~ As Christmas Day Is Here ~
Now More Than Ever
As Heaven And Angels Sing.
Now More Than Ever
Glory Be To The NewBorn King.
Now More Than Ever
My Faith Is Tested Like Never Before.
My World Is Full Of Such Horrific Sorrow
As I Embark On This Next New Endeavor.
As Friends Become Foes
And As Family Becomes The Enemy.
God’s Enduring Love
Must Be Our Enduring Legacy.
What Will I Do
When The Devil Is At My Door?
Will I Stand By My Convictions
Or Will I Corrow In The Corner?
Is All Religion Based Upon Fear
As My Glorious Christmastime Comes Near?
Or Is All Of Fear Itself Wholly And Whole
A Lack Of Religion and Quite Severe?
As We Only Have Fear Itself To Fear
Let Us Fear Not - Because God Is Truly Here.
It Is Our Faith That Will Indeed Help Us Cope
As We Enter This Season Of Perpetual Hope.
As World War Three Is On My Horizon
Freedom Lovers Must Now Not Frighten.
As Our Enemies Have Already Prepared Their Battleships
We Really Need To Dust Off Our Own Crumbling Airstrips.
Liberty Itself Is Once Again At Risk
As Each Generation Sadly Must Fight For It.
Lives Will Always Be Lost In The Name Of Freedom
We Cannot Know It Only By Visiting A Historic Museum.
Now More Than Ever Before In Our Lives And Not Discreetly
We Fight For Those Freedoms Or We Will Lose Them Completely.
Those Liberties That We Hold So Dear
Will Slip Away With The Passing Of Each Year.
Even If Churches Are Still Closed
And If Only We Could See Him Transposed.
God Is Truly On Our Side
Just Look Up To Those Heavenly Skies.
Now More Than Ever
He Is Right There In The Twinkling Stars.
Listen For The Cry Of Angels
As The Hover Over The Little Wooden Manger.
Maybe Belief Doesn’t Belong Inside A Building After All.
And Maybe Now More Than Ever
God Is Standing Straight And Tall.
Maybe We Just Simply Need To Follow Him
And Maybe Jesus Is Much Bigger Than We All Could Ever Realize.
As He Is The Only True God
Ignore Everybody Else In All Their Camouflage Disguise.
Now More Than Ever
False Gods Are On Every Corner.
Now More Than Ever
We Hear Them So We Don’t Get Bothered.
By The One True God Which Is The Only Way.
And That Route Is Harder Than All the Others
Which Will Eventually All Wither And Decay.
Now More Than Ever
The Harder Choice Is The Right One.
Now More Than Ever
Being With My God Is Like Living On The Run.
But Don’t Run My Dears
As You Don’t Have To Flee.
Live The Life Jesus Died For Without Fear
As You Stay Humble And Stay Free.
And Let Us Honor Our Country's Founding Fighters
As We Brush Past All The Messy Distraction and Fodder.
Follow The Christmas Star As It Gets Brighter.
As We Live For That Heavenly Father.
Now More Than Ever In Solidarity With Those Who Died For Our Very Freedom
May We Honor Their Bravery And Courage Under Fire
And Their Ultimate Sacrifice As Their Day Did Indeed Come.
Now More Than Ever And With Every Single Day
At This Very Time And In This Very Place.
In The Name Of Freedom I Shall Live
With Courage Of My Very Own For Goodness Sakes.
Because The Devil Is Here My Friends
And He’s Shining Just As Bright
He Is Fighting Too
And He’s Doing It With All His Might.
Look Away For A Second And You May Be Distracted By His Light.
As The Situation Each Day Continues To Be Dire And Full of Fright.
Looking Down At Our Phones
And Not In Each Other's Eyes.
It’s So Very Very Easy
To Fall For The Devil's Lies.
And As The World Tries To Take My God Away From Me
Now More Than Ever I WIll Never Ever Let That Be.
Now More Than Ever
As Christmas Day Is Here
I Will Stand Atop The Hills
And I Will Shout Loud And Clear.
Our God Is Here And He Is Within You I Shall Say
Behold Seekers All The Tidings Of Great Joy.
As Now More Than Ever
I Will Hold Fast And Stay Forever True
To My Freedom And My Religion
And To My Red, White, And Very Blue.~
~ My Faith In God Is What Carries Me Forward ~
Faith can move mountains, right?
Well, if that’s the case… then faith can lift your house right on up off the ground too, right?
Sure. Yeah, right. I guess so. Whatever you say…
But no joke guys, I think, and believe, it can. Faith can do it all. Faith can move anything. Including your house.
Faith has all the power. Faith holds all the cards. Faith can allow one to complete seemingly impossible undertakings, and surpass insurmountable feats.
And what were these past two years... if not - one big, gigantic feat?
Looking back, boy, what a time to be alive...
If there’s one way to express my feelings on these past two years, it is this:
In order to persevere... I must have a Foundation of Faith.
And that foundation, even though it might be floating up in the sky(?) is what has kept me grounded, and sane, during life’s tough challenges.
Would it make any sense to you if I told you right now that I am living my very best life? Literally - right now. Every single day.
Throughout this pandemic. Throughout the ups and downs of the coronavirus, the surges and down dips in deaths and hospitalizations and body counts. Throughout global strife, this year, and last. International relations at their very worst in my lifetime. National relations also-the same.
Despite everything that has happened, and everything that is going on, and maybe even everything that is still to come. I am still living my very best life, each and every day. And I attribute that fact to one reason, and one reason only - my faith.
And there’s no doubt that this year, and last, have presented some very difficult circumstances, both externally, and internally. Personally, and professionally. Nationally and internationally.
There are actually far too many of said circumstances and challenges to name here, and nor do I want to name them, each and all. But these challenges and obstacles and pure blockades, were, and are, beyond overwhelming. And I blow my own damn mind each and every day with my ability to maneuver around them.
It took me a very long while, but I have come to believe, and actually understand and comprehend, that a solid foundation is exactly what is needed during life's hardest and harshest moments. And it is that foundation of faith, and my faith alone, that gets me through each day.
That statement is so very true for me and I genuinely believe it. And in my eyes, it is simply and purely because when things get tough, and when things are looking down, and when you find yourself falling into a deep and dark and despairingly black hole, you actually can’t fall too far… IF you have a solid foundation. Because on your way down, you’ll reach the concrete floor of your home’s foundational base. And it’s that foundation that will catch you, and stop you, from burrowing further into the cold and dark earth underneath, during your time of depression or sorrow - a time of sadness, and pain.
And whether, when I lived up in Illinois, and my home’s foundation was literally below ground, in a basement. Or, now that I live in Florida, and the ground here is too wet and springy and bubbly and swampy for my foundation to be below ground, and thus a basement here being very hard to come by... The foundation of my house is currently at grade. But either way, I still have a foundation. Its depth is just a bit different than I was used to all my life, previous to living in the South.
And that little engineering and structural design and home construction fact got me to thinking...
There were moments this year in which I could barely function. I could barely move forward. And I could barely even drink water.
There were times I couldn’t even swallow. Not even coffee.
There were equally bad times last year. I’m still not over it all. Nor will I ever forget all that has happened and occurred on my watch.
Life is hard.
And it always will be.
But our responses, and reactions, and perseverance, and - our foundation - of our very faith in God, is what will carry us forward.
And whether I stand up on my very own, or God has to drag me by my soft and fuzzy dog paw patterned fleece pajamas on out of bed, pull me up onto my feet, and drag me into the kitchen kicking and screaming to make the morning coffee - either way - I’m going to keep going. Heck, even if God has to lift not just me out of bed, but my whole freaking GD house off the ground, either way, and some way or another, God is going to get me going. And God is going to keep me going.
I tend to think that sometimes he does literally just that. I’m still stuck in bed. And won’t move. God gives me a boost or two. He tells me it's time to get up. It’s time to get ready for work. It’s time to go, CHRISTINE!
And when I still won’t move, and can’t even comprehend starting another day of life, that’s when God offers one more bribe. He tells me we can grab some Starbucks on the way to work. A venti hot latte, coming my way… if only, I will start another day.
And when THAT doesn’t work - you know I’m in a bad place. I’ve never met a Starbucks I can resist.
So it is then that God knows I am in the depths of despair (as Anne Shirley of Green Gables once said).
When a coffee bribe won’t work.
That’s when God really has his work cut out for him.
He knows that his Christine Pieper is doing pretty bad. Turning down a drink from her favorite barista. That’s the measurement of true despair.
He then says, the freaking heck with this.
And He, instead of dragging me out of bed by my feet, decides something stronger is necessary to get me going. He knows pulling me, myself, won’t do it just today.
So He decides to pick up my entire house - by its foundation. He rips it on out of the ground. And He carries me, and lifts me with helium and colored balloons, house included, over to my place of employment. I’m dropped off in the parking lot, with a smack on my butt for my misbehavior at that.
I walk on into work…
Dragging these ridiculous looking balloons behind me.
I punch the time clock.
Coworkers completely disturbed by all the helium floating along beside me.
And I start my workday. In utter and pure protest. Disgust at the thought of surviving yet another shift. Is this what success looks like?
I absolutely LOVE my work...
But I can hardly move a muscle or bone inside my body.
I always thought that having a solid foundation was imperative to success and achievement. Whether that achievement being going for the Olympic Gold, or dragging your sad and sorry behind out of bed in the morning and brushing your teeth. I’ve discussed with you many times before about that solid foundation and how imperative it truly is.
And that foundation is a rock. It’s solid. It has to be. And the other requirement, or so I thought, was that it has to be deep. And it has to be so strong as to compete with and support the weight of the world and Earth’s rotational axis and gravity itself to keep it from drifting away into the abyss.
But - maybe, just maybe - I have been thinking all wrong, this entire time. About that said foundation.
I’ve done a lot this year. And last. All throughout COVID. I’ve accomplished more than I ever dreamed or could possibly imagine doing. All through challenge and hardship. And all because of my light and airy and flowing Foundation of Faith.
I let God do the work for me. I watched as my foundation of faith was set free from the ground. No longer locked deep into the basement up in Illinois; unglued from its at-grade base here in Florida.
As I floated around in the sky. All these past two years of Covid. Here and there. Near and Far. Blowing around in the wind. Spinning and dizzy. With delight. Or delirium? Swirling around in the sky.
Up and down.
And upside down.
My foundation was NOT solid and rock heavy as I thought it needed to be. My foundation was light… and airy. It has become so very light that one could stick a helium balloon or two on top of that silly little house… and the whole gosh darn home would lift entirely off the ground. Setting sail on a wild and ridiculous ride. God blowing it in the wind. Only He - controlling the direction of flight.
And that’s exactly what the heck happened to me. And I’ve been sitting in a helium balloon filled house, flowing around in the wind, these entire past two years.
I’ve done NOTHING - on my own.
And I’ve done EVERYTHING - through God.
Nearly two years ago now I went back to work. But being without work for roughly a decade, it was a huge decision and obviously a life altering moment in time for me.
As they say... I did not come to the decision lightly. In fact, it was such a big decision, I relied solely on God to help me with the choice I ultimately made.
God guided me in that decision to leave the home. And I have come to know, only through my now vast experience in conversations and coffee dates with God, that my best decisions in life are the ones I make with Him… The ones where we sit and chat over a latte while listening to cafe music in the background. We hear the steam of the espresso machine as it drowns out the voices of others - all in equally important conversation amongst themselves.
And those decisions are potentially made in the blink of an eye. The snap of my finger. With the force of wind going through me so very strong that I nearly vomit.
One minute - I’m chilling with God at Starbucks.
The very next - I’m at home, curled up into a ball, on the floor of my home. The thought of throwing up too very much to control. Agonizing. Nauseous.
Next minute - I’m in the bathroom - head in front of the toilet. Awaiting the uncontrollable reaction that I know is coming next.
Would it make any sense to you at all if I told you the very best decisions I have ever made in my life are the ones where I want to vomit at the thought of the choice I need to make? And just after conversing with God on the subject matter?
I did a lot of research, and I prepared myself as best as possible.
How to go back to work after ten years?
How did I do it?
Or, after that initial choice, how do I change jobs, or career paths, once again? How to keep going? After starting work, all over, once again? Being in a land, now so foreign to me, I might have well been standing at the South Pole on day one of orientation.
How to rejoin the workforce after so much had been changed in my absence? After all, just think of the technological improvements in the last ten to fifteen years, let alone the societal changes as well.
Where the term “onboarding” is now known to all who work and get hired? What in the heck is an onboard, anyway? And most importantly, is it something I can use for surfing?
I am asked of my pronouns.
And they are proudly displayed upon a bulletin board, or in the employee break room.
I’ve never been asked that in my life. And it’s always at work now where I’m asked. I’ve even been offered buttons to wear. I can proudly display my She, if I choose to.
Do workers today have more protections afforded them? And perks, and shiny, little specks of bling thrown at them to get them in the door, and seem to actually be treated as human beings by their employers?
When I stopped working, I was not even wanted by my employer at the time. And I do think that was me personally. I’m not saying all employers are not actually wanting of their employees, but I do know I personally, felt extremely unappreciated.
I was way overworked, way stressed out, had a mere one second of vacation time per year, and was just expected to suck it all up, and work harder and harder. And my salary could not afford me even a studio apartment near my employer. All for what?
There was no enticement. There was no bonus. A raise at the exact rate of the cost of living adjustment - each year - and that basically meant my pay would stay the same every year of my employment. No real increase in relation to my job and skills and profession. No real raise based upon my performance. My individual circumstances were not ever taken into consideration.
And I worked hard and harder.
And ultimately, I ended up getting sick… and sicker...
Until the day I was too sick to work at all.
I lost my job.
Years later -
I was officially defined as disabled by the federal government.
Disease without cure, that which would ultimately end in death and inability to work for the future of my life on this Earth.
There was no cure to what ailed me. So says my doctors, and the United States of America.
And I had to accept that fact to move on with my life.
We’ve talked about my journey through chronic pain before, and the purpose of this post is not to re-discuss it here and now. But what is important today is - WHY. And HOW.
Why did I have the opportunity to go back to work?
Because faith can move mountains?
How - Because… faith lifted my very house up off the ground… and took me with it, and threw me into working once again.
I’ve accomplished more in these past five years since God saved my life, and the past two years of work, than probably all my other years of breathing, combined.
And it’s all attributable to my Foundation of Faith.
I was sick. And I was sicker. I was so very sick I did not know how to go on. With life. At all.
I felt 95 years old.
And I was in my 30’s.
I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t brush my teeth. I couldn’t put on some simple clothes and walk out the front door. And I couldn’t interact within society. Because I couldn’t even move.
My foundation was solid. And heavy. And that’s what I thought was the right kind of foundation to have.
But, I couldn’t move even if I tried... I was bolted to the floor.
However, little did I know at the time, a miracle was brewing.
Deep down in the underneathness of the earth, the swampy ground, far under where all of the alligators and snakes and cockroaches live, cause - Florida - that foundation began to move.
First it bubbled - like a spring. Disney Springs to be exact.
It bubbled until it shook itself clean off the ground.
And God decided to lift my entire freaking house, foundation included, off that wet ground. And pulled it on up into the sky. Taking me with it. Whether I wanted to go for a ride, or not.
I had no idea what was happening to me…
I had no choice in the matter.
Because God did all the work for me.
And at the worst part of it all is that, I didn’t even know that God was doing all the work. He was hidden, you see, above all the balloons I was looking up at.
So, as I pondered before:
Does any of this make any sense to you?
I have come to believe that if this does not make sense to you… simply close your eyes. And then, let God make the next decision for you and your life. And afterwards, open your eyes back up, and you’ll probably understand what I’m trying to say to you here.
And if this DOES make sense to you right now… Keep on keepin’ on.
Because that rock solid foundation I told you about all along. The one so solid and hard and deeply buried in the wet or cold ground, the one you need for the worst of days, amidst the worst of tropical storms and hurricanes, to keep you afloat… it really doesn’t need to be hard at all. It doesn’t even need to be concrete. Or cinder block. Or brick. It doesn’t need to be huge and firm, like my home's foundation back in Illinois. In fact, it can be at grade. And it can be very thin. It can allow all the snakes and lizards and maybe even gators, to get inside your house. Because it doesn’t matter at all how strong the foundation really is. It only matters that God goes ahead and picks it up, and transports the entire kit and caboodle, you included, where you need to be. And where you are meant to be.
And if you do happen to see any snakes and gators along the route, with the flick of the wrist, God will send them packing.
When I went back to work almost two years ago, little did I know that at that very moment I was sitting in my first job interview, there was a virus circulating in China. One that would spread and engulf the entire globe by its presence. I never believed that by filling out a job application, I would end up having to maneuver around the suffocating evil that was airborne all around me. I just thought I was going back to work. As a person with a disability. As a person that constantly needed to watch out for my own protections in the workplace. Because no one can protect me at work but me.
Within these past two years, I’ve had many hard, and harsh, and cruel, and disappointing, and exciting, and thrilling decisions to make, or be made, for me since I began working once again.
I don’t talk about my disability or chronic pain in specifics. And I would never even dream about telling all the people I meet that I’ve met God before. And that He is by my side at this very moment. And He is the reason, and the only reason, that I punched in today, and that I punched out today… with every intention of coming right back tomorrow and doing the same thing all over again.
And I would never expect anyone else, including an employer, to understand any of this even if I did tell them. But I do have a very harsh resume gap. Being nearly 41 years old, and not working for a chunk of my adult life, there are bound to be questions. What in the heck have I been up to? Why do I want to work right now? Why should they hire me, without prior experience/s they may be needing from their employees?
I can’t answer any of that. And nor do I intend to.
I can Attend though.
And I can perform. And from here on out, my job, and my work, is my choice. I choose what I can and cannot do. I know my limits. And I know the line I will never cross, just to earn money.
And I’d like to think that today, unlike when I left the workplace many years ago now, it seems employers actually want their employees to grow, and succeed, with them. Maybe it’s now not - What can the employer get out of me? Before dumping me to the side of the road, to fend for myself?
I do believe that employers today understand that workers need to feel like human beings. With differences, and needs, and desires, and personal goals they want out of work. And we all may have different paths to take. And not meant to stay at the same place for 44 years of work life. That inevitably, we will move on. And our journey will change, and we may not be with them as long as they may want from us.
And that all of this is our choice, not theirs. We, the worker, guide the economy. And it’s not the other way around.
But unfortunately, as I said before, a virus started circulating the globe, as I filled out job applications.
It spread, like wildfire, all unknown to the world, as I sat in job interviews.
There was talk about some silly little respiratory illness, but thousands of miles away, of course, as I began work and my orientation.
I was then being trained by day, and by night, listening to the news of a lockdown in Wuhan. Still so far away and foreign to me. What was there to worry about here? Everything, in fact.
And as I began really working day by day, all of a sudden a toilet paper explosion happened. And by explosion I do mean explosion.
First, there was a mass run on toilet paper throughout the world.
And the world got weirder… and weirder.
But then the world of humans got even stranger… On the fifteenth day after the initial fifteen days to slow the spread, or, basically on the fifteenth day of the next thirty days to slow the spread, or otherwise known as April 15, 2020… a paper factory in Maine literally blew up.
The stuff of dystopian movies are made of is exactly what these past two years of work throughout covid has been for me.
I’ve had the best job of my entire life - during the pandemic. I’ve had the worst. In these two years I’ve worked more new roles than in all the past twenty combined.
I’ve trained, practiced, and studied. I’ve taken tests, and been certified, in this, and in that.
And as the seasonality of the coronavirus and its strange and new variants have come and gone in haste, so too have other duties as assigned and staff and employers and their needs. I’ve gone up and down an endless roller coaster of surge... and wane. Flowing to the East, and back to the West. Up and down. Thrown on up into the sky. And then all the air comes out, deflated, and back into the swampy, snake infested mud I go once again. It’s been the ride of a lifetime. And to add to the strangeness of working throughout covid… all the while when so many countless others have had the opportunity to stay home the entire time… literally makes all of it all the more surreal.
I get foggy eyed, real fast.
Rubbing my eyes to make sure I’m seeing straight. This whole experience being indeed confusing, and quite messy.
I constantly find myself brushing the dirt off my feet, and sanitizing the palms of my hands.
I’ve tripped over my own two legs.
And I’ve fallen flat on my back.
And then I get right back up, for another wild ride.
My hands have been dirty. They’ve been greasy. They’ve been cut, black and blue, and swollen and blistered. They’ve handled and touched and transported substances I’ve never imagined I would be holding ever in this life I have upon Earth.
Is any of this really happening?
Or is it all just an endless dream? Or nightmare? And I just can’t wake myself up?
I don’t expect understanding or comprehension of my past, because it’s too confusing to even comprehend or understand myself. But I do expect - of myself - understanding and comprehension of one miraculous concept.
I made the choice to go back to work at the beginning of 2020. I consider myself in a very odd and strange position to be in life.
The cloud of virus storm brewing on the coastal horizon. Heading our way in secret, calm waves, across oceans to the American shores. No place on Earth left untouched. Human Resources Departments changed - forever.
I’ve been working all throughout the pandemic... With a GD mask on. With orientations cut short. Gloves and PPE. Shortages of everything and anything you can think of. Last year - Not allowed to sit next to my coworkers during lunch. My job has changed. Roles. Duties. People. Policies.
Hugging someone crying - not allowed. And then, all of us deciding together to hug and embrace anyways, cause covid policy be damned, if someone just lost a loved one, they are going to receive a hug. And I don’t care what CDC ‘guidelines’ have to say about it.
I’ve worked part time, full time, and overtime. I’ve worked strange hours. And I really and especially worked on those infamous other duties as assigned. Because what the heck is covid, if not falling directly under that final bullet point on almost any job description?
As corona surges, my job changed.
As corona wanes, my job changes once again.
Up and down.
Blowing in the wind. I’m thrown all over the place.
Trying desperately to watch my six.
Working for small wages, then more wages, then the best wages I’ve ever earned in my life, then even less wages once again. Phenomenal perks. No perks. Good hours. Bad hours. And some God awful really, really sucky hours.
And forever reminding myself that my work is not my life.
My life is also not my work.
My life is only, and forever will be, my faith.
And it is that delicate line, between my very faith and the exchange of money for labor, which I must always stay true to.
I’ve worked many a strange role, to help myself find where I am suited best, in my new work life. And, even more important to working with disability - My line in the sand has been drawn. I know, firmly, what I can do and will do, and will NOT do, for my employers. And I never once guessed that when I made the decision to work again two years ago, that I would ever even come up against that line itself. I always thought that borderline was so far away, that I never would have to truly worry about brushing up against it. But the awful truth is that - The place I never thought I would have to go - the line I know I will never cross, staying true to my own new life, my convictions, and my very Faith. I'm actually hitting up against that line, Every. Single. Day.
I am tested. And I am trialed. I am pushed to the very limits of my human heart.
The roller coaster of emotion. And stress. And policy. And drama. Bureaucracy. And life changing experiences. Has anything really changed since I left the workplace years ago? It may very well be worse than it was well over a decade ago… I really don’t know.
And I have no idea where I’ll be thrown to next.
I’m literally just going with the flow at this point.
I never could have done all that I’ve done…
Without faith in God.
But most importantly, I never could have done it if God didn’t pick me up, my entire house, foundation included, and thrown me on up into the sky, allowing me to flow in the wind, whichever way He deemed we sail. All the while, bracing myself, upon my Foundation of Faith.~
~ Let Me Be Blunt ~
Sincerely ~ your fellow American,
~ Reconciling Our Irreconcilable Differences ~
I remember watching Lucy walk over to Ethel’s apartment to borrow a cup of sugar. And visa versa.
I remember when DJ Tanner talked on the phone with Kimmy Gibbler.
I remember playing baseball in the street.
I remember when neighbors actually spoke to one another.
I remember when a new family moved into the neighborhood, the locals would trek across their lawns, ring the doorbell, introduce themselves, welcome the newest residents, and drop off some baked goodies - whether it be a loaf of bread, or a plate of cookies. And it actually didn’t matter what form of food the calories were melded into, what mattered was the act of the offering.
And that was it.
They were now neighbors.
And - They were friends.
It didn’t matter who was a republican and who was a democrat.
And, all the politics in the world... wouldn’t stop a neighbor from helping a neighbor in need.
Someone would always be there to shovel the snow for the people nearby them.
Someone would always have time, or desire, to organize that infamous summer block party.
And at Christmas time, there’d always be that neighbor who wanted to host a cookie exchange - or even - set up matching light-up plastic soldiers lining the entire block.
But does any of that matter anymore?
Does anybody still do any of these things?
Do you even talk with your neighbors?
But I do know it's becoming increasingly rare. With our phones in our hands, and our heads bent down, we can’t even see our neighbors, let alone talk with them, through that black and desolate screen.
So, over time, with less one-on-one communication, we have now ended up in the situation we currently find ourselves: Anger. Hate. Violence. Incivility. And worse.
And, no I’m not blaming the smart phone for all our worldly problems.
I’m blaming us.
WE - are bigger than a phone. WE - are bigger than the internet. WE - are bigger than social media.
But - WE - have forgotten all this.
In this crazy covid world, we have forgotten that humanity is more important than how many likes we get. That communication isn’t just one directional. And that the world isn’t one size fits all.
We have even forgotten how to speak simply with one another. And how to speak civilly with one another.
And without communication with another - we are no longer unified.
Why does a couple, or a union, divorce? Separate, or break up? Why does a relationship end?
Is it because they no longer love one another? They can no longer agree? They’re not on the same page? They have different aspirations and life goals? They feel anger and hostility toward each other? They cannot even communicate with each other any longer? They are disgusted with one another and cannot stand the sight of the other? Maybe, maybe all of the above… but maybe it’s the simple fact that they no longer want to share a life together. After all, love cannot be forced.
So, what happens when we, as a nation, no longer agree with another?
What happens when we no longer love our neighbors?
When we cannot agree on the definition of words?
We are basically speaking different languages at that point, right?
Speaking different languages is not always a problem. There are people who speak different languages all over the world, and they all don’t disagree with and hate one another.
It’s the actions one takes that lead to agreement or disagreement. Civility or incivility. A smile and a handshake go a long way, especially if two people standing before each other do not understand the words coming out of their mouths.
But what happens when two people who do speak the same langage stand before each other, attempting communication, and one word means something to one of them, and the same word then means something else - something completely different - to the other? The meaning being contradictory, the opposite of intention… leading to anger, or violence over perceived meaning?
Are we in the denial phase of breaking up our relationship in this country right now?
I don’t know… maybe we are well past denial at this point. Maybe we’re well engulfed in the anger phase by now?
Yes, that must be it. Because all I see is anger and hostility - on the news anyway.
In real life, it’s a completely different story.
In real life, I see the sun rise. I see people walking on the beach… passing each other and smiling. I see myself shopping in the grocery store. And real people being real nice to one another.
I even still see neighbors helping neighbors.
Could it be that the news and media paints a different picture of real life? Are we in denial of what’s really happening, or is what’s really happening just happening differently in different locales? Is one person’s perception of the same matter differently perceived by the other? Can we even wrap our heads around that question? Yes, maybe that’s it. What’s happening online really is happening, but some people can’t see it? And maybe some people see the same thing but completely differently.
Who knows? But, either way, I still see us falling.
My perception is I see the country falling apart. As some are still baking cookies for one another, others are beating people in the streets. Bloody and bruised. Chocolate chips and cinnamon rolls. Hatred and anger. Lemonade stands and block parties. Fires and bear spray.
And, due to all this disagreement we have with each other - Is it time we broke up with one another?
No. I argue, No.
It’s not time.
We have a long road ahead. With each other.
Side by side.
Agree and disagree.
We should not divorce.
We have reconcilable differences.
We have differences - yes. But they are NOT irreconcilable.
In any good, healthy, solid, and long term relationship - continuous work is required.
We have work to do, indeed.
But, that work must be together. Not apart. Not separate. Not under disunion. Not under false pretence. And not under a guise of fake mediation.
We MUST work hard at living as good neighbors to one another. We MUST be civil. We MUST be noble. And true. And kind. And do it all for nothing in return. When did everything become about what you will get out of it? When did actions become simply about the reaction? And nothing more? After all, every time Lucy borrowed a cup of sugar, did she ever repay it?
When did we start not dropping off a plate of cookies when a new neighbor moved in next door? Expecting nothing in return, except maybe a smile. A handshake. An introduction. A civil conversation?
A long, long time ago, I guess.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. These cookies... they don't have to be homemade. They don’t have to be the fancy recipe straight from your Grandma’s kitchen. They don’t have to be gourmet.
These cookies could be a plastic box of store-bought chocolate chip cookies, sealed with a bar code and priced at $3.99 for a box of twelve from the Publix down the road.
But, here’s an even bigger secret. You don’t even need to bring cookies with you. You just need to say hello.
No, you see - It’s not the cookies we have forgotten, and it’s not that we cannot afford $3.99 with endless bills to pay, with worries over rent and healthcare. It’s the act of walking next door that we have truly and utterly and sadly forgotten and completely eliminated from our lives. The act of crossing the lawn, getting shoes wet from the morning dew on the blades of cut grass. Walking up the front lawn, climbing the porch, and ringing that gosh darn effing door bell - with good intention in our heart.
Cookies not included.
Cookies not needed.
Just a Hello.
Just a Welcome to the neighborhood.
We have definitely forgotten this simple act.
And who am I to even write about it? I have forgotten it too. Well, I haven’t forgotten. I do THINK of it when someone new moves in. But that’s about it. I THINK. I don’t ACT on it. After all, who has time for all that, right?
I’m the busiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I am living my very best life. But I am NOT partaking in dropping cookies at people’s doorsteps. And maybe that’s where this whole thing has gone wrong. Right freaking there.
I am truly happy. Extremely happy. Immensely happy. I am busy. I work hard. I love my family and friends. But when’s the last time I welcomed a new neighbor? I have no freaking idea.
I must give myself some credit though where credit is due. This Christmas, my husband and I made hundreds of cookies - piles and piles of cookies. The proof is on my Youtube Channel if you don’t believe me. And I did deliver cookies to neighbors and strangers alike. But this is simply one small act.
And today, I made a double batch of cookies for work tomorrow. A coworker's last day. For a ‘party’ and for my best wishes to send this person onto their next adventure in life.
One other small act.
These little acts. They do add up. They become our life. And our lives. If we are not interacting with one another regularly, in real life, then how can we have a civil relationship with each other in real life?
We need to say hello. We need to get to know one another. We need to have a relationship, other than by our avatars and screen names. Outside of the computers and not reflected through our phone screens. Let’s toss aside our usernames, and use our real freaking names.
So, is it time we broke up? Should we be getting a divorce?
I still say NO.
Now is not the time to call it quits.
We have still but a fleeting moment.
Not even now, as cities burn once again. Not even now, as the world seemingly readies itself for another war. Not even now, as more death engulfs the world. Not even now, as Evil reigns. And Evil thinks it’s winning. The flames having the upper hand. With fireworks in the night sky, and the Devil staring straight at us front and center. World War III on the horizon.
We can still work this out.
And we can stave off a civil war. But, we must heed the warning signs.
We can find the reconcilable parts of our hearts. And join together once again. As one nation, undivided.
And then we can have a simple block party. Hot dogs and beers all around. Slip, sliding away. Party in the USA. Everyone’s invited - Kimmy Gibbler included. And cookies are not required.~
~ A Film Just Before Its Time ~
If there ever was a film I was terrified of upon its release - it was this one.
Just the other day, I recently re-watched “Contagion” - the now infamous film from 2011 - starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon, amongst many other notable actors and actresses.
I had seen Contagion ten years ago, upon its release. And I remember thinking at the time how scary of a film it truly was.
To me - Contagion was a horror film.
An apocalyptic film.
A sci-fi film.
A nightmare scenario.
Eerie. Very eerie.
A film that scared the living daylights out of me.
It shook me - to the core. But, why?
I could never really understand that. Why? Why did this film so severely affect me at the time of initial viewing? Was it a sense of foreboding? A sense of truth in terror? A feeling that fiction is reality? Or can someday be?
Can all fiction someday come true?
And what about historical films? Can history repeat itself? Was there ever a film made about the 1918 influenza outbreak? If so, did anybody learn anything from it? Or were we just doomed to have it all happen all over again, no matter what film was made, or not? No matter what happened in the past, does history always repeat itself?
I also remember thinking at the time that I could NEVER, EVER rewatch this film. It was too horrific for my brain to process this storyline more than once. A note to self - once and done. If this film happened to reair on cable tv years later, I would NOT be viewing it. Remember - CONTAGION.
Well, little did I know that I’d actually watch it two more times in the next ten years.
Was I crazy or something? Why would I purposely subject myself to a film that so obviously had shaken me?
At the very beginning of the Covid 19 outbreak, just a bit before it was formally declared a global pandemic, so a little over a year ago now… I went ahead and rented Contagion from the Jacksonville Public Library.
Something told me it was time to rewatch this scary film. There were things happening in the news that sounded awfully similar to what I had watched all those years before, on screen.
What the heck was I doing?
I brought home the DVD, carried it in the house, and I let the disc just sit there on my console table. I was thinking - contemplating…
Should I rewatch this horror?
But I was curious. Very curious.
And - By this time, nine years had gone by since I watched the film.
It was the year 2020. I had turned 39. Nothing scared me anymore. Nothing.
I had changed A LOT in those nine years since first viewing the film.
Now, I actually LIKE watching horror films. Apocalyptic films, sci-fi films, suspense films, thriller films, you name it, if it keeps my brain utterly and totally occupied, I’ll watch it. And I enjoy them all.
So, as the world was getting closer and closer to a nasty and evil and very real pandemic raging outside our walls, I had Contagion sitting there - waiting for me to view it once again.
So as the real life nightly news began preaching more and more about washing hands, using sanitizer, and cases of this novel coronavirus spreading widely, my curiosity peaked.
I ended up putting the DVD into the player, and I hit play. On a lovely evening, after a very busy day at work, and with a tv dinner in hand, my husband and I rewatched Contagion - for the second time.
This time, I watched it from start to finish - with the backdrop of a real life, strange, and mysterious virus standing just outside my door.
This time, I watched with an open mind.
This time, I watched to see how the world handled itself in this fictional crisis and war-like situation.
Well - of course - the world went crazy. Completely and utterly crazy.
On this fictional Earth - There were protests and riots, destruction and houses broken into. There were gunshots. There were bare store shelves, military on the streets, quarantines, and gloves, and hand sanitizer, and blockades, masks, and treatments, studies and vaccine research. And there was isolation, and school closures, contact tracing, and even discussion on how to allocate and distribute those precious vials of potential immunity. This list does go on.
It was all there.
It was scary, yes.
But it was still so fictional.
The film was still so out of touch with reality.
It was still sooo sci-fi.
We finished off the film. And went to bed. And went back to normal and not so crazy life. But, I guess, little did we know at the time that normal life wouldn’t be so normal anymore. Just a matter of days and weeks later. All that crazy - was coming our way.
As I slipped the DVD in its case and then slid it through the return slot at the library… the world outside went ahead and changed on us all.
So then the pandemic came. Once upon a time in a not so distant world. A virus plagued us all - IN. REAL. LIFE.
The fictional world of Contagion came true.
With shocking and detailed accuracy. Even down to conspiracy theorists influencing millions of people in various ways, and people wearing bubbles around their heads.
So as the one year anniversary of the plague came around, I found myself the other day, in contemplation, yet again. Over the film - Contagion.
Something told me I had to rewatch this horrific film, yet one more time.
How would I view Contagion, after experiencing a real life one?
So, for now the third time, I rented the film from the local library.
And I did my now usual hesitation - but this time just for a split second. I laughed. And I popped the film into the DVD player.
What on Earth is there to hesitate about at this point? Have we not seen it all in this past year?
This now silly and comedic film couldn’t possibly scare me now! Ha! As I laugh at our messed up little globe. The problems humanity has to deal with couldn’t scare me out of my mind. Nothing could shake me - to the core - after enduring what we’ve endured.
So, last night, at the age of 40, and ten years after its release, with a dinner consisting of frozen pizza and club soda, we rewatched Contagion, yet again.
Gosh, Matt Damon looks a lot younger there! - I thought as the film began.
I laughed as they tried to identify the virus - it’s ‘novel’ said the CDC.
And I remembered how a year ago I kept asking myself, why are they calling this virus a NOVEL virus?
I gasped as panic set in, similar to the real life panic.
My jaw dropped at the bare store shelves. And the fight for food and survival.
And I flat out had to press pause as all of societal order - began to break down.
It’s easy to look back and think all this was coming, and coming fast, and that we simply weren’t prepared. It’s easy to think of the should haves and could haves - now.
But how could we really have been prepared for the apocalypse? How does one prepare for a meteor to hit the planet? Not everyone has MRE’s sitting in a climate controlled basement bunker, patiently sitting there and waiting for their time in the limelight.
I hit play again and continued watching. They spoke of people leaving their clothes at their front door upon return home from work. So as not to contaminate their house.
Matt Damon’s character repeatedly hands his daughter hand sanitizer after they touch objects outside their home.
His daughter spends basically a year at home, sitting in her room, and texting her friends. Growing increasingly sad, anxious, and desperate for the end to this worldwide ordeal. When would she go back to school?
Well, as in all good end-of-the world films, the saga did come to an end. They found a vaccine - not necessarily a treatment - from what I understood of the ending, anyway. The world moved on. People started to venture on with their lives, slowly, and hesitatingly. And the story closes following a bird and a bat and a pig and raw meat and a chef and bare hands, and then - a handshake.
I think the very end of the film is always what scared me the very, very most about it.
While Contagion was completely fictional. Seeing it for the third time shook me again - this time to the core - again. Yes, the entire film was a work of fiction. But what was nerve-wracking and shocking to me, now, with this third viewing, was how true to life the entire storyline was. How did this film predict all that was to come? How did this story come true - down to a T? To the finest detail?
It was as if real life over this past year was scripted to match this film. Or was it that the film had been scripted to match the future real life? It all was just so eerie to watch. It was truly scary. Can fiction really become reality? And you know what? It was probably more difficult to watch the film for this third and final time. That’s right, I finally don’t need another viewing. Three and I’m done. I’ve lived through the film and I’ve lived it in real life. Next in line for viewing, please.
What was it about it for this third viewing that was so shocking to me? Why did the film originally shake me to the core ten years ago? Why was I so scared watching a piece of pure and utter fiction? Why did the bat and the pig and the raw meat imagery stay in my mind for all those years?
Maybe, just maybe, it was because I knew, ten years ago, deep in the back of my mind, how real and possible and true this piece of fiction could become, if we just gave it enough time. ~
What do you see... that is still the same today?
What do you see… after nineteen years have flown by?
What do you see… by the dawn's earliest pink light?
What do you see… as we continue our perilous fight?
What do you see… looking down at two holes in the solemn ground?
What do you see… forever searching and maybe still not found?
What do you see… nineteen diligent years later?
What do you see… as you peer into those deep craters?
What do you see… from an airplane’s crash?
What do you see… past all the fire and burned ash?
What do you see… past the smoke and dusty air?
What will you believe… as people begin to not care?
And do you still hear… that valiant band playing through the quiet air?
And will you bear witness… to those fighting still and forever as they must?
As the next round starts... and we have to keep rolling past all the dust.
What do you see… through twilights shining gleam?
What do you see… past all those forces unseen?
What do you see… through those shining bright stars and breathtaking broad stripes?
What do you see… through the horror of all those bombs bursting this very night?
What do you see… through pollution and the reddest of red blood?
What do you see… as free men - and women - stand here in the mud?
What do you see… past Liberty’s smile?
What do you see… from sea to shining sea all those miles?
What do you see… though concealed fighting to be disclosed?
What do you see… as foe’s strike their continual battle blows?
Do you see there is proof?
That our flag is still there?
Oh Say Darling Can You See… her most beautiful story?
As she stands here - proud… in all of her glory?
Yes - I do.
I do see it all.
Yes even in war’s havoc and confusion and nineteen years later.
I even see Heaven on Earth and God our Creator.
I see that reflection shine above all and very tall.
I see Angels in the sky… And God in our hearts as we bawl.
I see reflection bounced off millions of broken chains.
Forever more - unconfined.
I see all those who paved our very way.
With their very lives - they all gave.
Yes, I see those next pages of her remarkable story be flipped.
As her bright blazen stays now - and forever - lit.
And, I STILL see the land of the freest of free… and know that this is God’s Country home, of the very, very brave. ~
~ So Long Summer Sabbatical, Hello Sweet September ~
Remember when you had to learn - or rather, memorize - the dates of seemingly countless historical events, while growing up in school?
I mean - does anyone ever really forget that the U.S. Civil War took place from 1861-1865?
Or that World War I lasted from 1914 until 1918? Added on to that one - y’all know the historical significance of November 11th, right?
And let’s never forget that our country was founded in 1776? July 4th - to be exact.
Throw together just a few more for the heck of it...
How about World War II lasting from 1939 until 1945?
How many of y’all know when we first landed on the Moon?
Or let’s go even farther back here - way back. When was Jesus born? When did He die? And - why did the event of His death have to happen in order for humans to be where they are today in God’s image???
Are any and/or all of those dates burned into your memory at this point in your life? Whether you ever spend a moment thinking about them throughout your daily activities, or not?
They - and an infinite number more days, periods, and good ol’ fashioned chunks of time - helped change the course of human history.
All those dates, and every infinitesimal thing in between - they were, and are, all moments in time. Placeholders in time. Bookmarks in time. Moments of time that were simply one page... of a much grander, and larger, novel.
If you flip to page ninety-nine of a very thick and heavy, weighty and bulky, five hundred and forty page Tom Clancy book… but you read only that single page - you’ll definitely not understand the context of what came before, and will never know what happens later on. Or - even much, much later on. And let’s not forget about those lucrative sequels. What will happen to our beloved hero then?... Once a new book deal is signed.
If Jack Ryan has to jump out of a burning building on page two hundred, but the story doesn’t explain why he’s doing that until you flip to page two hundred one… and all you’ve ever read was page two hundred... You’ll never find out that maybe he was escaping a bomb explosion. A small fire bomb that would be igniting an even larger bomb. Or that he may have been jumping from the first floor - and he’s just fine to continue on with his work after the jump. The spy operation that he being in the middle of - would make no sense to you - the context - having not read earlier chapters.
Context is relevant. To every story. And context is relevant to the entire story of humanity.
So, ohhhhh... with all that being said - Can you believe that Memorial Day weekend was over three months ago now?
I can’t, really. Do you remember that weekend? And the days… weeks, and trials we’ve all had to face, since then?
Memorial Day seems like it is one of those placeholders to me. The unofficial start to summer fun. Just as Labor Day is another placeholder - or bookmark. The unofficial end of summer, and the beginning of the autumnal season and beauty and grandeur of fall. Along with a change of routines, school days, and pumpkin spice and apple cider.
A whole heck of a lot has happened since this last Memorial Day weekend - in this, the grand and mighty year that is, our dearly beloved beast - 2020. This summer was loaded with pages of a massive and thick and complicated novel. We all witnessed a different sort of start to the summer season, we then witnessed a completely different summer altogether, and now we are beginning a different sort of autumn. Yes, it’s been a definite year, and we’re not nearly through with it just yet. I mean - what else can possibly come next?
Yes - my dear friends - Aliens. With all that has happened - I would not be surprised by such a blurb in an upcoming news reel.
So much has changed. And then, quite sadly, so much is still the same. But - the context of the events that are taking place is imperative to the story at this point.
That Memorial Day holiday weekend started out as any other. And, my hubby and I ventured out to a lovely meal during the patriotic and memorable date.
We chose a local German restaurant - the German Schnitzel Haus, located at 13475 Atlantic Boulevard, in Jax. And, just because… well - for no reason other than because I wanted to, I went ahead and vlogged the experience for you.
We ended up enjoying our meal, the entire patio outside to ourselves, grabbing some monstrously sized dessert afterward at Whataburger, and then made our way over to what I call The Bridge.
Jacksonville is a city by the water. Ocean, rivers, creeks, swamps, intercoastal, etc. - so bridges are everywhere throughout town, and I absolutely love them all. And really, I just seem to call every bridge and any bridge in town - the bridge.
I’m quite a huge fan of bridges - by whatever name they happen to go by though. They absolutely fascinate me. Their structure, color, height, curvature, where and what and whom they are branching together in their arch, and then, even what happens to be hanging out underneath them... it’s all equally exciting and thrilling to me.
So we went to The Bridge after we ate. And we just - hung out. Utilizing the shade from the structure, we relaxed. We watched all the activity taking place beneath the massive structure. And I captured a bit of this and a little bit of that, on video, for you.
But since that fateful weekend, America has not been settled. She is very sick right now. She is broken-hearted. And my heart breaks - for her - and with her.
Sure, I saw many, countless precursors to the actions that are currently taking place. I read, and understand the context of the previous pages. But I believe it was that weekend - Memorial Day Weekend - 2020, that helped ignite a flashpoint.
I’ve previously discussed this event with you. I’ve even questioned if we are a world at war with one another?
But when one is at war - the actual name of it is actually quite irrelevant at the time. After all, are we at war today? Does anyone know the answer? Many say yes - and many say no. Are we at war today if people deny it?
Some say it's a cultural war. Some say a revolution? My brain is trying to tell me that all wars are unique. They all have a different appearance. They all have their own reasoning and context. And with any war - there will be those who it doesn’t affect as much as others. Could our national heartache and upset actually be such a fight? Taking place, right now? I really don’t know.
But I do believe wherever we are - that we are at a tipping point. I do believe we’ve been in a lead up to THIS for a very long time, though. This - being whatever THIS is. And I’m talking years here - not days, weeks, or even months. I’ve seen the writing on the wall, and I’ve read the pages.
And, sadly, yes... I do believe we may be currently living on the razor’s edge. I believe we are about to cross the event horizon line of a black hole. And we may be about to go past the point of no return.
And just like a real black hole, way out there in outer space…
It’s size, shape, power, grasp, and gravity…
Some will never see it.
Some will never understand it.
And many - will never even read the books written about it later.
But whether the books are written and read, or not, may be irrelevant to whom and when it is actually taking place. Because, when you’re being sucked into a black hole, your most likely only concern at that point is for your own survival. And as happens with every single thing that is sucked into a black hole - there comes a time, just before reaching the event horizon line, that one can still escape from its force. It’s that moment I am referencing here. With an extreme and heightened awareness of one’s immediate surroundings and what is happening. But it also may be very confusing. As such a force is so powerful and vast, that up close and personal, things may appear quite strange.
Kinda like right now...
What’s happening all around us - is literally and actually happening all around us.
But - What’s been done is done. And we have to figure out how to continue onward.
And it’s up to people to choose to see it. Or not.
And people can definitely turn a blind eye.
And people can deny all they want.
And far into the future, many will just remember the numbers: 2020. And maybe not the significance of all that has occurred in that time period and during this exact time.
And the event horizon line I’m talking about here is FORGIVENESS.
Remember how I asked you earlier WHY Jesus rose from the dead?
It seems there is currently a vast lack of forgiveness taking place in this world right now. We left forgiveness outside the black hole - if we did indeed cross the event horizon line. It didn’t join us on the next pages of our journey. We need to find forgiveness in our hearts - once again.
And it is this lack of forgiveness that makes me question this relationship we have with one another.
Once forgiveness is lost, there’s not much left to keep us tethered together. As a People. As a Nation. As a community. As global sovereign states and neighbors. And as a civil society. As peaceful patrons inside a grocery store.
When someone does something or someone wrong, we have a very civil way of handling the situation. It’s pretty basic… and it’s called an apology.
And after the person who wronged another apologized, this very basic and very humane thing usually occurs. And it happens on the opposing side… The other side of the wronged - by the person or persons who were wronged.
This is where Forgiveness always factors in. On the side of the wronged is where forgiveness always matters the most.
And forgiveness is sometimes, and most of the time, the more important part of the transaction amongst two beings.
And if it happened today - right now - would that be a miracle? Because, is it forgiveness that has been lost?
I see the anger. I feel the sadness. And heartache. But to top it all off - everyone wants everything in the entire world fixed overnight. Seemingly and literally.
But real and lasting change doesn’t work that way. Who can solve such complex issues?
Only you can bring about real change. Yes, that WHO - is YOU.
You - hold all the power.
You - hold the answers deep in your heart.
You - have to understand context and reality.
And - You - HAVE to give… You have to forGIVE. And that’s the only way out, and that’s the only way forward. Forgiveness.
But, beyond forgiveness, there is something much bigger, larger, grander, than any one human - of which you also have to give. And yes, you have the power to give it.
You have the power to give... the gift of Time.
These are big Asks. They are monumental. But wars and revolutions and cultural change and new ways of living are never won easily. And not without great sacrifice.
And you have to do ALL THAT - while having the strength and will power and patience and diligence to sit through the five hundred and forty page novel... And keep reading. While you’re tired. And when you don’t want to. And even when it gets really boring. And really, really sad.
The gift of TIME is a powerful thing. Of all the aspects in our technologically advanced society we are now home to here on Earth - Time is something we have yet to master. It is something that our infinite universe even doesn’t have the power to ultimately control. And it wants to - really bad.
As space and time unite in other worlds, and time itself is bent around curvatures of distant planets and stars and galaxies. Time is still there. It just flows differently. We may not recognize it there if we stumble across it way out there. But it is there. And it never ends. Time is in itself indestructible.
And TIME - holds many - and ALL the answers to this here little problem we are facing today.
So as the summer season began this year, in this year - 2020... And I beared-witness to sadness and heartache throughout the world with my own eyes and ears… I decided to give to myself - and you - something very special.
I gave Time.
I gave myself Time. I watched Time pass. I let Time flow all around me. I blew a wish into Time. I cursed in the face of Time. I yelled at Time. And I cried many tears - over Time.
But I also relished Time. I took advantage of Time. I used Time. I made deals with Time, and I placed bets with Time. I bargained with Time. And I even tried to manipulate Time to my advantage. I talked to Time. I listened to Time. I willed Time. I pleaded with Time. And ultimately, I let Time take over all five of my senses.
And I let come what may.
All through the passage of Time almighty.
Yes, it was because of both national and global events that seemingly ignited over that holiday and the days immediately afterward, that I stepped back from my online presence in the world for a while. A lot of people have asked when I’d be writing once again. As it has now been three months since my last publication to y’all.
I guess you could say I sorta closed up shop for a bit.
And I enjoyed a Splendid Summer Sabbatical.
Away. Away from publication. Away from deadlines. Away from technology in a sense.
Sure, I’ve been on social media. Yes, I’ve been perusing the internet - probably the same as most others in the world. Of course, I’ve been checking the news. I’ve been chatting with friends and family on Facebook. But it’s all been very brief. And as I escaped from technology on one hand, I delved deep into my new YouTube channel with my other. I gave my very own website a little break. And for some strange and unknown reason that God understands, I now crave the art of filmmaking. Of pasting together clips, to summarize a story. To show viewers the beauty that lies on the other end of my camera.
But for the most part, I lived entirely and exclusively OFF-line for a chunk of time.
I worked. On myself.
Yes, I still wrote. I still planned, and plotted. I filmed. I painted - and I painted with intention. And passion. And I painted purple. I painted “Blooms of Wartime” the nights of national and international heartache. The paint and color pouring onto the canvas. My reprieve from sadness overflowing in our world.
I prayed. I exercised. I sweated. I read.
Lots and lots and lots of books. Books of all sorts. Books made from paper - printed on wood from a tree. I read - not by the light of a Kindle. I flipped the pages and smelled the scent of ink and paper. And I rested my eyes far less on the blue screen, and more so on the invisible air around me.
I’ve done this all before. And I’ll do it all again. I’m not sorry in the least for stepping back. Because - Sometimes, you just need to go a different way. To regroup. Refocus. Reset the internal compass… to True North.
I lived my real and true Summer Sabbatical.
And I watched everything taking place around me.
And I highly recommend it.
In fact, I stayed so far away from the online world that I literally let my Macbook Air sit in a corner on a bookshelf and collect dust for quite some time. It sat there, for weeks upon weeks. It powered down. It lost all its energy and strength. I touched it not once.
It literally gathered wispy dust bunnies on top itself. As if a magnetic force. Trying desperately to maintain its power in this world, and to suck life out of the room, and life back into its own body. Dust pooled on top the shiny gold and reflective apple.
Yes - my precious and trusty laptop gathered as much dust as she could reasonably handle… until one day -
She finally screamed at me.
And I picked her up. Like a piece of sunken treasure.
And I plugged her into the wall.
And I breathed life back into her body. And began writing, once again.
So... yeah, while months ago I said goodbye to the online written word... And for someone who runs a website in 2020 - the internet is a very crucial thing to be nestled safely amidst. It was definitely risky to say goodbye to all that. But I love risk. And I loved saying goodbye for a while to the daily digital grind… of website maintenance.
I said goodbye to that oh-so-fancy, and lucrative, techy word - engagement.
I followed no statistical numbers on how my website was doing. I didn’t check my likes, my hearts, my comments, for quite some time.
And while I said goodbye to all of that and then some - I gave myself something in return. Something huge. Something as powerful as a black hole. I gave myself that funny thing called: TIME. The gift of Time.
I personally needed to process everything that was taking place in the world. In my own way. In my own Time. In my own head.
And none of that abides by a publication schedule. So, what the heck... I said goodbye to that while I was at it, too.
I know, I know, you’re saying that as a blogger I need to publish according to schedule. But - just because I wasn't on a publication schedule, with normal posting dates and times, doesn’t mean I couldn’t write. And didn’t mean I could no longer publish. It simply meant I put the ball even more so in my court than it was before. I won!
Yes, I won myself over, and I do win here, in a way. And I’m winning - while America is currently losing. And she’s losing - real bad.
I ache for what is happening in our beautiful and breathtaking and magnificent country. The country I write about. The air I breathe in. And the magnificent melting pot of people who live here under the flag of freedom.
I don’t have any answers to any of America’s problems right now. But I know one thing we can give her…. And we can give her this graciously…. Time. She needs Time.
Have you ever wondered why the Civil War did end up lasting from 1861 to 1865? Why did the war have to last that many years?
Wars are not won overnight - you say?
It took from 1861 until 1865 because the world needed from 1861 until 1865. Period.
What was solvable in 1865 had no context in 1861.
And as I mentioned way back at the beginning - context is crucial to any story. We don’t even know if we should be rooting for Jack Ryan - as he jumps out of the burning building - or not - unless we read the whole story. Is he the hero - or the villain - at that time? Is he jumping from the 98th floor, or from the 1st floor?
There is no magic wand that puts ideas into heads of the past. Thereby granting them the magical power of hindsight - to solve their worldly problems overnight, instead over the course of years.
But today - living in this digital, instant, speed-of-light lifestyle that humanity has enveloped itself in and gladly swallowed whole without checking for side effects first, there’s not a whole lot of room for TIME to actually do its thing, at the same time - no pun intended. Its - almighty and ever-powerful - thing - that may ultimately help - something. Anything.
We need time. Yes, and we need patience. We need MORE patience. We need to respect the virtue of patience more. And the only way to learn that is to give - yourself - time.
There’s an old saying that you may have heard in one form or another…
Fast change leads to no change. Or - Fast change is not lasting change.
In other words…the other old saying...
Slow change is the best change. Or - The only good and lasting change... is slow change.
And I’m not saying I necessarily agree or disagree with those sentiments in some way. I’m just saying those sayings are old because they themselves have withstood the test of their time.
And I am saying a new way of thinking is required to get past all of this heartache. I am saying risk and change are both good. But I am also saying that by stepping back for a few months - I respected that chunk of time. What I am writing to you today, I could not have written to you in the middle of the night, crying myself to sleep, three months ago.
After only one night grieving for our nation… no ideas were in my head to solve any of our problems that we continue to face.
But after three months of grieving for our nation… I have now - new - perspective. I have hindsight. I have reflection. I have brainstormed. I have contemplated. I have lived. And I have new thoughts. And ultimately, I have new ideas - only because of that precious and miraculous gift of time.
If you check my YouTube channel information page, you’ll see the date of release of my channel was just before all this sadness began in 2020. After the beginning of the pandemic - but just before our further national upsets that have triggered so much heartache across the world. And if there is one thing at all that 2020 has taught me, as well as my amazing life in Florida - that is to never give up. So, Memorial Day weekend came and went - my channel had just started publication - and then I punched out for that lucrative Summer Sabbatical.
BUT - I did NOT close up shop.
I did NOT delete everything I worked for. No…. No…. And that’s definitely something the old Christine would have done. I would have given up. And I would have hit the delete button. But, I have since learned of the power of perseverance. The power of patience. And most imperatively, that forgiving power of TIME.
So I did not hit DELETE. And I did NOT give up on my dreams.
I merely put the oxygen mask on myself first. And then simply breathed for a while as my airplane found a safer flying zone - so to speak.
Yes - I’m in this for the long haul. My website and branding and channels and social engagement is all still alive and there and breathing. And I respect the time and patience my dreams need in order to grow. Just as I value time itself. I value my very new and very small channel and my precious eight subscribers on YouTube. I am in no rush here. Nor would I want to be. I value where I am at presently, as much as I value life itself. And I will continue to give myself the gift of time. All. The. Time.
And I’ll do it again any day, and twice on Sunday.
Even if it's risky to my business. Even if I risk everything.
Because TIME is imperative.
And because, ultimately, my personal and business goal and my real DREAM of Christine’s Floridian Dreams - is to help you in any way to make your very own dreams come true. To kick you in the behind with some soft, yet, tough love, and persuade you to get off your couch. To pull off the covers… and get out of bed. Well before you want to. To: March Before You Feel Like It. And take your own action in this world. To live your very best life. Each and every single day. - And, yeah, twice on Sunday - just for the heck of it.
So, after three months of my summer sabbatical coming to a close, and after three months of thought and reflection and glancing into outer space... Dreaming of black holes that lead to other magical and distant worlds. I look out toward the sky and ponder…
There may be no better gift in the entire world for us to give to one another… as that seemingly magical gift of time.
So it is my hope for America today - that we all will grant her some time. That we all can exude the patience of saints. As wheels turn and flowers bloom. And as we sprinkle pumpkin spice on top of our latte foam.
America needs time to process everything, just as we all do. And just as I couldn’t do it all on night one, neither can the rest of the world do it in a few months. Everyone will have all their own ideas, at their very own pace, and at their own time.
We all have to make sense of things. We all have to process. We all have to give.
You may not see much giving in front of your own eyeballs right now, but know it’s there. Just as I know that black holes exist but I cannot see them for myself - I do know there is more goodness in this world than bad. More love than hate. And more forgiveness than we think we have within us to give.
So go ahead and give yourself some time. Shut down that iPhone. Say goodbye to your blog subscribers if need be. Say hello to a new way of doing business.
Yes - close your laptop - a very needed tool in our dearly beloved 2020. Close it up and let it gather a bunch of dust bunnies if need be.
Stop receiving - stop Receiving texts and likes and hearts and follows and tweets… and Give instead. Give to others in the format of real life. And NOT with the Like button.
How? In your own way.
Give… to yourself. And Give… to America. And the world.
And after a new chunk of time - time far into the future from right now and today - I can only hope that we will all look back upon this time period. And we will have that new perspective. A perspective unavailable today due to the vast and mighty power of time. And it is my sincere hope that I have been all wrong here. That we are NOT really at war with one another, or on the verge of. That the shot heard round the world of today has not been released from its trigger. And that war was not in our future together. And that instead we all came together. And we saved burning forests and trees and buildings. We salvaged all the plastic in the oceans and the baby sea turtles thanked us by swimming freely into the ocean. We breathed clean and non-suffocating air. We made true and lasting and realistic reforms to challenges that we are currently facing. That school children twenty, fifty, one hundred years from now will study the numbers 2020 in mesmerization of what we SOLVED - together… Oh so very long ago. And we all walked down the street hand in hand. And not gun to gun. Weapon to weapon. Evil to Evil. Hate to Hate.
Heck - I’ll still welcome those aliens I mentioned earlier, with wide open arms. Besides, those aliens... they do come in peace. Duh!
No it’s Love to Love that I’m rooting for inside my brain.
But, as an old adage and quite familiar saying so goes… Only time will tell, my friends. Yes - Only time will tell. So give her some time, why don’t ya? Just give all of it and then some - Time. ~
Remember when it was somebody’s birthday? Ohhhh, so very, very long ago…
Candles would be lit. A song would be sung. And the birthday boy, or birthday girl, would take in a big breath - with their lungs - and blow out all the candles.
And then everybody would clap.
The cake would be sliced. Every piece passed around - a plate of deliciousness for all at the party. Everybody sharing, in an act of celebration. Another person a year older - another piece of cake to commemorate the occasion.
A fork in one hand. A plate of frosted, sugary goodness in the other.
And without giving it a second thought, everyone would bite into their slice of dessert, even though somebody had just previously breathed upon said cake?
Those moments are now gone.
But a girl can dream - right?
No one will look at a birthday cake the same way again now.
Because, while we all still may eat the cake, the sentiment just isn’t the same. And while we all still may sing a song… and candles can still be blown out… the world has once again changed.
And I miss that corresponding sentiment.
I miss a whole lot more than just that though.
I miss it all...
I miss coffee shops.
I miss restaurants.
I miss saying, “Table for two.” - Instead of “Two dinners to go, please.”
I miss smiles on unhidden faces.
I miss laughter.
I miss jokes.
I miss friends.
I miss family.
I miss parties.
I miss the library.
I miss fairs, carnivals, rides, cotton candy, and sno cones.
I miss Art Shows, Art Walks, Art Festivals, craft shows, and concerts.
And I still don’t miss nfl football.
I miss my once a year and very boring visit to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department. Otherwise known as the FLHSMV. In fact, I miss that a whole heck of a lot more than football.
And I missed out on the opportunity to see Hamilton - right here in Jacksonville, back in March. My tickets - sadly, refunded to my credit card.
I miss the smell of a book, just picked up from the library, as I crack open the spine.
I miss handshakes.
I miss milk shakes.
I miss hugs.
I miss kisses on the cheek.
I miss the darn dentist.
I miss joy and good cheer.
I miss good will to all people.
I miss Christmas.
I miss Walt Disney World.
I miss All-You-Can-Eat Buffets.
I miss unlimited scoops of ice cream, from large tubs, on the dessert line of the above-mentioned buffet. Where I can pick up my own cup, take the cold steel scoop, push it with my own hands into the milky cream, releasing chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry into my own cup. My very own ice cream mountain - as high as I want to make it.
I miss simple get togethers - large and small. I miss people’s faces when I communicate with them. I miss the act of meeting up with those fellow humans - in person. In real life.
I miss being able to hear that fellow human being, clearly, when they speak to me - their unmuffled voice carrying into my ears, and the sound of it not being blocked by a cloth mask.
I miss people treating one another as fellow human beings - and not treating others as the walking plague.
I miss closeness.
I miss happiness all around us.
I miss people leaving their house like it was just another day.
I miss life… I miss seeing other people living their lives.
I miss faith over fear.
But just because I miss all these very simple things, doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing them, and living them, myself.
In fact, I’ve been the busiest in my entire life - during the long and drawn out and quite dramatic duration of this entire, never-ending plague.
Regardless of life outside my own front door. I am breathing. I am communicating. I am celebrating. I am being responsible for myself. I am making my own life decisions. I am sucking it up. I am dealing. I am not only surviving. I am proud and happy to be fully alive. I am living.
I am reading. I am planning. I am dreaming. I am pursuing. I am working hard. I am exercising. I am writing. I am painting. I am utilizing this time to become stronger. To learn. To grow. To try new things.
And most importantly, I am persevering.
And I am coming home from work - and I’m stepping right in the shower, washing the invisible and mysterious and confusing plague off me each night.
And, I’ve learned a lot. And I’ve learned what I already always knew - how imperative each breath we take really is.
So let’s all inhale.
Breathe in - In the face of fear.
Exhale - and keep going, my friends. Exhale and continue onward. Exhale and push forward. Exhale and persevere.
And if it happens to be your birthday, go ahead and exhale a big breath straight onto your very own birthday cake candles...
Yes, I know that’s exactly what we will be doing this weekend.
As we celebrate my hubby’s birthday, we will dine out, along the water’s edge, for our First Supper since the plague began. We will sit at tables, amongst other human beings. All partaking in the common and essential act of breathing, and eating.
And I will pick up the special cupcake creations I ordered from Cinotti’s Bakery. And I will slap some candles on top of the frosted red velvety goodness. I will light the flame.
And I will sing “Happy Birthday!”
And my furry baby will probably sing a lot louder than me.
And most importantly, my hubby will then inhale with his own set of two lungs, and exhale hard on top of all the frosting, extinguishing that flame. And then we will eat all the darn sugar. ~
*How have you been living through this plague? Are you persevering? Are you experimenting with new ideas? Are you at home brewing up new talents? Are you getting fresh air? I’d so love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Also, if you’re enjoying my Floridian daydreams, then check out some of my others, right here:
71] My 69 Week Break From Social Media ~ Why I Left & Why I Came Back
68] A Sunday Stroll
65] The Sea Life ~ Happy Easter
64] Stay-At-Home Sunday ~ Palm Sunday
63] Mercy & Comfort
62] PERSPECTIVE @ Seaside Sculpture Park
61] Bean’s Idea List ~ 15 Daily Activities For Well Beyond 15 Days
59] REACTION ~ To World War 19
55] The Shamrock
51] Life Is Full Of Pasta-Bilities ~ Bean’s Red Sauce Recipe
49] A Picture Worth A Thousand Words ~ Happy Valentine’s Day, World
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
42] Where Does The Chicken Cross The Road?
39] The Very Official & Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
18] Sea & Sky Jax Weekend ~ Fun In The Florida Sun, Sea, Sky & Sand
I grew up without social media.
I consider myself blessed for being able to say that.
While every generation has their “thing” - I firmly believe my generation's thing is the fact that we grew up entirely without social media, but we are now living our adult lives with social media present in the world. And because of those circumstances, we have a great ability to easily and fluidly shift between old-world applications, and the more new-age digital apps - making us uniquely qualified for certain tasks in this world. We shift seamlessly and adapt easily. I call us the Floating Generation.
And regardless if we partake in this modern day medium, or not, it’s there. It has an extremely large presence in the world. For better and for worse. An all almost too-powerful of a presence.
And, sadly, in my opinion, many people revolve nearly their entire lives around this medium.
I graduated college in 2003. I survived four years of college entirely without social media. The only “Facebook” we had was the literal and actual paper face-book that was distributed each year on campus. All incoming students were given a light and thin paperback book with the names, faces, and phone numbers of each of their classmates.
That was our official Facebook at the time. And we used it - religiously. That book was part of our daily life. We would scroll through it to find somebody’s name, browsed to see what everyone looked like, searched to find out where a person was from, and scan to find their four digit campus extension to call them on the phone… a phone with a cord - that was plugged into the wall.
But in 2004, and after I was done with school, Mark Zuckerburg went ahead and invented Facebook. And the world has never been the same since.
It was my first full year after school. I was living in the real world. I didn’t need Facebook, and nor did I want it. Besides, at the time, Zuckerberg’s Facebook was geared more toward being a digital supplement to that old-fashioned face book I described above. Still utilized, on college campuses, to connect with one another.
But over the years, Facebook grew. It grew fast. And it grew big. It grew to be something that is now an integral part of most people's lives.
I personally think Facebook is too big. And too powerful. I think it is hovering on the verge of being a monopoly and in dire need of being broken up. And I’ve never, ever, had a desire to be a part of it. Even still.
But then, after many, many years of living and going through life, without Facebook, and still not wanting any part of it, I was on the verge of making a big change in my personal life.
It was 2016, and I was planning my big move from the state of Illinois, on down to Florida. That move would eventually occur in early 2017.
Every single person I knew, and loved, lived in Illinois - or a variety of other states throughout the country. But I knew ZERO people in The Sunshine State at the time.
I wanted a way to stay connected to all those I knew I would be missing… a thousand miles away from everything I knew.
I deliberated long and hard with myself about potentially signing up for a Facebook account. And eventually, at the end of 2016, I went ahead and registered - for the first time in my life. Knowing that I would be easily connected in a free and easy and modern manner.
I immediately discovered that “the whole world” is on Facebook. I found all my old classmates, neighbors, relatives who live near and far, friends from grade school, people I haven't seen in 20 years, and all my current friends. And I even made new friends. All through Facebook.
But, I did all this right before the 2016 Presidential Election.
And unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past many years, and haven’t paid attention to the news, you know very well that the political side of Facebook, and all social media, is NASTY.
No other way to put it.
It was through Facebook that I discovered people I know and love say things online that I never heard them say in person.
When people are behind a digital screen, they have a lot to say, and they say it loud and proud. Fine. Whatever. Everyone in America deserves their free speech.
I can very easily block out mentally and physically that which I do not want to hear.
But it does get a little old.
I came for social connectivity. I didn’t come for the constant electioneering, and to learn who voted for who - all day long.
So I tried to ignore the politics, and zone in on the photos.
And it turns out my absolute favorite part of Facebook was, and is still, those photos.
I also realized that social media is the single best way to find out all the latest social news, gossip, and any and all information about life changes involving people you know. The stuff I was looking for all along.
I found myself completely up to date on the latest pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, baby showers, births, deaths, obituaries, accidents, injuries, illnesses, new home purchases, engagements, Say-Yes-To-The-Dress days, wedding showers, marriages, anniversaries, birthdays, pet adoption days, Gotcha Days, National Cheesecake Day, International MisMatching Sock Day, Taco Tuesday, Touch-A-Truck Days, Nurses Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Star Wars Day, Bird Day, Hoagie Day, National Roast Leg Of Lamb Day - May 7th, in case you were wondering.
The list is endless.
May 8th - National Coconut Cream Pie Day.
June 26th - National Take Your Dog To Work Day.
And, just so they can give themselves yet another plug, while you’re already on their applications all day long... We have June 30th - National Social Media Day.
Every day is something.
And guess what else?
EVERY PERSON IS OFFENDED BY SOMETHING ELSE.
That’s one of the most valuable things l learned by joining social media.
Why don’t we have:
I learned that everyone cares what everyone else thinks. I learned that people are very sensitive. I learned that when people write something online - they think it is pure gold. And I learned that if any single person disagrees with another, in any way - it’s the actual end of the world for that relationship.
DISAGREEMENT = NUCLEAR BOMBS GOING OFF EVERYWHERE.
Hence all the hate, the back-and-forth, the petty comments, the blocking, the unblocking, the following, the unfollowing. That all - also - never ends.
And since I really don’t care what other people think, I am, once again, able to function with or without social media in my life, just fine.
I joined to see photos of my friends and family and their babies and their wedding showers. But instead, it’s more about why this person hates whoever the current president happens to be.
So, after about a year and a half of being digitally social, and being sick of it all, I gave it all up.
When I left Facebook, I also gave up my Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I had initially joined the mothership, but I had then joined the other big three soon after.
And while I nearly despise and almost hate Facebook, I absolutely LOVE Instagram. I am a very visual person though, and as I said before, I enjoy the photos. Instagram is all imagery. A great place to post all my travel photos and latest artwork, and to see those actual photos that I was seeking out when I joined Facebook initially.
I had used Pinterest just for fun.
And I found that the best benefit of Twitter was for hurricanes.
Yes, you read me right - hurricanes.
No sooner than I moved down to Florida, Hurricane Irma blew through later that year. She was a big one. And caused the whole state to be in an uproar. We were evacuated. Twitter was VITAL to me during the hurricane.
And while lots of apps and websites didn’t work under bad internet service at the time, Twitter stayed on strong. So did Facebook. You’ve heard about how if you have bad cell service during an emergency - when all the lines are tied up - that it may be easier to send a text for help instead of trying to get through on the phone, right? Think that for Twitter in this modern day... I found that utilizing social media during the worst of the hurricane, to get my news, was the very best way, to get the actual news.
We live on an island, with not even a handful of bridges to cross over during a hurricane evacuation. The bridges do close down when the winds reach a certain mile per hour - sustained.
I quickly started “following” the local news channels plus the three local beach towns, their mayors, the City of Jacksonville, and the Jax mayor, all on Twitter. They all provided a wealth of factual information to me all throughout the duration of the storm. It brought some level of certainty - communication - to me, during a time of great uncertainty.
I also followed the American Red Cross, the National Weather Service, Publix, Winn Dixie, our governor and two senators, Beaches Energy Services, Jacksonville Electric Authority - JEA, all the local area fire and police departments, JSO - Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the St. Johns River Ferry, the National Hurricane Center, JaxReady, the Jacksonville Public Library, oh yeah, and Dunkin Donuts… Because you can’t survive a hurricane without donuts, right?
But after I went ahead and quit social media, I then went through the following storm seasons entirely without social media. Which led to a much more “manual” and old-fashioned form of finding out the news, when the internet was overloaded and the next storms were nearing us.
When the next hurricanes blew through and around us, and I was on my zero social media experiment of 69 weeks, I literally dug through the closet and pulled out an old-fashioned radio. I was ready, just in case the power went out, to listen to the news that way. But nothing I did was in any way a comparison to Twitter. And social media would have been almost priceless to me during those next storms.
But willing to stick it out, I made it through alive and well. No social media. No damage.
Ultimately, I quit all social media after about a year and a half of being on. I did NOT miss it. I was focused solely on my own personal well being and sanity. I left for my own mental health. A completely selfish decision. But very grateful that I did.
When I signed back up after 69 weeks of being away from The Zuck, I had to start my accounts from scratch. I had completely deleted all of them. So it was an official starting over process. Sort of like being a toddler and learning to walk again. I had to re-find all of my friends and family there. It took a while, but I found most of them.
During those 69 weeks without social media, I focused strictly and selfishly on my own well being and daily productivity. And now that I have social media back in my life, after that extended absence, I am able to have a fabulous life balance of living with social media applications in complete confidence. And today, having Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, back in my life, I am even more productive than I ever have been.
I run my life. I don’t let social media run my life. I never did. But some people do.
I think if people can find that balance, they will feel a lot better and at peace with the existence of social media in their worlds.
No, I don’t think social media is going anywhere. I think and see it remaining a huge part of people’s lives into the future.
And that’s also one of the reasons I came back.
In that time away, I set up my own website, a lifestyle blog, an Etsy shop, a place to showcase all my art and writing. But if I want to actually reach people with the things I write and show my paintings to the world, social media remains one of the best ways to do it.
I might write a blog twice a week, but my utilization of social media to help it get out there and maybe reach that one, singular person who may benefit from a specific article in some way, is the point of me sharing it all, on social media.
So while I do despise Facebook, and did have a near love/hate relationship with it in the past… I have now turned that relationship into merely a like/dislike relationship. I can live peacefully with Zuckerberg in my life now, and I know the exact purposes of my visits to each of the other mediums as well.
I still go back to Pinterest simply as a brain teaser, for creative solutions to new ideas.
I go to Twitter for hurricane and rough surf and coastal storm news. Or in today’s new world, pandemic and apocalyptic plague news… charts and graphs and statistics that change by the day. Announcements, once again, by our leaders and representatives on important matters.
I go to Instagram to share all my favorite photos. And see everyone else’s.
And I go back to the now old and trusty and reliable Facebook for those wedding announcements. Babies being born. And yes, in my 69 weeks away, I had friends who had babies, that I never even knew about because I was away from Facebook. When I joined back up I discovered that an old friend endured an entire pregnancy, birth, and had a new baby in her life. Her second child, I never even knew about, in this world. So yeah - Facebook is THE way to communicate with friends and family in this digital era.
And, since I’ve been back, I haven’t missed out on one birth announcement, I know who is pregnant, who is getting married, who died, and I read all the obituaries shared that way. I see in real time who made a roast in their crock pot for dinner, plus which sides they cooked with it. Then, I get the recipe.
I get to see friends travel to Hawaii, and Iceland, and Costa Rica. I see family travel to Disney. I see Dollywood and weekends at a cabin in Michigan. I see special Friday night date nights and fancy dinners out. I see birthday parties and special cakes. I see first haircuts, first baby steps, and first days of school.
I see my nephews' latest milestones as they age from infants, to toddlers, to little boys. School age children who make their first communions and have their grade school graduations. Those pictures, to me, a thousand miles away from all my relatives, are priceless. And all free to share back and forth with these social mediums.
And - I see politics. Yes, politics is still there. And as you may guess, it’s worse than ever. I see Civil War. I call it Civil War 2.0. I see and know who hates President Trump, and I know who loves President Trump. I know who is conservative and who is liberal. And I mostly try to ignore it all - and just laugh at it.
I am glad I left social media for 69 weeks. I am extremely happy with and 100% confident in my decision to ultimately come back to social media. Especially considering how very far away I live from all my family and most of my friends. And I am still, and forever grateful, that I grew up in a world without social media in it.
P.S. - No, I am NOT on TikTok. ~~
*Did you ever go on a social media break? Do you have a Facebook account? Do you live on social media or do you live entirely without social media? I’d so love to know. Drop me a comment down below:
Also, check out these other adventures in The Sunshine State, right here:
68] A Sunday Stroll
65] The Sea Life ~ Happy Easter
61] Bean’s Idea List ~ 15 Daily Activities For Well Beyond 15 Days
59] REACTION ~ To World War 19
56] Shell World ~ Key Largo
51] Life Is Full Of Pasta-Bilities ~ Bean’s Red Sauce Recipe
49] A Picture Worth A Thousand Words ~ Happy Valentine’s Day, World
48] Love & Donuts In The Air @ Beaches For Australia
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
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