to other humans. I say most, not all, because there are people out there who would rather connect with their dog, or cat, or pet python than deal with the chaos of connecting to other people. Connecting to other people can be messy and complicated, as everyone brings their own baggage into a relationship, any kind of relationship. It doesn’t always have to be messy, but more times than not, messy is the operative description.

We crave connection with other people for a variety of reasons. Security. Looking for a kindred spirit. Someone to share experiences with. Love. Some things in life are just better shared with other people. Food. Music. Excitement. Laughter. Pain. Sorrow. Heartache. All of these are generally better when shared with other people.

But how do we make these connections in the first place? I could copy and paste both previous lists right here and be mostly right again. Shared likes, shared dislikes, pain, trauma-all are ways that we connect. Some experiences are more binding than others. If all we ever did with our friends was go out to eat or to a concert, we would develop connections with them, but not as deeply as if we were to experience intense joy or deep sorrow with them. Intensity of experience factors in heavily when we discuss the strength of our connections with others.

Another key component of making strong connections is dealing with unexpected circumstances. This can be as joyous as playing a new game for the first time with a group of friends, or as tragic as losing a loved one, family or friend. When unexpected things happen, bonds are formed that are tough to break. Ask anyone who goes through a traumatic experience with a group. Ask a military veteran how deep the bonds with his or her unit are, especially if they’ve seen combat.

Connections between people make the world go ’round. The saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know” is so true in so many circumstances. We find that unfair at times, but just as “luck favors the prepared”, so too can we say “luck favors the connected”. People get jobs and find opportunities all the time because of who they know.

High-dollar, luxury item salesmen know the power of connection all too well. If they can make a connection with a potential customer, that customer is more likely to decide they really do need that giant TV, extravagant boat, higher-priced car, or totally useless memorabilia item. Not making a  connection will tend to result in no sale unless the customer had decided what they wanted before they walked into the store.

Not every connection we make is going to be life-changing or even cause us to think twice, but there are three connections we all should make that WILL make a difference in our lives. You know what they are…connection to God, connection to people, and connection to purpose. Sound familiar? I hope so. How are your three connections doing? What do you need to do today, tomorrow, next week, or next month to make those connections stronger?

Thanks for reading to the end! Only one more blog post to go! Join me tomorrow for one last post in this series, then please follow me as I continue to post throughout my journey to complete a book. That series will most likely be weekly, not daily, and will be interspersed with other posts on various topics. More details to follow!

 

Photo Credit – Photo by Mario Purisic on Unsplash