Archive for May, 2008

10 Reasons I am Pro-Facebook

My husband is boring on Facebook. He readily admits it and purposely tries to be. Also, Tony Morgan recently wrote a post stating 5 reasons he is quitting Facebook. I understand some of his annoyance with it, but have found it mostly helpful in my life.

Here are some reasons I think Facebook is worthwhile:

1. I only accept friend requests from people I know.

This is not meant to be snobbish, it’s just what makes it work for me. I want it to be about my circles of friends and acquaintances. I am not interested in collecting as many friends as possible.

2. I can write short messages and no one gets offended (at least I hope not).

I don’t know about you, but when I haven’t been in touch with someone for years and years, the thought of resuming the friendship via email is overwhelming. I feel as though I have to write a 60 page email filling them in on everything that’s happened since we lost touch.

However, with Facebook you don’t have to go through all the apologizing and guilt. You just friend them on Facebook and write a short message or wall post and leave it up to your profile to fill them in.

3. Status means something.

When you have friends all over the world (and who doesn’t in this day and age?) keeping in regular touch just doesn’t happen. But with Facebook, I can stay up to date with people in Senegal and St. Louis and feel a more day-to-day awareness of their lives all because they fill out their Facebook status.

“Oh, Mary is at her niece’s wedding–how fun.”

4. I can block applications that annoy me.

If someone throws a sheep at me, that means absolutely nothing to me, so I don’t do anything about it. If someone sends me an invite to an application that doesn’t interest me, I block the application. If a particular person is a repeat offender and sends me invites to applications constantly, I choose to block all invitations from that person. Not because I think that person is a waste of my time; they just use Facebook differently than I do. No big deal.

5. I try not to annoy others.

Sometimes I will take a random, silly quiz just for the fun of it. Who doesn’t want to know which Jane Austen character they are?!?! But if the quiz requires me to send it to others to find out my results, I don’t continue, no matter how badly I want to know if I’m Lizzie or Jane.

6. Pictures!

I love being able to look at the pictures my friends have posted of their families, what they’ve been up to, etc. It makes connection so much more regular and real.

And when I post pictures to help folks keep up with me, I can choose who can see which album.

7. I can import my blog there as “notes.”

That way, people who don’t regularly surf blogs (who are those people?!) can still read my posts if they want to.

8. One word—Prolific!

This is my favorite application, no contest. I’m mildly addicted. Hope I don’t cause any of you who love playing Boggle to stumble.

9. Reading Wall-to-Wall is not spying.

When you see that one of your friends wrote something reporting about their latest vacation or new favorite restaurant on another friend’s wall, you can click Wall-to-Wall and see the conversation. That way you don’t have to email or message that person again and find out the information.

I honestly don’t think it’s spying. It could easily become spying, but you have to use your own judgment. Personally I don’t have time to read everyone’s Wall posts and all their conversations, so I just click on the ones that have pertinent information.

If they wanted the information and conversation to be totally private, they’d send a message instead of a wall post.

10. It’s just fun.

I know from people who work in youth and college ministry that Facebook is a vital tool to their connection with students.

I’m sure that’s true, but I just like it; it’s fun.

May 28, 2008 at 2:09 pm 22 comments

A Mother of a Birthday

Or maybe, “A Birthday of a Mother?” 😉

My 29th birthday was on Friday. I think I was able to handle the passage of time a little better since the day was so full. I had to work during the day, so I was automatically gone from 8-4:30pm.

Then Abraham and Orison picked me up from work and took me on a “surprise shopping binge,” which turned out to be at a nursery/gardening store that I’d never been to but everyone always tells me about and says is awesome. Well everyone, you’re right. Gerten’s is amazing/overwhelming. If you live in MN, you simply must go. Orison’s favorite part was running around by the fountains and looking at the “huge” fish!

I have a garden plan that my dear friend Mary, who is a professional gardener, drew up for me a couple years ago. There was one tree on there that I was hoping to get in the ground this year, but for some reason the breed of tree has been discontinued. So Abraham was in secret contact with Mary & her husband last week to get their suggestions of what tree would be a good replacement, considering size, resistance to disease, hardiness for our climate, etc. Well, Mary & Carl actually went to Gerten’s earlier in the day and hand-selected the perfect tree for my yard, an Adams Crabapple.

Then I picked out annuals for my pots. Those are getting done TODAY!

We stopped for sandwiches at Potbelly’s (one of my faves if you want fast), and proceeded home. When we got to the garage I got to see another one of my presents—a basket for the front of my bike! We are trying to bike as much as possible this summer (thus saving gas) and I think this basket will be so helpful!

Orison was busting at the seams at this point because he had made “ice cream cake” for me that day with Abraham’s help. Basically, Abraham put scoops of the ice cream we had in the house into little bowls and Orison used a spoon to push it down into the bowls and then refroze them. Anyway, he ran to the house in a flash and was getting things out of the freezer and getting spoons and doing it all—he was so excited, which made it so adorable to watch. They sang “Happy Birthday” and I blew out my candle and we ate the cake, the whole time with Orison smiling with pride. It was perfect.

We’ve been doing progressive celebrating all weekend. On Saturday Abraham helped me plant my tree, Orison went away to the grandparents for few hours so we could have a “home date.” It’s so amazing to be at home together with no child/children. Try it sometime—find a sitter and then go home! We worked in the yard, we grilled a delicious lunch, we enjoyed the silence… it was a beautiful thing. After church that night, we went to DQ and got a different ice cream cake (a tradition from my family) and sang and ate cake AGAIN!

Sunday was a picnic with Abraham’s family and our dear friends the Livingston’s. It was a beautiful day (finally in the 80s) and the kids had a great day of running in the yard and eventually swimming. There was one “kid” they hadn’t bargained on, though!

We will have a quiet-ish Memorial Day today, but we’re celebrating Day #4 of my birthday! Today it meant that Orison & Abraham did my “morning jobs” this morning, emptying the dishwasher and loading the breakfast dishes.

And to close, here is a picture of our family on our bikes (already putting my basket to good use)! And to make us even more dorky, I have a bell on my bike too!

May 26, 2008 at 2:59 pm 15 comments

A Tidal Wave on the 22nd.

Abraham decided it would be best if he just told me right off the bat when I came downstairs this morning—”The Chapman’s, as in the Steven Curtis Chapman’s—five-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident.”

It was the right decision for him to tell me, rather than me finding out randomly on the internet this morning, since it’s already a heavy day as another 22nd marches on and I can do nothing to stop it.

And I can’t do anything to stop the Chapman’s pain, either. It’s going to hit them like a tidal wave over and over and over and they’ll flip and flail under it. They’ll get their bearings somehow and be able to surface for a well-deserved gasping breath. And then another month passes or another birthday passes or another Mother’s Day passes and they’re head-over-heels again.

I’m not trying to be pessimistic or say that God is not there. He’s the tidal wave and he’s the light at the top and he’s the fresh, cold air that their lungs will scream for.

May 22, 2008 at 8:38 am 20 comments

My Official Signature

I followed a link today that took me to a website that would allow me to create my own signature. The theory is that you can insert it into a blog post easily. If only the actual creating of the signature were that easy for me.

Here are my attempts:

Attempt #1, the careful attempt

Attempt #2, still trying to make it look nice

Attempt #3, throwing caution to the wind

Attempt #4, my personal favorite, in which I just tried to write as fast as I could with my finger on the track pad:

If you have five minutes to make yourself laugh, I highly recommend doing this.

I probably could’ve done a little better with a mouse, but I’m not sure about that. And in all seriousness, you can scan in an image of your actual signature and make it more realistic if this is something you want to consider.

May 22, 2008 at 8:00 am 7 comments

Summer Shins

The first day my three-year-old wore shorts, I was a little horrified at what I saw.

May 21, 2008 at 11:07 am 19 comments

Cleaning Her House Is Next to Godliness

How to Help Your Grieving Friend, Part 11

Another extremely helpful ministry to a grieving friend or family member is cleaning. I know it probably seems like, “Wow, this grief thing’s a good gig—no cooking, no cleaning…”

Maybe it only feels that way to me, someone who is grieving, because I’m the recipient of such lavish gifts. I feel a little self-conscious about receiving, receiving, receiving. Which, by the way, is something that God has been revealing in my heart during this season of what seems like so much “getting.” It’s very humbling.

I don’t like to not do my fair share. I don’t like to feel like dead weight. But often times, in the last eight months, that’s what I’ve been. And in thinking about the spiritual significance of that, it’s absolutely true about my relationship with God. I’m dead weight. He does not need me for anything. He’s just giving and giving, and I’m constantly receiving. And gosh darn it, I try my best to pay him back, earn my keep, pull my weight, etc., but I never can. It’s all about his grace to me as a sinner.

There was one Saturday when some friends banded together and cleaned my house—it was a total surprise, all of their own initiative. They told Abraham to get me out of the house and they went absolutely over the top with fresh flowers everywhere, lunch on the table when we arrived home, and an in-home massage in the afternoon! It was incredible. I wept for days each time I thought of their kindness to me. Such creativity, such selflessness. And here I am, just sponging it all up. Receiving—again.

Part of what makes this receiving so difficult is knowing that the people who are taking the time to come clean my house have houses of their own to clean, children of their own to take care of, plans on their calendars to keep. It’s a humbling thing to admit “I can’t keep up.” And it’s even more humbling to add to that, “Please clean my toilets.”

Here’s how I’ve dealt with this heavy dose of humility as “the grieving friend”:

  • I don’t feel as guilty about having my house cleaned if I leave and just let someone do it while I’m gone. If I’m involved in any way, I’m defeating the purpose of why they’re there, which is to bless me and my family. My self-conscious lurking doesn’t help anyone.
  • I also don’t feel as guilty if someone else initiates. It basically doesn’t happen if I have to call someone and say, “I can’t get out from under this, can you come do this for me?” Granted, tons of people tell you when your tragedy happens, “If there is anything I can do—anything—just let me know,” but what they don’t count on when they say that is what position that puts the grieving person in—always having to ask and feeling like a huge imposition. That’s really, really hard.

What you can do:

  • Just call and offer to clean. If she’s evasive or you can tell she feels guilty about that, ask concrete questions like, “What day would work best for me to come and clean at your house?”
  • Ask her to make a list of where her cleaning supplies are and what jobs she’d like you to do. If that’s difficult for her, then just take over and do the tasks that seem most necessary—whatever will make her feel like the house is clean when she gets home.

It’s never too late to help. You have not missed the boat if it’s been 4 months, 8 months, 12 months. Remember, the reality of her loss might just be setting in and she’s languishing in ways you would have never expected.

(Read other posts in this series.)

May 19, 2008 at 7:19 pm 16 comments

Food Post Addendum

In my most recent post in the “How to Help Your Grieving Friend” series, we discussed tips and suggestions for bringing meals.

I added a little section at the bottom of that post so that people can more easily access the great ideas that came from other readers. Thank you everyone for your input and participation!

(Read the updated post.)

May 16, 2008 at 6:00 am 1 comment

Tasks for Tots: What are good jobs around the house for kids?

What age were your kids when you started giving them daily/weekly chores?

What jobs did you start with?

Any tips for keeping it fun and motivating?

At three and a half, O thinks that doing jobs is really great, but he’s not that good at it. His idea of dusting is taking a rag and wiping in one little area many times and then moving on.

I want to teach responsibility and a good work ethic to him, but sometimes it just goes so much faster to do it myself! But that’s what my mom did, and thus I didn’t know how to do laundry until I went to college. That was totally not cool.

May 15, 2008 at 9:18 am 32 comments

“Safe” Cosmetics

Lately I’ve been thinking about more natural ways of living, more simple ways of living, etc. I hesitate to say “going green” because that means so many different things to so many different people. One area I’ve been researching a bit is safer cosmetics.

Some of what I’ve found is alarming. Some of what I’ve found is overwhelming. I simply don’t know how far to go with this stuff. Do we only put natural, “safe” cosmetics on our skin to prevent things like cancer, neurological disorders, and reproductive damage? Or do we live with what the cosmetics industry gives us and trust that they are going to do the right thing by the human race in general? Or is there a middle ground?

Most of my internet research has been at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website. On this site, they identify companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.

Part of why I feel like I just want to give up on this whole issue is that there is so much information to know, so many products to avoid, so many more dollars to spend on “safe” products. I’m just overwhelmed.

Here’s the tension:

  • I want to be responsible with my body and the bodies that God has entrusted to me as a caregiver.
  • I also want to be financially responsible with the resources God has given me. I simply cannot afford to go out and buy all new stuff and experiment with the hundreds of brands out there until I find one I like.
  • As a Christian, how “safe” can I be in this world? I read one verse like this: Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe,” and I question the issue as a whole.

If any of you out there have committed to safer cosmetics, or have been researching and are farther along than me, I would love your advice and feedback. For others, what do you think about this issue in general? Obviously I haven’t made a decision either way, so I’d love to hear other people’s opinions on the matter.

May 12, 2008 at 8:53 am 40 comments

Happy Mother’s Day video

Abraham filmed the following footage shortly after a special Mother’s Day breakfast of delicious pastries from a local bakery.

May 11, 2008 at 9:22 am 20 comments

Sneaky Post for Molly on Mother’s Day

(She really shouldn’t have given me her password.)

I love my wife!

May 11, 2008 at 7:11 am 1 comment

10 Tips for Bringing Meals to a Grieving Friend

How to Help Your Grieving Friend, Part 10

When we lost Felicity, we had a lot of meal help from friends and family. I learned a few things from the people serving me about how to serve others—with food.


It is essential, really. Bringing meals is a profound ministry to the hurting. Your friend’s mind is otherwise engaged and simply cannot sequence the steps for making a meal.

2. Organize the meals so she doesn’t have to.

Ideally, one person (not the griever) is coordinating meals immediately after the loss. If the grieving person has to coordinate what days they’re going to get a meal, who it’s coming from, what time it’s arriving, etc., that’s just as much work as trying to make meals herself. If there is no meal coordinator, volunteer!

3. Stagger the times that you bring meals.

Depending on the size of the family, meals may only be necessary every other day or even every third day. Because of leftovers, one meal often provides for two days of eating.

4. Bring a frozen meal.

As many of you know after a death, there’s often no shortage of food. A frozen meal can be set aside for when it’s most convenient. You can even organize your small group to bring a whole batch of frozen meals if they have an extra freezer (make sure first!). These come in handy a couple months down the road when the organized meals are over, and a particularly hard day/week comes.

5. Make sure everyone doesn’t bring the same thing.

Soup and lasagna are the most common meals to bring because they taste so good, they’re the easiest to make, and they travel well. But make sure they haven’t received a bunch of those already (talk to the meal organizer about that).

6. Should I stay or should I go? Yes.

When you bring a meal, feel the situation out for whether or not you should linger. They might want you to stick around and talk, but if you think not, it’s perfectly acceptable to drop it off and get going.

7. Don’t count on commiserating.

You’re bringing a meal because of their loss, but they might not want to feel that loss with you right then. Just before dinner might not be a good time for “a moment.”

8. Deliver dinner in dishes you don’t need back.

Always provide a meal in containers that don’t need to be returned to you. Having to keep track of 9×13’s and serving bowls is too much work. It requires the organizational effort that we’re trying to avoid.

9. Tell them not to thank you.

Make sure they know that you don’t need a thank you note. You can even go as far as telling them that you’ll actually be bothered if they take the time to write you a note.

10. It’s never too late to bring a meal.

Most of you probably don’t know anyone who lost a loved one so recently that meals are still being organized for them. But you do probably know someone who endured a loss six, seven, twelve months ago. I can almost guarantee that if you called and asked to bring dinner this week, you’d bless their oven mitts off. It’s never too late.

Maybe some of you have been meal organizers or have had meals brought to you–what things have you found helpful? Any other tips you want to share?

(Read other posts in this series.)

Addendum, added 5/15/2008

Many of the comments from this post were so helpful and practical that I just had to put them at the end here so that other readers could more easily access them. So here we go:

  • Gift cards!
  • Take them out to eat (McDonald’s can be a fine option if young kids are involved).
  • The meal coordinator should alert those bringing meals about any dietary restrictions, allergies, and food preferences.
  • Meal coordinators should give a reminder phone call
  • If you don’t have the means or availability to make a whole meal, bring something else, like some tea or a small plate of cookies. It’s about letting them know you’re thinking of them.
  • Take a shipment of paper products and plastic utensils over to them so that clean-up is mindless too.

And one of my favorite quotes came from jamsco, who said, “Meals are a gift from God through the human giver.”  Perfect!

May 7, 2008 at 10:16 am 49 comments

Always On My Mind

How to Help Your Grieving Friend, Part 9

We got an email a couple months ago from a friend in our church. We don’t see this guy very often; we’re not close friends. But one afternoon we got a message from him saying that as he was painting his bathroom that day, Felicity randomly popped into his thoughts and prompted him to pray for us.

The conclusion he drew from this experience was, “If I’m thinking about her three months later while I’m painting my bathroom, how much more is she still on your minds?”

All I could do was cry and think, “YES! He’s got it.”

Sometimes the Lord sends comfort from a three-year old, sometimes from a close friend, or sometimes, like in this case, from a 40-some-year-old single guy, who we don’t even know that well. (Thanks, Tom!)

So be mindful as the days and months march on for your grieving friend that their loss is in no way over for them.

I know only the title of this song pertains, but she’s always on my mind.

(Read other posts in this series.)

May 5, 2008 at 9:41 am 20 comments

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