Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’


Today I visited a friend.IMG_0642

I dropped my daughter off to ride horses and ambled through country roads under marshmallow studded cerulean skies. Pastures rolled across the landscape embellished with the white arches of raspberry tenting. One ribbon of road cut through apple orchards stretched out towards a quaint farm house. Crisp spring air blew through my open sun roof whipping my hair.

Ah, the delightful beauty of the day.

In that moment, I savored the presence of the Lord in the wonder of his creation. Yes, I was on my way to a particular place for a planned reason. I drove my car.  But for that short span of ten minutes, I was being not doing. No emails overflowing my inbox, no Facebook poking me with notifications, no cell phone beeping, buzzing or sending me alarms for my next activity. The superhighway fast lane sped to various destinations five miles away from my peaceful world.

In cherishing this space, I longed for a simpler life.

Outside pressures of job, kid’s sports, church activities and social media clamor for our attention. The world’s technology has caused our tight knit communities to welcome the world. On one hand, that’s great. I’ve many blogging, Twitter and Facebook friends and connections that I am thrilled to have because of that technology. On the other hand, I don’t have the capacity to hold the world in my heart or hands. I don’t think anyone does. And I’m not so sure God asks us to. So what do we do with the needs, demands, and interests of the world?

Internal pressures abound as well.

We use busyness as an escape. Insecurity drives us to be responsible and in control of every situation. Legalism reminds us of all the shoulds and should nots. Expectations, perceived or actual, command us to do more, do better, achieve at any cost to claim success and abundant life. Performance driven, we jump through hoops to prove we are worthy of God’s love and others’ favor.

But Jesus calls us to sit at his feet.

And go into the world making disciples. Can those two realities co-exist? This week I read the story of the good Samaritan. I believe I saw the simplicity of being in the presence of Jesus as the Samaritan man reached out to be the “church” to his neighbor. This dear man traveled along attending to whatever business was at hand for him. Maybe he was headed to work, or a friend’s house.  Or on his way to worship. Perhaps he was enjoying his journey simply for its own sake.

But he was open to interruption. Jesus calling.

Willing to give a bit of his time and some of his resources, he cared for a wounded fellow traveler and went on his way. He also made a point to check back to follow up on the man’s well-being. It didn’t seem an inconvenience to him nor a new project to seek out every hurting person in the country. He simply helped someone in need who happened to cross his path – or rather whose path he crossed during his everyday life.

Am I going to or “doing” church, or am I being the church?

Am I running around like Martha so concerned about getting everything done, checked off, accomplished, worked out, served, made, corrected, or controlled? Or can I sit at Jesus’ feet soaking up his love, grace, mercy and wisdom – the peace of his presence? Not only in my life circumstances, but in the posture of my heart.

These are questions I’ve been asking myself.

While I don’t read this version often, I kind of like how The Message puts it in Micah 6:8:

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
    what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
    be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
    take God seriously.

Mary had it right.

She didn’t escape or neglect her life, but she knew the best place to be was at Jesus’ feet. And Jesus commended her not for all her activities or service or community projects, but for being with him. Isn’t that why we were created?

How about you? Are you able to sit with Jesus? What kind of external or internal demands drive you?

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Last year one of my goals was to open a Twitter account.  IMG_4050

On December 31, 2011 I posted my first tweet. I don’t think I would have done that if I had only thought or even said to myself that I should start tweeting. I knew it was something that would help my writing career; social networking builds platform, right? But without a clear, specific, measurable goal, I would have gone on thinking about something I should do, but probably wouldn’t have done it or at least not for a long time.

This week I met another goal!

I submitted my first proposal to an agency. Again, while I knew it was the next step, and headed in that direction, it took a specific, measurable goal to accomplish it. My writer friend encouraged me to submit it within a few days of us talking or wait until after the holidays. That specific deadline challenged me in the best way to take care of something on my writing list in a timely matter. Without a measurable goal, you know the story…I’d probably be sitting here working in short bursts of “shoulds”. Instead, I have a proposal sitting in an agent’s office. (Thank you Sherry!)

But how do I make my goals S.M.A.R.T?

Most of us self-motivators have heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals, introduced by Paul J. Meyer in Attitude is Everything.  These goals are: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.  Let’s see how we can convert some “shoulds” into SMART goals.

Instead try: By the end of this year, I will open a Twitter account and post my first tweet.

This is a specific, measurable and time-bound goal because I listed a particular action to be accomplished within a set time period.  At first, a Twitter account didn’t seem attainable because I’m not very accomplished with technology, but as it didn’t require a degree or special class, I could attain it by simply checking into it. The goal became more relevant as I blogged and wrote more to build a platform.

  • I should learn my craft.

Instead try: I will attend at least one writing conference this year and practice writing by turning out 1,000 words per day. Or I will subscribe to Writer’s Digest and read each issue to learn my craft; and I will practice by writing 500 words per day.

You can see that naming an action like attending a course or subscribing to and reading a magazine and actually writing a specified number of words each day is specific, measurable, relevant and time-bound. Attainable may depend on your finances or time so adjust as your resources allow. If you need to work an extra three hours per month to save money for a conference, that can be an additional goal.

  • I should work on my novel.

Instead try: On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I will spend two hours writing my novel. Or, I will edit my novel from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. every morning until its finished.

  • I should look for an agent.

Instead try: By (fill in date), I will choose five agents from the list on Michael Hyatt’s website.

  • I should submit a proposal to said agent.

Instead try: By Friday of this week I will submit my proposal to the first agent of five on my list. After three weeks, if I have not heard anything, I will submit to the next agent. (Make sure these agents accept simultaneous submissions.)

 

I think you get the idea. Make it specific, doable and with a deadline.

Happy writing!

What ways have you made goal setting work for you? Has this post been helpful? I’d love to hear from you!

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Sometimes you just need an invitation…

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

I may be an amateur, but my friend, Margaret Feinberg [www.margaretfeinberg.com], has a new book and 7-session Bible Study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God[www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck](releasing Christmas Day)a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Wonderstruck[www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck]will help you:

  • Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine
  • Unearth extraordinary moments on ordinary days
  • Develop a renewed passion for God
  • Identify what’s holding you back in prayer
  • Discover joy in knowing you’re wildly loved

To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Promo Video, here: https://vimeo.com/53953257

Margaret weaves a captivating story which reveals the heart of God around every bend. Searching for a deeper understanding of God, she asked him to show up in a fairy tale way bringing wonder and amazement; and he did. Wonderstruck describes all the ways our hearts were made to thirst for the heart of God.

I’m reminded of the vast ability of our God to do unimaginable things in us, through us and for us.

All it takes is the merest thought of a prayer that God would reveal himself in spectacular ways, and our open eyes, ears and hearts to see them. He’s waiting to awe us. He longs to.

 Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter [www.twitter.com/mafeinberg], Facebook [www.facebook.com/margaretfeinberg], or her blog [www.margaretfeinberg.com]. You can learn more about this great book by visiting www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble [http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wonder-struck-margaret-feinberg/1110904808?ean=9781617950889] for all you savvy shoppers.


So where have you seen the wonder of God in your life?

No one paid me for this endorsement. I’ve heard Margaret speak at two of our church’s women’s retreats, and I’ve already read three of her other books. So I gladly accepted a download of the first three chapters of Wonderstruck in order to tell people more about God and Margaret. I can’t wait to read the rest!

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This week I responded to a request for comments on Facebook about a new e-book that’s come out by Jeff Goins. As I mentioned in last week’s blog, What Makes a Writer a Writer, I found his blog post last week very helpful and encouraging. Naturally I was happy to make a favorable comment!

My comment contained part of my blog post which I quickly copied into the comment box. I added a couple of quick rearranged sentences in the opening and pressed “share.” Only after hitting the button did I think that perhaps I should have edited it…

“Naw, I didn’t write much. It’s fine,” I thought.

Besides, I was in such a hurry.

Later that evening I received a text from a friend: “You might want to change a word you wrote on Facebook.”

Huh??

I raced to open my Facebook page with dread in my stomach. The sinking feeling was warranted.

“Last year, I decided to take righting seriously…” the glaring misspelling pointed all of my Facebook world to how seriously I’d been taking writing!

I laughed so hard.

A year ago I would have melted in a puddle of mortified embarrassment, but after seeing my error, I posted another comment about my silly mistake with an “lol.”

I hope that means I’ve grown as a writer. Fear of failure, not being good enough, insecurity and fear of rejection have been constant companions over the years of picking up and putting down my literary projects. The other night I bid them farewell with a shake of my bemused head.

Mistakes, frustration, critique and rejection mark the life of a writer so I expect all of those including hours of writing and re-writing to populate my days. But, hopefully my attitude becomes more gracious and professional as the days pass. Write?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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     Brendan “winked” (like a Facebook Poke) at me a few days later. Ok, six to be precise. And yes, I did count. I was sitting in my favorite chair in my bedroom/office, and Carol was working at our desk. I saw the “wink,” a computer generated standard email that indicates someone’s interest without them writing anything personal, come up and I caught my breath. Up until that time, I had ignored most winks feeling that if someone was actually interested in me they could go beyond that easily pressed button and send a more personal, if even brief note. But when I saw that the wink was from the Australian man, my heart flipped and tears came to my eyes. Oh my gosh, Lord, could this be the one? I thought. Really?! And it may seem corny and overly sentimentally romantic, but I knew somewhere deep in my being, albeit not concretely, that he was. Chills spread over my body. My amazement, excitement and tears prevented me from responding immediately.

“Oh my gosh, Carol. I don’t know what to write. What do I write? I can’t believe this. Really? Oh my gosh. What do I say? I can’t believe I’m crying,” I pestered Carol, feeling dazed and speechless.

“Just be yourself, Laura,” the ever practical Carol replied with a calm, knowing smile.

“Right.” Easy for you to say when I have just received a WINK from this amazing Australian man. A WINK for goodness sake! A wink suddenly taking on an entirely different meaning for me.

I deliberated for quite a while; actually until I became nervous that unless I responded soon, he would think me disinterested. (This was of course before I had counted the difference in time zone hours and realized he was probably asleep.)  Finally, my ‘brief’ (no less than a page) email was ready after numerous edits and rewrites. I hit the send button with a quick prayer something like, “Here goes Lord. Please do what you want with this,” and away it flew into cyberspace, my whole future clinging to its back, resting within its words and God’s hands.

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I thought it might be advantageous to fill in some of the gaps of our story with a few excerpts from the book in progress. Granted, changes may still occur, but at least you can have a taste of the finished work to come…

Excerpt from The Miracle of Us: Confessions of Two Online Daters….

If you had asked me even ten years ago how I would meet my soul mate, I would never have dreamed that it would happen online. But considering that as of 2010, 17% of couples who married met on a dating site, it doesn’t seem as incredulous as it may once have sounded. (datingsitesreviews.com) Let’s face it; technology has taken over our lives. But living in a technological world which grows seemingly smaller every day does have its advantages. Socially, even as we may spend less time with people in physical proximity, we are becoming more connected to friends, new and old, all over the world. Every internet social network like Facebook, Twitter and Google affords us the opportunity of setting up a personal profile with a vast array of information. Surprisingly, even Yelp set me up with a profile to give reviews on services offered by local businesses, and I found some of my friends had Yelp accounts too.

Connecting online has grown to be an ordinary occurrence now, and internet dating sites could be likened to a “bar scene” where people go to hang out or to meet eligible singles. Not that I personally related to it that way; I hadn’t been to a bar since, well…not in a really, really long time. So when I began internet dating it was all new to me. But the usual ways of meeting guys weren’t working for me.

I’ll admit that in the past, my guy meeting experiences were limited to youth or college groups, school, church or perhaps “a friend-of-a-friend” kind of connections. And I didn’t have much experience since I initially married at the early age of nineteen.  But in this age, how does a forty-something woman with grown children meet men when the single women at her church outnumber the single men by about six to one? Well, at least that’s roughly the statistics at my church.

The actual, in person social scene wasn’t much better. A local Christian singles group was the only avenue available. Some of my acquaintances practically obsessed over each outing as they desperately sought Mr. Right, but that was a little too intense for me.

One of my best friends did actually meet her husband from a friend-of-a-friend, but even after a few years, that was practically old-fashioned. And besides, that hadn’t happened for me either. Most of my friends are married and their friends are married too. Well, you get the picture.

So that is why after being divorced for seven years, I and my never-married-yet friend, adopted sister, housemate, business partner, Carol, decided to take the plunge into the deep pool of online dating.

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