Sunday, July 26, 2009

Facebook Sabbatical

If you don't use Facebook this may not make any sense.

I'm a little bit impulsive. Those who knows me well know this. So it came as no surprise to me when Friday morning on the way to work I was struck with an impression- to shut down my Facebook page for a while. It felt like a pretty strong compulsion, so by the time I got to work I was pretty resolved. I thought it was temporary, but wasn't sure how long it would be. So by Friday afternoon I deactivated my account.

More people than I anticipated mentioned it, so I thought I might take a moment to explain why I wasn't surprised when I got the impression and chose to follow it.

First being I work in "social media." This is the Facebook, the Myspace, the Twitter... :) And so when you do something at work, it become very wearing to use it also at home. I'm not going to burn out in my career that way.

The next points are going to incorporate things I have learned through my work in social media in both professional and personal use.

I quit to avoid the temptation to get into other people's business. I think about a year ago I made the conscious decision to not snoop through other people's lives on Facebook. I find it very disingenuous to try to learn a person's life and happenings through what people are saying to them or what they are saying to other people. So even though I've stayed quite well to that personal conviction, it is still tempting. Plus, people have drawn conclusions about my life from what they may see other people saying to me or I say to other people. I don't like that.

Also, people behave online in a way that they generally wouldn't in person. I think there are several reason for this. One, electronic media let you act as quickly as your emotions come. That can lead to many unwise things said, etched in cyberspace for all eternity. :) Two, in person to person contact, there are social mores that help us get along. We change topics of conversation and tone for the person we are with. However when you are mass communicating with one voice, that can become a mess.

Finally, Facebook is a gigantic time suck. If I find myself with extra time, I find I can easily waste it by surfing through Facebook. And generally in those times I find myself violating my no-snooping rule. Already in the 2 days sans Facebook I have found so much more valuable things to do. I have read, listened to sermons, made a stronger effort to hang out with friends. It's been good.

So there you have it. I judge no one for using Facebook, but knowing myself, my weaknesses, and my tendencies, I found it necessary to take a break and re-center my time priorities. Like I said, I think this is only temporary, and will probably be back in about a month.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fine Print

Each week we have a theme, and tell a few stories along that theme...

When I was in high school, the What Would Jesus Do bracelet fad hit the scene. Since I was already a "Jesus Freak", I figured the least I could do was wear my dedication for Christ on my wrist.

At some point in there I read the book on which the slogan was based- "In His Steps" by Charles Sheldon. The story is simple and dated. Simply put, a small group of members at a traditional, evangelical, conservative church decide to live their lives by not only considering what Jesus would do in the situation, but then actually doing it. The results were fantastic and powerful. (I highly recommend this book.)

I remember I got to the end of the book and was thoroughly perplexed. I was always a "good Christian", very involved, very law abiding. :) But to follow Jesus, even when it's confusing, even when it turns your life upside down, even when it makes no sense to you or the world around you... that seemed a bit much to me.

But at some point the Lord finally broke through my hard head, and I had a conversation with myself that went something like this:

Well, I don't know if I really want to commit to this lifestyle. It seems scary and hard. Who knows what I'll end up doing.

Oh crap... I am a Christian. I gave my life to Christ. This is not a decision yet to be made; this is a decision I already made. I'm following Christ.


That moment, to me, was one of those moments when something cosmic happened. I believe that that small confession of faith was a time when the Lord seized something deep within me, and has grown that mustard seed since.

There is a beautifully dangerous song called "Upside Down" by Luke Wood that prays-
Turn my little world upside down... Into your hands I commit my Spirit.

I had no idea what I was getting into as a 15 year old committing my life to Christ. And now as I wake up every morning and renew my mind in the Word and in prayer, inviting the Holy Spirit to lead my life, I still don't know.

But it's exciting. And it's valuable. And it's significant. And it's the life that I was created to live.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Family Photo Friday- Sue

Sue was technically my second cousin, but she was really like an aunt to me. She gave me my teddy bear that was my prized possession for many many years on my first birthday. She was fun and charming and sweet and had such a dear heart. She loved her family ferociously.

She died long before her time when I was a senior in college. I really do miss her.

I recently found these photos and love them so much because they're so expressive of the youth, beauty, attitude and mystery of her.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Only the Lonely

This is probably one of the most honest and vulnerable blogs I've written, so we'll see if it stays up until tomorrow...

I have never wanted to be the stereotypical anything. So when it comes to being the stereotypical 20-something single, this applies at least doubly.

But lately I feel the Lord has been pressing me to pray about the fact that- despite my fervent denial- I am lonely.

I live alone. My closest family is 5 hours away by car, in another state. I have good friends, but most of them have their own families and all of them have their own lives to be concerned with. More often than not, between the time I leave work and go back to work the next day, I haven't talked to anyone. And most of this is by choice- I am an introvert and that both serves me well and is a stumbling block.

I probably have less of a problem than most when it comes to going places alone. I have always been independent, but at the same time it is painful still to sit alone in a sea of families of many sorts. There's also a healthy dose of pride hurting there as well, I can't deny. I hate to feel like people pity me, although it's probably more my paranoia than reality.

Please understand, my family loves me dearly and I have more amazing friends than I could ever deserve, but it's the small things that make up life no one really knows.

My coworkers have heard more useless anecdotes of my life than they can probably count, simply because when I come to work, there are people- really the only people I see interact with regularly. I have things I want to share with someone, and they are my friends and they are there. And graciously they haven't told me to shut up yet. :)

Life is made up of the little things. Our victories are primarily small victories, and those small victories often have stories behind them, so if no one knows the stories, how can they share my victories? The same with defeats.

I think that the recent, ongoing issues at my church have contributed to this feeling and realization.

And perhaps through partly this urge to remain un-typical and greater part due to God's work in me, I refuse to wallow or make myself comfortable in this feeling of loneliness.

Instead it becomes a call to prayer. And not the formulated, Sunday school prayers, but the honest cries of a child to her Father. I believe that when we talk with our Father honestly, he is thrilled to be invited into our hearts and begin his work in us.

And I realize that this is certainly not a issue that singles alone face. In fact I think in many ways it is a much deeper pain to feel lonely in a marriage or in a family, and there are sadly many who feel that way.

But God is both good and faithful, and I will trust him alone to fill the loneliness I feel rather than trusting in the counterfeit company the world suggests or provides.

Title blatantly ripped off from a wonderful, highly recommended sermon series at The Village Church in Denton, Texas by Paul Matthies, which can be heard here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Family Photo Friday- Mom

It's my mom's birthday. I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful mom. She has taught me so much about selfless love and I hope to be close to the woman and mother she is.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of her.

My mom in a great jacket, my grandmother, my dad

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


When I was very sick a few years ago, much of the time while I was in the hospital, I was NPO, which meant no drinking and no eating. I received my necessary nutrients through IV. Throughout my months in the hospital I'd guess that I went at least a month at a time without being able to eat or drink.

Even though I was receiving necessary nutrition via IV, it was terrible. The hunger eventually went away, because I don't remember being hungry very often.

But the thirst. Ooooh, the thirst. I was always thirsty.

My mind was like an Ozarka commercial on a constant loop. I wasn't a big water drinker before then, but so many times I remember saying to myself, "After I get better, I could drink crystal clear water for the rest of my life and live in bliss."

My poor parents could tell you stories of how I would beg for something to drink. I was really unfair to them, but I was desperate. "Just a sip." And even though I thought just a sip would satisfy this primal need, it only made me more thirsty. A taste of water was never enough, and only left me longing for more.

God has brought this to my mind often in the past year. I think it's been to teach me of how I approach His heart.

We're all thirsty, and too often try to satisfy it through cheap substitutes for what we really need. Still our souls become more desperate for pure water. And once you get a sip of the living water, it only leaves you wanting more.

Praise God that He promises us streams of living water flowing through us in His Spirit.

Revelation 22:17:
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

John 4:10 & 13-14:
Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water... Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life."

John 7:37-39:
"Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.

From Misty Edwards, Lovesick:
Happy am I to live a hungry life
And blessed am I to thirst
My desire for you is my gift within
And I am blessed, I am blessed among men!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Family Photo Friday- Cousins

My cousin and I were born almost exactly a year apart, me being older. In fact, I was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Spoiled much? :)

They liked to dress my cousin and I alike.

I'm on the left, which I think should be obvious. I have been told I was a very happy baby. :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Blood donors saved my life

I decided to sit down and record a short message explaining why I am so passionate about blood donation.

Super short version? Blood donors saved my life.

Please give if you can.

If you are in the OKC area, I'm organizing a blood drive at my church this Sunday. You get 2 free zoo tickets! Comment for details.

Also, on August 3rd I'm eligible to give again (post-Honduras). I plan to go then and I'd love to take someone with me to donate!

Thanks for taking the time to listen.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

My trip to Prague... Oklahoma

For the past 10 years as I drive between Oklahoma City and Texas, one sign has teased... nay, beckoned me.

On I-40, at Exit 200, there is The Shrine to the Infant Jesus at Prague.

The signs face both eastbound and westbound, and say nothing but the title, and "The more you honor me, the more I will bless you."

Every single time I pass by, I want to stop, but never have. But last week, my friends, oh I stopped. But little did I know what a charming town awaited me in Prague!

First of all, I should clarify this is Prague, Oklahoma, and pronounced "Pray-ge", not like the European city. But truly pictures tell 1000 words, so here you go- Polaroid style.

This first pic sums up Prague. Trains, Czechoslovakia, and Jim Thorpe. "A small town with a large heart"- and I believe it!

KOLACHE FESTIVAL! Some day I hope to attend this. Maybe next year!

This is truly one of the most charming church signs I have ever seen. I can't put my finger on why, but I really loved it.

And lest you think they don't know how to have a good time in Prague...

And the main attraction! The Shrine to the Infant Jesus at Prague. See video below for more detail.

Thanks, Prague. I really did enjoy my short stay. I hope to go back to visit.