American Idol

I'm so glad I've never been on American Idol. I might be past the age range, but we won't talk about that. There are so many people on that show who feel they could be a Superstar, and then get told the truth.

Some people will never be Superstars.

I feel so bad for the contestants. It would be so frustrating to be in a group of thousands and make it to the final three judges. Celebrity judges. AND be on TV! And then be told in front of an enormous unseen audience that your singing stinks. I would rather be told before I get that far.

Why lead these people on? I know, there's an audience to entertain. But that's just horrible in itself. Are American viewers so desperate for entertainment that we have to make fun of people who can't sing. Do we have to see them get humiliated on national TV?

This is the first year I've watched the show. My husband has seen it before and asked me to watch it with him. I did. I felt awful.

Mostly, I remembered what it was like at a writers' conference when unpublished writers try to convince editors that their story is the next Great American Novel. I'm so glad writers' conferences aren't televised.

There would be a panel of editors (maybe celebrity editors?) who tell would-be Novelist Superstars that their stories need more work. If Simon, Randy, and Paula were editors, I'd hear them saying different words, but with the same meaning. "You're writing is entertaining, but it isn't right for this publishing house." Or, "Your idea is great, but the writing needs to improve."

At the writers' conferences I go to, I don't hear editors speak bluntly in Simon-fashion, "That was awful! Simply awful. It just wasn't any good. Why are you here?"

Most of the time, editors are kind. I've seriously pitched my novel to only one editor, and she was very nice. I plan to send her a full proposal as soon as I get an agent.

So in view of the fact that I will be pitching my novel again this year, I send a warm "Thank You" to all the dedicated editors who help unpublished novelists see their areas in need of improvement - without all the humiliation.

God bless the hard-working editors for all they go through to find the few special novelists that make it worth the effort.

Valentine's Day

Ah, February! The Month of Love!

This week, I heard a radio caller giving her suggestion for Valentine's gifts for men. It's true that men are hard to buy for. Most of the TV commercials are targeting women.

You don't see a jewelry store commercial showing a woman trying to pick out a diamond ring for a man. Men like chocolate, but you don't see many commercials showing women picking boxes of chocolates for men. Flower companies probably will never suggest we have a dozen roses delivered to our men's place of business.

If I gave my husband a small bottle of men's cologne for Valentine's Day, he might sniff his arm pits and say something like, "What. I showered."

Let's face it. Men like getting gifts. But they have a much easier time giving them to us than we do to them. Men get reminders on all media outlets that a major gift-giving time is approaching. Women don't usually need the reminders, but we could sure use some suggestions.

Women have to think harder and work at getting the right gift for each holiday. For instance, do we give our men a couple of frozen steaks? Do we give them a gift card to a hardware store - again? Do we give them another Three Stooges tie?

Am I worrying too much? Is Valentine's Day just for women? (yes? cool. bring it on. - just kidding)

My husband and I don't wait for Valentine's Day to celebrate. We welcome any opportunity to wish each other a Happy Month of Love. If my hug quota is low, I can build up a surplus during February.

So enjoy the month with the one you love. And don't stress over gifts. It's the daily love that counts anyway.

The Chris Tomlin Concert

If you ever want to go to an amazing concert, find one of Chris Tomlin's concerts. Louie Giglio and Matt Redman joined him again this year to give us another eye-opening experience.

This year's show picked up where the last tour stopped. I don't generally study the stars and galaxies, but the pictures taken by the Hubble telescope are jaw-droppers. Louie Giglio presented big facts in a fresh way. He kept the interest of everyone, even my kids.

Matt Redman's and Chris Tomlin's songs are often on our radio, so my kids knew most of them. My daughter borrowed my husband's cell phone to let her little light shine in the auditorium.

We all danced and sang along with the roaring crowd to the well-loved songs. The worshipful attitude that filled that place made the concert a church service rather than a performance. It was a holy night of worshipping the awe-inspiring God who knows my name. It was a new look at the Creator of the universe who loves little humans like me.

Come on back anytime, Chris. And may the wisdom and energy of God fill you.