Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Published 12:47 PM by with 0 comment

"Goodbye Facebook", Part 2

I always wonder if my words come off as arrogant.

There's a fine line between confidence and pride. Sometimes the line is difficult to find.

When I state my opinion, I try to do so gently, while emphasizing that it is my personal thoughts or ideas or interpretation. There's no omniscience here, ya know! I do believe in absolute truth, however, which is a much more tricky subject and one that I won't talk about right now.

It's so easy to accidentally offend or hurt others. When I take a stand for something I believe in, I'm not deliberately trying to offend anyone.

Writing about leaving Facebook was hard. I knew that some would probably read my post and think I was saying that EVERYONE should leave Facebook RIGHT NOW. Or that some would consider me to be prideful in thinking that I'm "so good" for leaving Facebook, that I was giving off a kind of holier-than-thou attitude. Or that I was implying that Facebook is evil. Or that I'm leaving Facebook and never coming back.

None of that is true.

For me, right now in my life, the best decision was the one I made: to take a break from a social media outlet.

Ten years ago, I created a Myspace profile. It was a strange new world of connections. I had only learned how to type a few years before that. There were a few friends who had email accounts, and we quickly learned how to instant message on AOL (remember that?), post on message boards, and search for information. We would play computer games occasionally, like an interactive math whiz game, or Oregon Trail. When the first Lord of the Rings movie came out, we were thrilled to find online "Which LOTR Character Are You?" quizzes to take, and we would giggle excitedly to find out that we were elves or rangers.

Back then, the internet didn't dominate my life. Or anyone's life (that I know of). Over the years, the online access and stuff you could do with the internet has grown to encompass almost every area of life. Now you can look up a recipe, directions to a friend's house, a business number, a science fact, the local news, the nearest gas station, and on and on and on. It's hard to NOT be online!

But I know that I'm happier when I have more time away from the computer. For ME, that is the right decision.

If you are happy with your internet usage, then that's great! Don't change anything! Don't feel guilted into doing something just because someone else thinks it's a good idea. This is a completely personal choice for each person to make on their own.

And yes, it's been weird not being on Facebook. Maybe I'll write about that sometime.

In the meantime, I'm hoping for snow, watching Harmony almost crawl, finishing reading "The Hobbit" aloud with Chris, cooking Chinese Beef with rice for dinner, and drinking raspberry tea with lemon. We had a beautifully crazy warm day this weekend while my sister visited, so we all went to the park and played on the playground.


Laughing and playing!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Published 11:29 AM by with 6 comments

How Do Your Children Address Adults?

Every once in a while I have questions that roll around in my mind.

Well, actually, I have questions a lot of the time. I question stuff. I challenge myself "why" about my own answers. Sometimes I don't even have answers, just more questions.

Occasionally I would post one of my questions on Facebook to elicit responses from online friends. It was a great way to get different (sometimes polar opposite) opinions, see the thought process behind different answers, and spark interesting discussions. As long as participants kept the dialogue respectful and stayed with the original topic, everything was great!

Now that I'm not on Facebook, I'm going to post questions here from time to time. So this is the first one:

Do your children address adults by their first names, or by Mr. __ and Mrs. __ ? Do you call your adult friends by their first names, or do you address them by Mr. __ and Mrs. __ when in front of your children? What are your reasons for choosing these titles for other adults?

Please comment here with your answers! I'd love to hear what you think : )

P.S.  It looks like an application called Bloglovin', which I had signed up for a long time ago, is still working, which means that some of my posts will automatically show up on Facebook. Someone just notified me that this post just appeared on my profile, so... um, yeah!

This post is part of the "Questions for You!" series.
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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Published 7:57 AM by with 1 comment

Goodbye, Facebook!

I'm doing the impossible. At least it probably seems impossible for a twenty-something year old extrovert in the 21st century.

I'm leaving Facebook.

For a while, anyway.

One of my friends suggested it as a challenge. When he brought it up, my first response was "YES"! Then I was surprised. Why was I so quick to agree?

Perhaps I needed to evaluate some things. Am I spreading myself too thin with so many outlets of online media? How much am I involving myself in others real lives, not just their online personas? How much time am I spending scrolling through newsfeed, rather than using my computer to write personalized emails to friends, do business work, or explore creative endeavors? What would happen if I took all the time I was on Facebook and instead picked up a book to read? Or wrote a postcard? Or wrote a thank-you note? Or wrote in my journal?

Facebook has its great usefulness. I can connect with friends far away in discussions that are only possible in an online forum (hi Sherry and Dwight!). I can see the first pictures of new babies or new houses of friends recently moved out of the area. I can plug into events like flashmobs or midwivery rallies through the various networks connected between friends.

But the time comes when I need to clear the air. I need to simplify some areas of my life. Take a breathe.

After making a conscious effort to cook and eat healthy food for the past few months, my weight has dropped to what it was before I was pregnant. Now I just have to eat enough for both Harmony and I! I'm also more fit than I've been in years, simply from carrying Harmony around and playing with her on the floor. I can't imagine what it will be like when she starts crawling, let alone walking! Plus, the best thing has been that I am recovering from common colds without falling into pneumonia or infections, like I used to do all the time. These are all good changes in my physical being.

Spiritually, I've been delving more into what Grace means. Spending more time in prayer and meditating on Scripture. Asking to be reminded of the Gospel. Needing to sing more, hear myself say the words I understand with my heart but so often forget in my head.

Now emotionally I'm feeling the need to connect more with others face to face. Having my family in town has been wonderful. Rather than visiting every few months, now my mom and I can enjoy a leisurely walk together. Sunday meals with apple pie. Surprise visits for a cup of tea.

I'd like to do that more with friends, too. Having Harmony around, with her needing naps and such, makes spontaneity more difficult, but not impossible. Night times are still fairly difficult to get away, since I teach in the evening and come straight home to put Harmony to bed, then eat dinner and tiptoe around the house to avoid waking her up. As the cold weather abates over the next few months, more outdoors time will be in the works, which I'm really looking forward to!

So I'm going to take a break from seeing people's Facebook profiles in order to see people's real faces.

For my far-away friends, I'm not deserting you! My blog will still be a place to muse. Photos of Harmony will probably be posted here (hi grandma!) for those who like seeing her antics. Please comment here, or write to my email address, or better yet, send me a letter in the mail! And then I can write you back! If you have a blog that I'm not aware of, send me the link. I still want to stay connected to friends who live in distant lands.

Let's see what happens!
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Published 12:16 PM by with 0 comment

Talking to Myself Again, Eh?

When you're at the bottom of your emotional well, life looks so grey. The tiny ring of sky at the top of the well is far away. Every once in a while I fall down into sadness like this. Disappointment in myself, disappointment in others, worry about the future, frustration for everything that I'm not accomplishing: it piles on my heart, clouds my head, and I'm grey and want to curl up in a corner.

It's not the end of the world. I try not to exaggerate my hurt. Yet there is hurt, and to deny it is to merely push it off until it gets too big to ignore.

But the radio sends out a song whose chorus speaks directly to where I am.

And my father said,
Don't you worry, don't you worry, child
See, heaven's got a plan for you
Don't you worry, don't you worry now

Then friends begin to send words of encouragement. Words written, words spoken, words across the states. They remind me of what I know to be true. They tell me the truth.

My husband, dealing with his own disappointments, is the one who smiles first and points me back to the light. My daughter snuggles close. We all dance around the house to bagpipe music, celebrating Robert Burn's Day, enjoying delicious tatties and neeps and pretending that the burnt (experimental) Scotch Eggs don't exist.

Remember that voice I talked about earlier? Here's what it said:

You're faltering again.

I know. Typical of me, to fail when things look tough. I thought I was stronger than this.

It's not a matter of being stronger in your own might.

Oh really. Here's my sarcastic face. You're going to talk to me about Grace again, aren't you?

Isn't that what Grace is for? For times like this?

I was doing fine! Everything was okay! Then all this junk came flooding into my life and I got overwhelmed. I'll be better soon.

Do you want to simply feel better? Or do you want to become stronger?

Stronger, DUH.

Then take a good look at what it would mean for Grace to permeate all these areas of your life. 

Grace to others means that you can love them for who they are, not who you expected them to be.

Grace to yourself means that you no longer have to try to be perfect, because your own efforts won't save you, and you can find strength for everything you need by keeping your eyes on Grace Himself. 

Grace for the future means that you don't need to worry about what will come, since you are already cared for much more than you realize. 

It's not as easy as you make it seem. I can't just turn off the doubts in my mind.

No, but you can focus your thoughts on the positive instead of the negative. Like counting your blessings rather than wishing for what you don't have. Aren't you writing down a list of one thousand gifts you are grateful for?

Yeah, but... but...

Everyone gets discouraged occasionally. Everyone will let you down. You will let others down. You will let yourself down. Time to get back up.

Time to get back into Grace.
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Published 2:45 PM by with 0 comment

Grace to Change

Grace is here. It seems to sneak itself into the tiniest places of my thoughts and actions and interactions daily. I pick up a book, talk to a stranger, turn on the radio... and Grace comes up, or something that brings me back to Grace.

Truly, I feel like I'm being saturated in what it means to live in Grace.

Not that I'm the one being graceful or gracious all the time. I still struggle with impatience. And all those other nasty faults of mine. But Grace is being SHOWN to me. Perhaps these moments are for learning what Grace means as it is given to me?

I'm currently re-re-re-reading a book called "Ordering Your Private World" by Gordon MacDonald. It's had a huge influence on me for the past few years ever since I found it. Definitely one worth visiting annually. It helps me evaluate how I'm living my life. Right now, I'm in the middle of studying the differences between being a "driven" person and being a "called" person.

A driven person...

... is most often gratified only by accomplishment.

... is preoccupied with the symbols of accomplishment.

... is usually caught in the uncontrolled pursuit of expansion (more success, bigger gains).

... tends to have a limited regard for integrity.

... is not likely to bother themselves with the honing of people skills.

... tend to be highly competitive. 

... often possesses a volcanic force of anger (which often erupts against opposition or perceived disloyalty).

... is usually abnormally busy, is averse to play, and usually avoids spiritual worship/contemplation.

A called person...

... understands stewardship, that the things we have are not 'owned', but merely managed in the name of the One who gave them.

... knows exactly who they are and who they are not, and is able to separate 'role' from 'person'.

... possesses an unwavering sense of purpose because he or she does not seek for outside approval. 

... practices unswerving commitment, while understanding that some day, some things will need to be released and let go.

This is what I've been reading so far in the book. Of course, it's not as simple as these basic outlines here describe. I highly recommend "Ordering Your Private World" for anybody and everybody to read for themselves.

It's frustrating to look back five years, two years, last year, and realize how much time was wasted, and how much I didn't change for the better because I didn't strive hard enough for it.

The older I get the more difficult it is to change my faults into positive character traits. And the more damaging my sinful behaviors become to those around me and my own soul.

Thank goodness I don't have to do it on my own.

Sitting still with Psalm 103 today as the words "the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" sink into my heart.

"I want first of all... to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact - to borrow from the language of the saints - to live 'in grace' as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, 'May the outward and inward man be one.' I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God."

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh, in her book The Gift from the Sea
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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Published 1:43 PM by with 0 comment

Final post for DPP, Day #31

Sometimes I completely forget to take out my camera. Sometimes my arms and hands are too busy with a baby to take out my camera. But those aren't my excuses for this late final post in the December photo project.

A friend of mine, who is my husband's best friend, and who was the best man at our wedding, was recently deployed overseas for six months. We prayed often for his safe return, especially as the news from his area told of more violence, more deaths of military personnel. We rejoiced when N. made it safely back to the states in time to spend Christmas with his family! Then N., his younger sister, and mother drove the long distance to Missouri in order to spend the New Years holiday with us.

We didn't venture any farther (further?) than my home or my folks' home. We all played games, watched a movie, ate delicious food that my mom cooked, talked a lot, and simply enjoyed each other's company for a few short days. It was great : ) Hopefully we'll get to see N. again before he leaves for his next deployment.

But the only picture taken during this fun time was this one below. My mom had the presence of mind to pull out her camera, unlike me, so I'm using her picture! N. brought this adorable stuffed camel back from overseas as a gift for Harmony when he met her for the first time. As you can see, she loves it.

Friend From Afar
Thus ends my month of pictures! Which day was your favorite?
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