Category Archives: social media

I’m special. And so are you.

Not the special snowflake thing ! Not a fake kind of learned specialness that actually hinders your personal growth because you are obsessed with yourself. Not an inability to cooperate, cope, and communicate in a meaningful way with other humans.

What then? Well let’s look up Webster’s definition of  special. 


special

adjective

spe·​cial | \ ˈspe-shəl  \

Definition of special

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1distinguished by some unusual quality especially being in some way superior our special blend
2held in particular esteem special friend
3areadily distinguishable from others of the same category UNIQUE they set it apart as a special day of thanksgiving
bof, relating to, or constituting a speciesSPECIFIC
4being other than the usual ADDITIONALEXTRA
5designed for a particular purpose or occasion

While it’s nice to have unusual or superior qualities and be esteemed by friends, and and/or be unique or unusual, I especially like number 5: designed for a particular purpose or occasion. 
Everyone needs a purpose in life and that does not mean, to be served by others or to ‘get what you got coming to you’ or to ‘eat, drink and be merry until you die’. Some people seem to figure out their purpose at a young age, work straight towards the goal, pursue that purpose, and live very fulfilling lives. But that seems less common these days, at least it seems that way to me. I find that many young people and even older people feel lost and unsure of any meaning or purpose in their lives. They fill up their time with mind-numbing pursuits but they feel rather empty and depressed. Depression, drug addiction and other addictions are often a result of having no direction or purpose in life.
Why are so many people so unhappy, bored, seeking meaning in the wrong places, staying numb? I believe that the so-called special snowflake mentality leads to those things. Focusing way too much on one’s own feelings and desires and entitlements can ONLY lead to disillusionment with life. It’s simply not realistic or even desirable to expect to have the whole world cater to you and make you happy.
 I won’t blame this on one political party because I think both parties are responsible for pushing the idea that everyone should get what they want, how they want it, in words that don’t offend them, at the price they like, in the color they like, etc, etc, and that this is possible and affordable and will happen if you just vote for them! Reality, logic and patience  has become a thing of the past. Too many people are living in fantasy land. Of course, that fantasy land is mostly in what many people think SHOULD happen, not what they are actually experiencing, which leads to a major disconnect between what they have been told to EXPECT and what they are actually getting. This leads to anger, discontent, comparison with others, ingratitude for the good things they do have, constant searching for ways to get this fantasy life, blaming others that they mistakenly believe are responsible for their situation, even more escapist behaviors and the terrible division that we have in our country. That is the bad kind of special.
The good kind of special is that you are a unique, God-created human being that is not exactly like any other human being and you were born with a purpose! Your purpose is to grow, learn, and eventually become an adult that will use the majority of their time serving God and OTHERS with your unique talents, skills or knowledge. Not stay a perpetual child that expects to be treated like mommy’s favorite. The most fulfilling activities are those that help others in some way. Your job title may say something basic like customer service, teacher, manager, driver, nurse, or teller. Or you may be a CEO, business owner, or scientist. You can find a way to serve and make a difference in people’s lives in any job. And if possible, you can also volunteer and serve in your community in various ways. Even stay-at-home moms can contribute so much in many different ways to the lives of others. In fact, being a parent is one of the jobs that is impossible to do well if you are selfish.  The idea is to have the attitude of JOY, that we learn in Sunday School. JOY = Jesus, Others, You,  the correct order of importance in our lives.
Putting others first and using our special talents to serve seems to come naturally to some and harder for others. But there are things you can do to improve.  I read an interesting article that said that in one study, if people were shown a photo of money in the beginning of an experiment, they were less likely to act helpfully to someone who pretended to need help. They didn’t know that was the test , of course. The hypothesis is that our brains get ‘primed’ and that can set us up for a certain way of acting and reacting. They suggested to prime your brain with positive thoughts and images in the morning to start the day off right.  You can Google it and find tons of articles on the psychology of priming. I suggest priming your brain with a prayer of gratitude before you even get out of bed. Then read some Bible verses either in your Bible or on your social media feed that you are reading on the toilet.  Haha! Yes, I do that, too.  Set your social media feed up  so that you see that kind of positive input instead of negative articles, memes, and other junk that will prime you for anger, entitled feelings, self-loathing, discontentment, and hopelessness.
Then evaluate your life and think about how you are spending your time. Or you using your special personality, knowledge, understanding, skills, talents or financial resources to help others? Are you taking the time to talk to someone who might need a kind word or some helpful information that you have? Are you willing to give up some of your self-focus to discover the true joy that comes from focusing on others ? Maybe you are still in high school or college or barely into your first job. That’s okay! You can still help create a positive environment for others by choosing to think of how your words and actions affect others and considering other people’s perspectives. Be the person who brings peace and calm to a tense situation. Be the person who gives honest compliments. Be the person who asks the new person to go to lunch. Be the person who doesn’t complain, gossip, or create drama.  All of those things can make a huge impact! And you will feel good doing the right thing with your special touch.
Lastly I’d like to add that there are messages all around us that want you to put your needs first, have ME time,  be number one, all that. Those messages appeal to our selfish ego or flesh as God calls it. It takes effort to ignore and overcome those messages. Why do they push it so hard? Because they are SELLING things that they promise will make you happier. It’s a lie. Things will not make you happier if you are a selfish miserable person. Things can be fun and are not bad. But shopping and accumulating bigger, newer and more things is not your purpose in life! There is a whole segment of the world that doesn’t even have basic necessities like clean water and food.  Do some reading on poverty in this country and you might be shocked.  If you are young and single, consider doing some kind of work for a few years to help the less fortunate in this or other countries. If you are not so free, maybe consider donating to the causes. But even if you can’t do that, you can be a good citizen in your community by picking up litter, voting, and finding ways to contribute with your unique personality.  God made you for a reason. Don’t miss out on the blessings you’ll get from serving others. Remember, You are special! You have a lot to GIVE.
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Of sleeping in my clothes, eating too many Snacks, and Quiet Vigilance

After years of this routine, I have come to know what to expect when my daughter is hospitalized with pneumonia. We enter a strange world where nurses and respiratory therapists and on-call physicians come in and out day and  night and  I attempt to maintain some semblance of normalcy.  There is no privacy and I have no control compared to my regular life.  At home I spend my days doing things of my own choosing, lots of cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, running, walking the dogs, errands. I go to bed pretty early and I get up with the sun and repeat . But  here, I am basically just biding my time waiting for her to get well. I stay here almost 24/7 so I can make sure she gets good care and to be able to talk to the doctors and keep up with how she’s doing.

For example, the doctor on call just came in to take a listen to her lungs and tell me the plan for the day. I think she is getting close to being well. They are being very conservative in their treatment NOW, after trying to rush her last week and she not doing so well with that . But now I think she is could actually handle more aggressive weaning off oxygen. We will find out today because they are going to cut back on her breathing assistance. Today is Day 11 of our, hopefully, only 2019 visit. I see a light at the end of the tunnel, but I must remain patient or I will just get miserable. So far since I started writing this, she has been fine on the reduced support. But the question is how long can she last? They don’t want to wear her out and make her have a setback.

The cast of characters in this never-ending live drama is constantly changing as they  do not work the hours or days that most non-hospital  employees enjoy. The shifts last 12-16 hours.  Most of the nurses seem to work 3 days then they are off again.  The doctor that was just here, John, said he’ll be here for the next four days. He had the weekend off. I can imagine he spent it in his nice house, maybe golfing or cycling or antiquing, with his partner or friends.

The nurses are mostly young and attractive, seriously some of them look like models, of all races, and both genders. I have not had a bad one so far. There have been a couple of less than ideal, less friendly respiratory therapists. Maybe that job doesn’t pay as well. But most people smile and talk to me and all of them are trained to ask if I need anything every time they come in, but normally I don’t . There was one nurse that I spent quite a bit of time chatting with, actually there were two. The first one was when we first got here and he was very talkative and interesting and we discussed hiking and travel. The other one is in her early 40s and dealing with some weight gain so we discussed diet and running and children and how they pay attention to what we say about food and the difficulty of cooking healthy food while working.

This hospital is a smaller, suburban version of the main children’s hospital , providing the same excellent quality, free parking, closer to home, and as the nurses have said, more laid back. The main campus is extremely busy, large, and attracts patients from all over the state and even the world because of the availability of complex and expert care and is located in the middle of the city. This building, however,  is surrounded by green space. I am treated to a 4th floor view of freshly planted saplings and older pine and oak trees ,  small retention ponds with fountains in the middle and the setting sun, as well as the busy interstate which is full of slow-moving commuters and big trucks on weekday mornings .  Pastel colors, children’s art, and comfortable waiting areas make the experience feel less institutional and scary for families who come to the emergency room, outpatient clinics and specialist offices. The first floor has a small cafeteria that is not open on weekends, a coffee shop with Starbucks coffee and pastries, and a gift shop. The patient rooms are private and offer a bathroom with a sink and shower and a pullout couch/bed for the parent, plus a small desk, a TV that is mounted way too high on the wall for these old eyes, and a reclining chair. When my daughter was in PICU at the main campus, things were not so cushy. The rooms were not private and we had to sleep in a main waiting room in recliners or if we were lucky we might get a bed in the Ronald McDonald House family center for the night.

So what do I do all day and night? Mostly I stay occupied and distracted on my computer or phone, but I have also watched movies both on my laptop and on the room TV. So far I have watched Bird Box, loved it, Wonder, Ready Player One, and just half-watched about 20 children’s movies. I also spend time texting my best friend.  I have written a few blogs, read a bunch of them, and spent way too much time on Facebook. My sister brought me some books so I read one of them yesterday, a short book by Gary Paulsen called Mudshark. It is written for children, but I love that Paulsen’s  writing is never dumbed down and includes wonderfully interesting words and creative themes that many children’s authors evidently are afraid to use. I recommend this book.   I have attempted a few runs around the building,  but I’m sad to report that my legs and energy are still recovering from my 121 mile run  so those attempts were mostly walking. Yesterday I managed 3 miles running and walking, but my feet are still bothering me with some numbness and tingling so I am not going to run today, just walk. I also spend way too much time thinking about and eating food that I have either brought to the room or go purchase downstairs. So far I have had several omelettes and two patty melts with fries from the cafeteria, a couple of salads from the nearby grocery store, and one wonderful trip to a Mexican restaurant while dressed in my sloppy hospital clothes. I think the waitress was an angel or maybe she could tell I was very sleep deprived because she seemed extra nice. Free coffee is available , which is pretty terrible tasting, but I still drink it to save money. I brought my own stevia and creamer. I am trying not to gain weight while we are here.

I try to sleep at night, pulling closed the dividing curtain that hides the parent area , wearing ear plugs and an eye mask, but it can be very noisy and I wake up often and just listen to what the nurses are doing. My daughter has had noisy breathing treatments every four hours since we’ve been here plus constant temperature checks.  She does not like the deep suctioning and protests accordingly.  Today and yesterday I was awakened before 4 AM. I nap when I can, but I’m not much of a napper.

The rest of my family is doing okay and  getting by without me at home. I did go home for two nights and while there I cleaned, cooked and replenished the pantry.  I seriously don’t think they miss me that much, except maybe for my utilitarian purposes. Since we spend pretty much all of our time together, I think we all enjoy a little separation from time to time. Of course I was already gone for three days at my race right before this hospital trip, so it feels like I have been gone a long time now.  I am supposed to be volunteering at a trail race in two weeks, but I don’t know if that will be a good idea being gone again so soon. I expect that we will be home soon, so maybe I can still go to the race. But for now, I will try not to think too much about life outside these baby blue walls and try to enjoy this strange vacation where I have few responsibilities, but I am not able to truly rest or do much of anything fun.

Celebrating our Addictions

Scroll down any social media feed and you will see plenty of memes glorifying various addictions with humorous, creative graphics and witty sayings. These can be anything from alcohol, food, weight loss, tacos, running, crossfit, cycling, climbing, shopping, coffee, shoes, to iPhones and other weird things. Sometimes the posts don’t actually call it an addiction, such as memes related to anger, political outrage, judging others, or social media itself, but we all know people who are hooked on those and post about it daily.

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Why is this okay? Why do we click LIKE or HAHA on these posts to give approval to what we know is sometimes a very unhealthy relationship or even unwanted slavery to these things? I do it, too! I laugh and then I think , well that’s actually not that funny, is it? So do we just laugh because otherwise we’d cry? I think it is because most of us are in the same boat and if we admit to it , we might want out of the boat and then we might be all alone and have no friends. So we play along and encourage the things that make us miserable or at the very least do not lead to joy and contentment and peace. Those things come from another place, a person, the Lord, Jesus Christ. But sadly posts about Jesus do not get the same approval, do they? I suppose it is the company one keeps. And I have over 800 ‘friends’ on the F-book that I may have something in common with, but not the main thing. I think most of my Christian friends are still following my posts, but many have either unfollowed or snoozed me because they don’t want to read Bible verses  or logical political posts. They’d rather keep their heads in the clouds and focus on wine, tacos, and running. It’s okay. I will be praying for them and for myself to fight these non-Jesus substitutions, aka idols,  for real peace and joy. And let me just add that I know that most of these things can be enjoyed in moderation in a healthy way and not be an addiction. We know if we’ve become dependent or not.
Romans 1:32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things are worthy of death, they not only continue to do these things, but also approve of those who practice them. ~ This verse refers to some pretty bad sins, but it came to mind as to how people tend to encourage others in the same behaviors they are slaves to.

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The Life of the Party

Do you like podcasts? I do and I listen to them regularly while running , instead of music. I often get blog ideas from them and that happened today while I  was listening to an East Coast Trail And Ultra Podcast  interview with Alex Ramsey, aka Barefoot Alex.  Alex was described as a person who NEVER says anything negative. I believe this because I met him once at a race and he was super friendly, positive, and happy. Even when the interviewer said something negative or somewhat rude about something, Alex would just laugh and make a joke and not partake in the negativity. This made me wish that I was that kind of person. Who doesn’t love being around super friendly, positive, happy  people? The kind who have witty comebacks, are very humble, but real, people, who don’t drag other people into gossip, negative conversations, politics, or boring subjects.

I then had to stop myself and say, hey, everybody has their own personality and contributes to the world in their own way.  We can’t all be cheerleaders or motivational speakers or the life of the party. Somebody has to do the other jobs and be the ones to laugh at the jokes. I am a teacher. My gift is sharing and explaining information. But I also try to encourage and build up people in my life with that information.  My personality type and gift is not always appreciated  and I could probably improve my skills and I want to do that. I need to learn from teachers who are able to inspire and encourage while they teach. I had a couple of those special teachers in my years of schooling and I still remember them. They didn’t take things too seriously and they were able to be flexible and also not get upset when students acted up or had trouble learning.

Other people, maybe you, might have the gifts I admire. I love smart people who can make funny jokes. I really appreciate someone who makes me laugh hard! Eddie Murphy was one of my favorites in my youth. He could never get away with some of those jokes nowadays.  I also admire blue collar workers and love to see them at work. My husband is a mechanic and basically an engineer as well. He can use all kinds of tools including a lathe and mill. If he needs a special part to fix something , he can MAKE IT! Pretty cool. I have not spent very many years of my life in paid work, so I find the whole work world fairly mysterious and interesting. I especially love entrepreneurs and salespeople, probably because my dad was a salesman. Some other under-rated people are the ones who do so much good in the world and never want or get attention for it, unless Mike Rowe finds out, the charity workers and good-deed doers and people who donate money, time and their brains to make these organizations successful.  That takes a special personality. These people have huge hearts, good organizational skills, and seemingly boundless energy. Yes, I feel bad that I am not like them, too. And let’s not forget the people who are very good at skills like keeping things safe, being  fair, executing justice, enforcing rules, protecting others, risking their own lives for others,  our police officers, firemen and emergency personnel. Not many of us are cut out for those essential jobs , and they may not always be the life of the party, and that’s okay!  I’d rather have the calm, quiet type in an emergency.

Don’t get me wrong, I do try to always be friendly, positive and happy, but it’s not my natural state. I’m more cautious, observant, and analytical. My point is that I need to be okay with myself, and you should be, too. It’s okay to admire others, but don’t ruin your own happiness trying to be someone you’re not. Find your special gift and use it to make your part of the world better.

Happy Sunday !

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My son, left, and my husband, working on a dirt bike motor. 

 

Throw it away!

Skillets don’t last long in my kitchen. Since I’m on a special diet, I cook fried or scrambled eggs almost every day. I also cook skillet dinners pretty regularly. I usually don’t spend more than $20 for a non-stick skillet, the big ones, or $10 for the smaller ones. So, after many uses, the Teflon gets worn away and the eggs, bacon, sausage, and other yummy stuff starts to stick to the pan causing wasted food and frustration. I know some of you love cast-iron skillets and I do like them for certain recipes, but they are just such a pain to clean!

Today I was in a hurry to get out of the house, and since I was only cooking for myself,  I grabbed an old 10 inch skillet from the bottom of my cabinet. I put about 7 slices of bacon in the pan and after a few minutes realized I’d picked a bad pan. It was cooking very unevenly, burning the middle and raw on the ends. Horrors! I love bacon and hate to see it poorly cooked. After frequent turns , I got it cooked. Then I cracked three eggs into the grease, sadly aware that they were going to stick the formerly non-stick pan. And yes, they did, but I still ate them.

But while I was cooking I was asking myself why I still had this stupid pan that was ruining my breakfast? The answer is that I have trouble throwing away useful items. I thought it still had some life left in it, but nope. It should have been thrown out when I bought the new pan that I’ve already been using for a few months.  I kept it as a backup or maybe I thought I’d use it on a camping trip. But the truth is it had outlived its usefulness. It’s in the trashcan outside now. Thanks for the good times!

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That’s me having a blast in my race last weekend, before I fell. I’d never have started running if I hadn’t thrown out my fear of looking like an idiot and failing horribly. 

I know I have other things in my house and in my life that are no longer useful to me or anyone and should be thrown out. Like old phone chargers, dead 10 year old laptops, stained and worn children’s clothes, old curriculum that has been written in or is just so old the information is no longer worth teaching.  I can’t donate that stuff to a thrift store. That’s just passing along my junk and they will have to pay to dispose of it.

In my life I have old habits, irrational beliefs, and invalid prejudices that I am working to throw out. God has really been working on me for the past 10 years or so and I feel like he and I have been able to clear out a lot of old junk. For example, I have overcome a lot of fears and insecurities and my faith in God has grown exponentially. However I still have to work on my habit of forgetting to consider the other person’s perspective before speaking,  right from the start. I usually get around to doing it but sometimes I say stupid things first. Conversely, I have to work on my old habit of being too easily swayed to the other side out of fear of making the other person mad. I have to stick to my beliefs when I know I am right, but do it without anger or rudeness. When I first got on Facebook I’m ashamed to admit I was too often guilty of ‘hiding behind a keyboard’ and saying whatever I wanted without  thinking about how those are ( for the most part) real people out there in Facebook land. Social media has actually helped me to be more understanding of people who are different than me.

Today in Bible study we learned about how in the Old Testament various kings would lead the people away from God and then a good king would come in and bring them back. He would throw out all the idols that the people had been worshiping and restore them back to following God’s commandments and worshiping Him.  Then he would die and a bad king would come in and bring back the idolatry. This happened  over and over. The people were very influenced by the faith practices of their king. If the king feared and knew God, the people did well. Even though all this happened , God did not abandon his people or the covenant he made with them. In the future all the bad stuff will be thrown out and everyone will worship the true King, Jesus Christ.  You can learn about the gospel here.

I love YouTube!

Do you watch YouTube videos ? My family makes use of this endless source of information for so many things, from educational videos for school subjects, car and home repair instructional channels, to travel info, recipes, barbecue techniques, video game stuff, race reports and previews, running vlogs and , of course, all kinds of MUSIC. Sometimes I just want to hear some music while I am doing chores, cooking, or working on a blog or other project. I love choosing a music genre and then setting it to autoplay and just listening to whatever song comes on. It’s a great way to discover songs you’ve never heard!

Yesterday I was doing something or other and I turned on YouTube looking for upbeat music. I ended up hearing some great songs and then watching some very interesting videos. Here is a partial  list of what I watched. Check them out!

This one is my new favorite! I love the sound and the video. The title means, Live Your Way. I love the beautiful people. I love the nursing mother and baby.

The colors and music in this one are awesome, too. I think I’ll have to buy some of their tunes!

You might not know this about me, but I love to dance! And the more Latin and Tropical the beat the better! When I was young and single I used to go dancing for hours . I miss the dancing, but not the smoky clubs and high priced, watered down drinks. That was many moons ago!

Hope you enjoy these. What kind of music helps you get through your day?