Day 4: Detoxing From Facebook

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CA208E68-2016-40D9-A77D-791D895EEC96The beautiful beginnings of a sunrise caught my eye before I left the house yesterday morning. I tried to capture the moment as the moon hung in the peach colored sky overlooking the mountains.

Sleep did not come as easy for me night before last as it had the previous nights. I laid awake waiting for our poor little Maximus to start howling like he usually does at night. A sound none of us liked hearing, but funny how I missed it while trying to go to bed.

After Wednesdays events with having to take our cat to the vet to be put to sleep, I decided Maria and I needed to have a better day today. And we did!

Maria and I went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then we hit the road for our day trip to Pigeon Forge for a little shopping. The Alex and Ani store is always the first on the list! We visited all of our favs, including Starbucks…of course!

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It was really tempting to not take selfies of us acting goofy and planting it on Facebook. The thought crosssd my mind but it didn’t stay long, and we had such a wonderful day! The weather was perfect, and it wasn’t crowded at all. And we happened to find some really great bargains! I did take a picture of Maria in her first pair of Converse to send to her Dad. She was so proud!

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Now, I know I’ve said I’m “detoxing” from Facebook, and I am….but, a friend of mine who sells “LuLaRoe” has a business page on Facebook and invited me to be on her live show last night via FaceTime. She asked me to talk about earrings that I’ve been making and donating part of the proceeds to a “non-profit” organization called, “Fun With Friends” that my daughter Maria goes to once a week. “Fun With Friends” helps get high functioning special needs young adults out into the community. They go to the YMCA, movies, bowling, and exercising. They really do lots of fun things! They go out to eat and also do volunteer work at various places in town.  A wonderful organization that is under the umbrella of Lovenancy.org.

My friend had bought several pair of the earrings that I have been making. She wanted to share about how I started making the earrings, and share this with her customers. I’m very grateful that she did!

It’s made me realize yesterday while “detoxing,” that although I feel the need to give Facebook a break for awhile, it’s also home to many businesses, and used as a valuable tool for them. This is my friend’s sight on Facebook: Kim deRoos LuLaRoe Kim deRoos Shopping Friends. If you have a chance, go on over there and check her out! She has some pretty amazing inventory!

So, with me going back on Facebook to be a part of her live show last night, does this make me come out of my “detoxing?” I say, no it doesn’t! There is a difference what I did last night  and what I’ve been doing every day and night for the past 9 or so years!

What I learned yesterday while “detoxing,” is that  I could have a great day and not feel the pressure of posting pictures to share with everyone. And doing a “live” with someone on their Facebook business page did not make me feel guilty in any way that I’ve relapsed! I wasn’t tempted at all to “scroll” or post anything that I had done today.

It was a good day after all.

Day 3: Detoxing From Facebook

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A85EB319-B0D2-4958-98FA-3EE58570A3B8.jpeg*I took this picture of our sweet Maximus this morning.

Today was not an easy day. Not because of detoxing From Facebook, but because I took our 18 year old Siamese cat, Maximus, to be put to sleep.

We’ve all know for awhile that it was time for this, you just know in your heart. If you’ve been there with a pet, then you know what I’m talking about. They’re a part of your family, and it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do.

Needless to say, my mind was on Maximus all day and not Facebook. I have friends who have shared their similar experiences on Facebook before. There’s nothing wrong with that. If I were active on it, I would have been doing the same.

This was something that affected our family in a sad way today. And I chose not to share it on social media, and that’s ok. Although I’m blogging about it, I feel that’s different. I’ve not had a “social media” audience today, and may not even have one or two people reading my blog, but that’s ok too. Writing is a way to express yourself through joy, pain, sorrow, hope, and encouragement. It’s part of the healing process.

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Temptation did not overwhelm me today to check anyone’s status. And I survived. I did promise a friend to check out her “Live” video she had last night, (I watched the replay today) but I never wanted to see anything else.

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I went to bed again last night without taking anything to help me sleep, and slept pretty good.  I started one of my books I had bought yesterday, and enjoyed the calmness that surrounded me as I read.

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I learned today, that you don’t have to share every sad moment in your life with a big audience. When you know that God is with you through those hard things that you have to face (like taking your animal to be put to sleep) He’s really the only audience you need.

Our Maximus was one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever known. We will miss him tremendously.

 

Day 2: Detoxing From Facebook

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F2042596-44F7-4206-ABE2-7D59B38E76FD*I took this picture today, the snow is about gone, but you can still see it!

When my husband commented yesterday evening on how beautiful the mountains were with the snow on top, my response; “But who’s going to see the mountains?”

From our back yard, and back screened in porch, you can see part of the beautiful mountains that make this area of South East Tennessee such a beautiful place to live.

When Kevin mentioned the mountains yesterday, my immediate thoughts were; “I need to take a picture and post it on Facebook!” Because, that’s exactly what I’m used to doing!

But not this time, this time, I enjoyed the view for myself. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

I have to admit, this morning was hard not to get on Facebook and see what everyone was doing. Because, that’s exactly what I’m used to doing!

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Last night was the first night in a long time that I didn’t have to take either melatonin or an Advil PM to help me sleep. You know what? I went to sleep and slept good! Did that have anything to do with Facebook! That, I don’t know? I will tell you more about that theory in the days to come.

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I kept busy with 2 appointments and a trip to Target today, and picked up 2 new books while there, both by authors that I haven’t read in a long time. I’m looking forward to reading them. They won’t stress me out, because they’re fiction and not real. I can respond to them with a delight (if they’re good!) but I  won’t have to worry if anyone “likes” my status of reading them, and I won’t have to interrupt my reading by seeing or “liking” what someone else may be doing besides reading a book they found at Target today!

But who’s going to see the mountains?” 

I will! And I’ll enjoy every second, and call it a little gift from God…

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Gotcha!

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C1ADA891-032C-4D5F-86C1-F952A232DF3D*This is in Sofia, Bulgaria at the hotel right after we adopted Maria.

Eighteen years ago today, my husband and I walked into an orphanage in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria and met our daughter for the first time. Maria Dean Maxwell

Maria was 5 1/2 when we adopted her, she is now 23.

“Gotcha Day” is a phrase that denotes the anniversary of the day on which a new member joins a family in the adoption process. Wikipedia

With skinny bird legs and a big bow in her hair, this dark haired, dark eyed little girl ran immediately to Kevin and threw her arms around him.

She put her Winnie the Pooh backpack on, took our hands and was ready to go home, and never looked back.

F27070F9-5A8E-4B1E-BBB0-383D8DE69D21*This is our first trip to Walt Disney World!

Adoption is not for everyone. I believe that God has to lay it on your heart and in your mind long before you start to talk about it.  I know, because he did this with us.

“He has told you what is good
and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

E41850B9-12C1-49C6-A25A-5FE20CB37295*That girl has always loved watermelon!

We knew that Maria was special needs, and we also knew that raising a special needs child was part of God’s plan for us. He whispered in my ear that he would never leave or forsake us on this journey He called us to travel on.

“Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

6E6AE5D6-626D-45BF-862E-4751C0C20F74*One of Maria’s field trips at school!

Maria is Traumatic Brain Injured with Cerebral Palsy on her right side. But none of this slows her down, and it does not define who she is. She is one tough cookie and has a personality that everyone loves! She can make you laugh with her wit. And make you cry when she accomplishes things you never thought she could.

A9BB488E-020E-42BD-9E67-DD0130D52FF4*Maria graduating from High School!

I have never worried about Maria’s future because I know who holds it!

6546E6B3-A931-418A-A42C-084F53EF8AE9*At the Tim Tebow “Night To Shine Prom” this year!

She is a blessing to all who know and love her! Happy “Gotcha Day Maria Dean!”

Detoxing From Facebook : A Journey

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85481277-E74C-437D-8562-97B42E0180C9Something piqued my interest the other day while the news was on.  It was talking about Facebook, saying that 43% of Gen-Xers had dropped Facebook.  Generation X or Gen X (ranging from the early-to-mid 1960’s – early 1980’s) is the demographic cohort following the Baby Boomers of which group I’m in.

I started some investigation about this news piece and found some interesting things.  I found some articles that people had written about giving up Facebook and how they are better for it. Better as in, happier, less stressed, less depressed, and more productive with their time. I could relate to all of this.

I too, find that I feel the pressure to update my status, because this is what we all do on Facebook right? We have to keep that up! I find myself checking how many “likes” something gets. I see the “status” of others and think, “WOW!” wish I were there! I look at the beautiful pictures and think, “Man they look terrific!” And even see how many “prayers” someone gets and thinks, “they are really loved!”BA98609A-DEE4-45A3-AB53-F61F48000700When I’ve gotten on Facebook, sometimes I feel like a hamster in a wheel…just spinning and spinning but getting nowhere and really, nothing to show for it. There is NO telling how much time I’ve actually wasted since the years I’ve joined.

Don’t get me wrong, I know Facebook can be a useful tool in encouraging others and yes, even praying for others…if only that’s what it was truly used for.

Right now in my life, I just feel like I need to be more productive with my time, and less stressed.

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Since I’ve not been able to get this notion off my mind, I thought maybe I should also give it a try. Give it a try as in “detoxing” from Facebook for awhile. Going on a journey without Facebook in my life for awhile, journaling as I go.

So, the question is, “Do I put my journey on Facebook?” (Would this be an oxymoron?) I will my first day, but if you wanted to join me on my journey, you could go to my blog and read the struggles (I know they will be real!) and even maybe a few triumphs along the way! (I sure hope so!)

I don’t know if any of you have felt this way, or have even given this a try in your life at some point, I know for myself this is something I need to be doing right now.  I could be, no, I NEED to be more productive in other things in my life! C7BA7C8D-8E4E-4337-A559-5E5A5276627D

Not wanting to sound “preachy” in anyway, and speaking to myself here, if we would read other things besides “statuses” and “updates” we might all be a little smarter for it and especially when it comes to the Bible! I know I’d already be a scholar by now if I had put that much effort in studying God’s word vs Facebook time! (Sad but true.)

Here it goes…

Day 1: I blew it! Yes, I did. I had remembered seeing last night (before going to bed) that someone had answered a question I had asked on Facebook. And, what do I do? Instead of contacting that person by phone, and…after already deleting my Facebook app on my iPhone (so I wouldn’t see it, thus be tempted) I get on Facebook by getting “online” instead of the app! Ugh! I thought I had a good excuse, only to give in to temptation…and after singing yesterday morning with the choir, “Victory Is Mine!” And one of the lines in the song is, “I told Satan, get thee behind!” (I’m just going to have to tell that old devil again and again!) It won’t be easy, but I know I can do this.

“Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Don’t Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle

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At some point in your life, someone will try to dull your sparkle. I’m not trying to sound like “Debbie Downer,” but when it happens, what will you do?

Will you let them? Or will you keep sparkling?

Just what is your “sparkle?” I believe that your “sparkle” is any gift, talent or creativity that you’re blessed with.  And gifts, talents and creativeness comes in many forms.

Discouragement also comes in many forms. Comparison, jealousy, envy, greed and pride are a few mechanisms that can dull a “sparkle.”

I believe that each and every one of us are gifted with certain talents, and a creativeness given by God. Some are born naturally with them and others find theirs along the way. And however you discover your God given talent, know that He gave it to you for a reason, to glorify Him!

Yes, we will endure discouraging words from others in our lifetime. It’s a fact of life that will always be with us as long as mankind is on this earth. But don’t let discouragement from others “dull your sparkle!”

We can be so affected by others words that we begin to loose our sense of purpose and begin to let those words “affect” us or “infect” us, there is a difference.

Affect means to touch the feelings of someone. And when someone has touched our feelings, that’s just it, they’ve touched them and we’ve not let the hurt go any further. Infect means to spread disease to, contaminate.

See the difference?

When we allow discouraging words to get to the stage of infection, the contamination has begun, and our sparkle (talent and creativity) begins to fade.

“When life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 MSG

Do you remember the song, “This Little Light Of Mine I’m Gona To Let It Shine?”

Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!

When you find yourself discouraged by others, look to the source of encouragement, God’s word!

“Live creatively…Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens…Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 6:1-3 MSG

For me, these verses are my encouragement and a reminder to not let anyone dull my sparkle!

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus Changes Everything.

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My sweet daughter in law has spoken from the heart. I wanted to share her words with you and how they can comfort us when we need them! Jesus does change everything!

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It’s been a few weeks since I last posted something. I went out west to visit my family for spring break. Here are a few pictures from my week with my precious nieces

It was an unexpected trip but one that I am so grateful for because last week when I got back my dog Duke passed away 😦 I think the Lord knew I needed the happy week so I could face the really hard next week that was coming. Here is a picture of my sweet pup that I am going to miss so much.

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Like I said, last week was hard. Not only did Duke pass away, I felt like everything just kept hitting me and Alex full force…when it rains it pours, or in my case.. it hails. literally. The day Duke passed away an awful hail storm came through town, it literally looked like it had snowed and sounded like rocks…

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It’s A New Day!

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img_4200Birds flying high

You know how I feel

Sun in the sky

You know how I feel

Reeds driftin’ on by

You know how I feel
It’s a new dawn

It’s a new day

It’s a new life

For me

And I’m feeling good

I’m feeling good….

The lyrics to Michael Buble’s song, “Feeling Good,” are going through my mind this morning as I think about how we all have a “fresh” start for this brand new year of 2017!

In my quiet time this morning, I reflected on how the Lord brought me through some tough times this past year.

Watching my Mother’s decline with her Alzheimer’s was really hard.  But I know without a doubt, the Lord was with my Mother every step of the way on her journey.  He was with me also.

Between my Mother’s Journey and health issues of my own, yes, 2016 was a tough year for me.  And although the Lord was with me every step, it doesn’t mean I reciprocated that action. When you get so caught up in your “tough” times, you forget to call upon the one who can help!

You get busy feeling sorry for yourself, wondering how you’ll make it through. You get so busy trying to take care of situations, you forget to stop and spend time with the one who will listen!

One day goes by, then another, then another. A week goes by, then two.  You begin to feel very tired, zapped and defeated.  And, you forget to call upon the one who can give you energy and strength!

“…Oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him – endless energy, boundless strength!”  Ephesians 1:19 MSG

I’m so thankful for His faithfulness. Even though we are not always faithful to Him, He is with us!

When Jesus repealed the law code, he made it to where we could be, “a new kind of human being,  a fresh start for everybody.” Ephesians 2:15 MSG

We all mess up. We get caught up in ourselves and situations we are in. And, a lot of times in the messes we make for ourselves.  It’s so easy to take our eyes off the Lord and say we can’t…

My prayer for this coming year, is to keep my eyes on the one who says He can…take care of everything!

More Important Than Lunch

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FullSizeRender (6)Our daughter Maria never ceases to amaze me!  She is truly a gift from God, my little rock at times.

She was right by my side 2 years ago when a car ran a red light and T-boned us, resulting in a collapsed lung, broken ribs and a broken clavicle for me.  Thank the Lord, just some abdominal bruises for her!

We never knew what hit us that day. As we sat there waiting for the ambulance, I was shaking, and in so much pain. Maria kept patting my knee, comforting me.  She was telling me that I was going to be alright and that help was coming. What a blessing she was to me that day.  My little rock.

Yesterday, she was my little rock once again. We went to visit my Mother in the nursing home. For the past couple of days, my brother and I have noticed that our Mother has just not been herself. When I went to see her on Sunday, she was sitting up, but she would not open her eyes for me.  I knew something was not right. It appeared she was extremely tired.  My brother and his wife went Sunday afternoon, and she was the same way with them.

Maria and I went yesterday to check on Mom.  She was at the table where they eat, and her head was bowed over as she was sitting up in her wheelchair.  I tried to get her to eat, but I didn’t have much luck.  I went to tell the nurse that was on duty that my brother and I were concerned with our Mom, how she had been for the past couple of days.  She came and got Mom, took her vitals, and called her Doctor.  The nurse told me that he wanted her taken to the hospital to be checked out.

We waited for the ambulance to come and get Mom.  The trip from the nursing home to the hospital is not far at all, maybe 5 minutes. It was getting late.  Maria and I had not eaten anything since early yesterday morning.  Knowing we would pass a Wendy’s, I figured I could get Maria something to eat on the way.  I knew it would take a few minutes for them to get my Mom settled into the emergency room.

So, I asked Maria; “Hey, you want me to stop and get you anything for lunch?”  Her response; “No, going to the hospital is more important than lunch.”  I looked at my daughter and was just amazed at that moment.  God was reminding me once again what a blessing she is, and such a little rock for me at times.

They weren’t the least bit concerned for their lunch, the 5 thousand who came to hear Jesus.

“From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. ( Jesus and the disciples had gotten in a boat to go off to a remote place to rest) When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke ~ like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them. When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough ~ it was now quite late in the day ~ they interrupted: “We are a long way out in the country, and it’s very late. Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper.”  Jesus said, “You do it. Fix supper for them.” Matthew 14:13-16 

 We all know this bible story by heart.  With 5 loaves and 2 fish, Jesus fed this huge crowd of 5 thousand.  It was past lunch, and probably way past suppertime.  It doesn’t say anywhere in the bible where one person complained that they were hungry!  From surrounding towns, they just didn’t walk, they ran!  They came to be fed, but not with food, but by Jesus himself!  They knew that what he had to say was more important than lunch.

The 5 thousand were about the Father’s business.  Yesterday, my Maria was about the Father’s business.  She knew that going to the hospital and help taking care of her grandmother was more important than lunch!  God knew that Maria’s presence with me was more important than lunch.

They have determined that my Mother has a UTI.  This condition is so hard on older people.  When we left the hospital, she was getting fluids and an antibiotic.  She was resting well.  Maria and I will be going and seeing my Mother at the hospital this morning, hopefully and prayerfully finding her much better.

The picture above is of Maria with her Sunday School class as they were wading in the Hiwassee river this past Sunday.  Her smile says it all, how she enjoys being a part of such a sweet class!  She is my little rock sent from God!

 

 

 

 

 

Why Should I Be Glad In God?

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FullSizeRender“Be glad in God.!” Philippians 3:1 MSG

…Why should I be glad in God?

“But you, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.” Psalm 3:3 NKJV

God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax;  you’re never sorry you knocked.” Psalm 32:7 MSG

God’s my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.” Psalm 32:7 MSG

God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. God keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan.” Psalm 34: 4,6,7,15 MSG

“God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, his purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost;  Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.” Psalm 36: 5-6 MSG

 “He lifted me from the mud. He stood me up on a rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip. He taught me how to sing the latest God-song.” Psalm 40:1-2

“God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night. My life is Gods prayer.” Psalm 42:8 MSG

…that’s just a few reasons to be “Glad in God!”