Before Facebook…..

Yesterday, while doing my weekly grocery shopping, I ran into a friend I have known since childhood.

Her husband and pooch had recently been injured in a car accident and I caught up on how their recovery was going.

We went about our way and then I ran into her again in the bakery.  I asked about a mutual friend who had been undergoing some life struggles and she let me know that our friend was doing well and moving forward.

I laughed as we were talking and asked “what did we do before Facebook?”  You see, Facebook is where I found out about both of these ongoing life events.

She responded back, “we talked on the party  line!”  We laughed and went on about our shopping.

As I wandered up and down the aisles of canned goods and, meats and dairy, I pondered, what DID we do before Facebook?

For the sake of conversation I use Facebook to encompass all social media.  The term could easily be, what did we do before Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat or any of the other social media platforms that I am not cool enough to comprehend.

No matter the format, what did we do before Facebook?

  • We used our phones for talking.  We actually picked up the receiver, got a dial tone, punched in a number and talked to the person on the other end.
  • We actually looked at people when we walked down the street.  We sometimes even nodded or said hello!
  • When we went to the bathroom, we did our business and left.  With the inception of social media, my bathroom breaks have grown longer and longer.
  • We didn’t overshare.  I am COMPLETELY guilty of this, I get it, but we overshare now.  It seems as though we are more worried about what our next posts will be instead of living our lives.  When was the last time you went to a concert and just enjoyed the music?  Now, we try to make sure we can get the perfect shot or video.
  • Our computers and phones were used for computing and phoning.  In this social media world we now live in, my computer is open to Facebook from the time I get up until I go to bed.  When I am not with my laptop, I have my phone in my hand.
  • Our search for a fulfilled life now competes with other’s photos and posts.  Sometimes ignorance is bliss.  When I didn’t know that my friends were at the hottest club or movie premier, I could handle it, now I suffer from FOMO anxiety!
  • Emergency room visits for walking into walls and fountains were practically non-existent prior to social media overtaking our world.  Now when someone walks into a wall, you can be assured their faces were in their phones, finding out what excitement other people are experiencing in their world.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a critic of social media.  I love it and utilize it to the fullest.  I know what you had for dinner and you know the same about me.  I know who loves Trump and who hates him.  I know when you have a kidney stone and you know when I feel excited or frustrated, it is all a part of social media.

What I fear is that, like you, our lives are becoming more about our social media posts and less about life.

Social media is a wonderful part of our lives, when we use it as a supplement, not a forerunner.

While social media has its downfalls, the benefits of these photos, posts and videos far outweigh the negatives.

Through social media, I stay in touch with family and friends around the world.  I celebrate their joys and cry for them when they suffer.

Our world has been made smaller through social media.  Prayer circles for loved ones who are suffering or being witness to the first kiss of a new husband and wife allows us to narrow our circle and become one humanity.

I love seeing your children on their way to prom, or first steps, words and life milestones from your bundles of joy.  My heart grows stronger when I see complete strangers stop in their tracks to honor a fallen soldier as his body is received back on American soil.

Our world is a complex place, filled with a humanity that moves at the speed of light.  This world is brought together through social media, so if I don’t hear from you by phone or a knock on my door, I don’t take it personally, I know you are out living your life, like I am.

Keep sharing, I enjoy watching your adventures and hope you will forgive my overshares, it’s a big beautiful world out there, let’s experience it together!

Life’s Playlist….. Year-End Classics… Hallelujah performed by Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes, Kurt Nilsen

It has become a New Year‘s Eve tradition here at “Notes from a Southern Kitchen.”  The final Life’s Playlist of the year is my all time favorite song, I think it is fitting for the final day of 2013 or any other year.

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I hope you enjoy…… Hallelujah this year performed by Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes, Kurt Nilsen.

Friday’s Heroes…. Goodwill to All Men, 12.13.13 @Upworthy

FRIDAY’S

At this time of year, my heart looks for someone to show me the “Goodwill to All Men” part of Christmas.

www.upworthy.com has a knack of doing it year round.  Yesterday, the site brought me to tears four times, IN ONE DAY!  If you don’t follow the site, you should.

The internet, with all of its foibles has a knack for sharing wonderful moments, feelings and goodwill to all men.

Below are just a few of the reasons that Christmas is such a magical time of year, with Goodwill to All Men.

Upworthy & the spirit of Goodwill to All Men is this week’s Friday‘s Hero!

 

 

#Christmas Playlist….. Away in a Manger performed by Martina McBride @ChristmasCount @MartinaMcBride

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Christmas Playlist…..  Away in a Manger performed by Martina McBride

Patience for Prayer

My Pastor recently began a new sermon series entitled “Connected.”  The focus of the series is prayer.

During the first week’s sermon,  he made the point that prayer is a conversation with God, a conversation that is ongoing and can take place anywhere.

His viewpoint is that when praying we should “talk” with God.  It isn’t about the location or using “holy talk” but a genuine heartfelt conversation between you and God.

In talking with God, three points made up the focus of the sermon….

  • Talk authentically – talk like you talk with friends and speak from the heart.  Don’t worry about the “thou” and the “Oh, heavenly most gracious God, creator of all things on heaven and earth.”  Old Testament talk isn’t necessary, an authentic talk with God is the kind of talk we would have with our best friend or partner, after all isn’t that what God is to us all?
  • Talk often – a conversation with God happens often, even continuously.  Talking with God isn’t by appointment, we don’t have to pray in the morning or as the last thing we do at night, prayer is a talk that is available to us anytime, anyplace and anywhere.
  • Talk and LISTEN – possibly the most important of these three points is to LISTEN for God when we pray.  Many of us talk and talk and talk and then we wonder why we don’t get a response.  A conversation takes place between two parties, listen for God’s response.

As Pastor Todd was preaching, he wasn’t saying anything I didn’t already know, but sometimes it is good to hear it from a fresh perspective.  The message was simple, but powerful.

The sermon included points on being patient when praying.  We don’t always get a response when we want, but we get it in God’s time… God’s perfect time.  I thought about all the times I have asked God for something and didn’t receive it when I asked, some things I never received AS ASKED, but received as needed.

As Pastor spoke, I was taken back to my prayers as a youth for God to change me.  During those dark days of my life I couldn’t understand why God had allowed me to be something others told me he hated and I prayed for change.

I remembered the jobs I had prayed for that I didn’t receive.

I thought about the days I begged God to let my mother live and be free of pain, to no avail.

During that sermon I could feel emotions rise up in me that I had not felt for some time, I could feel God speaking to me.

As he was talking about conversations with God, Pastor Todd made general statements….

  • speak to God before your feet hit the floor in the morning
  • get up ten minutes early with the intention of talking to God
  • don’t say Amen, continue a conversation with God through the day

The examples continued and as he spoke, I knew what I had to do as I was warmed by God’s presence.

For me, my best “talk to God” place is the beach, at sunrise.

Two years ago I was working out with a trainer and those sessions were held on the beach at 6:30 AM.  Far more than the exercise, the sunrise each morning gave me a feeling a peace and brought me closer to God.

Long after I stopped the work-outs I continued the morning visits to the beach.  I posted photo after photo of my sunrise experience on my Facebook page and others would enjoy the scene and comment on the beauty of each one.

What I learned during those days at the beach was every sunrise was different, but each one was filled with beauty and majesty too.

Recently I moved and I stopped going to the beach for sunrise.  The drive is further and it isn’t as convenient anymore, so I just stopped.

I continue to get up at the same time, but instead of going to the beach I watch the news.  As you can imagine the feeling I get from “Morning Joe” isn’t quite like the one I get watching the colors of heaven explode onto the horizon.

As Pastor Todd spoke, I knew what I had to do…. I had to go back to the beach.

Monday morning came and as my alarm sounded at 5:55AM, I lay there for a moment and talked to God, without saying amen, I bounced up, took Lita for a quick walk and then got in my car and headed to the beach.

Driving to the beach, I was disappointed that the weather wasn’t that great.  There was a slight mist and the winds were brisk.  As I made my way out onto the sand, I was disappointed to find the skies overcast with no color to be found.

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On the beach, alone, sharing my thoughts with God, I began to pray…… no, I began a conversation.

I talked to God about my dreams, my desires for my life and prayed for those I love.

As I prayed, I listened for God, I listened for a response, impatiently I waited.

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I prayed, the clouds remained and the rain fell, but I stayed, I stayed on the beach and I prayed.

Scattered around the beach I noticed throngs of jellyfish,  like landmines just waiting to sting.   The irony of the jellyfish didn’t escape me as I thought about the landmines of life that keep me from honoring God on a daily basis, the landmines that keep me from reaching my true potential.

As I stood and prayed, my mind began to wander.  My attention was drawn to the screech of the seagulls, the lady walking her dog down the beach and the rain.

I started to leave in disappointment that the sunrise had been a dud, but I stayed.

Standing on the sand, I waited and began to see a small break in the clouds and a peek of colors providing a promise of greater things to come.

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As the clouds dispersed and a colorful sky began to appear on the horizon I thought about the times God has spoken to me.  How I have been nudged by God to write, how I have been blessed by friends kind words when I needed it most, how I have grown in faith.

I reflected on the week with my family before my mom died that changed my outlook on life and death and allowed us to find blessings during the most difficult of days.

I thought about the realization I had come to long ago that I am a child of God, made in HIS perfect image, filled with foibles and saved by grace.

I continued to talk to God, I thanked him for blessings and I listened.

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As I continued to talk to God, the hints of a beautiful sunrise could be seen in the distance.  As I watched the sun rise, the message of the sermon became clear.

God provides in perfect timing.  Sometimes we go through darkness, storms and land mines, but in God’s perfect timing prayers are answered for those who believe, ask humbly and listen.

While we may not find the exact ending we seek when we pray, the answer is perfect in God’s own way.  While the changes I prayed for as a child didn’t come, my own acceptance and understanding did.

I was passed over for jobs I asked for, but when the right job came along at the right time, it was mine.

My mom died, but  she was healed, her pain was gone and she now sparkles in the glow of magnificent sunrises that are available each day.

While I prayed I found it, while I talked to God it became clear, prayer requires patience.

Our prayers are often answered in ways we don’t expect, not always the way we had hoped for, but in the way God knows is best for us.

But sometimes, through patience, those prayers are answered with the brilliance of the Sistine Chapel and God’s greatest blessings shine for us helping us navigate another day.

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