Tag Archives: Facebook

Spiritually Speaking

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While lying in bed perusing Facebook this morning, I came upon this gem of a post by Greg Trimble entitled “ You Can Make Fun of Me for Being a Mormon if You Want…” I immediately swyped out a response on my Kindle, but upon  reading it later at my desktop, I found it to be wholly inadequate (not to mention filled with typos and structural errors!) in expressing the deeper feelings of my heart on the subject of my faith. So, without further ado, here’s what I meant to say…Images-of-jesus-christ-097-2c

I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had what I thought was a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, as taught by said church, as a teen. But somewhere around seventeen, I started going off track, and by nineteen I was pretty much there. Looking for the love I didn’t feel I had in my family took me to a place I never imagined I would be. Eventually, it became easier to push faith to the back of my mind than to live with the guilt of my actions.

At 21, I married a great Christian guy (actually, we met just as I was trying to come back to church). We tried to find a middle ground between my LDS faith and his Pentecostal one, but by the time I was 24, pushing 25, it was clear to my both heart and soul, I needed to be back in what I strongly believe to be Christ’s restored church, not biding time in a holding pen. The people I met in the other Christian denominations we tried were generally lovely, kind people (as long as they didn’t know I was a Mormon); I expected nothing less. During my years in their pews, I learned intimately about the beliefs of others and the likenesses (there are so many!) between my “LDS Christianity” and their “mainstream” kind. But despite nodding my head in agreement with many of their teachings, I could never get past the fact that something was missing, at least for me. AChristus2

So, for 16 years after I returned to the faith of my youth, my dear husband and I “split the difference,” alternating Sundays at each other’s church. Although, I am the one that has been more involved in the “other than Sunday” activities of my ward; and I’ve no doubt that was part of the reason both of my girls chose to be baptized in the LDS faith. Sadly, in all of our years together, hubby has chosen to be an only- on-Sunday worshiper (he’s not much of a socializer/ joiner). The fissure that occurred in the church community of his youth (and his family) when he married a heathen like me (“He was such a good boy, until…”), the cold shoulder we’ve received at times from mainstreamers when they learned I was LDS, and the fact that he is a federal law enforcement officer (naturally stand-offish and very distrustful), has made it difficult for hubby to insert himself meaningfully into any church. He prefers the anonymity of being last in and first out. To be sure, you don’t have to answer many personal questions that way, which suits him just fine.

Well, the every-other-Sunday agreement he and I made before the kids came along worked fine for a while, but after Blondie, our oldest daughter, turned twelve, it was once again clear a change need to be made; she was growing up without a firm anchor to either his faith or mine. She was getting nothing out of our compromise, and Brownie, our youngest, was getting even less. After all, it is hard to make connections on any level, especially as a kid, when you only see people every other week; and if you
actually don’t want to talk to anyone, it’s even worse! The change we agreed upon was that my two girls and I would attend our ward full time and he would come with us every other week (a day I jokingly refer to as  his “Outreach Sunday”). On the “off” weeks, he attends his church solo (but due to the lack of his exact flavor of a Pentecostal church locally, he actually attends the Methodist church, which was our middle ground denomination in the early years of our marriage).

Now that we are coming up on five years since we made that last change, it’s gratifying to contrast where we were to where we are. Our compromise isn’t ideal, but it has worked as I had prayed it would. I’ve watched my girls’ connections to both the faith, in general, and Christ, in specific, grow and develop beautifully, as has my own. Because of some rough family issues in my youth, church means “family” to me. It was breaking my heart that my kids weren’t developing that same sense of church members being an extended family, and even worse they had no deep, meaningful understanding of God’s love and Christ’s atoning sacrifice for us. But they are getting it now…especially my Blondie. Her faith, her testimony simply amaze me!large

I’m personally grateful for the testimony that I have of Christ as my Savior and His grace that attends me each and every day as I struggle and thrive in this earthly testing ground. Without my upbringing in the LDS faith, the examples of Christ-like love and direction that have attended me as a direct result of my “Mormonism,” I don’t know if I would be in any church today. My path has not been smooth nor easy, and during long periods, I’ve struggled mightily, due both to my own choices and those of others. I’ve had doubts and questions, some that have been answered well, some that I’ve chosen to “put a pin in” for now, but always I have had faith in Christ. My faith has seen me through the rough patches, created within me a gratitude and joy I could not know without Him, and it gives me a vision of who I really am: the daughter of a King.

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Interested in more reading? Here’s a few that have influenced me:

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

The Holy Bible (particularly the KJV version)

The God Who Weeps, Letter to a Doubter, and Crucible of Doubt, Givens

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, Spangler and TverbergBOM11

Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Bushman

Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt, Mason

Shaken Faith Syndrome and Of Faith and Reason, Ash

LDS- Gospel Topics Essays

A Reason For Faith, Hales

The Weight of Glory and Mere Christianity, Lewis

Letters to a Young Mormon, Miller

The Rage Against God, Hitchens

LDS Living

A Different Jesus?Claiming Christ, and The Mormon Faith, Millet

Comparing LDS and Evangelical Beliefs

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nterested in commenting? Feel free to do so, but know that I do not engage in arguments about my faith. There are plenty of bloggers and the like that do, but I prefer instead to state our 11th Article of Faith and leave it at that: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. 

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Reflections on Being Facebook-less: Revisiting My First Day Blogging

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As I commented in my opening post, Facebook had become a real problem for me. I use the past tense ‘had’ because I put my account to sleep on Monday, May 18, at 12:09 a.m. My original intention was to spend the summer in hiatus, then reassess in the fall. Now, almost two weeks later, I’m not so sure that I’ll be going back on social media of any sort come September.

In recent months my political opinions, which I stand by firmly, in regards to gay marriage an2e6f1350447ee76343c375ce4c7aa894d whether or not business owners in the traditional wedding industries should be forced to provide services to gay couples tying the knot, had come under fire by a few friends who see these 8908ed4c064bef60733ef20387437751issues differently. I am perfectly happy to allow that on many topics people may amiably “agree to disagree.” Alas, I have found that is not enough for some on certain subjects. No, no, it is all or none. And in this case, the leftist consensus seems to be all who believe in traditional marriage and the Constitutional right to Freedom of Religion and Association, let alone Freedom of Conscience and the belief that the Market can decide such issues better than Big Government, must be forced into reeducation camps until we give up our convictions at the altar of Political Correctness and sell out our God. Or at least remake Him in the image of modern society.

He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.   —George Orwell, 1984

Yeah, that would be acceptable. For now. The arguments back and forth become of the circle jerk variety, and hardly worth the time for either party to continue. Still, for my part, as far as Facebook is concerned, I reserve the right to post what I want on my page, and happily allow that others have the same freedom. Discussions are fine, but harassment? Ugliness? Well, feel free to find another target.

Besides, the politics, these terrific graphics, memes, whatever you want to call them, pop up all the time. And I love them. I love humor, in most every form, and I love to laugh. But like Uncle Albert in Disney’s Mary Poppins, we can spend our time being tickled to death but accomplishing nothing, gaining, growing not at all. We post funny pics (and they ARE funny!) of our kids, our cats, our dogs, our Pinterest fails. And others laugh. It’s kind of like we’ve all become class clowns, vying for attention. Our friends and our “friends” post back, “LOL,” “LMAO,” “ROFL” and “:)” because we want to let our buddies know their comedic efforts were received as such on our end. No one wants to post into an echoless wilderness. We want to laugh with others, and we gain pleasure in making others smile. And that’s okay.

The problem is going on to Facebook JUST to be amused. Trolling for a laugh, if you will. We get so addicted to the fun stuff that we end up being “in” there for hours…all while the dishes pile up, the kids whine for dinne6004272faa7609420f2e740af4630af9r, your spouse begs for attention, your budget goes unbalanced for yet another day, and if someone were to sneak a candid shot of you, your head would be turned downward, staring at some device. Interaction with others? Unnecessary. We all have our electronic pacifiers to keep us happy instead.

And don’t give me the “All things in moderation” line. How good are you at moderation, really? For so many of us, not all, but many, moderation just doesn’t happen. Time wasters easily get out of hand, particularly for the easily distracted and addictive types. We struggle with attention as it is to the point that self-regulating on social media is almost laughable. We’re like rats at a sugar water dispenser! Like the poor Christian in C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. Like the busy people being plagued by the Devil’s little minions! Only now, we’re simply “busy” being distracted!

Sadly, even many who didn’t used to be plagued by short attention spans are now. I was listening to one of my favorite talk radio shows the day that I went “off-air.” The host, law professor Hugh Hewitt, was interviewing (somewhat) Conservative New York Time’s columnist David Brooks about his new book The Road to Character. Hugh was asking him about a few of the issues David sees with social media (which Hugh loves!). The first problem Hugh suggested to Mr. Brooks is “amplification of the self,” which is a topic for another post; and the second is the destruction of our attention spans.

DB: …The [problem with social media] I actually worry about the most now in myself is my attention span is just shot. I just can’t go a few pages without wanting to check my phone or something. And so I do think it’s having a big effect on attention spans.

HH: When I prepare for interviews like this and I read a book, I often read a chapter and then check social media and read a chapter, and then check social media. Or if I grade exams, I grade five, and then I check social media. It is integrated, but not overwhelming. I wonder if younger people have those discipline sets left over, which I’m banking on, right? I banked the discipline set 30 years ago before social media came along. I don’t know if they ever get one.

Seriously, folks! I have enough problems concentrating, and these two highly educated, highly accomplished men have just admitted on a national radio program that they can’t go more than a few minutes without twitching like drug addicts for want of checking their social media accounts. I DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE THAT ANYMORE!

When I first got a Kindle, I used it only for reading; and I read A LOT! Then I got an android phone and used my Kindle app for reading, and my Facebook app for Facebooking, and my browser for looking up every incidental fact under the sun- just because I could! It got to where I hardly touched my Kindle app anymore, and instead of reading five-hundred page books, I was reading three page articles on the Wall Street Journal. einstein

When I realized my attention span, small as it was to begin with, was suffering (and my phone wouldn’t even work as a phone half the time), I went back to a flip phone and got a Kindle Fire, sans the 4G connectivity. That helped a good deal—except then I became pretty adept at finding Wi-Fi hotspots with which to connect—to Facebook. At home, I was rarely without my Kindle. My husband and kids commented on my continually glowing face. I laughed, they laughed, then they got out their little screens, too. Suddenly, one day I looked up to see we had all started watching T.V. as a family, with our laptops, Kindles, and DSi’s in hand!  Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Again, I don’t want to be like that anymore.

In the twelve days since I’ve been off of Facebook, I’ve researched and made homemade lotion bars, soaps, and moisturizer, started a cross stitch I bought at least 10 years ago, started reading (and am making good progress in) two books, created a family budget, updated our budgeting software, cleaned my kitchen, made multiple batches of water kefir, bought new carpet for our home (YEAH!!), prepared a two week dinner menu, and will be doing lunch menus for the summer today (I am so tired of hearing that we have nothing to eat in a kitchen stuffed with food!). Oh, and I’m working on walking again, too. Not for fitness, not yet, but simply for ambulatory purposes. Go, me!

Granted, not all of the above accomplishments are attributable to simply going off of Facebook. The physical “I’m at home” time to put in to these tasks has come about largely due to the fact that after a grueling nine months, my sixteen year old’s dual credit college classes are on hiatus. BUT, the fact that I’m using my at home time to be productive, time that I would otherwise, in all likelihood, be wasting sitting on Facebook for one “purpose” or another, is huge! I feel like I’ve broken lose of the addiction I had to “Facebook Think.” You know, where you go about your daily activities thinking of what to post, how to respond, how many ‘likes’ such and such post might garner, how cute that picture would be-on Facebook, etc.  It’s been very freeing. As much as I miss some of my contacts on there, It’s been very, very freeing.

I will say, too, as both a positive and a negative, I’ve become terribly disconnected to the world and national news and politics that I “love.” My Facebook news feed kept me up to date on such things-minute by minute. We only have satellite in the man cave up stairs, and I rarely bother to go up there simply to watch the news. Additionally, since I’m not in the car very much these days, I miss listening to my PragerMedvedHewitt talk radio programs. Seriously, I feel as clueless about the world as the typical college Democrat! On the positive side, however, I’m less stressed, happier (ignorance IS bliss!), and more focused on what’s mine, i.e. what I have control over. And that really is all for the best.

 

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Am I Doing What’s Mine? or Running the Race (at my own pace)

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I’m not a big drama mama, but I do like to cut up and over dramatize silly things in such a way that, to the outside viewer, things may appear as “drama.” But seriously, the older I get, the less inclined to B.S. I am. I don’t like visual clutter, audio clutter, or verbal clutter. And, for all the good it can do, social media is all that and more.

As noted in my “About” page, I like politics, or rather I hate politics, but I love reading and commenting on the things that drive our political process. I am an unapologetic Conservative with my understanding of my Christian faith fueling many of my opinions. What faith doesn’t ignite in me, my love for this beautiful, imperfect country and the passion of its Founders does. In sentiment, I would say I side with the more moderate elements of the Tea Party. But in practice, I’m a Republican, red to the core. I don’t believe in throwing my vote away, or throwing elections to Democrats (because that’s what voting for a third party always does). So, I put up with their party stupidity, and I vote Republican. Facebook is a hotbed for political banter, though, causing some friends to scurry or put up their dukes. And sometimes results in arguments that last, and last, and last. It can be utterly exhausting. But still I rant. And post. I just can’t help myself!

Nevertheless, the other day, this wonderful article hit my feed, posted by a friend, I believe (Thankfully, I have friends who don’t get so wrapped up in politics, posting other, more useful things than the latest gripe against “X”); and it hit me like a hammer. The title of the article is ” To the Mama Who Feels Like She Never Gets Anything Done.” If that isn’t me, I don’t know who it is! I USED to be SO productive! I USED to read voraciously. I USED to have time with my kids. I USED to DO things.

Now, I sit on Facebook, reading article after article about politics, which increases my blood pressure, but does nothing to increase my true knowledge, the stuff I think we get to take with us when we die. I sit on Facebook looking at the latest funny meme (I hate that word), because I do so love to laugh, but that does nothing to increase my spirituality, or better my relationship with my family, or get nagging tasks done around the house, or increase my health and fitness (Granted, I was in a car wreck 2 months ago; had knee surgery 6 weeks ago, and will finally get to start weaning off of crutches next week. So, I’ve got that excuse. For now.). It does, however, keep me chatting with friends and some family, the few I allow into my Facebook world, but so what? It does keep me “occupied,” but there is zip, zero, zilch that is productive in that comes of that time day after day.  It is such a distraction! Just like the lotus flowers in Percy Jackson, Facebook hits our brain and we suddenly lose all of time!

Friends are great. I value my friends. I have some truly FANTASTIC friends, but if I don’t want to spend the day on the phone with them, doing nothing else, why am I spending all day ‘liking’ this or that, or checking to see if they ‘liked’ my latest 87 posts from a dozen different political sites about why the First Amendment must be protected at all costs? Really. I HAVE THINGS TO DO. Even if it is just resting on the couch working on a cross-stitch that I started 16 years ago when my oldest was a baby, I need to make space for that.

Alright, back to that fateful article. The author, Jamie Martin, is a homeschooling mom of three, an adoptive mother, a blogger and writer extraordinaire! I have down time. I “should” be able to at least do some of what she does, right? I mean I USED to write a book review column for an on-line magazine, for crying out loud! I actually used to write two columns. So, what is the problem? What is keeping me from being productive again? Time wasters. Duh! And I don’t mean the hours upon hours of driving I have done these past 5 years, hauling one kid back and forth to college classes on the dark side of the moon (and hanging out during class time because it is too far to drive home in between) or teaching art and co-op classes to other people’s kids. I mean the stuff I do, or don’t do, to try to fill the space between my next car ride, or when I’m powering down at night, or when I’m in the bathroom, or…when I have time. Really, folks, we say we don’t ‘have time,’ but if we add up all the time we waste, we do. We absolutely do!

What is Jamie’s answer to this problem of time? Well, it’s absolutely genius; and terribly, terribly simple:  I only do what’s mine to do.

“What? Could you please repeat that?” you may ask. Certainly, “I only do what’s mine to do.”

She goes on to say:

It takes a while to figure out who you are as a mother, who you are as a person now that you are a mother! (some of us need years!)

Often you only get there by trial and error, and that’s okay. The errors don’t mean you’re doing something wrong; they mean you’re one step closer to knowing yourself.

Amanda Soule’s lovely blog was the first I ever read. Her readers would comment at times that they didn’t understand how she could blog, sew, knit, farm, homeschool, and cook from scratch. Her days overflow with work from the heart, work that matters to her and her family. This isn’t a productivity secret–Amanda’s just doing what’s hers to do. And so she thrives.

Our society has made an idol of getting things done, making that our top cultural  priority. But instead of asking “Am I doing enough?,” why not ask “Am I doing what’s mine?

Here’s what’s mine right now: Love my kids through the ups and downs of parenting, homeschool, read, write, edit, cook, clean, be a friend to Steve. It’s a short list, but a full life. And it’s enough…for me.

Knowing what’s mine in this season lets me fully concentrate without being pulled in all the directions all the time. Busy mama who works all day and feels like you have nothing to show for it, don’t compare your season of spring with another mom’s season of harvest.

Run your own race…this minute, this second. Be you unapologetically. Only do what’s yours to do right now, and watch how your family, yourself, and even the world is changed because of it.

I love the idea of simplifying so much that you really are only worrying about your own ‘stuff,’ focusing on your own race, and realizing that a full life doesn’t require being everything to everyone, but being everything to those who matter most: your immediate family.

It is so easy to get caught up in the world, and in other people’s circus side shows. Facebook makes that SO easy! It’s a simple thing, to over blow our own importance as a cog in the world’s clock works (If I don’t X, then Y will be disappointed, won’t work, won’t happen, etc.). But the truth of the matter is, things do go on, things over which we often have no control (politics, crazy friends, crazy family, the price of tea in China), but only THINK we do. Yet, what we do have control over is ourselves and how we choose to spend (or blow) our time, little though it may seem we have. All that we have to do is embrace that fact, PRIORITIZE, be willing to sacrifice the easy and the mindless, then run with it. We have that much power, don’t we?

 

A man without control