Two Reasons I Am Glad I Ditched Facebook

 

Two Reasons Facebook

I decided to take a break from Facebook the beginning of this year. It was a decision that I had grappled with for some time. I excused my forbearing with Facebook because it was and is a great way to gain readers for This Temporary Home. I held onto that social media outlet for the sheer reason that it promoted traffic to the blog and perhaps provided a glimmer of light and substance on the Facebook market.

Fast forward several months and I am more convinced than ever that I made the right choice when I listened to the still small voice of the Father asking me to trust Him and let the stat counter for the blog fall where it may.

That being said,  my goal is to provide encouragement for those of you who may be sensing it is time to take a hiatus or a permanent departure from Facebook or other social media that you currently use. Some people, like my husband for example, are not driven to check the latest status updates or page patrol. But others, like myself, waste time and emotions on digital portrayals of people I know but would otherwise not keep up with in real life. Or, if I do communicate with them in real life, then I can send a text message, email, share a cup of coffee, or make a good old-fashioned phone call to catch up.

Here are two reasons why I am glad I ditched Facebook:

1. Reduced use of one form of social media seemed to contribute to overall decline in time spent on other social media outlets.

I continue to use some forms of social media. However, I found that by eliminating Facebook I dramatically decreased my time spent mindlessly surfing the other social media outlets that I continue to use. I do not find myself checking the remaining social media with the fervency as before.

2. The twin monsters of envy and  jealousy have drastically quietened themselves.

Envy and jealousy are two of the sins that Jerry Bridges refers to as subtle sins. I’ve written about them on numerous occasions because they pose a problem for me as a Christian woman and for most women in general. Since quitting Facebook, I have no idea what other families did this weekend and therefore less temptation to be jealous or envious that while others were out snorkeling in the Florida Keys, I was at home scrubbing toilets and cleaning dishes. I know about my friends adventures via real life conversations and chances are extremely high that I will celebrate with and for them.

I found it too frequently the case that I would hear about an amazing day at the beach or some such tale and then become jealous that I was stuck in the mundane that day while reading that post.  Facebook ran interference with my contentment.

Join me on Friday for three more benefits of quitting Facebook. 

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Gym Lessons

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Being in my early thirties, I should know how to jump rope with ease. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case until a few months ago. Working out is one of my favorite activities and setting small physical goals has become one of the motivations for helping me achieve new accomplishments and avoid a rut. Learning to jump rope was one such small goal.

A few months ago, I entered the gym with a purpose: get a good workout in and see if the CrossFit videos on jump roping would prove beneficial to me. Whom should my gaze find as soon as I entered? A handsome, twenty-something male at the computer in my all-women’s gym! I decided to stall, as any intimidated female would, and I hit the cardio deck.

One mile on the Stairmaster later, I worked up the nerve to pick up my pink jump-rope. I rehearsed the pointers I had learned: “Elbows tight by my side, hands forward at an angle and jump.” Twenty-five revolutions in and I was feeling great! I paused and geared up for a reset to continue jumping after a minor glitch in rhythm, swung the rope and… WHACK! The jump rope hit the ceiling fan and was flung across the room with a loud thud.

Want to find out what happened next? Join me at iBelieve over here.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Happy Birthday Treat

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When you celebrate three birthdays between the second week in January to the first week in February the new year can certainly seem like a whirlwind. This year, we decided to take the kids to Disney to celebrate their 4th and 6th birthdays. Yesterday was the big day we had squelled and prepared over for a few weeks. It was a day filled with Disney magical moments and a minimum of tears and whimpers.  Praise the Lord for that!

Please excuse the abscense of a post on Heaven today and join me for some Disney magical birthday moments? I appreciate your stopping by and I will be back on Friday to dive into the topic of, “Can Our Loved Ones See Us from Heaven?”

Special thanks to our Disney-loving friends Deborah and Christy for helping two clueless parents prepare a wonderful day trip to the Magical Kingdom.

“See you real soon,”

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Thanks to this guy for taking these amazing pictures to help us remember our day and…

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helping end my day with a smile.

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Unpacking Christmas: Three Gifts

 A Christmas Poem

Christmas dawned cool and bright; I awoke at 6 AM that morn’.
All the presents were still wrapped and the ribbon yet untorn.

I began to wonder with delight what the day’s festivities would bring
Would I get that iPod shuffle, a DVD, perhaps a ring?

After breakfast came three presents they were wrapped just as I liked.
When I shook them they were silent, small, and tender…was that right?

The first I gently opened wondering, “Was it delicate and sweet?”
I gasped as I discovered Forgiveness had been given me.

I wept as I recounted all the selfishness, anger, and pride
that had accompanied my character; those traits I try to hide.

I was thankful for this present, overwhelmed at such generosity
to be given what I hadn’t asked for, nor deserved, but yet would be
the greatest gift that only Christ could offer which cost His life on Calvary.
I lingered with Forgiveness one more moment then proceeded to open next,
a present a little larger and more glittery than the rest.

Grace and Mercy came pouring out as soon as I unwrapped the ribbon then
light shone all around it as I gingerly looked in.

Ah, Grace, greater than all my sins which beckons me to come
and Mercy to let me visit with my Savior and consider all that He has done.

Grace, which accompanies Forgiveness but continues to set me free
to pursue the King of Glory and to know the King of Kings.

I marveled once more at Mercy that would allow me to behold
a precious gift much greater than all my weight in gold.
Could there be more to this Christmas? One more present still left beneath the Christmas tree?
I rubbed my eyes in wonder as His Spirit had set me free.

The third gift looked more rustic a little rough that was clear to see.
I eagerly unwrapped this present and was astonished to see… me.

A dirty mirror met my gaze and I started then to fret
as I picked up a note inside then proceeded to read it.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:11-13

Dear One,

I have saved you to make My Name and Glory known among the nations.  Let us move beyond your childish ways this year and clean this mirror together. It is not an easy task, but with Me all things are possible.  Let’s make this a year to love others. I want to use you to extend Forgiveness, Grace, and Mercy to all mankind. Will you join me?

Love,

I Am

Oh, Christ whose grace is greater than all my wicked sins,
would you choose to use this vessel though it is dirty deep within?

That you would change me and use me to set other captives free.
Yes, I will join you on this journey, take up my cross and follow Thee.
Will you join us on this journey, take up your cross and follow He?

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To Lay Down a Life

He picks up the fallen, sawed logs and lies them in a path for others to follow.

Raking dead and fallen leaves to clear a path for tiny feet and wrinkled hands.

Pushing the dead things aside, giving of his time and energy. Eagerly working at his task that will provide direction through the woods on a dirt path to grandma’s house.

 

 I see him working gladly and give thanks for his work.  Thinking all the while that in laying down our lives, the dead things, and picking up our cross, new life, we are laying paths for fellow man.

24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25

Weeks approaching Thanksgiving may meditation be on this:

1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! 2Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!3Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him;bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100

In everyday tasks, to serve the LORD with gladness. To do this. To do this, is to lay down my life and walk in the newness of Christ’s.

Give thanks, lay down our wills, take up our crosses and lay a path for fellow-man to follow.

May praises and thanks be on our lips and gladness be in our heart.

*a repost

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A Lesson on Self-Worth

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“And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. “ (John 8:32, NLT)

How do you determine a truth from a lie? What is your litmus test for determining the truthfulness of thoughts that enter your brain?

Let’s step back a moment and travel to the food court inside our local mall. It was my husband’s day off and we were famished and ready for lunch. Ron took our daughter to place the order while my son and I located a table in the unusually busy food court. We found a table and borrowed a few chairs from other lone patrons and were happily people watching waiting for our food to arrive.

Off to my left was a Tropical Café Smoothie. (We have tried that as lunch before, but convincing the children that a smoothie was indeed a meal did not venture well for our family.) As I scanned the line of waiting customers, my eyes fell to a beautiful, tall, slender blonde. She was dressed in a black tank and dress jacket, with trendy jeans. She had long hair and perfect makeup, instantly allowing me to dub her Makeup Girl. She certainly had the look of a makeup counter saleswoman. You know the beautifully intimidating type that we “normal” women may shirk at asking for assistance in the case that we appear less than knowledgeable about powder, eye-shadow, and lip-glosses.

To finish reading the rest of this post, click here to go to iBelieve.com.

Thanks for reading friends!

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15 Things I Don’t Do Well

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A few years ago I read a fellow blogger’s post about things she didn’t do well. I loved the concept and wish I could find the post again.

We as a society put on our happy face for Facebook pictures, Instagram, and Twitter posts. Likewise, bloggers, while often writing about the mishaps of life, also post only flattering images, picturesque scenes, and happy endings.  It is possible after reading bloggers for sometime to idealize them.

For those who know me in real life, this is not an issue. Amen?!

Just in case I post more of what I do right rather than the grace-based life I live, here is a bird’s eye-view of things that I don’t do well (in random order).

  1. Getting laundry out of the wash before I have to rewash the load.
  2. Flossing teeth.
  3. Cashing checks in a timely fashion. My mom almost refuses to give me a check anymore. I am trying to do better in this area. 🙂
  4.  Buying organic. I don’t do this unless it is on sale. I know there are certainly health benefits but the cost is astronomical and I can’t bring myself to do this.
  5. Making my kids eat their vegetables. We really need to work on veggie intake. They love fruit, but very few veggies make the cut.
  6. Finishing one book before starting another. (I am in the middle of  at least four presently.)
  7. Reading all the books that I purchase. I shop for bargain used books almost weekly and have a running list in my head of classics to look out for. I am afraid to count the total number of unread books in my household; that may lead to another post altogether!
  8.  Buying everything at the grocery store in one trip a week. Gracious! We make several trips to the grocery store. Thankfully there are two within walking distance so this isn’t a issue.
  9.  Meal planning. (Hence the preceding point.) A few weeks ago I declared that I would make one Pinterest recipe a week. This has helped increase the average nights a week that I cook and also make it fun. Pretty much, it is a game time decision on what to cook for dinner with the ingredients that I have.
  10.  Letting my kids play in the grass. We stay in the water and sand during the summer months, but until it cools off we don’t dig in the dirt as often as we could. I am too afraid of snakes and critters to romp in the grass very often.
  11. Dusting.
  12. Staying on task when I am cleaning. I go from one cleaning project to another. I am a little ADD when it comes to cleaning. I easily trail off chasing bunnies and clean from one spot to the next.
  13.  Keeping in touch with friends and family who are out of town.
  14. Converting my videos to DVD’s for our family to watch.
  15. Spelling…and grammar.

Thankfully the Christian life is not a checklist akin to Pinterest ideals. Christ looks at the heart and our obedience to walk in His ways. Whether we buy organic or not, meal plan or decide spur of the afternoon what we will eat for dinner, or finish one task before starting another, Christ is not checking off a list. Rather, He wants us to do everything walking in His presence and as an offering unto Him.

There you go. What about you? What are some things that you don’t well?

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Waiting on the Rain

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How many times have I prolonged the children’s requests to play outside because dark clouds filled the skyline, only to end the day puddle free?  I have often thought I worry too much about the rain. I heed the omens of dark skies and miss adventures of the everyday.

If I am not careful, I will waste my days waiting on the rain that never comes.

Tuesday the kids and I piled into the car under clear, sunny skies. We headed to the beach for a few hours of fun. As we approached the shoreline the sheet of gray-blue cloud coverage threatened to cancel our plans. I parked our car and initiated a conversation with a mom of three in the truck next to us. “What do you think about this weather?” “I am hoping it holds off,” she replied. “The forecast says a 30% chance of rain…it looks like more than that to me,” I offered. She continued to put sunscreen on one of her boys as I made my way to the pay-station. If she was willing to risk it, so was I.

I snapped a picture of the darkening skyline and sent it with this text to Ron, “Stupidity or raising the risk?” I had already answered the question in my own mind but wanted him to be clued into our morning decisions.

We had not been on the beach five minutes when the wind kicked up, and the cooler breeze blew our towel up the beach. As the sand began to whip in the air and sting our eyes, I called to the kids to pack it up and head to the car. I mumbled complaints under my breath and picked up Little E as it was much faster to carry him than wait on him to fix his ever troublesome flip-flops.

The wind continued to pick up and the beach become desolate of people as the parking lot bustled with activity. I snapped a few more pictures and passed out snacks to the children already buckled in their seats. At least we could watch the storm come in.

That’s when it hit me. Risking an adventure in the face of rain cancellation makes for a better story.

We snacked and watched the rainstorm. It sprinkled a bit as the darkening sky now filled our 360 view. Only one sliver of the shore held any patch of blue sky. We pulled out and started our journey back to the house.

I continued to snap more pictures and text them to Ron. It poured as we parked our car in the drive.

Then as I unloaded the kids, the rain subsided and the sun broke through. At least we could splash in the puddles.

“Mom, it’s sunny now. Can we go to the pool?” Emily inquired. Well, why not? The rain had already come and gone. Another adventure awaited. “Why waste our bathing suits and sunscreen?” I thought. “Okay, Emily. Load up kids.”

As it turned out, we had a wonderful morning at the pool. The kids played, snorkeled, and laughed.

All because we didn’t waste our day waiting on the rain to come.

What dark skies are threatening the horizon which cause you to hesitate when He calls you to go forth? Ask yourself this question today, “Do I want to waste my life waiting on the rain that may never come?”

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Living this day in light of eternity because heaven is our home,

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Of Strengths and Weaknesses

Ron and I were out to dinner Sunday evening when we broached this topic in conversation: our strengths are also our greatest weaknesses.

I know this to be true and see it in myself all too often. For example, my direct communication style is wonderful in pressured situations calling for quick decision making. However, add it to the mix during a disagreement or when trying to build rapport and people find it offensive.

Or, take for example, my need to do all things well. This is good if I am striving to work as unto the Lord and not man, but this also makes me highly susceptible to discouragement over even minor mistakes. Further, it leaves me very adverse to asking for constructive criticism in areas I would like to grow. These areas include writing, public speaking, and building friendships just to name a few.

Criticism

What about you? Do you find that in your greatest strengths lie your greatest weaknesses? Are you fearful to seek out constructive criticism from trusted,respected, God-fearing individuals who know you well and have your best interest at heart?  Remember:

Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:5-6)

Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. (Proverbs 19:27)

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1)

I am issuing a challenge to myself and you if you will accept. Compile a list of questions to give to one or two close friends that will address areas you would like to grow in. Ask these friends to honestly answer the questions so that they can help you to assess the areas you are excelling and those in which changes may be necessary. Pray over these questions and whom to ask them of. By the end of the summer raise the risk and see what comes of your humble request. The answers may surprise you.

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Finding Grace

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When we dropped Little E off for one of his weekly visits with his biological father, my heart broke once again over this little boy. If and when E is reunited with his parent(s), the difficult circumstances that he found himself in the first two and a half years of life will not vanish without a trace. Our stresses of three children will return to only two, our frustrations with the state and its ways and regulations will momentarily be put on hold until we feel  we are ready to serve and love another child, and our contact with this precious child will be primarily non-existent.

As our car pulled out of the gas station where we meet his dad, tears filled my eyes and I told God once again, “This is not fair.” Only weeks before I had written a post for iBelieve on the subject of fairness.  I am linking to it below. Once you have read the article in full, please come back and see if you would add anything to the list of God’s grace in E’s case. If I think on it, I know there are multiple graces in the face of a seemingly unfair situation.

Even if we have not verbalized it, we have all thought it, “That was not fair, God.” Someone else was rewarded the promotion at work, the date with the guy, the house that we bid on. Another friend tells of her unexpected pregnancy when we have labored in prayer over just one child. Children are born with disease, into poverty-stricken homes, or left as orphans.

It’s simply not fair. He is not fair. Or is He? If He is, do we sincerely desire God to treat us fairly?

Think for a moment, what our lives would look like if God treated us as we so often demand: fairly. What if that which we worked for was all that His hand allowed; if people, including our families, treated us only with the kindness and respect which we have shown toward them void of mercy and forgiveness; if our religion was based on merited works?

My life, for one, would look drastically different if God treated me tit for tat. Would yours?

Click here to continue reading the entire article over at iBelieve.

God’s grace is demonstrated to E in his placement into a loving, Christ-filled home. Yes, he is separated from his biological parents, but he has received the best medical attention we could give him, he sleeps in a safe environment, and has two great siblings. Had it not been that he was taken away from his family he may have gone much of his childhood void of the message of Jesus and God’s great love for him.

This all reminds me of a Laura Story song that I am sure you have heard. If not, click here, or on the link  below and close our time today in reflections on the grace wrapped in pains of life.

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