Making Facebook Work for Me (but not that video)

When I talked with my Daddy three years ago about Facebook and the idea of me signing up, he shared his words of wisdom:  “As long as you make it work for you, and you don’t work for it, I think it could be all right.”

I’ve tried.  There have been times, I will admit, when I have let it lead me astray from what I should be doing.  But most of the time, I handle it pretty well.  And I am thankful for it.

We have friends all over the world we are able to keep up with, watch their children grow, and celebrate milestones with because of Facebook.

I saw a picture of my writer friend with the “hot off the presses” first copies of her latest book, all the way across the country from me. That was awesome.

I keep up with my nephews who are growing up way too fast further up the East Coast.  The oldest wants this for this birthday.  An “heirloom quality” stuffed dragon for $13000.00.   Only it’s not Amazon Prime eligible, so that’s a no.  Among other reasons.  Ahem.  My point is that I found out he wanted this because of Facebook.  And my brother and I had lots of laughs over this one.  (The reviews alone are worth clicking over and checking it out.) I’m thankful for staying connected.

I also am inspired by thoughts shared by Bob Goff, Frederick Buechner, Matthew Paul Turner, Hugh Hollowell, David LaMotte, and Thom Shuman, among many others.  If you love beautiful poetry, you should follow Mr. Shuman–what a gift he has.  I love the art and thoughts shared by Brian Andreas of StoryPeople.  He never fails to make me laugh or cry each day–and sometimes it’s both.

There are funny memes and great pictures to share with others on Facebook.  I can share my stories and special moments there.  Friends share their favorite blog posts and very often, their own, which I look forward to catching up on in the next week or so.  *sigh*  So much to read, so little time.

If it weren’t for Facebook, I might never have heard of ABAN or Love Wins or Love 146 or Trade as One.  I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the great things they are doing.  Places like Bare Bulb Coffee and The Book Exchange in Marietta let folks know about the special events they have going on through Facebook.  Love it.  And I love the sharing of ideas among the different communities–ones for homeschool parents and another for spouses of military members and yet another for posting things to sell.  You name it, and more than likely there’s a group page on Facebook for it.

A wealth of information, right?

I mean, without Facebook, I wouldn’t have seen one of the most precious things ever–little Ella Mae singing one of my favorite songs ever–the American Trilogy by Elvis.  Y’all it’s worth the five minutes to watch.  She and I have so much in common.  We both love Elvis, belt out that song when we hear it, and adore our Daddies.  (She’s a far better singer though.)

Oh my land.  How adorable is that?

It’s almost enough to make me overlook the game requests I get.  (I just don’t have time y’all, and besides, I have an addictive personality–I just cannot get started playing one of those games.  I really wouldn’t get anything at all done then.  So no offense, but yeah.  No thank you.)    And the folks who vaguebook.  You know, mention something but not with specifics, leaving the rest of us to wonder, “Huh?”  I won’t say I’ve never done it, but I will apologize for the times I have.  I know.  I’m sorry.

However, there is one thing that I just cannot take anymore from Facebook.  The video that has been shared over and over and over.  I never watched it before because, well, in the words of Bubba, my wise brother, “It’s never that serious.”

But tonight I did.  I decided if I’m going to write about it, I’d best do my research.  And well, yeah.  There’s four minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

*sigh*

Fitted sheets were NOT made to be folded, my friends.  Don’t stress yourself out over it.  Just wad it up and tuck it in the back of your linen closet or a drawer, or take it and the top sheet and stuff them in the matching pillowcase until you need them. I think I saw that one on Pinterest.

Ahhhh, Pinterest.  ❤

But that’s a story for another night.

Wishing you things that work for you rather than the other way around, including those blasted fitted sheets.  (And if you’re one that can fold them neatly–hey, I’m impressed.)

Love to all.

 

Sometimes a Cigar is More than a Cigar

A double guillotine-style cutter, used for cut...

A double guillotine-style cutter, used for cutting the tip of a cigar, next to two hand-rolled H. Upmann Coronas Major cigars, one inside its storage tube and one outside. The “Made in Cuba” label (see “Cuban cigars” section) is visible on the lower tube. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the midst of tackling Mt. Washmore and using my Psychology degree on a ten week old puppy AND two children–wait, make that three–and doing all the things that Monday brings to be done, I had hopes of doing something out of the ordinary.  Like finish a painting that Mess Cat is pretty much convinced I will never finish, I am sure.  Or working on a new crocheting project.  Or, I don’t know, maybe reading one of the bajillion books I have waiting on me.  ALL OF THEM guaranteed to be excellent.

But instead I unloaded the dishwasher and took care of vet appointments and math lessons and thought about how I really don’t have the time to do these things I’d really like to.

And then I heard him.

“You don’t have the time or you don’t make the time?”

It was my Daddy this time.  Yeah, I’ve heard him say this before.  A time or two.  Or ten.

He was right then just as he is now.

Because in truth, there are a million little moments each day that I piddle.  I don’t focus, I let myself get distracted.  I spend five minutes on Facebook, ten on Pinterest (pinning ideas I rarely make time to try), and fifteen clicking this and that on the Internet until I’ve almost forgotten what I sat down to look up to begin with.

And there you go, a half hour that could have been spent focused on a book I want to read or crocheting a little bit more on my project.  Or sorting through things in the littles’ rooms. *sigh*  But that’s an entirely different thing all together.

Daddy once told me a story.   Two men were sitting in a restaurant bar, and the first guy says to the second, “Hey man, let me buy you a drink?”  The second guy says, “No, I’m good.  Thanks.”  First guy: “Aww, c’mon, man, just one drink.”  Second guy: “No really, thanks anyway.”  A couple of minutes later the first guy tries again, “Let me buy you that drink now, okay?”  The second guy shakes his head and says, “No, I don’t drink.”  First guy: “Well why not?”  Second guy, after thinking for a minute, replies, “Because I just had a cigar.”  The first guy stops for a second and then says, “Just had a cigar? What does that have to do with anything?”

Exactly.

It’s just an excuse.  And when you’re looking for a reason, for an excuse, a cigar is as good as any other.

Daddy and I used to talk about our cigars and what other folks used as their cigars.  “I don’t have time” is used a lot.  But here’s the deal.  If I really wanted to, if I focused, I could make time and get to read some on my book du jour.  Or I could plan it out to take my crocheting with me and work on it in the doctor’s offices or dance room waiting areas instead of pulling out my phone and cruising through other people’s business.  Or people watching–again, other people’s business.

But instead, I say I don’t have time.

That’s my cigar.

My friends, it is time I “quit smoking” and making excuses.  It’s time I quit tossing out, “Well we’re too busy” or “Maybe when things get back to normal” or “My house just isn’t up to par yet” and let those all go.  For good.  I want to do these things that I enjoy.  And my life doesn’t make them prohibitive; my not “making” time to do them does.

I am not sure I’m ready for Technology free Tuesday just yet, but I think I’m going to try to make my mind a cigar-free zone and see what I can make time to do.  No excuses.

The only thing standing between these things I want to do and me is ME.

Just One Thing

When I was deciding whether or not to join Facebook three years ago, I went to the one whom I knew would shoot straight with me.  My Daddy.  As we sat together, I told him that I was thinking about signing up, but I wondered what kind of Pandora’s box I was opening.  I felt more compelled to join as my oldest was involved in activities that used Facebook as its main way of communicating.

Daddy sat for a minute and then answered, “Well, as long as you make it work for you, and you don’t work for it…..it should be all right.”

From the beginning I have kept his words in mind.  They apply to all sorts of situations.  But regarding Facebook, I’ve worked to keep myself from sitting in front of the computer for hours, keeping up with my friends’ and acquaintances’ comings, goings, breakfast menus, and all kinds of drama. I’ve learned not to obsess over what the vaguebookers are talking about.  I’ve tried to be conscientious about my “likes.”  I have to admit that because of Facebook I have found out about and been touched by all sorts of organizations and people who are doing amazing things to make this world a better place.  It has opened my eyes to so many ways to serve our world and be a good steward of all around us.  There’s so much brokenness in our world, but there are so many folks trying to help.  That gives me hope.

So this evening when I sat down for a few minutes and logged in, this was waiting on me:

pic of becca stevens quote

Rev. Becca Stevens is the founder of Thistle Farms and Magdalene.  From their Facebook page, here is their mission, beautifully put:

Magdalene is a two-year residential community founded in Nashville, TN in 1997 for women with a history of prostitution and drug addiction. Magdalene was founded not just to help a sub-culture of women, but to help change the culture itself. We stand in solidarity with women who are recovering from sexual abuse, violence, and life on the streets, and who have paid dearly for a culture that buys and sells women like commodities.

Thistle Farms is a non-profit business operated by the women of Magdalene. By hand, the women create natural bath and body products that are as kind to the environment as they are to the body. All sales proceeds go back into the program.

Rev. Stevens knows these women.  She’s talked with them, cried with them, and most importantly, she’s listened.  She KNOWS why these women are on the streets.  When she says a community has failed them, I know she is right.  And I find myself tearful, because I am one of that community.  I am one of the many reasons these women are on the streets.  “…..a culture that buys and sells women like commodities.”  That.  Breaks.  My.  Heart.  We have to stop this.

And there are so many other heartbreaking ways that we, as a community, have failed.  There are children who are hungry every weekend, when their weekday programs are closed.  Too often I shop for my own groceries and forget to pick up something for their weekend backpacks until I am home and it’s too late.  *whispering* I am so ashamed.  There are programs that take care of the hard stuff.  All I have to do is throw some extra groceries in my cart.  And I can’t even do that as often as I should.

A couple of days ago I was talking with my friend who works with a ministry that helps people who are homeless and in need with all kinds of resources–health, education, emotional support, job training and so much more.  We were lamenting about our friend who is now in a transitional program a couple of hours away.  He needs friends there.  Who are NOT in his program.  Who can visit him and take him to lunch and just let him know he’s important to them.  It’s a little hard to do from three hours away.  Phone calls can only do so much.  He needs to be looked in the eyes and to see that he’s Someone in the eyes of others.   My friend sighed and said she sees the same thing locally.  So many people come to her and want to “help,” but unfortunately, this means they have well-intentioned suggestions about how to do things or they come once and never come back.  There have been far too few who have wanted to offer what is needed most.  Relationships.  These people who have been failed already by the system, their families, their communities, by us–what they need most is a relationship.  To matter to someone.  To have someone to cheer them along.  To care for someone and be cared for in return  To have someone to love them when they fall.  Because they will at some point.  We all do.  This is what Jesus of the Good Book was all about.  Why aren’t more folks, especially those who follow him, jumping at the chance to be a part of something like this?

Some kind people offer prayers for these kinds of situations–these people without homes, these women who can barely eke out an existence on the streets, these hungry children and so many other broken and raw circumstances.  They ask God for an answer, for healing, for a solution.

Well, just a couple of posts behind Rev. Stevens’, I saw this one from a wonderful program that serves folks in need in North Carolina:

pic of love wins quote

Oh dear.  I was afraid it was something like that.

Because if God’s plan is us, that means I have to do more than read a Facebook post and think good thoughts for those folks.  I have to do more than be sad.  I have to get mad and get busy.  I have to find my passion and work for change.  And this is the kind of change I can actually get on board with.  And today, I did get mad.  Again.

My seventeen year old was looking at something that shows big sales on different websites.  She had clicked on a website that sold purses.  She has a thing for bags, and as most of hers come from the GW Boutique, therefore helping folks, I’ve decided to find it endearing.  (And it might be genetic.  Ahem.)  As she looked on the site, “window shopping”, I heard her sharp intake of breath.

“One of these purses is $10,000,” she said quite indignantly.  “Now that makes me wanna just slap somebody.”

Amen.

Y’all, I am not perfect.  My cup (and my closet and my pantry) overfloweth and much of it is my own fault, and I know I need to cut back.  So much of this frustration is with myself too. That I have so much when there are folks with less than nothing…..it feels so wrong.  When we live in a world, in a country, where women and men are living on the streets, subjecting themselves to all kinds of abuse and non-human ways of existing, no matter if it’s because of addiction or loss of income or what–IT. IS. WRONG.  Their voices were silenced along the way.  We don’t know their story before they became addicted, so how can we possibly condemn them for it?  All I know is I am so lucky that I had a home and family to go to when my world fell apart many years ago.  Not everyone has that.  We should not be in the business of pointing fingers but rather about the business of opening our arms.  In love.  In welcome.  In acceptance.

To all.

That means to those who are low in spirit, whether in jail, on the streets, or living next door.  It also means to the children who are ahead of us in line at the grocery store as well as the children who never see a grocery store…..or enough food in their own homes. It means taking time to figure out what makes us mad.  And working to change it.  No single person can fix it all or can even help in every broken situation.  But if each one of us did just one thing–built a relationship with just one person who was in need–I don’t know that it would fix everything, but I do know that we’d be able to see a difference.  And offer hope and set an example for those behind us.  To do just one thing.

I don’t pretend to know what your one thing is.  I’m not even sure what mine is yet.  But I do know that we need to start living like we mean it, and that we each need to have that one thing, that one relational thing.  Maybe it’s checking on a friend who’s having a hard time, offering to help a new mom who is overwhelmed, maybe it’s talking with someone in a doctor’s waiting room or using your gifts and talents to create something for someone in need.  I have no idea what your “one thing” could be.  But I do know this–it will feel right.  It might take you outside of your comfort zone for a bit, but it won’t be painful.  As the great theologian and writer Frederick Buechner wrote:  “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.”  It will look different for each one of us.

I also know that when you and I each do our one thing, it will not end there.  We must be brave and intent in our mission, giving generously and loving fiercely.  For as Mr. Buechner also wrote, “The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.”

Just one thing.  It’s a start.